The Date of the NT Canon

Dr. Kruger shows that the NT canon was taking shape at the end of the first century and becomes more and more clear in the 2nd Century. From very early, there was a clear understanding of most of the books of NT – around 22-23 of the 27 were clearly named as Holy Scripture by Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian and earlier the four gospels and Paul’s letters were named as inspired Scripture. Justin Martyr shows he knows the gospels and the book of Revelation. Polycarp, Ignatius, Clement of Rome are quoting Paul’s letters as Scripture.

Demonstrates this by citing Irenaeus (180 AD), the Muratorian Canon (160 AD), Clement of Alexandria(died, 215 AD) , Theophilus of Antioch (180 AD), Justin Martyr (165 AD), Ignatius (110 AD), Polycarp (155 AD), Papas (90-135 AD) and the apostle John and Peter (2 Peter 3:16 citing all of Paul’s letters as Scripture) and 1 Timothy 5:17-18 as Paul citing Luke’s gospel as Scripture along with Deuteronomy.

I would add Tertullian to Dr. Kruger’s list in this lecture. Tertullian (wrote from around 190-220 AD) and was also as contemporary with Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria, who quoted and referred to 22-23 of the 27 NT books as inspired Scripture.

I would add Clement of Rome, who is the traditional author of an epistle from the church of Rome to the Corinthians, written around 96 AD, as quoting Paul’s letters as Scripture – “take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he write to you . . . ? = earlier letter to the Corinthians”

Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he write to you at the time when the Gospel first began to be preached? Truly, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because even then parties had been formed among you. [referring to 1 Corinthians chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4:1-6]

1 Clement to the Corinthians, 47:1-3 see here

1 Clement also quotes from the book of Hebrews. 1 Clement 36

Therefore, no one should say statements like “The Bible did not exist until the 4th Century” ( 300s AD) Just because they are all mentioned by one author does not mean they did not exist – they existed in the first century, but each one was originally a rolled up individual scroll sent to various places and churches in the Mediterranean world. The Codex was not invented yet in the first century. The codex later came into vogue in the Roman world, by flattening the sheets out and tying more than one book together with string. The “codex” was a primitive form of what later became what we know as a book with a binding. They did not have binding yet for books.

About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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