The New Testament

The New Testament is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It records the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity.  It is a collection of various Christian texts originally written in Koine Greek.  Each “book” was written by various authors at different points in time and were intended for various audiences.  Not every work was known to all audiences.  Over the course of the next few centuries following Christ, Christians gradually developed several differing and competing lists of what they considered “scripture”.  This was, in large part, a reaction to both the appearance of inauthentic or “heretical” texts as well as an attempt by Jewish Christians to separate themselves from Judaism.  The process of canonization of the New Testament was complex and lengthy. In the initial centuries of early Christianity, there were many books widely considered by the church to be inspired, but there was no single formally recognized New Testament canon.

Early lists did not always include all 27 books known in the current New Testament.  Many Christians disputed over the canonicity of the Letter to the Hebrews, Epistle of James, II Peter, II John and III John and especially the Book of Revelation.  By contrast, many early lists included works such as the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the First Letter of Clement.  The earliest known complete list of the 27 books is found in a letter written by Athanasius, a 4th-century bishop of Alexandria, dated to 367 AD.  The first formal list of the current 27 book New Testament was given at the Council of Rome in 382 C.E. under Pope Damasus I.  The current New Testament was finally formally canonized during the Council of Hippo in 393 C.E. and the Council of Carthage in 397 C.E.  Pope Innocent I ratified this same canon in 405 C.E.  These councils also provided the Christian canon for the Old Testament, which included the apocryphal books, such as I & II Maccabees.

See also:

The New Testament:

Bible Translation Used:  The New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) as provided online (here) by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  Published March 9, 2011.  Revised and updated from the New American Bible (NAB), which was translated by members of the Catholic Biblical Association and originally published in 1970.  The Greek text followed in this translation is that of the third edition of The Greek New Testament, edited by Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo Martini, Bruce Metzger, and Allen Wikgren, and published by the United Bible Societies in 1975 (UBS3).  Introductions were provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), edited for this website.

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