Presentation on theme: "The New Testament Canon"— Presentation transcript:
1 The New Testament Canon Hill Robertswebsite: lordibelieve.orgNovember 1997Select “View Show” under SlideShow menu.Then click to advance.
2 Early NT Literature, 100-150 AD AcceptedMatt, Mark, JohnActs-Luke13 Pauline EpistlesR,1/2C,G,E,P,C,1/2Th,1/2T,Tit,Ph1 Peter1 John1 Tim 5:18, 2 Pet 3:15, Lk 1:220 of 27(Phil. by assoc.)most by 110 AD !!!QuestionedHebrewsJames2 Peter2/3 JohnJudeRevelationbroad acceptance~200ADNT “Apocrypha”Barnabas1/2 Clement*Shepherd of Hermas*Didache*Apocalypse of PeterActs of PaulLaodicean LetterGospel to the HebrewsPolycarp’s Phillipians*Ignatius’seven letters** were genuineNT Pseudopigrapha~280 books now known
3 Major Lines of Evidence to NT Canon AuthorshipMatthew, John, 13 Pauline epistles, 1/2 Peter, 1-3 John, RevelationAuthority by associationLuke-Acts, Mark, James, JudeIntrinsic contentHebrewsTransformational effect: “inspiring”all (Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, Jude were short personal notes)plus some others (Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Shepherd, Didache)effect is not a uniform testimony, should never be primary basisTestimony of early Christians is our link to the evidenceconnected directly with Apostles: esp. Paul, Peter & Johnthe gift of “discernment” given to early church, 1 Cor 12:10Christians are “the church”, carrier of apostolic tradition, 1 Cor 11:2Christians are to “try the spirits”: still our responsibility to the future
4 Earliest Testimony Clement of Rome Quotes Alludes to Ignatius Quotes 95 AD to CorinthQuotesMt, Mk, Lk, Rom, 1Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, HebAlludes toJohn, Acts, James, 1 PeterIgnatius110 ADenroute to Rome as prisoner, 7 lettersQuotesMt, Jn, Rom, 1Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, 1ThesAlludes toLk, Heb, 1 PeterPolycarpdisciple of Johnbishop at Smyrnaletter to Phillippi, 110QuotesMt, Lk, Rom, 1Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, 2Thes, 1/2 Tim, Heb, 1Jn, 1PetAlludes toJn, Acts, 2Cor, Col, 2Jnref: M. Pickup, Canonicity of the Bible, Florida College Annual Lectures, 1990Combined Testimony of these Three: 20 of 27Mt, Mk, Lk, Jn, Acts, Rom, 1/2Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, 1/2Thes, 1/2 Tim, ___, ___, Heb, ___, 1 Peter, ____, 1Jn, 2Jn, ___, ___, ___Regions Represented: Rome, Greece, Macedonia, Asia, Syria
5 Timeline for Recognition of NT Canon Referencessee Timeline Chart by Roberts, includedsupplemental handout by Geisler/Nix, Bible Introduction, pgMost of NT widely recognized as inspired by 150 ADEntire NT of today recognized as scripture by 200 ADStable from then to today, in spite of sporadic challenges“Officially” codified in 397 AD, Council of CarthageRapidity of “canonization” : ~10 years for 2/3 of wholePrecludes the “oral tradition” modernist view of legendary christianityInstills high confidence in a NT directly connected to Christ’s authoritySeminary Exam: “Discuss the history of the second century in relation to the development of the New Testament canon.”
7 Some Second Century Heroes 100 ADJustin Martyr150 AD200 ADPolycarpOrigen
8 Origen “Homilies on Joshua” So too our Lord Jesus Christ…sent his apostles as priests carrying well-wrought trumpets. First Matthew sounded the priestly trumpet of his Gospel. Mark also, and Luke, and John, each gave fourth a strain on their priestly trumpets. Peter moreover sounds with the two trumpets of his Epistles; James also and Jude. Still the number is incomplete, and John gives forth the trumpet sound through his Epistles and Apocalypse; and Luke, while describing the deeds of the apostles. Latest of all, moreover, that one comes who said, “I think that God has set us forth as the apostles last of all”, and thundering on the fourteen trumpets of his Epistles he threw down, even to their very foundations, the walls of Jericho, that is to say, all the instruments of idolatry and the dogmas of the philosophers (Hom. In Jos. Vii, I) Circa AD 240 (near end of Origen’s life)
9 Jerome’s Vulgate Latin Bible 405 ADOT translated from Origen’s Hexapla (Gk)
10 The Questioned Books 2 & 3 John, Jude, (Philemon) 2 Peter James short, personal notes not widely circulatedJude mostly drawn from 2 PeterTheir survival testifies to value placed on all apostolic writings2 Petermost widely questioned of all NT booksstyle difference between 1 and 2 Peter challenged Petrine authorshipdifference presumed to be result of amanuensis, not forgeryillustrates how faithful early Christians were to 2 Thess 2:2Jamesa Jew writing to Jews about Jewish perversions of the gospel of gracenot widely circulated outside earliest, eastern Jewish Christianitynot much appreciated by Gentiles in the West (understandable)Lord’s brother, elder at Jerusalem, high authority, Act 15, 1 Cor 15:7shows binding respect for Apostolic authority, in spite of unpopular doctrines: a lesson much needed yet today
11 The Questioned Books (cont.) Hebrewsanonymous, generally ascribed to Paul by early eastern churchpresents Jesus as the pinnacle of Hebrew lifewidely accepted in east (the Jewish region)viewed skeptically in west, where Paul was known for his anti-Hebrew letters (e.g., Galatians and Romans)skepticism exacerbated by heresy of Marcion who rejected all things Jewish, including OT, Matthew, Mark and especially Hebrewsin the end, Marcion focused attention on Hebrews so that in defeating his western heresy, the western church accepted Hebrews based on testimony of the eastern Christians who vouched for its genuinenessits elegant content testifying of the high-priesthood of Jesus Christ is its own best witnessHebrews (and James) illustrate the value of testimony of early local church in the canon process even then (Clement,Polycarp, Ignatius)
12 The Questioned Books (cont.) Revelation of Johnlast book writtenisolationcryptic messageapocalyptic style of book general basis of hesitancyother books in mid-second century surfacing from the Gnostic heresy: most were very similar in style to RevelationAuthorship of John eventually establishes as canonicalSummary:personal notes had limited circulation early-onregionalism (“not invented here” -- the Corinthian problem)uncertain authorship or authority in secondary region of circulationconcerns over doctrinal issues (Hebrews, James, Revelation)
13 What about any “Lost Books”? Is the canon still “open” or is it now “closed” ?How likely is it for God to inspire material meant for use by church worldwide, then leave it lost for years?without so much as even a mention by the early church !!!But what about the other letters of Paul?1 Cor 5:9, 2 Cor 2:2, Col 4:16(Some contend these are not other letters but internal references to the same letters we have. I disagree. HR)Many inspired words are lost -- (ALL the oral words are lost)God seems not overly concerned with 100% preservation of all His wordsBut lost without consequencethe truth of those words is contained in the preserved books: in the whole“guide into all truth...word endures forever...thoroughly furnished...once for all”Truths in Paul’s first letter to C. on immorality contained in 1 CorTruths in Paul’s third letter to C. on his authority and their failings are probably contained in 2 CorEasy to understand why neither of these books survived: circular filedTruths of Laodicean letter probably contained in Ephesians and Colossians
14 Probability of “New” finds? Probability of finding new biblical manuscripts? HIGHwill be more of the same (NT mss and other pseudopigrapha texts)will add to existing monumental witness of thousands of NT manuscriptswill possibly clarify or correct mis-translations, insertions or deletionsprobably of no impact doctrinallyProbability of finding unknown canonical NT books? NILless likely than the unification of Christendom under Bill Clintonwhat book could surface now and meet the tests of canonicity?proven apostolic authorship or inspired authorityhistorical testimony of the early church to its existence and genuinenessbroad acceptance across the spectrum of christianity, such as exist for NT
15 Value of NT ApocryphaProvides earliest documentation of majority of the canonical books of the NT (Clement, Polycarp, Ignatius)Reveals thinking among post-apostolic Christians: both sound and unsound thinkingForms a bridge to understand Christian literature of later 3rd and 4th centuriesContains much information about practices and policies of the early church as it implemented the apostolic traditionsNone of these books ever enjoyed more than a limited, usually localized popularity of any canonical status. The “process” weeded them out. Some explicitly rejected their own canonical status.
16 Value of the Pseudopigrapha some insight into traditions of the timereflect many of the ascetic, doecetic & Gnostic heresiesshow similar desires as we to know more about things unrevealed (early life of Christ, lives of all the apostles)manifest universal tendency of man to attempt to glorify God and Christianity by means of pious fraudsillustrate tendency to “shore up” perceived weaknesses in the canonical texts with human inventionshow the desire for apostolic authority for doctrinal inventions (authority of humanism not then pervasive)illustrates how far Christians can go to embellish simplicity of gospel of Christ: e.g., Mary worship
17 Status of NT Apocrypha & Pseudopigrapha 17 NT apocrypha books, ~280 pseudopigraphaEdwin Yamauchi“ (they) ... are all patently secondary and legendary or obviously slanted The extra-canonical literature, taken as a whole, manifests a surprising poverty. The bulk of it is legendary, and bears the clear mark of forgery. Only here and there, amid a mass of worthless rubbish, do we come across a priceless jewel.”Morton Enslin“Their total effect is to send us back to the canonical gospels with fresh approval of their chaste restraint in failing to fill in the intriguing hidden years.”Never accepted by any council among early churchesNo similarity to the overwhelming early acceptance for the 27 NT books across entire spectrum of Christianity
18 “the Word of God made more sure” SummaryTwo Options:1) Receive the canon “as is” based on informed faith in God’s providence working through the church (i.e., through Christians)God’s Word is its own best testimony: what does it say to you?The story of the Bible itself is a monumental testimony to the power of God’s wordAcknowledges our debt to those who have gone before2) Study it all out for yourselfcan be done, will loan you the books to get startedin the end you will discover that you are still reliant on the testimony of those early Christiansmany of whom died to preserve God’s word for us to study, proving their integrity and genuine love for the same Lord we nameWe truly have“the Word of God made more sure”
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