Theology in three minutes.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    18 replies to "Credo Clip: What Books Belong in the Bible?"

    • Steve Martin

      Which Bible is the right one?

      As CMP has said, the R.Catholics have theirs, the Orthodox theirs, and the Protestants, theirs.

      The Bishops of the early church took a long tome to hash out which books should be in and which books not.

      ‘Revelation’ just barely made it in. Some barely did not get in.

      The Bible is both a work of man and of God. It is a book that contains the Living Word. Every jot and tittle does not have to jive perfectly in order for that to be true. The finite contains the infinite.

      I find it odd how Christians believe that God can work through sinful men (His preachers), and ordinary elements such as bread and wine, and even our Lord Himself who was fully man, as well as fully God. But somehow they believe that God HAS to have a perfect book with inerrant text in order for Him to make use of it.

      Whatever drives Christ is what we ought look to in the way of Holy Scripture.

      That is why Luther could call James “the epistle of straw”, because…

    • Craig Bennett

      I really enjoyed listening to your talk. You did well in speaking highly of the Word of God and explaining the way various translations fit in various contexts. In doing this you explained those various expressions in a way that didn’t denigrate God’s Word through pulling various translations down.

      Well done and thank you.

    • Jim Kinnebrew

      Hi Steve,

      There is no question that God can use imperfect things, but it is highly questionable that He ever produced an imperfect thing (though His perfect creation became imperfect via sin).

      What “drove Christ” was His absolute and complete confidence in and obedience to every word of His Father.

      Strange that you use His language in saying that “every jot and tittle” need not “jive [sic] perfectly” when Jesus Himself seemed to use that phrase to indicate the opposite and to state that, even in the minutia, the Bible that He used did jibe together perfectly.

      Jesus’ followers should believe like Jesus, and so we see Paul, for instance, building a case based on minor points of grammar (e.g., Gal 3.16), “jots and tittles,” even as Jesus did (e.g., Matt 22.32).

      That’s my two cents. I may owe you some change.


    • Bryan

      Well done, I thought, given the constraints of time and format.

      Of course, I raise the standard objections regarding the concept of starting with scripture and the too-neat solution to “missing” books like Shepherd of Hermas, etc. Still, very good place to start and a good, quick explanation of the Evangelical position.

    • Steve Martin


      There are 3 main Bibles. The R.Catholics have one. The Orthodox have one.And the Protestants have one. They are all slightly different, but different nonetheless.

      Which one is the TRUE inerrant Bible?

      Not to mention all the versions, varieties, spin offs of all those Bibles.

      Why is it that God cannot work His power through all those Bibles, even though they are obviously not ALL without any errors?

      I think He can. Even though the texts themselves may not be perfect. The Word is infallible.

      Food for thought.

      God bless you, my friend!


    • Seth R.

      Well, the clip starts off by declaring God to be in charge.

      But then what is the touchstone for determining what the word of God is?

      Consensus in the Christian community.

      I mean, this is a nice statement of the Protestant worldview. But isn’t it really just an exercise in begging the question?

    • Steve Martin

      Whatever drives Christ and His gospel for the forgiveness of sins.

    • Ed Kratz

      Steve, God could certainly work through all those Bibles, they just miss the mark as the criteria of acceptance by God’s people does not fit. While the Apocrypha did make it into the Vulgate (the most widely used Bible of all time), there was still great disagreement about whether or not it should be included. Jerome himself (who translated the Vulgate) protested their inclusion. About half of the scholars of the day did not accept it. The RC did not dogmatize it until the 16th century. There were even Popes who did not think it or portions of it should be accepted.

      In short, sporadic acceptance equate to disqualification.

      While it is true that certain “Protocanonical books” (the books universally accepted) had problems here and there, they are not even worth speaking of. The exception does not provide the rule. It was NOT the exception for the Apocrypha to be rejected.

      The acceptance of the canon was organic. Right when they were complete, they were accepted.

    • Ed Kratz


      God charge is shown through his people’s universal recognition of his voice. This is often referred to as the regula fide or the canon veritas. The idea is that important issues will not be accepted by Christians here and there, but will have universal appeal to his sheep.

      “That which has been believed everywhere, always, by all.” Vincentian Canon

    • Seth R.

      Well, sure Michael. But isn’t this an argument that’s only going to appeal to people who already agree with you?

      Or was that the aim to begin with?

    • Ed Kratz

      Seth, I don’t see how it could be. Unless one wants to take a very low view of God and his sovereignty. The assumption would be both counter biblical and counter philosophy. It presents a God who is in heaven completely out of control acting as a cheerleader for his people.

      But, in the end, the compelling case for our canon is from its universal acceptance. If people need more, they may produce popes or prophets to ground them more, but those pope and prophets will be less grounded than the canon itself! That would be self-defeating in my opinion. But, then again, that is why I am not a Catholic!

    • Seth R.

      Michael, I’m sympathetic to the Open Theist position myself. I see Calvinism as fundamentally untenable and Arminianism as self-contradictory (though admirable in its impulses).

      I don’t see why allowing people scope for free action here on earth puts the whole show “out of control.”

    • Steve Martin

      Thanks, CMP!

      It’s a good thing when learned men/women such as yourself, acknowledge the power of God to make His Word known in books that are not perfect.

    • Mike Gantt


      How do you prevent your argument from leading you to disallow the Antilegomena?

    • Ed Kratz

      The best way I can describe it is that they are not nor ever have been recognized as God’s voice by his sheep. Therefore they are as disqualified as Moby Dick.

    • Mike Gantt

      But didn’t Eusebius, as well as others, include among the Antilegomena James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation?

      That is, these writings were disputed for a time but then accepted. (I am not referring to other books such as the Shepherd of Herma and the Didache.)

      My question was that if your rationale accepted only those books that were always accepted by the whole community of faith, how would you then use that argument where the 6 NT books listed above are concerned?

    • Ed Kratz

      Because I would say that the disputation of the Eusibian antilegomena was minimal in the early church and, most certainly, from the perspective of the entire history of the church. As well, the disputations of each of the works has a good explanation. 2 Pet because it was so like Jude and different style than 1 Pet. Revelation because it was confusing. 2 3 Jn because they would not have been widely copied.

      You even have some people today who would dispute 2 Pet for the same reasons. But these are all the exceptions when the whole of the history of the church and the people of God are examined.

      Compare this with the Apocrypha, Shepherd, and others and you see that the exception was to accept them or they were and continue to be highly disputed by the Church. This automatically takes them out of the running.

      Hope that helps.

    • Mike

      You stated off by saying the Scripture is the source of our revelation. Christ is the source of our revelation. Scripture is writings about that revelation, but to say that Scripture is the source of our revelation is more Muslim than Christian.

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