New Testament Origins: Five Misconceptions

It is important to know the significant assumptions of those who go against the Biblical Canon. Dr. Kruger gives Five Misconceptions about the Origins of the New Testament on the video below:

  1. Christianity was a purely oral religion that was not interested in writing books
    • Canon is an after-the-fact idea. Inscripturation is a late idea.
    • Answer: This misconception missed the nature of early Christianity. Christians wrote very early (A.D. 40). Christians are textually oriented. They read old testament documents.
  2. The authors of the New Testament did not think they were writing the Scriptures
    • Writers wrote unaware of their own authority. New Testament canon is a late development.
    • Answer: 1 Cor 14:37  If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 
    • As soon as the writers wrote their books, the Canon was born. These books were authoritative. Their writings were received with the authority of Christ to guide the church of God.
  3. Early Christians disagreed widely over which books belong to the New Testament
    • Christians couldn’t get along; they couldn’t agree on which books are authoritative.
    • Answer: As early as the second century, there were core books in place (21 – 4 gospels, 13 letters of Paul, 1 Peter, 1 John, Hebrews, and Revelation). The core books are established at a very early time.
    • Christians knew what to read. Christians’ disagreement focused mainly on handfuls of books (2 Peter, Jude, & James).
  4. Apocryphal books are as popular or more popular than New Testament books.
    • The popularity of books in the early church is measured by:
      • How often the books are cited – Clement of Alexandria quotes the four gospels thousands of times, he quoted from apocryphal writings probably 15 times.
      • The number of manuscripts left behind – New Testament books have hundreds of copies, Apocryphal writings are lacking. The gospel of Thomas is hardly ever mentioned by the fathers.
  5. The New Testament was decided by Constantine at the council of Nicea
    • Problem: The Council of Nicea has nothing to do with the Canon, it was about articulating not deciding the deity of Christ. It was a political conspiracy without any merit.

Recommended books:

  • Kruger, M. J. (2013). Question of canon – challenging the status quo in the new testament debate. Inter-Varsity Press.
  • ‌Kruger, M. J. (2012). Canon Revisited : establishing the origins and authority of the New Testament books. Crossway, Cop.


ὅτι ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ δι’ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα· αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν. ~ ΠΡΟΣ ΡΟΜΑΙΟΥΣ 11:36

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

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