This is Part 1 of 9 parts answering the basic and very important question, “What does Canonicity mean and why is it important?” Parts 2-9 will be posted on succeeding days.
Canonicity refers to the understanding of what is Scripture. Canon means a measuring rod, a rule, or a standard. In the early church the word was used to refer to the creeds. In the 4th century it was regularly used for the sum total of the 66 books which make up the Bible and hence the “accepted list.” This is how the word is used in Scripture as we will see below. As a measuring rod it directly means the “rule of faith” or “rule of doctrine” by which all doctrine is measured.
The word is used in Galatians 6:16, “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.” (Gal. 6:16 NKJ) The word “rule” is from the Greek word “kanon,” which is the rule or standard by which the new spiritual creature (the new Christian) is taught and judged.
This word is also found in Philippians 3:16 in the best texts, “Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.” (Phil. 3:16 NKJ) The word “rule” refers to the standard described in God’s Word for the godliness by which the Christian is to walk. The standard is the content of God’s Word found in the 66 books of the Bible we now have. The question a person might have is why do we consider the 66 books of our present Bible “the Bible”?
Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.