Canon of scripture

(See BIBLE.) The collection of sacred books constituting the Christian church's authoritative RULE (Greek canon) of faith and practice. The word occurs in Galatians 6:16; 2 Corinthians 10:13-16. The law, i.e. the Pentateuch or five books of Moses, is the groundwork of the whole. The after written sacred books rest on it. The Psalms, divided into five books to correspond with it, begin, "Blessed is the man" whose "delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law will he meditate day and night." In Joshua (Joshua 1:8) similarly the Lord saith, "this book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night." Moses directed the Levites, "Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God" (Deuteronomy 31:25-26). "The testimony," or Decalogue written by God's finger on the tables of stone, was put into the ark (Exodus 25:16; Exodus 40:20; 1 Kings 8:9).

Hilkiah "found the book of the law in the house of the Lord," where it had lain neglected during the reigns that preceded godly Josiah's reign (2 Kings 22:8; 2 Chronicles 34:14), "the law of the Lord by (the hand of) Moses." Joshua under inspiration added his record, "writing these words in the book of the law of God" (Joshua 24:26). Samuel further wrote "the manner of the kingdom in a book" (1 Samuel 10:25). Isaiah (Isaiah 8:20) as representative of the prophets makes the law the standard of appeal: "to the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." The earlier sacred writings by his time seem to have been gathered into one whole, called "the book of the Lord": "seek ye out of the book of the Lord" (Isaiah 33:16; Isaiah 29:18). Just as our Lord saith" Search the Scriptures" (John 5:39).