I was recently asked by a middle schooler, “Why did the Bible stop being written?”
Simply put, because Jesus was enough. All scripture leading up to the Jesus’ incarnation looked forward to that day. God’s people lived in hope for the coming messiah, being guided and prepared by God’s Word and acts to receive Jesus, who, “being by nature bodiless and existing as the Word, by the love for humankind and the goodness of his own Father he appeared to us in a human body for our salvation.”1
The Gospels give us witness of his incarnation, of the fullness of God in Jesus enfleshed, culminating in the ultimate act for salvation: death of the righteous one for the lost, and resurrection– proof of death, of sin, being conquered. The risen Christ revealed at last the fullness of God’s name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, that the Spirit might come to comfort, guide, and grow to maturity the people of God who await the final coming of Christ in the Day of the Lord.
So the Gospels bear this witness, and the rest of the New Testament applies what Christ did and said to the life of the church. The NT writers take what Christ said and did, test it by the text of the Old Testament, find that it is good, learn more of what had been revealed in ages past as it pointed to Jesus, and teach the church how then we might live as those whose hope has come in Christ. These writings are labeled scripture due to the author’s status as Apostle, their faithfulness to and consistency with the rest of scripture, their faithfulness to Jesus, and by their works “hav[ing] considerable value for church life and ministry.”2 To a large extent, we trust the brothers and sisters before us who were nearer to the writings themselves, to have been guided by the Holy Spirit to discern the Word from twaddle.
The mark of the age of the church is evangelism and growth. The scriptures are sufficient for God’s people to know and worship him in spirit and in truth, because it is centered on Jesus Christ. With a well-founded, deep-rooted faith, we gather as the body for the preaching of the Word, the administration of the sacraments, to confess our faith, to pray, to sing, to encourage one another in the Lord. Scripture ceased to be written because God is revealed truthfully and sufficiently (though never comprehensively) in Jesus, and his Word we have is powerful to prepare the world for his return.
- Saint Athanasius, On the Incarnation.
- McDonald, Lee Martin, The Biblical Canon, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 401.