What Books Aren’t in the New Testament?

In my article Can New Books be Added to the New Testament Canon?, I listed four categories a book could be in if someone proposes adding a book to the New Testament Canon:

  • A Missing Book is Found
  • A Book Written by a Student or Co-Worker of an Apostle
  • A Book Not in Every Canon
  • New Revelation

For each of the categories, I picked a book and showed why it doesn't meet the criteria (What...

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Can New Books be Added to the New Testament Canon?

The practical answer to this question is easy: No, new books can't be added to the canon. The technical answer is a bit more involved. I wrote the article What are the Criteria for a Book to be Canonical? on how the church fathers recognized the books in the New Testament canon. It's possible a book "slipped through the cracks" when the church fathers were studying them, although it's not probable.

I'll limit this article to...

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What are the Earliest List of the New Testament Books?

In last week's article, I showed how the church father and historian Eusebius of Caesarea categorized the books which churches thought were part of the canon. This week I want to show what some other church fathers thought about the books under consideration. There were over 300 years between the resurrection of Jesus and the first list of books which exactly matches the Protestant New Testament. The books were in use in churches before then, but it took...

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How were the Canonical and Non-Canonical Books Categorized?

This article in my series about the Biblical Canon will be short, although the footnotes are extensive. In the first few hundred years after Jesus's resurrection, the church was trying to understand which books were in the canon. God made the canon, but it was still up to the church to recognize which books were appropriate for use.

Have you ever walked into a crowded room and seen some faces which are vaguely familiar, but you can't remember the...

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What are the Stages of Revelation of the Canon?

What do the words Scripture and Canon mean? In modern times, some people have defined the word Scripture to mean books inspired by God, while defining Canon as a list of scripture which can not change. With these definitions, the scriptures existed early in the church, but the canon took a long time to form. Did the early church have a canon? Was the canon formed in the fourth or fifth century, as some people claim? The Catholic Church...

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What are the Criteria for a Book to be Canonical?

In my first article on the Biblical Canon, What is the Biblical Canon?, I listed three criteria the early church used to recognize if a book should be considered part of the New Testament canon. The books had to be:

  • Authentic - Based on the experiences of those who knew Jesus
  • Authoritative - Accurately teaching God’s will
  • Inspired - Written by people with guidance of the Holy Sprit

Since then, I've...

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Why Create a Written Canon? Part 2

The Biblical Canon contains all the scripture "...breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness...." (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV). Last week I wrote Why Create a Written Canon? Part 1, about heresies the early church was combating. However, that's not the main reason the canon was formed. If the canon had been created to fight heresies, that would make the canon reactive, an attempt to fix...

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Why Create a Written Canon? Part 1

Last week's article, What is the Biblical Canon?, was my first in a series on the Canon. This week I'm researching why a written canon exists. There are two aspects I want to discuss related to this. The first one seems to be a critical reason to have a canon, but is actually the less important of the two. The second reason to have a written canon will be my next article, and is actually foundational to Christianity.

Christians need to have...

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What is the Biblical Canon?

My last several articles have been about the Gospels, and now I want to change directions slightly and research how the Bible became comprised of the books we know: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. At some point in the past, some group of people put these 66 pieces of writing together into one book. When did that happen? Who was involved? Why did they believe these books are the Word of God and not others? I'll be writing several...

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What are the ‘M’ and ‘L’ Sources?

I've been writing about the Gospels, and last week I wrote about the Q Source Hypothesis (a.k.a. Document Q). The Q Source Hypothesis proposes the Gospel of Mark was written first, and the Gospels of Matthew and Luke used Mark as a primary source, while also using the hypothetical source Q for material common to both Matthew and Luke, but not Mark.

My article this week will be short, as I'm just including this for completeness. There is material...

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