Skip to comments.“The New Testament Books Are Unique Because They Are Apostolic Books” (3/10)
Posted on 09/24/2013 7:19:14 AM PDT by Gamecock
Full Title: Ten Basic Facts about the NT Canon that Every Christian Should Memorize: #3: The New Testament Books Are Unique Because They Are Apostolic Books
One of the most basic facts about the New Testament canon that all Christians should understand is that the canon is intimately connected to the activities of the apostles.
Jesus had commissioned his apostles so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority (Mark 3:1415). When Jesus sent out the twelve, he reminds them that For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you (Matt 10:20). Thus, he is able to give a warning to those who reject the apostles authority: If anyone will not receive you or listen to your words it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town (Matt 10:14).
In sum, the apostles had the very authority of Christ himself. They were his mouthpiece. As such, their teachings, along with the prophets, were the very foundation of the church. Paul describes the church as built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets (Eph 2:20). If the church wanted to know the true Christian message, they would always need to look back to the teaching of the apostles.
But, the apostles didnt just teach about Jesus orally. At some pointa very early pointthe apostolic message was written down. Often it was written down by the apostles themselves. At other points it was written down by companions of apostles who were recording their message. Either way, the authoritative apostolic message found its way into books.
For obvious reasons, the church would value apostolic books over and above other type of books. And this is exactly what happened. The books that the church regarded as apostolic were the books that were read, copied, and used most often in early Christian worship. These are the books that eventually became the New Testament canon. The canon is the byproduct of the ministry of the apostles.
In fact, the churchs overt dependence on apostolic writings is precisely why we see a proliferation of apocryphal books in the second century (and later) that were named after apostles. We have the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, the Acts of John, and even the Gospel of the Twelve! Rather than raising doubts about the apostolic nature of the New Testament, these apocryphal writings actually serve to confirm it. They show that the early church valued apostolic books so much that forgers had to try and mimic the genuine ones in order to get a hearing. For more on the late date of these apocryphal writings, see prior post here.
Of course, some modern scholars dispute the apostolic authorship of some of the New Testament books, claiming they were written by later authors only pretending to be the apostles. However, these claims are by no means proven, and many other scholars dispute them. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that the early church was in a better position to ascertain the authorship and origins of these books than are modern scholars two thousand years later.
In the end, the New Testament canon exists because of an early Christian belief that the apostles spoke for Christ. That belief led Christians to value apostolic books. And those apostolic books eventually formed the New Testament that we know today.
“In many and various ways God spoke to His people of old by the prophets, but now in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.”
Thanks for posting this.
Thanks for providing these helpful reminders about the bible and about biblical books whose authority and/or authenticity are disputed within Christian circles. There are some fine points that I am not sure are covered here, I mention them because I don’t have a lot of time to review this. The canonization process itself did not happen until well into the 3rd century which is why some claim that canonization has the right to embrace material that late. That’s a whole ‘nother wrangle. As an evangelical who has found the bible indeed quite adequate as a base document for all matters faith and practice, I make it clear where I stand. Later material is just not of the same spiritual caliber and shows it, not because of who wrote it, but because it tends to shift the center of attention from God to men. At best (short of Christ’s personal return), I humbly submit, we can elucidate the bible and trace how it applies to our personal affairs, which is often very helpful. (I believe in prophetic forthtelling still existing as a spiritual gift.)
Bible, not bible.
If I remember correctly, the only books of the NT that were never in question were..
The four Gospels.
All the letters of PAUL except HEBREWS.
and that was IT.
The other books that were considered “doubtful” and not recognized for years...
That would be..
HEBREWS(one of my favorites, Uncertain authorship).
JAMES (too much difference from Paul’s letters)
2 PETER (Too different from 1 Peter in style of writing)
2&3 JOHN (Private correspondence, not inspired)
JUDE (Mentions verses from the book of Enoch)
REVELATION.(Too strange, too different in style from John’s other writings.)
It took several centuries before these were added to the bible.
And that is why the holy spirit guided the church into putting together the OT and NT, and only when questions arose, were the officially finalized.
that is why authority is entrusted to one body, one church, so you who use the bible, actually have one to use...
Tautology shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
Words that bear repeating. It's appalling how people claim miracles from God yet discount or ridicule the very document God has written to us for our instruction. It isn't unlike the Pharisees rejecting God incarnate standing right in front of them. It gives one pause.
Joh 21:24-25 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
2Pe 1:18-21 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
“It took several centuries before these were added to the bible.”
While your facts are more-or-less correct, your conclusion is false. You’re assuming the Church had a book called “the bible” which the later books were added to. NO.
Churches had collections of Apostolic books...and a few bishops and scholars did question your 2nd list, when finally in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries a FORMAL list of the Canon was put together.
Given their use, in quotations by the ante-Nicene Fathers, your latter list was actually accepted by the great majority of the Church....all along. When the list of Apostolic books was formalized did a few object—yes, but only because they were being extra careful.
Do doctrines taught in:HEBREWS,JAMES,2 PETER, 2&3 JOHN,JUDE & REVELATION alter or differ from the core list of NT books on the nature of Jesus or the gospel?
Did the church Fathers thouroghly examine the claims of Apostolic connection/or authorship in each of the books in question?
Therefore, is the New Testament as we have it now, the only reliable source of Apostolic teaching?
I believe Mike Kruger’s main point here is that you trust the testimony of the Apostles, you must trust the New Testament—as that is the only record of it. Trusting the Apostles without qualification and trusting the Bible without qualification amount to the same thing.