The books of the Bible recognized as having authority as Scripture and as being accepted for use. The word canon comes from the Greek word meaning ruler or measuring rod. Thus, books accepted as Scripture are considered canonical, a demand that they meet the measure or standard. The list of books acceptable as Jewish scripture (those books Christians have come to call the Old Testament) was established by Jewish rabbis before the time of Jesus. This is the list most Protestants accept and use today. The list of New Testament books stabilized within the first three centuries of the Christian church.
Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press. Used by permission.