Michael J. Kruger disagrees with the widespread scholarly opinion that the authors of the New Testament were unaware of their own authority. In the fourth chapter of The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate, he examines key passages in the New Testament that show the writers
consciously wrote books that they understood to contain the new apostolic revelation about Jesus Christ and therefore to have supreme authority in the church.
For example, compare these two statements from John’s gospel. First, there’s this promise from Jesus to his disciples:
But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. (John 15:26-27 ESV)
Then there’s John’s statement about himself near the end of his book:
This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things … .(John 21:24 ESV)
… [I]t seems that John 21:24 is a declaration to the reader that Jesus’ promise in 15:26-27 to send authoritative witnesses has been fulfilled—the very book they are reading is the authoritative testimony of Jesus’ Spirit-filled disciples.
I’m over halfway through this book. I quite like it, but then I’m fascinated with everything canon related.
Since the goal of The Question of Canon is to challenge the dominant view in the academic field of modern canonical studies, it’s of less general interest than Kruger’s previous book on the canon, Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books, which investigated whether Christians have warrant for believing the New Testament canon is correct. (I reviewed Canon Revisited here.) But if you’re a canon geek like me, you’ll probably enjoy The Question of Canon. Although Kruger is a scholar, he writes so that anyone who is interested can understand, so don’t let the your own non-scholarly status keep you away.