November 29: “How We Got Our Bible”

7 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Daniel 6:1-28
2 Peter 3:1-18
Psalm 119:129-152
Proverbs 28:21-22

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

2 Peter 3:15-16 (NLT): “And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him — speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.”

Reflections from Scripture:

Some folks erroneously think that the Bible was not compiled until as late as the fourth century. They point to the various church councils that affirmed what was to be considered Scripture.

Yet, when we read 2 Peter 3:15-16, we hear Peter (writing sometime soon after A.D. 60) referring to the Apostle Paul’s letters. One humorous point that he makes is that “some of his comments are hard to understand.” (So, the next time you read the book of Romans and find yourself scratching your head a few times, don’t worry. The Apostle Peter understands.)

But, note the last part of the verses I have chosen for today:

2 Peter 3:16 (NLT): “…Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.”

Did you get that last line? Peter called Paul’s letters “Scriptures.” He said that some people would read his letters and distort the truth in them, “as they do with the other parts of Scripture.”

Clearly, Peter is including Paul’s letters in the group of books that had already been determined to be “Scripture.” He believed that some of Paul’s writings were inspired by God and were equal to the Old Testament writings.

This is helpful information when we come to understand how our Bibles were compiled. While there was much debate even into the 3rd and 4th centuries among some of the church leaders over which books were “Scripture,” the first-century saints, of which Peter was clearly one, understood that certain first-century writings were Scripture.

As I have read through early church history, it seems that the churches had already pretty much determined which books and letters were Scripture. The councils in the 2nd – 4th centuries simply acknowledged (canonized) them and made a final determination on a few questionable books.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word. It is like no other book ever written because it has You for its author. About 40 men wrote it over a period of about 1,400 years, but Your Holy Spirit led them to write only those things that You wanted to be written. So, help me see it as special and spend each day learning from it and applying it to my life. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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