The Closing of the Canon of Scripture!

When the final apostle died or laid down his “apostolic pen,” the giving of special revelation ceased. In 2Timothy 3:16-17 further attests to this fact when it claims that the completed Scripture (the 66 books of the Bible) thoroughly equips us “for every good work.” By implication, then, there is and can be no extra-Biblical special divine revelation. The canon of Scripture is close: “those former ways (miracles, tongues, spoken prophecy, visions, theophanies, dreams, angelic visits) of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.”

Leonard Coppes says, “The primary verses teaching this are John 14:26; Ephesians 2:20; Jude 3, 20. The first verse teaches that Jesus committed the truth to the apostolate alone. So when the apostolate ceased, so did the flow of divine revelation. The second verse teaches that the communicators of divine revelation were the apostles and prophets alone. With the cessation of the apostolate (and the Scriptures acknowledge that the apostolate did cease) the communication of new revelation ceased. The last two verses (as well as Ephesians 2:20) teach that the church is to be built on the faith (the revelation communicated to the apostolate and through the apostles and prophets) which was once for all delivered to the saints and on nothing else. We are neither to add to this faith nor subtract from it. All questions of faith and life are to be submitted to the authority of the Scripture. Men are not free to create new revelation nor are they free to reject any teaching or command recorded in Scripture. To do so is to oppose the authority of God.

The close of the canon of Scripture, that is, the cessation of divine propositional revelation, is also taught in 1Corinthians 13:8-13. In this passage, Paul is dealing with the miraculous word gifts in the visible church, just as in chapters twelve and fourteen. What are their purpose and duration? The apostle says they have a place, but they are a partial means of revelation (vv9-10). When the “perfect” or “complete” or “mature” (teleois) comes, then the partial will be done away with (v10). Paul is contrasting that which is complete and endures with that which is partial and temporary. The fully written word of God is complete (and perfect) and endures forever (1Peter 1:24-25). The Scripture is frequently referred to as perfect and complete (James 1:25; 2Timothy 3:16-17). It is an all-sufficient word.

From, “By Scripture Alone” by W Gary Crampton.

(©️James R Hamilton, November 2018)
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