The Biblical Canon of
Marcion of Sinope

Marcion was an early Christian theologian who preached that the benevolent God of the Gospel who sent Jesus Christ into the world as the savior was the true Supreme Being and was separate and opposed to the Hebrew God of the Old Testament, whom Marcion identified as a malevolent Demiurge or creator god.   Marcion’s teachings were condemned by the Church and his heresy was referred to as Marcionism.

Marcion considered himself a follower of Paul the Apostle, whom he believed to have been the only true apostle of Jesus Christ.  This was a primary difference between Marcionites and Gnostics in that the Gnostics based their theology on secret wisdom (for example, Valentinius claimed to receive secret wisdom from Theudas who received it direct from Paul), whereas Marcion based his theology on the contents of the Letters of Paul and the recorded sayings of Jesus; in other words, he argued from scripture, with Marcion himself defining what was and was not scripture.  Because Marcion considered himself a disciple of Paul, he regarded Paul’s letters to be of higher importance than the four Gospels.

Marcion’s canon included ten of the Pauline epistles, in the following order: Galatians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Romans, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Laodiceans, Colossians, Philemon, Philippians.  Marcion’s canon did not include the Pastoral epistles (1st & 2nd Timothy and Titus) or the Epistle to the Hebrews.  It also contained the Gospel of Marcion, which was Marcion’s version of Luke, which was criticized by Christian apologists such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Epiphanius.  Tertullian stated that Marcion edited Luke to fit his own theology and further bolster the errors of Marcionism. He wrote that Marcion;

“expunged [from the Gospel of Luke] all the things that oppose his view… but retained those things that accord with his opinion”.  (Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem 4.6.2)

Marcion list is perhaps the first New Testament canon on record, which he called the Gospel and the Apostolikon.  Although his canon was rejected, Marcion forced other Christians to begin considering which texts were canonical and why. 

The Canon List of
Marcion of Sinope:

Source Used:  Edmon L. Gallagher and John D. Meade. The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity:  Texts and Analysis.  Oxford University Press. 2017

Marcion Canon

Modern Catholic Canon

Modern Protestant Canon

1 Corinthians1 Corinthians1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians2 Corinthians2 Corinthians
1 Thessalonians1 Thessalonians1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians2 Thessalonians2 Thessalonians
 1 Timothy1 Timothy
 2 Timothy2 Timothy
 1 Peter1 Peter
 2 Peter2 Peter
 1 John1 John
 2 John2 John
 3 John3 John