That process of recognition of what was inspired took four centuries. The first person to list the 27 books that we have in our New Testament was a church father named Athanasius. He did it in A. But the first portions of the New Testament to be recognized were the New Testament gospels, the Acts, and the epistles of Paul. That happened at the end of the Second Century, long before the process was completed. This is because these books were debated. This is because they were on some lists but not on others originally. The factors that led to their selection included: did they go back to the Apostles or someone working very closely with the Apostles, were they theologically orthodox, and were they being used in a widespread way in the church geographically and through the passage of time.
This was done to test their quality. I ask this based on the fact that in that era it was not nearly as easy to get the texts from one location to another. There was no technology to mail, email, or to broadcast in any way. They could have been just as valid. The missing gospels were excluded from the New Testament mainly because they did not go back to the earliest generation.
Also, they had a very distinct theology, or competing theology. This is in regard to God in creation, with regard to the person of Jesus — which He could not have been incarnate, with regard to not dealing with sin. And so there were certain things that would have automatically excluded many of these works because of what they were teaching. In relation to what you just said, here is an argument that has been popping up over the last several years mainly due to the Da Vinci Code. How do we know whether the New Testament as Christians know it is completely accurate?
Man is frail and is prone to mistakes. There are really two questions and the first is how do we know the New Testament we have is an accurate reflection of what the New Testament was? First, before we can talk about what is accurate we have got to decide whether this really goes back. The answer to that question is that the amount of manuscript evidence that we have for the New Testament indicates to us that it has been transmitted with a good degree of care and what we have is very much a reflection of what existed at the start. Now, with regard to accuracy that is also a two level question.
The issue of truth is a complex question. How do you prove truth? In some ways, when you are not dealing with science it is a very hard thing to do. So, what you are dealing with is that you want your hands on the best sources. You want your hands on those sources that the closest to what takes place. That is why the apostolic roots are so important.
That is why the apostolic association of people is so important. Because if you look at our four gospels, most conservatives will say Matthew and John were written by the Apostles but Mark and Luke were not. Mark was an associate of Peter. Luke was close to Paul and had contact with many others. That is how you put that together.
Then, the next thing is to ask yourself whether there is a coherence in what is going on in these texts. Do they make sense alongside one another? The answer to that question is yes. And the last thing is, does this explanation have more plausibility than other explanations for putting this together.
Because you are dealing with the humanities and not the sciences you cannot come up with percent proof. There is no experiment you can run that can replay the First Century. So, you are left in a situation where you are dealing with the plausibility of what is going on. This is because of the claims that God is active in certain ways, even unusual ways. For some people this is a hurdle that they cannot get past.
The Gospel Jesus Preached
For the average Christian, what is their best argument to defend the accuracy of the New Testament? I actually think the best argument is to look at the behaviors of those who were closest to Jesus that we know about. Something changed them. The New Testament texts make it clear that something changed them.
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If I can say this, where they were wimps before the Cross, they were bold after the Cross. So, the very Peter who denied Jesus according to tradition was crucified for his faith afterward for standing up for Jesus.
Teachings of Heber J. Grant
The very Paul who persecuted the Church and tried to remove Christians, put his life on the line and according to tradition he was also crucified as a result of defending his faith. If you knew you made it up … why would you die for it? That puts us into a plausibility position. What is more plausible to believe … that the early Church made this up and then died for it, or, this really happened and that explains the transformation?
Historically, this stuff benefits us in understanding the debate that is going on between Christianity and these fringe groups. You get to hear from them directly. It is always helpful as a matter of history. To that extent it can be helpful. But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.
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John and the Synoptic Gospels (Differences)
Related Content. Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming. You mention Irenaeus. Who was he in the grand scheme of theological history? For clarification, how would you define the Gnostic gospels?
In theological circles I often hear people talk about canon. What is the canon? Point blank, can these missing gospels do anything for us? Marriage: Great Sex and a Biblical Relationship.
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The evidence is that 1 the author uses a lot of existing stories both Hebrew and Greek and wrote them into the text with Jesus as the centre of the story, instead of the original characters. This often results in internal contradictions and inconsistencies.
Many of the Gospel of Mark's mistakes were edited and corrections were attempted by Matthew and Luke when they made their own copies of Mark together there are only about 30 verses that they didn't copy. It is anonymous 3 and it wasn't until about CE that the author "Matthew" was assigned It went through several versions, probably edited by different authors, until it reached its final form by the 3rd century.
The first two chapters, the birth of Jesus and the genealogy, were not found in the early versions. Matthew not written by an eye-witness of Jesus. We know this because it is a copy of Mark.
No eye witness of such an important person would have needed, or wanted, to simply copy someone-else's memories about him. Matthew specifically set out to correct many mistakes in Mark's gospel, especially regarding comments on Jewish customs and practices. Matthew was also written in order to debate some theological points, and had Jesus comment on those arguments, even though the disagreements hadn't arisen until after the supposed time of Jesus.
Therefore, the gospel gives away the fact that it more of a theological argument than an historical account. It copies over half of Mark 14 and also uses Josephus's Jewish Antiquities as a reference and so must have been written after 93 CE , probably after anyone who had known Paul or Jesus was already dead. The place of origin of Luke's writing is unknown. Luke existed in a single-book form in CE when it was used by Marcion, and this early version was anonymous. Later versions were "padded out" with extra inserted text, and had enough text added at the end that it had become known as the Acts of the Apostles and was included independently as the fifth book in the New Testament It might be that the character of Luke was based on an old Roman pagan story about the healing God, Lykos , from Greek culture, and hence why the text was given the name Luke.
Luke uses Mark , and 'Q', as sources of information. It is surprising that a first-hand eyewitness of Jesus would need to copy so much of other people's text about Jesus. Luke contradicts the rest of the Bible on quite a few points of theology and gets many elements of Jesus' life simply wrong for example, the Roman-decreed census that never actually happened. For these reasons Luke is best not considered trustworthy.