Nov 30, 2008

Canonical Rule 5

Thus far we have discovered four cardinal rules that determine inspiration and canonicity.

1. Messianic Test - does it witness to Christ per John 5: 39, Luke 24: 27, 44?
2. Profitability Test - Does it do the things scripture is said to do per II Tim. 3: 15, 16?
3. Origination Test - Did it originate by divine initiative and revelation? Is it cited by other scripture writers and consistent with other scripture? Is it from a prophetic or apostolic source? (Per II Peter 1: 20?)
4. Consistency or Truth Test - is it free of error and contradiction? (Per John 10: 35?)

The "oracles" of God

5. Does it contain the oracles or utterances of God per Rom. 3: 2?

"This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us." (Acts 7: 38 KJV)

"What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." (Romans 3: 1, 2 KJV)

"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God..." (Hebrews 5: 12 KJV)

"If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God..." (I Peter 4: 11 KJV)

Strictly speaking, no accepted inspired book of the Bible contains only the oracles of God. For instance, all of the Book of Genesis is not the direct verbal utterances of God, or his "oracles." It does contain God's verbal utterances. Yea, the very first oracle is the one given to Adam and Eve, which announced to them the coming "seed of the woman" and his victory over the "seed of the serpent." But, the other parts of Genesis are the words of Moses in commentary, explanantion, and narration. Yes, these are true and inspired, but they are not the utterances of God.

Genesis is inspired because it contains the oracles or very words of God spoken to a prophet by the mouth of God. Thus the prophets were often recorded as saying, "the word of the Lord came unto me" or "thus says the Lord," or "these be the words God has given me," etc.; And, where these divine utterances are recorded, they become his written oracles. But, strictly speaking, they are different from other parts that are not the express utterances of God. Can we say that the chronologies and genealogies in the Old Testament books are the utterances or oracles of God? We can say they are truthful and accurate, as a result of God's providence, but can we say they are the "oracles" of God? No, clearly not.

But, if a book contain an "oracle" or "thus says the Lord," or other such markers of inspiration and revelation, then it passes this test of inspiration and canonicity.

Does the Book of Esther contain any oracle of God?

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