How we got the Bible
This past Wednesday as a part of our study "Beyond the DaVinci Code" we took a brief look at that process. The handout on How we got the Bible is available here in Adobe .PDF format. It is a very different story from the one told in The DaVinci Code, which says that the Pagan Roman Emperor Constantine put the collection together to suit his purposes. Instead we have a lot of evidence of the works now found in our Bible being read in Christian churches from long before Constantine and the only official church council on the issue (The Council of Carthage) met in 367 A.D., well after Constatine's death.
One good website on this process is The Development of the New Testament Canon which includes links to the full text of works that did not make it into the Bible.
Rest assured that we do know a lot about how we got the Bible and the criteria for what was included and what wasn't. This does not make the words of scripture any less the Word of God. In the Episcopal Church, we look at the text of scripture sacramentally. Just as the very real bread and wine of communion are made by human hands, yet convey God's presence, so too humans wrote the text of scripture which we know to convey God's presence just as surely. In fact, the more we find out about the text, the more we discover God is present in and through those words, which are as inspired when you read them today as they were in the process of writing 1900 years ago and more.
In unrelated news, today marks the fifth anniversary of my ordination to the Priesthood. Thanks be to God for the many amazing things God has done in our midst at King of Peace during those years—the many lives changed for the better, the 41 baptisms, the weddings, the funerals and the many times I have had the honor to preach and celebrate communion—and yet it is impossible not to feel that God was able to accomplish these things more in spite of me than because of me. For all this, I am thankful.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church