'What were the factors that lead to the formation of the New Testament Canon? How valid are they today?'

1697 Words Apr 28th, 2004 7 Pages
There is said to be over a thousand years of literature in the Christian Bible as it is today. This essay will look at the New Testament of the Bible, what the factors were that lead to its formation and the validity of those factors.

The Bible must be looked at not as a single book, but as a collection of twenty-seven books. These books as we have them today are not originals, they have been translated from copies of copies and as ancient manuscripts were copied by hand, there is much room for error in this sense alone.

As Jesus promised to return, the early Christians thought the perusia (the second coming) would be soon and so didn't see the need in writing anything down. This is known as the oral period. Towards the second century,
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On a simple level, God is ultimately the author. So it begs the question that if there were so many problems and inerrancies in the formation of the New Testament canon, how can this be true? If it was indeed that God inspired the books of the New Testament to be written then the issue of inspiration must lie in the body of the early Church. As Sawyer proposes, (Evangelicals and the...) we cannot know if the early Church had "divine providence". Here was an body centuries ago trying to establish the authority of a book that is still regarded as sacred in today's world. Sawyer: "it has been assumed that the canon of the New Testament was definitely closed in the fourth century" and it has indeed been the task of many a theologian through the nineteenth century in particular to criticise the canon and as Sawyer puts it, "undermining the authority of scriptures", an authority the early church tried so hard to confirm. It could be argued that it doesn't matter if there are inerrancies or that not all of the twenty-seven books are of apostolic authorship but that they are all consistent. As Sawyer suggests, did apostolicity need to be the controlling factor in what texts were and were not accepted as canonical?

The word canon itself derives from the Greek meaning 'measuring rod' and its meaning in the sense that we are using it
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