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:


  • Letter of Paul to the Romans
  • 1st Letter of Paul to the Corinthians
  • 2nd Letter of Paul to the Corinthians
  • Letter of Paul to the Galatians
  • Letter of Paul to the Ephesians
  • Letter of Paul to the Philippians
  • Letter of Paul to the Colossians
  • 1st Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians
  • 2nd Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians
  • 1st Letter of Paul to Timothy
  • 2nd Letter of Paul to Timothy
  • Letter of Paul to Titus
  • Letter of Paul to Philemon
  • Letter to the Hebrews
  • Letter of James
  • 1st Letter of Peter
  • 2nd Letter of Peter
  • 1st Letter of John
  • 2nd Letter of John
  • 3rd Letter of John
  • Letter of Jude
  • Revelation to John