The Traveller’s Rest- Canonisation…Biblical?

Treasure the Questions.

Over the past few weeks I have been haunted by a trail of thinking that I nearly blogged on many times but then went for something else. It was because I had many questions that maybe had no answers or even answers that rocked core beliefs. I have never shied away from tackling tough subjects before but this one… Yet it would not let me go. Maybe it was my mischief angel (as my friend Tony John calls him), I do not know, but there was a sense of treasuring the questions. I have enjoyed asking a few questions through out this week on Facebook. Almost becoming like a Rabbi, who would often teach using questions and not giving people all the answers. Those five questions were as follows so you can all have a think (if you have not seen them you may want to pause at each one and just think for a while);

Was there anything the early disciples/apostles did that we have not got the potential to do ourselves?

Do you think the writers of what we call the Gospels, Paul, Peter, John etc. realised they were writing “God’s word” or were they just writing letters, reporting what they had seen, dictating thoughts to a scribe unaware of the significance?

When Paul taught and preached did he carry a greater ‘anointing’ than when we may teach and preach?

Jesus did and said many things that could not be recorded because of space and time (all the books of the world could not contain it). Was the stuff not recorded not as inspired and God breathed as the things that are recorded?

Was anyone other than maybe Jesus that walked this planet infallible (perfect, not open to error or mistakes). For example those that wrote the gospels, the early apostles, those that dictated their words, the translators, those that put the canon of scripture together? If so does that mean I can be infallible?

I have really enjoyed reading all the responses without responding myself. My trail of thought will come out in this blog and may answer these questions or may not, but what I know for sure is they will cause us all to think, learn, lean etc. All things that are good and healthy on a walk of faith. My answers may not be right but they are a form of thinking on the move, a process that goes on daily. Faith is ever evolving because God is not some dead organism no longer in connection with us and the world. He still lives and moves and has His being, and so do we.

I can do ALL things?

We have a faith that is built on what we believe to be logical thinking. This thinking says to us that what we saw the disciples/apostles do through out the Scriptures we have the potential to do ourselves. Why? Because we too have been baptised/filled with the Spirit of God. Therefore when we see the early church healing the sick, casting out demons, performing creative miracles, moving in the gifts of the Spirit like prophecy and speaking in tongues, we logically believe that these things are for us as well unless we are cessationists. We hear testimonies that these things are happening in our contemporary world and may even have walked in and experienced some of these things ourselves, proof indeed that the same spirit the Biblical characters walked in we can walk in ourselves. But then my thinking over these past few weeks challenges this logic. The writers of the Gospels and the apostles wrote Scripture, that is something we cannot do (I would never want anything I write to be canonised thank you!). So when they wrote these reports of what they were evidencing; i.e. the Gospels, the book of Acts, the Epistles (letters) etc. were they under a realm of walking in God that we can never touch, like infallibility, where every word was so holy that no man since could speak or write like that? Did they realise the authority and weight of their writings or were they just writing letters and reports that we later put weight onto because these guys spent time with Jesus physically? Were their pen hands and brains taken over? If they were writing in a realm that we never could write in, logic raises a question here, if they were writing in a realm untouchable for us, maybe they were also healing, raising the dead, walking in the prophetic in a realm that we could not touch. My sermons and writings can never carry the same presence of God as they did so what I carry is an inferior version of what they walked in. Also the stuff Jesus did that was not recorded cannot carry the same weight of importance. The miracles He did that no one saw. The great teaching He gave about Him being in all the Scriptures from Moses to the Prophets was never recorded. Was this not as powerful as the sermon on the mount? Was He off form that day? Or was there just too much to dictate and write down, or maybe the scribe wasn’t around to record it? I am not writing any of this to decry the importance of the Word of God to us, it is God breathed through out. But does that mean God has never since breathed on anything? When Paul wrote those words to Timothy was he thinking, wow the breath of God is on this letter, one day it will be canonised? Did Jesus ever tell them to write it down for it will be holy? Did He hint anywhere that Scriptures were to be written by them? Did the prophets of old foretell a time when a new testament would be recorded for us all to read and teach from that would be equal to the Law and the Prophets?  Logic is great when it suits us, but we have to ignore some big questions. As I said the Bible as we have it is the Word of God to us, useful for correcting, teaching etc. I have spent years teaching from it, reading it, using it as a measuring line, hearing God through it, but was the canonisation of it actually Biblical? Interesting to read that those who chose the 73 books would proceed to murder and persecute those that used a book they did not include. Were they infallible in their choosing? Why Joshua and not Judith? Why 1 and 2 Corinthians and not 3 Corinthians? Questions, questions, questions…

Hidden Your Word.

Why am I recording my rabbit trails? Trying to pull apart our faith in something so precious? Far from it. We need to be grounded in the Word, but we need a fresh revelation about what that is to us. We need to realise our logic can often fall down, because a walk of faith is not a walk of logic. Our treasure can often become the tablets of stone rather than what is permeating the heart. It has always been about heart and not about what is set in stone, or paper as we have now. These writings and teaching remain a measuring stick, but we need to live the life of the one who can become in us the pen of the ready writer. And just as I close these ramblings I want to record what the Scriptures teach us on what I am saying. Talk about almost contradictions. If the Word is just an ink mark in a book it is just an ink mark. It is no holier or righteous that any other word. Some of the worlds most evil men and women have been influenced by the words in the book, including Hitler. In ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Miss Maude says ”sometimes the bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of-oh of your father”. We need the Word to get to the heart.

“these words which I command you today shall be in your hearts; you shall teach them to your children” (Deut 6:5-7)

“the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart…” (Deut 30:11-14)

“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts…” (Jer 31:31-34)

“they were a letter of Christ, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not in tablets of stone, but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” (2 Corin. 3:2,3)

“these things we also speak not in words which mans wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches…” (2 Corin. 2:12-16)

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9 thoughts on “The Traveller’s Rest- Canonisation…Biblical?

  1. markrandallpixley

    Some great questions…and I know you didn’t even include some of the heavy lifting…like what happens when the translators get it wrong?

    I think for me the answers fall into the arena of the woman caught in adultery…it’s the only time we see Jesus writing…and he writes in dust…the imagery here gets lost in the drama of the moment…we want to see what he was writing, was he writing the 10 commandments, I’ve heard people suggest he was writing the sins of the crowd (I oppose that thinking as unlike him)…but what we fail to notice is he is writing in impermanence…it is dust that he writes in…this is a perfect snapshot of the question…we have the eternal Word, writing words in dust…and if I remember that I am made from dust it starts to make more sense…for me the scriptures become the quill…but my heart is the paper…and He wants to write His story there, impermanent as I might be…so what do I care what kind of stylus he uses…?

    Reply
  2. dave Vaughan

    Good thoughts Paul and TBH a train of thoughts which will not go away in the coming days and months maybe leading to a radical transformation in our view of scripture. It amuses me that apparently God gave a Law of sacrifice to the people YET in the midst of their ‘Obedience’ He tells them that their sacrifices do not Please Him and were never something on his heart? LOL. Let’s see what unfolds hey, Love you Big Man DAVE

    Reply
  3. bluefenceblog

    I love this! I have had so many similar questions before but don’t talk about them much, even to those close to me, because they think I am trying to be argumentative or really way off. I love it. Thank you so much!!
    Shannon 🙂

    Reply
  4. Geoff Reed

    Its strange that we find the more we are loved the bolder we become to ask these questions and we don’t become fazed when we don’t get the answers, seems like a canny(geordie canny) place to be. Bless you pal.

    Reply
  5. Joanna

    Jesus’ prayer in John 14:12 was “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” So why can’t we do more than the apostles? Why can’t our words from time to time be God breathed? 🙂 Like the questions Paul!

    Reply
    1. pleader05 Post author

      For those who want to read a different view here is a link from my friend Huw. Appreciate his contributions even when I disagree. There is power in agreement, but even more power in agreeing to give space, listen, disagree, be a thorn and yet stand in this walk of discovery together.

      Reply
    2. John Matthews

      Love this Paul. Brings to mind that the thought that we don’t worship the book but the God who’s story is contained within it. I like to think that our meditation on all of the words of the book helps us to build a clearer picture of the character and ways of our Creator and allows us to test our hearts, experiences and our own words against this understanding. Hopefully this kind of approach keeps us on some type of level ground while preventing us from over-emphasizing our own “revelation”.

      I couldn’t resist attempting to answer one of your questions about whether the writers of the NT realized if they were writing scripture (although you have more than adequately wrestled with this in your blog). As I believe you have inferred, I would say no. How else would you explain statements such as Paul’s in Gal 2:6? “As for those who were held in high esteem–whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism–they added nothing to my message.” No one in their right mind, believing their words would someday be “scripture” would write such a thing about the senior leadership in Jerusalem.

      I guess my final thoughts are around how important it is for us to better understand culture and context when interpreting scripture and being able to differentiate between historical narrative and foundational God breathed directives. Here’s to knowing Him better through all ways he speaks to us.

      Reply

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