How did we get the twenty-seven books of the New Testament? And why? I’m in the middle of a thread that is meant to provide a *sketch* of how it happened; I’ll be writing a book on the question, and these are my preliminary thoughts about the topics that I’ll be covering, one at a time.
In previous posts I’ve pointed out that the early Christians started out with a canon of Scripture: as Jews they had the Hebrew Bible as an authority for understanding their beliefs, ethics, and religious practices; but as Christianity began to develop its own distinctive views on things, church leaders came to think needed authoritative direction – especially since so many different Christian groups had so many different views on so many issues (not just what to believe but also how to live, how to behave, how to worship together, and so on).
What could be decisive authorities?
Here’s where I pick up in my thinking:
The Need for Apostolic Authorities
It was widely known that Jesus himself had never written anything; he delivered his teachings orally. After his resurrection he appeared to his disciples and then to a few others, most notably Paul. He commissioned these special recipients of his postmortem grace to deliver his message and to convert others to believe in him for eternal life. They were therefore called “apostles”: meaning: “those who were sent / commissioned by Christ.” According to the universal Christian understanding, these were the ones who knew the truth and who could, therefore, adjudicate differences among different Christians and their communities.
The problem was that
Why are all the books of the New Testament thought to be written by Jesus’ own apostles? Join the blog and see! Click here for membership options