“The Canon of the New Testaments” is the group of books that Christians refer to as divinely inspired books. The books are not solely holy spirits, but they are the foundation of the new testament of Christianity. It is almost universally accepted that the canon has on the whole 27 books. These books are the accumulation of the gospel, letters to apostles, acts, and revelations. Growing up in a Christian society, I have always confronted the debates about the credibility of the new testament in comparison to the old divine scripture. But belief has always outweighed knowledge. There are a few notions and commandments which are above human comprehension and have to be accepted in the way they are. This week’s reading of “A survey of the New Testament Gundry” states has made the history of the New Testament more vivid. This essay is focused on my take on the canon and the gradual assembling of the bible in its current form.
Before taking the week’s lesson, I was unaware of the roots of the word canon. The phrase canon originally meant “measuring reed” however developed the metaphorical meaning “standard” (Gundry). Focusing on the etymology, the word has got its roots in the Greek word “kanon” which translates as “a rule or a standard”. Thus a canonical book is a book containing the commandments. In Christianity, the canon weighs equally as the holy scripture. The canonical books are widely recognized as the “rule of faith” that the Christian community is obliged to live. The new testament validates the writings that were already considered to be the word of GOD, thus with all its ideas, findings, and rules to provide the followers with the “code of their conduct”. Therefore the New Testament is referred to as “The Canon of the New Testament”.
The middle of the 2nd century brought with it various contradictions. Many churches claim variant passages as part of the Holy Scripture. Each scripture was claimed to be a true testimonial. Thus the era between the middle of the 2nd century and the 4th century heated the debate on which scripture should be accepted in the holy canon. The new testament presents the contemporary testament. The one thing that is common between the new and the old testament is the variety of the writing style. The new canon is often conceived as the fulfilment of the promises that were made in the old testament. As the new testament is the accumulation of 27 books, so this raises the question of how the books were gathered and arranged. The books happened to be arranged in a logical manner rather than the chronological order. The canon took its final form in the 4th century when the bishops, along with the help of the councils together, finalized the canon for the church. Bishop of Alexandria finalized 27 books list, thus compiling the testament. The included parchments were weighed on different criteria to evaluate the text’s theological and canonical status. Thus by careful handpicking bible got its current form.
As the readings have not only made the concepts clear but also have made me able to think out of the box. Now when I have seen and understood how with the passage of time, addition and deletion lead us to the new canon. So while reading a question that intrigued me that is there any possibility of more books and writings to add up to the contemporary bible?
Upon concluding, the general misconception of the masses that “God never came down and wrote the bible, and that men just wrote it” was cleared. If we haven’t made an effort to learn about the history of a thing, we on no grounds are eligible to judge the credibility.
Gundry, R. H. (2012). A survey of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.