Bible question for Protestants

How do you know what books should be in the Bible? The Catholic would say “because the Catholic Church has ruled on it”, but since the Church has no real authority on the matter, what would you say?

Which Protestant has said that the church has no real authority on the matter?

I think the church is authoritative in regards to many things, it’s simply not the highest authority.

For me as a Lutheran I happy to simply accept the consensus of the church in the matter of the canon.

I can’t think of a book that came out of the 1st century that I would add outside of the books we have…

Perhaps the Didache? But even then we’re not sure that it was written in the first century. The Gospel of Thomas logically has no place.

Assuming you’re not a Catholic, which book would you add to the Canon from the 1st century?

The OP is asking how you know which books are canonical and which are not. We know because the Church has told us, but Protestants, as far as I know, lack a sufficient answer. Unless there’s some divinely inspired table of contents which you can show us, you’re accepting as doctrine something that is has no basis in what you accept as inspired revelation, which is Scripture alone.

So the Church is not infallible, then? In that case, you’re left with no better guarantee that your canon of Scripture is correct than those who completely reject Church authority have.

But what about the Apocrypha? That was under the consensus of the Church when the Bible was formed.

No, the church is not infallible. The church can be wrong. I believe the issue of the canon is fallible.

I am not even sure many Catholics even believe their canon is infallible, seeing as though many Catholics have told me that if the Orthodox were to rejoin, the Catholic Church would readily accept the Orthodox canon as legitimate, for use in the liturgy just as surely as the Catholic canon. If Catholics believe their canon is infallible, surely there is some room for dissent as they are willing to acknowledge that the Orthodox canon is legitimate to be used in the liturgy?

If Catholics believed their canon was infallible, wouldn’t they insist that the Orthodox accept their canon to be received back into full communion?

You mean the deuterocanonical books?

No, there wasn’t a consensus, in fact many learned Catholics before Trent challenged their inclusion.

Do you really think that God would have given you no way to determine for sure what His Word was? What’s the point of Him inspiring books if He gives us no way to find out what those books are?

I am not even sure many Catholics even believe their canon is infallible, seeing as though many Catholics have told me that if the Orthodox were to rejoin, the Catholic Church would readily accept the Orthodox canon as legitimate, for use in the liturgy just as surely as the Catholic canon. If Catholics believe their canon is infallible, surely there is some room for dissent as they are willing to acknowledge that the Orthodox canon is legitimate to be used in the liturgy?

If Catholics believed their canon was infallible, wouldn’t they insist that the Orthodox accept their canon to be received back into full communion?

Note that they would only be allowed to keep the “extra” books for their liturgies. They would have to accept the 73-book Catholic canon as the entirety and fullness of inspired Scripture, but they would be able to determine for themselves what to use in their liturgy. This is already done in the Eastern Catholic Rites.

Do you really think that God would have given you no way to determine for sure what His Word was? What’s the point of Him inspiring books if He gives us no way to find out what those books are?

Where have I even hinted at such a teaching? The church simply recognized what God had inspired. There are several books that there was not a consensus about. Even learned Catholics challenged them and they remained in good standing.

Note that they would only be allowed to keep the “extra” books for their liturgies. They would have to accept the 73-book Catholic canon as the entirety and fullness of inspired Scripture, but they would be able to determine for themselves what to use in their liturgy. This is already done in the Eastern Catholic Rites.

Why would the church allow some to use false, uninspired books in their liturgy?

Assuming that you weren’t Catholic, what current books in the Bible would you remove and why?

You said that you “believe the issue of the canon is fallible” in post #7.

The church simply recognized what God had inspired.

Yes, but according to you, not infallibly.

There are several books that there was not a consensus about. Even learned Catholics challenged them and they remained in good standing.

There’s a patristic consensus for the deuterocanonicals.

Why would the church allow some to use false, uninspired books in their liturgy?

Your issue is with the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, not me. I suppose it’s a part of their rights as an autocephaly.

I don’t know. Martin Luther apostatized and rejected the deuterocanonicals, as you know. But I have no idea what I’d think about the canon with a non-Catholic mind.

Anyway, how is that question relevant?

Yet they always accepted the Church’s authority on the matter

The article below demonstrates this quite nicely (in the “A Look at the Fathers” section):
matt1618.freeyellow.com/deut.html

The Catholic Church didn’t infallibly define the canon until Trent. They couldn’t accept the churches authority on the matter because there was no authoritative teaching, on the matter.

That’s why the Roman Catholic Church has a different canon than the Eastern Orthodox Church. Both churches are equally ancient, yet their canons are different.

While they were not infallible, the Councils of Rome in 382, of Hippo in 393 (presided over by St Augustine!), and of Carthage in 397 authoritatively determined the canon. After the Council of Rome, Pope Damasus I issued a canon of Scripture that was identical to the one Catholics use today. You can find it here (though, it doesn’t name Baruch, because that book was considered a part of Jeremiah):
crossed-the-tiber.blogspot.com/2006/12/st-damasus-and-canon-of-scripture.html?m=1

House Harkonnen, what’s your way of knowing whether you use the right canon or not?

My Church picks the same books in the NT, and I agree; those books make complete sense to me.

The question is relevant only because you should be able to choose at least one NT book you think shouldn’t belong and have a reason for it, assuming you weren’t Catholic. If you could then I think that you would have a case.

So which book would you reject and why? And if you can’t think of one, then neither can I.

Which books would you reject if you weren’t Catholic, and what in that book would cause you to reject it?

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