Bible canon conundrums

by joey jojo 20 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • joey jojo
    joey jojo

    This is a topic that I find really interesting- how the bible, in particular, the new testament was compiled and how the JW organisation strives to negate, scoff at and diminish the influence of the Catholic church in its development.

    Here is the official stance of the org:

    'The Roman Catholic Church claims responsibility for the decision as to which books should be included in the canon, and reference is made to the Councils of Hippo (A.D. 393) and Carthage (A.D. 397), where catalogues of books were formulated. The opposite is true, however, for the canon was already settled by then, not by the decree of any council, but by the usage of Christian congregations throughout the ancient world.'

    After this startling proclamation, the org then quotes early church bishops in establishing which books were accepted as canon and being used and read.

    'Irenaeus argues, about A.D. 190, that there were just four Gospels. His term ‘fourfold gospel’ shows that he knew the Gospels as a collection, and he recommended these writings as the rule or canon of truth. (Against Heresies III. 11.8) Clement of Alexandria, indicating both the authority and collected form of the Gospels, states, “We do not find this saying in the four gospels that have been handed down to us, but in that according to the Egyptians.”—Miscellanies III. 13.'

    'The book of Revelation is attested to by a unanimity of early commentators including Papias, Justin, Melito and Irenaeus.6 (Fragments of Papias 8) It was rejected by some in the East because its teachings were unacceptable to certain schools of thought. But this did not disturb its general reception Even at this early date due regard was also paid to having a correct text, as Irenaeus informs us in referring to Revelation 13:18 when he remarks, “The number is thus found in all the genuine and ancient copies.”—Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius, p. 188.'

    'This leaves James and Jude and the epistles of Peter and John. There was never any difficulty with First Peter and First John, Papias and Polycarp being among the early testimonies for their authority. (Fragments of Papias 6; The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 2, 7)'

    'Second Peter has been questioned most by critics, but Irenaeus uses it, (Irenaeus Against Heresies 5.23.2 and 5.28.3)'

    'In a letter written by Theodore of Egypt in the fourth century the apocryphal writings are referred to as “the lying waters of which so many drank,”7 and the Muratorian list speaks of them as gall which should not be mixed with honey.4 So the Christian community was careful to protect the integrity of its writings.'

    So there are a few quotes from this particular article, presenting the argument that it was God alone, through his holy spirit that chose the books for the new testament, all the while, relying on the evidence of the early church leaders as to which books were considered acceptable for christianity.

    Another deceitful tactic is to quote men like, Eusebius, Polycarp, Papias and Irenaeus as historians, or writers, when in fact they were all early Bishops of the catholic church.

    On the one hand, the org claims that the canon was closed and established before any church councils, or catholic intervention and yet, accepts the version of the bible adopted by the protestant reformation, which came 1500 years after Christ. To make it more confusing, some protestant bibles include the apocrypha.

    There is so much to this subject and I haven't even scratched the surface. Also, this has been discussed on this forum a lot and by people far more qualified than me, so I have included some links to some threads that have further information.

  • Vidiot

    Oh, that's too funny!

    Well done.

  • Hairtrigger

    Thank you JJ for resurrecting this .

    A “Must read”, . Will make for a very valuable and informative weekend.

  • joey jojo
    joey jojo


    It's so frustrating the way the org takes a stance on a subject and then cobbles together a story to fit their narrative.

    The wts writers are at their devious best; misquotes, out of context quotes, diminishing or overstating the qualifications of quoted people as they see fit and of course, their absolute favourite, the use of ellipses.....

    They also manage to avoid the use of the word 'catholic' throughout the whole article, except to say, 'the catholic church had nothing to do with it.'

  • Phizzy

    They rather shot themselves in the foot with the statement that "the canon was already settled by then, not by the decree of any council, but by the usage of Christian congregations throughout the ancient world.'

    There is plenty of proof that many of the Churches/Congregations in the 1st Century used Books, and sections of Writings that are rejected by the Org for various reasons, none of them very Scholarly reasons. Revelation upon which they rely for their Armageddon nonsense was in dispute, and little used it seems in the early Christian Churches, and of course the dispute about the legitimacy of Revelation carried on at least until the time of Martin Luther.

    The truth is the Org accepts the Protestant Canon, which was fixed when ?..... Exactly.

    The big question is why do they accept these writings alone ? They have no genuine reason to do so, their arguments in support are as usual, fallacious.

  • Drearyweather
    Another deceitful tactic is to quote men like, Eusebius, Polycarp, Papias and Irenaeus as historians, or writers, when in fact they were all early Bishops of the catholic church.
    Are you sure all of these men were bishops of the Roman Catholic Church?
  • smiddy3

    Drearyweather , do you have any evidence they were not ? please provide it if you have.?

  • Drearyweather


    Some of the men named above lived long before the Roman Catholic Church, or for that matter any other denomination we know now was formally established. That's the reason many denominations recognize them as their saints.

    Polycarp: 69 AD

    Papias: 70 AD

    Irenaeus: 130 AD

    Telling that these men were the bishops of the Catholic Church is like telling that Abel, Moses, CT Russell were Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • eyeuse2badub

    What always amazed me was how the wt tenaciously teaches and claims that jehovah made absolutely sure that the "holy scriptures" were preserved but he sure a hell didn't make sure that the most important aspect, his name, was preserved and how he "allowed" it to be 'removed and hidden' by Christendom! lol lol

    just saying!

  • truth_b_known

    It was Martin Luther in 1517AD that wanted any books of the Bible removed that did not support his beliefs. He wanted the book of James removed, but was unsuccessful.

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