Attributes of Canonicity (Kruger)

As I mentioned in earlier posts, Kruger’s work on the NT Scriptures, Canon Revisited, is an outstanding contribution to NT studies.  Here’s a nice explanation of the three attributes of canonicity (1) divine qualities, 2) apostolic origins, 3) received by the corporate church) and how they relate to the self-authenticating aspect of the canon.

“What is distinctive about the self-authenticating model is not just that it has three attributes of canonicity, but the way the three attributes relate to one another.  These are not three independent and disconnected qualities that canonical books happen to possess, but each attribute implies and involves the other two.  Thus, you cannot really speak of one attribute without, in a sense, speaking of the others.  They are all bound together.”

“Divine qualities exist only because a book is produced by an inspired apostolic author.  And any book that has an apostolic author, due to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, will inevitably contain divine qualities.  In addition, any book with divine qualities (and apostolic origins) will impose itself on the church, and, via the work of the testimonium (of the Holy Spirit), be corporately received.  And if any book is corporately received by the church, then the book must possess the divine qualities that would cause the church to recognize the voice of Christ in it (again through the testimonium).  Thus, if a book is examined that has one of these attributes, then that implies that the book also has the other two.”

“Because these three attributes imply one another, they work together as a unit – as a web of mutually reinforcing beliefs. …The core strength of the self-authenticating model of canon, then, is the fact that it is three dimensional.”

In the above quote Kruger is summarizing earlier pages of the book and drawing several thoughts together – so there’s more to the discussion, of course.  You’ll have to read this excellent book to dig deeper into the topic of NT canonicity.

Michael Kruger, Canon Revisited, p. 115-116.

rev shane lems
covenant presbyterian church (OPC)
hammond, wi