The Authenticity of Apostolic Eyewitness in the New Testament
Ten Basic Facts about the NT Canon That Every Christian Should Memorize: #10: "Early Christians Believed That Canonical Books Were Self-Authenticating"
How did the early church know which books were from God? They appealed to the internal qualities of the books. This article discusses how the books of the NT canon are self-authenticating, and how the early church emphasized this often. It also explains why so many nevertheless reject the voice of God in these books.
Ten Basic Facts about the NT Canon That Every Christian Should Memorize: #9: "Christians Did Disagree about the Canonicity of Some NT Books"
This article calls believers to recognize that the development of the canon was not a problem-free process, but rather at times its history is quite tumultuous. Yet it explains that there is no reason to mistrust the entire process just because some Christians disagreed.
Ten Basic Facts about the NT Canon That Every Christian Should Memorize: #8: "The NT Canon Was Not Decided at Nicea—Nor Any Other Church Council"
This article demonstrates that the New Testament canon was not decided at the Council of Nicea in AD 325. From there it explains that no council decided the canon, but the early councils were simply part of the process of recognizing a canon that was already there.
Ten Basic Facts about the NT Canon That Every Christian Should Memorize: #7: "Early Christians Often Used Non-Canonical Writings"
The fact that early Christians did not just use books from the New Testament is used to criticize the canon. This article explains that two factors need to be taken into account: such non-canonical writings were rarely cited as Scripture, and are cited far less frequently than the canonical texts.
Ten Basic Facts about the NT Canon That Every Christian Should Memorize: #6: "At the End of the Second Century, the Muratorian Fragment Lists 22 of Our 27 NT Books"
The Muratorian fragment is a key point in any discussion of New Testament canon. This article explains that the fragment illustrates that from a very early time period there was a core canon. The author discusses two implications to be drawn from this: Christians did disagree over books from time to time, and there was widespread agreement over the core very early on.
Ten Basic Facts about the NT Canon That Every Christian Should Memorize: #4: "Some NT Writers Quote Other Writers as Scripture"
When were the New Testament books first used as an authoritative guide for the church? This article shows that some NT writers actually quote other NT writers as Scripture, which suggests that the canon was not a later development but something early.
Ten Basic Facts about the NT Canon That Every Christian Should Memorize: #2: "The New Testament Books Are Unique Because They Are Apostolic Books"
The New Testament canon is intimately connected to the activities of the apostles, who themselves had the very authority of Christ. The church thus valued apostolic books over and above other types of books.
Ten Basic Facts about the NT Canon That Every Christian Should Memorize: #2: "Apocryphal Writings Are All Written in the Second Century or Later"
This article stresses that all apocryphal writings are dated to the second century or later. It also explains why there are no compelling reasons to accept these later texts over the New Testament canon.
"When They Read the Old Covenant": Canonical Clues in 2 Cor. 3:14
This article discusses the value of 2 Corinthians 3:14 in discussions on canon. In this passage Paul understands a covenant to be something you read. In other words, covenants are written documents. Thus, this passage provides some clues about the origins of a new canon of Scripture.
Ten Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #10: "Athanasius' Festal Letter (367 AD) Is the First Complete List of New Testament Books"
When did we have a New Testament canon? If one is asking when we see these books, and only these books, in some sort of list, then most point to the fourth century canonical list of Athanasius. But this article shows that we have a list by Origen more than a century earlier.
Ten Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #8: "Early Christianity Was an Oral Religion and Therefore Would Have Resisted Writing Things Down"
This article addresses the perception that early Christians resisted the written word and thus the date of the canon should be pushed back. It raises and evaluates three reasons scholars adduce in this regard.
Ten Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #5: "Early Christians Disagreed Widely over the Books Which Made It into the Canon"
Walter Bauer's book, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity, is in many ways the basis for a common misperception about the New Testament canon, that there was very little agreement over the books that made it into the canon until the fourth or fifth century. This article evaluates that claim, showing that there is substantial evidence for widespread agreement over the core canonical books from an early time.
Did Paul Himself Create the Very First New Testament Canon?
What are the "books" and the "parchments" to which Paul refers in 2 Timothy 4:13? This article considers the possibility that the books were the Old Testament writings, and the parchments some early Christian writings, possibly Luke's Gospel and copies of Paul's own letters. In canon discussions, this provides additional support to the idea that at a very early time, Christians thought of their religious writings in two parts.
Ten Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #4: "Books Were Not Regarded as Scripture until around 200 AD"
This article shows that even though the boundaries of the canon had not solidified by AD 200, it is clear that many of the books were viewed as Scripture long before then. It offers a brief sampling of how the earliest sources used the New Testament books as Scripture, and draws some conclusions relating to the acceptance of some of the later books.
Ten Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #3: "The NT Authors Did Not Think They Were Writing Scripture"
Did the New Testament authors have any awareness that they were contributing to the canon of Scripture? This is a common misconception, which this article addresses by considering select passages that show the authors believed their writings were Scripture.
Is Tradition the Only Way to Know Which Books Are in the Canon?
This article discusses the contention of Roman Catholics and others that tradition is the only means by which we may know what books are in the canon of Scripture. It expresses two concerns with this, stating that while a helpful way to know which books are canonical, the consensus approach is not the only way. For the books of the Bible speak for themselves as authoritative.
Ten Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #2: "Nothing in Early Christianity Dictated That There Would Be a Canon"
This article responds to the question regarding the validity of the very existence of the New Testament canon. It shows three ways that first-century Christianity created a favourable environment for new written revelation.
Ten Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #1: "The Term 'Canon' Can Only Refer to a Fixed, Closed List of Books"
In response to the notion that the term "canon" can only refer to a fixed list of books (the so-called exclusive definition), this article shows the weaknesses in this definition. It makes the case that we should not be forced to use just one single definition to appreciate the depth and complexity of canon; we need other definitions to have a voice, like the functional definition, or Kruger's ontological definition.
Did Early Christians Believe That Jesus Would Return in Their Lifetime? Implications for the Canon
This article considers the charge that Christians believed the return of Christ would happen in their lifetime, and thus they would not have been interested in composing new scriptural books for the canon. The author explains that apocalyptic beliefs were not necessarily incompatible with the production of written, authoritative texts.
The Bible: How It Came to Us School of Theology Series: Lecture 4
Assigning the Book of Lamentations a Place in the Canon
This study considers the placement of the book of Lamentations in different historical lists of the biblical canon and its implications for the evaluation and interpretation of the book. Lamentations is found in two different positions in the Greek and Hebrew canons.
Why These 66 Books?
How can we be sure that the sixty-six books in our Bible are the complete inspired Word of God? This article gets to the heart of why we can be sure: it shows that the Lord Jesus affirmed the Old Testament canon, and authorized his apostles to write the New Testament canon.
Belgic Confession Articles 3-7: The Scriptures
Gospel and Scripture: Rethinking Canonical Unity
Is the canon merely an anthology of the religious literature of the day, making it no longer possible to speak of its unity? This article indicates two main ways in which the issue of biblical unity is typically presented: unity may be based in the process of divine inspiration which is believed to have brought about these writings, or it may be based in a theory of providential ordering.
Old Testament Theology and the Canon
This article argues that Old Testament theology considers the insight that emerges from the form of the Old Testament canon, that it focuses on the canon of the Old Testament itself, not the history of Israel. According to Goldingay, Old Testament theology lets the canon itself be the canon.
Canon, Narrative, and the Old Testament's Literal Sense
This article is a response to John Goldingay's article in the same journal on the topic of canon and Old Testament theology. Seitz asks critical questions with regard to the form of the canon, the function of creeds and the rule of faith, and finally about referring to the danger of an appeal to narrativity, which can easily reduce the Old Testament to a past story.
Are There Still Apostles Today?
This article explores the question of whether apostles still exist in the church today. It considers the qualifications necessary for apostleship, the uniqueness of Paul's apostleship, the apostolic authority and the closing of the canon, the foundational role of the apostles, and the testimony of those following the apostles. The inevitable conclusion is that there are no longer apostles today.
The Order of the Books of the New Testament
How does the order of the New Testament books in the canon function hermeneutically, that is, influence the way the books are interpreted? This article assumes that the location of a biblical book influences a reader’s view of the book. Readers presume that documents that are grouped together are related in some way in meaning.
Christian Prophecy and Canon in the Second Century: A Response to B.B. Warfield
B.B. Warfield dealt with New Testament prophecy and how that gift should be regarded in a post-apostolic era. He argued that there was a link between the completion of the canon and the eclipse of the prophetic charisma at the close of the first century.
The Pentateuchal Principle within the Canonical Process
What is the "Pentateuchal principle" that functioned in the formation of the canon? This article seeks to apply insights of Isaac Kikawada, who argued for a "five-part" or Pentateuchal structure in the design of the book of Genesis. It wants to explain the basic structural principle of the canonical process both in ancient Israel and early Christianity.
The Date of Papias: A Reassessment
Papias lived in Hierapolis in the middle of the second century. This article wants to reassess the dating of Papias' writings as it is primarily known through Eusebius. The significance of Papias lies in his testimony to the New Testament canon.
The Scriptures Testify about Me – Studying the Scriptures and Finding Jesus (John 5:31-47)
Chapter 1 is a consideration of the theme of preaching Jesus and the gospel from the Old Testament. The author develops his theme by reflecting on John 5:31-47. In this text the importance of Scripture as a witness to the mission of Jesus Christ is unfolded. John refers also to other witnesses: John the Baptist, Jesus’ own works, and the Father. The author continues with a defence of the Old Testament as part of the Christian canon.
The Canon of the New Testament
What books are to be enclosed in the New Testament canon and therefore received as the Word of God? Kistemaker surveys the history of the reception of the canon during the apostolic era, the understanding of the authority of Scripture, and what the essence of the canon entails.
The Earliest Collection of Paul's Epistles
The author reflects on the evidence for the earliest collection of the epistles of Paul in the process of forming the New Testament canon. He continues by treating other problems associated with the writings of Paul.
The Canon of the Gospels
The modern function of Formgeschichte has brought into sharp relief the question of the canon. In light of this development this essay reflects on the history of the Gospel tradition and its acceptance in the early Christian church.
Factors Promoting the Formation of the New Testament Canon
This paper gives attention to principles on which, it is believed, the whole matter of canon rests, like the authority of Christ, the concept of the apostolate, and tradition. This is followed by some observations made in the light of those principles.
Factors Promoting the Formation of the Old Testament Canon
How was the Old Testament canon formed? Historic Christianity insists that the Old Testament books were written by divine inspiration. The claim here is that the Scriptures are inherently authoritative because God is the origin, and the church merely recognizes this fact. Harris evaluates different theories about how that process of canon formation took place.
The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Formation of the Canon
Andersen reflects on the call to restudy the question of the canon of Scripture, including the date of fixing the canon, in light of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Canon of the New Testament
This essay considers the canon of the New Testament and reviews seven criteria of canonicity that have been at times invoked in the church.
Every Christian’s Conspiracy
How Did We Get the Bible?
Survey Studies in Reformed Theology (3): The Canon of Scripture
The canon of Scripture consists of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament. This article discusses the authority of the Bible and the place of the apocryphal books. Scripture is the only means of God's special revelation.
Is it Worth Dying For?
This article shows how God has worked to preserve the 66 books of the Bible. The Holy Spirit works in believers so that they can recognize the authority of scripture and the completeness of the canon.
A Creed, A Canon, And An Organization
In this article on church history, the author shows how the introduction of heresies such as Gnosticism and Montanism created a need for the Apostles' Creed, a New Testament canon, and church organisation.
This article discusses the Apostolic Fathers, the canon, the pope, martyrs, and the Da Vinci code.