Here is a link that helps us understand the fact that the bishopric is the arbitrator of truth and that the Bible, our primary repository of truth, belongs only to the Church that is under this bishopric.
From the link above we can see that there are dozens of early writings that are not in the Bible. In the first few hundred years of the New Testament Church the authority of revelation was verbally transpired by the bishops, to the priests and then to the rest of the Church. In the fourth century the bishops decided which books out of these many would be “canonized.” This Canon of early letters began to be called the Bible.
The Bible is not something that was handed over from the apostles to the people at large! The Bible is a fourth century selection of early Christian writings. When we say that we believe in the Bible, we are saying that we believe in the selection that was accomplished by the bishopric of that time. This means that we believe in the authority of the Church at that time. We believe in the Canon of the Church!
The Bible is a result of Church Council. If you do not believe in the authority of the ancient Church then you cannot believe that the Bible is the actual rule of faith. The authority of the Church is its bishopric, which no modern Christian has a part of. The ancient fathers made it very clear that if one is not under the authority of the Bishop then one is not a part of the Church. Granted, the many modern churches of today that do not have apostolic succession may glean from the Bible and even the Holy Spirit, but one day, hopefully prior to death, they will have to reconcile.
The Bible is what the Church calls, “the Canon.” When someone quotes the Bible they are quoting the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church has what is called “apostolic succession.” This means that the ordination of the ministers is in succession with the Apostles, early Fathers and the councils that they met in to form the Canon (Bible). So to refer to the authority of “the Bible” is to refer to this apostolic Church, the Church that read hundreds of legitimate books within the market of Christianity (like we do today) at the time the Canon was formed (4th century); many that would be absolutely unidentifiable as “inspired” to be a part of the Canon (even though they were) to the average or even scholarly Christian.
An example question that might help us grasp this concept of canonical vs non-canonical is, why can’t I quote a passage from Enoch, for instance, which is quoted in the canonical book of Jude, and is extremely well written with very exciting and thorough theological points, but I can quote Revelation, which is rather confusing and never quoted in the rest of the Bible? The answer is this:
Because the Church deems one over the other as canonical, solely based on their apostolic succession! Christ gave His authority to the Church and this is the way His Spirit works. When we quote the Bible we are quoting the Church, because it is the Church and her bishops that determined what is quotable as Scripture and what is not.
The next question is, how could a person that is not received by a bishop with apostolic succession and who does not believe that God has given these bishops authority over us even believe in the Bible and quote it as if they do believe in it? These people cannot believe in the Bible. It is an impossiblity!
The Modern Christian that does not believe in the authority of the bishopric can only quote a text that is sacred by receiving an epiphany from the Lord, such as Moses and the burning bush or even a prophetic revelation, which that person would then need to be tested as a prophet.
Modern Christian, who is your prophet? Who told you that each of the books in the Bible is “inspired? In order to receive a truly prophetic notion from the Holy Spirit (even if one were a prophet) would be to examine every one of the early documents written in the early church and say “yay or nay.” Aside from the presupposition that the Bishopric already chose the inspired documents, how would this person tell which was which?
Would there be an audible voice? Some sort of apparition? Is it even possible for modern man to discern this selection without the Church? The answer is NO? Without a prophetic voice no deciphering can be made.
The logos (revelation) was given to the Church and not to the printing press. The authority of the logos was given to the Church as an oral tradition. The Church has decided that there are many portions of this tradition that deserve special attention in what we call the Canon. The Church still gives revelation but not as to contradict the Canon. This does not mean that the Church cannot grow and must, for instance, continue to worship in homes like “the Bible says.” The Canon is not a set of rules, it is a revelation that is to be taught and evangelized. The Church will continue to do this like it has from the beginning. And anyone that takes possession of the Bible without the Church is in danger of worshiping the Bible itself.