What Does The Canon Have To Do With The New Testament?

by Michael T. Graham Jr. – Oct 20

picture-of-early-church-fathers

Now, you may be thinking, what does a large black weapon used in war have to do with the New Testament? Nothing, that would be spelled cannon, and I am talking about the canon.  Canon is a loan word from Latin, and the Latin language borrowed the word from Greek. It means rule, and it refers to the collection of books which constitute the New Testament. With that being said, the canon is very important because it marks the date when the New Testament books were officially collated into the form we have today, a date which is commonly said to be in the middle of the fourth century. Furthermore, some scholars will use this to argue that there was no consensus on what books constituted the New Testament until this time. This is problematic on many levels, and Timothy Paul Jones offers an alternative argument in an article entitled Apologetics: The Earliest Surviving Listing of The New Testament Canon. In this article he discusses an early witness that agrees with the canon commonly dated in the middle of the fourth century.  He highlights the fact that this is significant because it helps to demonstrate that even before there was a formal canon, the early church had a functional canon. I highly encourage you to read Timothy Paul Jones’s excellent article, and then be sure to buy his book, How We Got the Bible.