James F. McGrath on F.F. Bruce on the New Testament Canon

F.F. Bruce wrote:

“One thing must be emphatically stated. The New Testament books did not become authoritative for the Church because they were formally included in a canonical list; on the contrary, the Church included them in her canon because she already regarded them as divinely inspired, recognizing their innate worth and generally apostolic authority, direct or indirect.”

– F. F. Bruce on page 2 of The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?

James F. McGrath wrote:

F. F. Bruce can be relied on for a balanced perspective, as usual. But I think that while his language works well for most of the canon, at its edges there are texts which only gained acceptance through struggle by those who used them to persuade those who did not to accept them. The Book of Revelation scarcely had at long last gained decisive acceptance in the Eastern Orthodox churches, and then along came Martin Luther and called its status into question again. The canon consists of a core that most everyone in those churches that were in fellowship with one another agreed upon, and a periphery that was in flux for quite a long time. That is why we see lists that largely mirror the current canon but with a few omissions or additions here or there in the early centuries – a core of consensus and a periphery of disagreement.

– James McGrath on his blog Exploring Our Matrix

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