We did not receive our Bible from the councils or the Roman Catholics. Yet, this is still taught in seminaries and Bible institutes. Indeed, there were early councils among state churches that listed the books already received as God’s word for centuries, but that is a far stretch from divine authority to identify God’s word.
The inspired books of the Hebrew Bible were preserved long before the councils. Lists of the newer twenty-seven inspired books appear in translations, histories, and other documents long before the councils.
The truth is that God’s words were always verified by the prophets, even the newest twenty seven books. Paul writes about his words spoken of God:
“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 14:37
In the days the books were written, were Holy Spirit empowered prophets that were tasked with acknowledging the inspired words of God. In this way, false teachers and writers of scripture were exposed before the spirit gifts ceased.
Spirit filled prophets could not speak contrary to the scripture (1 Cor 14:32). The powers of these prophets were verified by common witnesses of believers and unbelievers.
“But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” – 1 Corinthians 14:24-25
Nowadays, we call those who “come in believing not” skeptics. I, too, am a skeptic in modern prophets. If their powers are true then let them make manifest the secrets of my heart. If they can just tell me my wife’s middle name I will grow the C. Peter Wagner goatee.
The Bible as we know it today was authenticated by these early prophets and the process of preservation began long before the church councils were formed hundreds of years later.
Lest you think that that special revelation from God continues, we must remember that the prophets are subject to the prophets (1 Cor 14:32). The apostle Paul wrote that prophecies will fail, which means the prophets will cease (1 Cor 13:8: yes that which is perfect has come). Paul went on to say that he was given revelations from the Lord to “fufil the word of God” (Col 1:25). His revelations were the last new revelations.
There has not been an extra Biblical prophet yet that has understood the revelation of the mystery of Christ given to Paul. They all seem to take their notes from the prophets of Israel (Elijah, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus in his earthly ministry, Peter).
Proponents of extra-biblical revelation suggest we did not identify the Bible until church councils told us. This historical inaccuracy is convenient for those who want to continue to authenticate their own revelations via church council. Unless you trace your spiritual heritage through the corrupt Roman Catholic church, this is simply wrong.
Our Bible was revealed, inspired, completed, and preserved before Constantine and his religion ever came to power.
The sixty six books of scripture preserved through history by God’s labourers was first acknowledged in the day it was written. Now, if only we would believe it we could get some work done.
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:13