How did we get the Old Testament canon?

The Old Testament was written from  roughly 1400 to 430 BC  and you can see within the documents  themselves God giving guidelines for whether prophetic words were true or  really from him. For example, in  Deuteronomy 18  and it seems there’s this progressive recognition through time of the prophets truly speaking for God  and their their writings being preserved. It’s clear when you get to the time of  the New Testament, the way that Jesus and  the apostles referred to the Old  Testament, the way it’s quoted, the way those quotes are introduced, there’s  a recognition that these writings are closed, this Old Testament prophetic canon is  not continuing to be written  and these things are authoritative. As  Jesus says in John 10, the scripture  cannot be broken.

Josephus, who wrote in the first  century, a Jewish historian, said the  Jewish canon had been completed and  closed since the time of the Persian  king Artaxerxes, which was in  the 400s. And so it’s pretty easy for Christians  to affirm the Old Testament canon. We say  we believe  the Old Testament canon that Jesus and  the apostles believed, very  simplistically. So if Jesus and the  apostles affirm this collection of  writings, that’s sufficient for me. And in  fact if you go to a Jewish synagogue  today,  the Hebrew scriptures that you find  there are exactly the same books that we  have in our 39-book  Old Testament Protestant canon. They’re arranged in slightly  different order, they’re grouped  differently but it’s the same content  in the Hebrew canon in the Jewish  synagogue and in the Protestant  evangelical 39 book Old Testament canon.