How We Got the New Testament Canon

How did we get the New Testament canon as we know it today? (“canon” meaning, measuring rod) In today’s Seven Minute Seminary, Dr. David F. Watson dispels some common myths and illuminates the historical process by which the early church recognized certain books as authoritative.

Rather than being a power struggle between an emerging catholicity and oppressed groups, the books we received as divinely inspired were those that were used in the worshiping life of the early church. Furthermore, they are those which comported with the rule of faith, which were the basic beliefs that the majority of Christians believed and received from the apostles. These included doctrines such as Jesus’ divinity, his death on the cross, his resurrection, and the final judgment.

What served as an authority for church doctrine before the formation of the New Testament? Dr. Darrell L. Bock summarizes how this worked with four S’s: 1) Scripture [the Old Testament], 2) Schooling, 3) Singing, 4) Sacrament (view the video here).

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