Essay on The Canon of the New Testament

1521 Words Oct 29th, 2011 7 Pages
What we know today as the New Testament was compiled over a period of many decades. It was first referenced as the “New Testament” by Clement of Alexandria. It is believed that the books that comprise what we know as the New Testament canon were in existence no later than the end of the first century. The included books varied by different sources until the fourth century when the Bishop of Alexandria, Athanasios, included them in a letter to his flock in AD 367. His list was approved by councils at Hippo in AD393 and Carthage in AD397. The process used to arrive at this list varied by time and source. There were many debates along the way and some continue to this day.
In order to explore the journey undertaken to arrive at the
…show more content…
There have been many attempts to add to the canon since its foundation, but none have been able to pass these tests. The easiest principle to use in ruling out a book is the spiritual content. Most of the books that have been considered over the years were ruled out do to confliction with other parts of Scripture. The internal testimony of the authors showed that they believed that there was an authority they were writing with that declared the canonicity of the writings. Paul many times states that his message was not his, but was revealed to him by Jesus. In 2 Timothy 3:16 he writes, “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” Peter directly declares Paul’s letters to be part of the canon in 2 Peter 3:15-16 where he states, “Just as our brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him…as they do the other Scriptures.” Not only does Peter acknowledge that Paul’s writings were inspired by God, but he declares them Scripture. While not all of the books contained proclamations of canonicity, they meet the principles laid out earlier. The early church fathers provide us with testimony in their writings which indicate wide acceptance of the books. Polycarp of Smyrna, Ignatius of Syrian Antioch, and Justin Martyr all quoted or alluded to books of the New Testament canon including all four Gospels, Acts, and many of the Pauline epistles. As heretical teachings such as

Related Documents