QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
On February 21, 2016, we received the following inquiry:
“Brothers: Beautiful Brochure! [The Good News from God Poster] You continue, however, to re-cycle some old myths, such as that the 66 Bible Books are not much more than human effort. Since this viewpoint is popular today, I understand your position, albeit erroneous. But you really owe to yourself, and your readers, to check the facts about the myth that the 325 Council of Nicea even discussed, much less settled the Bible canon. This is 100% myth, with no supporting facts! History seems to indicate it was Voltare who apparently first floated this fiction. Please do a little research for yourself. The evidence shows the Old Testament Canon was closed circa 400 BCE, and the New Testament Canon closed by around 100 CE. But to continually re-cycle known myths, such as the 325 Council even discussing the Bible Canon, does not help your case, nor does it edify anyone. "We did not follow cleverly contrived myths." (2 Pt. 1:16)”
To the author, thank you for your email. We did some further research and we see your point. Accordingly, we deleted the reference to the Council of Nicaea from the article since it appears their role was more in codifying teachings, not canonizing the New Testament. Thank you again.
As to your representation that to us “the 66 Bible Books are not much more than human effort,” we must disagree. We firmly believe the 66 books of the Bible were inspired by the writers’ understanding of God, by the holy spirit and, with regard to the New Testament writings, by the Spirit of Truth. But we do not believe any of the books are the infallible word of God. Neither, by the way, did the Apostle Paul. He wrote this about the Old Testament:
“Since we have such a hope, we are using great freeness of speech, and not doing what Moses did when he would put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel might not gaze intently at the end of what was to be done away with. But their minds were dulled. For to this present day, the same veil remains unlifted when the old covenant is read, because it is taken away only by means of Christ. In fact, to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their hearts. But when one turns to Jehovah, the veil is taken away. Now Jehovah is the Spirit, and where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:12-17
If the writings of Moses were infallible, why do they dull the mind and blind the heart?
“If, then, perfection was attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for it was a feature of the Law that was given to the people), what further need would there be for another priest to arise who is said to be in the manner of Melchizedek and not in the manner of Aaron? . . . So, then, the former commandment is set aside because it is weak and ineffective. For the Law made nothing perfect, but the introduction of a better hope did, through which we are drawing near to God.”
– Hebrews 7:11, 18-19
If the ‘former commandment’ was infallible, why wasn’t it able to bring about perfection? And why was it set aside as weak and ineffective? Infallibility is perfection. Completeness. Eternally true and unchangeable. One cannot improve on perfection. Yet time and time again, Paul writes that the old covenant, the ‘former commandment,’ and the writings of Moses, required improvement and were ‘near to vanishing away.’
“If that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second. For he does find fault with the people when he says: “‘Look! The days are coming,’ says Jehovah, ‘when I will make with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their forefathers on the day I took hold of their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, because they did not remain in my covenant, so I stopped caring for them,’ says Jehovah. . . . In his saying “a new covenant,” he has made the former one obsolete. Now what is obsolete and growing old is near to vanishing away.”
– Hebrews 8:7-9, 13
Based on these writings, it is clear that the Apostle Paul, and those who believed his writings, did not hold the view that the Bible is the infallible word of God. Yes, he did write:
“All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”
– 2 Timothy 3:16-17
But he never wrote that all scripture is “infallible.” No Bible writer ever wrote such a thing. Jesus referred to Old Testament stories in order to teach important lessons, but he was not affirming those stories as absolute truth any more that Paul was confirming the absolute truth of the ‘unknown God’ when speaking to the men of Athens. (Acts 17:16-31) He was using information that was familiar to them, information that had meaning to them, in order to teach greater, more perfect things. And yes, the Bible is beneficial for teaching and reproving, and so we use it for that purpose, all the while knowing that Jesus is the one and only infallible ‘word of God.’ (See John 1:1-3, 14.) Seeking infallibility in anything else is unwise.
That is our view. We have learned from our past communications with you that you do believe the entire Bible to be the infallible word of God, and the only writing approved by God, so we will not belabor this point any further. At the very worst, you have only limited your spiritual world. You have not excluded yourself from it. And for that we can be thankful and will continue to view you as our brother in faith. How you view us is up to you.