Monday, February 24, 2014

Where Did the Books of the New Testament Come From?

1 The primary standard is “could be linked to eyewitnesses of the risen Lord.” - ChurchHistory101

a.Acts 1:21-26 (ESV) So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.”

b.Serapion said, "We, brothers and sisters, receive Peter and the rest of the apostles as we would receive Christ himself. But those writings that are falsely ascribed with their names, we carefully reject, knowing that no such writings have ever been handed down to us. - eighth bishop of Antioch, 190 – 210 AD

c.From early, as early as the beginning of the first century, this attitude was expressed – if we could attribute the writings to an apostle, that we should treat them with the same weight as the words of Jesus.

2 That nothing be read in church unless it is authoritative – though it can and should be read for knowledge at home. (Canonical scripture.)

3 That it does not contradict other scripture
4 That it was accepted by the early church as authoritative

5 The Muratorian Canon dated 170 – 190 AD included these books as ones to be read in church.

a.Matthew and Mark (Part of the document is missing, but it says 4 gospels)
b.Acts
c.all 13 Pauline letters (including the Pastoral epistles)
d.1 and 2 John is assumed since the writer only names two letters of John
e.Jude
f.the Revelation of John
g.the Books/Letters missing are Hebrews, 1 and 2 Peter, and 3 John
h.Gospels were selected by direct connection to Jesus, not be Gnostic, and used by most of the churches.


6) The 3rd Century the concept of “inspired” text first starts getting general recognized use.
7) Easter Letter of Athanasius in 367 AD named the 27 books we use today for the first time. – Again, these are not the only books that can be read by Christians for knowledge, but the only one approved to be read at Church from the New Testament.

8)Synod of Hippo in 393 AD is believed to be the first church council that listed all 27 books now used, but no record from this synod survived. It is mentioned in other records from other synods.

9)The choice therefor, was not made at a church council but rather by consensus of all the churches during the first 3 Centuries.

10)The First Council of Nicene 325 AD had NO MENTION of canon scripture.

So, we arrived at the book we call the New Testament not by divine writing, or it be handed down to us by the hand of God, but rather directly from the pens of people who were witnesses of the resurrection or the resurrected Jesus, the Christ. The specific books were selected more by early church men throwing out those that were not consistent with that overriding authoritative test, did they meet, know and witness Jesus, and does it agree with the rest of the accepted apostolic or witness writings. Many books were argued about over time, but all of the 27 we now recognize were accepted by everyone over 2 ½ centuries. The Councils did not bring the canon into existence, but rather accepted what was already being done by church fathers.

Their purpose was to make sure the story of Jesus was passed on correctly. Later they were called “inspired” and “divine” or even scripture. Originally, their power is that they are direct witness of the life, death and resurrection of the Jesus.

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