Argument for New Testament Books.

Argument for New Testament Books.

There are many arguments on how we know our 27 New Testament books are inspired, yet I wish to present one of them today. This argument is slightly different than other arguments in that it argues for the expectation of a New Testament canon altogether. In other words, it’s seeking to answer this objection; “Christians have no bases for expecting a new canon to be formed”. So let’s begin…

Premise 1: God always gives sufficient communication to those He is in covenant with.

Premise 2: God has covenanted with us in the New Testament.

Conclusion: Therefore, God has provided sufficient communication to all those in the New Testament covenant.

Let’s expand a little on each premise.

 

Premise 1: God always gives sufficient communication to those He is in covenant with.

The Old Testament is filled with this reality, that when God wants to make a covenant, he clearly communicates it to his people. God has consistently functioned in a speak-write pattern. The reason is simple, God normally makes universal covenants and just verbally speaking to one person doesn’t fulfill that goal. So to prove this premise is rather simple, all one has to ask is this, did God decree his new covenant to be wide-reaching through many generations? If you answer yes, you only have two logical options. Either God failed or He has provided some form of communication.

The entire Old Testament is proof that God is a communicating God and He consistently uses written words. Jesus Christ confirmed this idea by His view of the Old Testament. Jesus (along with the apostles) believed and recognized the authority and sufficiency of the Old Testament canon. It should be noted that the formation of the Old Testament canon is very similar to the New Testament canon, so we ought not to be surprised if God forms a new canon in a very similar way. Not only should we not be surprised, but we should logically expect it. If God has formed an Old Testament canon for his people, (to which Jesus and the apostles agree) then we should expect him to be consistent for His new covenant. Granted, this assumes that God is consistent in the way He works among His people, yet I don’t think this is by any means an unsupported assumption.

 

Note:
I’m building this theological argument from two sources. First being the Old Testament; which has been proven to be inspired by the acceptance and confirmation of Jesus, who historically rose from the dead. I’ve gathered that information from my second source, which is the New Testament books AS HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS ONLY. I am NOT assuming they are Inspired at this point in my argument. This is very critical because it would be completely circular reasoning to view them as God-breathed at this point.

Premise 2: God has covenanted with us in the New Testament.

This premise seems to be virtually undebated and I think the reader will have little to no difficulty accepting this premise, yet never the less, let’s look at the evidence.

The idea of God forming a new covenant is found in three sources.

1. The Old Testament.
Throughout the Old Testament, we find this promise of a new and better covenant approaching. Some examples are found in the books of Eziekel and Jeremiah, where God literally says things like “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel”.

2. Jesus.
Jesus also confirmed that He was bringing in that new covenant. Statements like, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood” and “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” leave one doubtless that Jesus taught a New Testament.

3. The apostles of Jesus.
Again, how can one argue with such statements from Paul the apostle, “who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”.

Note:
Some may object that the apostles viewed the new covenant as being oral and not having written documents. The above verse is used to support such claims. Yet, Paul’s use of the word “letter” wasn’t referring to mere written documents, but to the view of the Old Testament law being only written commands without strength to obey them through the Spirit. Paul is NOT saying the new covenant won’t have written documents, but that it will be a covenant of Spirit and not just codes and regulations. Paul gives this sense perfectly with the phrase “the letter kills”, he wasn’t saying that a person reading a written document will fall over dead, but that the old covenant only brings condemnation due to it being mere rules and regulations.

The apostles were by no means against written documents, in fact, they used them regularly. Not only did they use them regularly to communicate the new covenant, they recognized each other’s letters as being equal to old testament Scripture. Peter puts Paul’s letters in the authoritative category with old testament Scripture and Paul quotes Luke’s gospel calling it Scripture etc.

 

Conclusion: Therefore, God has provided sufficient communication to all those in the New Testament covenant.

The conclusion doesn’t really need much elaboration, because if the premises are sound and well evidenced, then the conclusion logically follows.

 

Note:
I would like to define the phrase “sufficient communication”. I’m meaning by this phrase, “communication that is sufficient to meet the terms or requirements of the covenant”. God doesn’t have to reveal every single detail of the mysteries of the universe. He only seeks to reveal to us that which he deems as necessary and beneficial. This definition also allows for textual variants to exist in our manuscripts of such canonized books. This argument is based on the example God has laid out in the Old Testament, which is, “God provides books to his covenanted people, yet he allows specific variants within those books to exist though hand copying over time”. So, by looking at the transmission of what God allowed in the Old Testament, we formulate what to expect in the new testament regarding textual transmission.

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