The Earliest “New Testament”

Draper, Richard D., “The Earliest ‘New Testament’” in How the New Testament Came to Be, ed. Kent P. Jackson and Frank F. Judd Jr., (Provo and Salt Lake City: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, and Deseret Book 2006), 260-291.

The Earliest “New Testament”

Richard D. Draper

 

Richard D. Draper was a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University when this was published.

 

One of the ironies of ecclesiastical history is that the New Testament as a whole is one of the primary legacies of the early Christian Church, yet there is virtually no information on who brought it together, precisely when, or even how. The development of this wonderful book was totally separate from the theological debates of the third- and fourth-century councils and therefore did not receive the documentation those councils’ debates and decisions did. As one scholar observed, “Nothing is more amazing in the annals of the Christian Church than the absence of detailed accounts of so significant a process.” [1]

From a Latter-day Saint perspective, the lack of such accounts is not all that amazing. We have the Pearl of Great Price as an example in our own history. One might expect that, given the fact that the book became one of the standard works, the Church would possess a detailed record of its development. As a matter of fact, information on its creation and compilation is rather sparse. We know who originally created it and why, and some of the process, but not a lot else. Further, after its initial publication in England, and in spite of the fact that it contained material many recognized as significant, inspired, and authoritative, it made little impact for over two decades. Eventually, those at the highest levels of the Church became aware of it, saw its importance, and in 1880 canonized it. However, accounts of the discussions leading up to the work’s presentation for canon are rather thin. [2]

What we learn from the Pearl of Great Price in our own history is that people were doing their best to preserve and disseminate materials that they felt were important and holy. It was not the process that was significant to them but the material itself. As a result, they left scanty records of the editorial process. This same condition seems to have applied during the time that early Christians copied, collected, organized, and eventually brought the New Testament documents into the Christian canon. “The history of its formation,” Bruce Metzger writes, “is the history, not of a series of sporadic events, but of a long, continuous process. It was a task, not only of collection, but also of sifting and rejecting. Instead of being the result of a deliberate decree by an individual or a council near the beginning of the Christian era, the collection of New Testament books took place gradually over many years by the pressure of various kinds.” [3]

Metzger’s words best apply to the final form of the canon, but such a scenario does not work for those documents that to me are the core writings. This chapter, in fact, takes exception to the idea that these documents were gathered gradually over many decades. [4] Instead, it will show that around the turn of the first century, a significant segment of the disparate Christian groups, one which I will refer to as the proto-orthodox, had a collection of writings which they held sacred and used in their scattered congregations from Rome to Egypt. Further, this paper will show that the documents that composed this core highly influenced the final compilation of what we call the New Testament today.

A real benefit for the later church was that because they were collected early, these documents were protected against the most flagrant abuses and thus preserved accurate accounts for later generations. [5]

The Earliest Records

In the year Jesus died not a single document that would eventually make up the New Testament existed. Indeed, there was no written standard for the Church outside the Old Testament. It is very likely, as many scholars believe, that Jesus wrote neither book nor letter. But did he expect His disciples to do likewise? Nothing in the Bible suggests that He did, but an interesting statement in Joseph Smith—Matthew opens the door to the possibility. There the Lord predicts the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel concerning the desolation of abomination. He then instructs the Saints that when this sign is given, they “shall stand in the holy place; whoso readeth let him understand. Then let them who are in Judea flee” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:12–13, emphasis added). The Lord’s instructions may be based on the common practice at the time where, during worship services, one read and the congregation listened. The Lord’s words suggest He assumed that one of those who were with Him that day would preserve the warning in written form so that the next generation of leaders could read it to their congregations and all would know how to respond to the sign. [6]

This suggestion does not preclude the possibility that the early Christians passed on the Lord’s teachings orally (an opinion held by many scholars). From evidence clear to Latter-day Saints, however, it seems likely that there were some records even from the earliest period, especially if the Book of Mormon provides a model. It shows that the people were expected to pass along the Lord’s teachings both orally and in written form. This condition resulted from instructions given by none other than the Lord Himself. In instructing the people, He said, “Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve,” which words would include His doctrine and teachings (3 Nephi 12:1, emphasis added). He went on to say, “Blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me” (3 Nephi 12:2, emphasis added), suggesting that much would be passed on through word of mouth. After giving His major sermon, He admonished His hearers that “whoso remembereth these sayings of mine and doeth them, him will I raise up at the last day” (3 Nephi 15:1). These words suggest the Lord expected His hearers to remember and pass on His teachings—that is, to create an oral tradition.

The record also, however, shows that He had additional expectations. He commanded His leaders to “write these sayings after I am gone” (3 Nephi 16:4). He explained, at least in part, why it was important: a time would come, according to “the will of the Father,” when “they [His words] shall go forth unto the Gentiles” (3 Nephi 23:4). He explained further that the disciples must “write the things which ye have seen and heard, save it be those which are forbidden. . . . For behold, out of the books which have been written, and which shall be written, shall this people be judged, for by them shall their works be known unto men” (3 Nephi 27:23–25). The Church leaders were faithful to their charge, and therefore Mormon could report that “the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he [Jesus] taught the people” (3 Nephi 26:7).

It is clear that the Lord took great pains to see that the Nephites recorded His words, in part so His teachings could go forth unto the latter-day Gentiles and also form the basis of judgment. It seems reasonable that He would have taken the same pains with the words He shared with His Jewish followers. After all, they too would take His word to the Gentiles.

Admittedly, there is little evidence that written records existed among the early Christians before the sixth decade, but there is some. [7] Eusebius reported that Mark recorded and disseminated Peter’s memoirs not long after the latter’s death. [8] At the beginning of his Gospel, Luke, writing about that time, notes he used preexisting written source material (see Acts 1:1–2). Though some believe these may have been little more than lists of quotes attributed to Jesus, [9] the documentary evidence suggests that the Christians had more than a mere collection of sayings. It appears that they had access to full and descriptive accounts, and these documents made up the bulk of their sacred material. [10]

The Collection of Core Materials

Recently, some scholars have rejected the idea that the documents in the modern Bible came together slowly. David Trobish maintains that an edition of the Bible, not simply a collection of documents, existed before the mid-second century that exactly matched the books in the modern Bible. He uses the text-critical method as the basis of his work. As appealing as I find his view, it seems overstated because historical sources do not bear out his full position. On the other hand, those same sources do suggest that collections of documents existed very early. That is not to say that each collection was exactly the same as every other. In fact, it is likely that they were not. Some congregations had materials others did not have access to, and some included materials that other congregations rejected. The point is, however, that though the collections may have differed in the details, the core material was the same. [11]

The core consisted of materials written during the first century AD. To establish what documents formed the core that the proto-orthodox church gathered and disseminated, this chapter examines the scriptures included in the preserved noncanonical materials produced between roughly AD 80 and 140. [12] Those who produced these writings are known collectively as the Apostolic Fathers. The quotes they used and paraphrases they made reveal which writings were available to them. It is of note that these seem to have been in place by the time the last of the Apostles, John, left the scene and therefore witness that the Christians had a basic Christian Bible in place before the apostolic era ended.

A Note on Procedure

Before turning to the Apostolic Fathers to determine which books formed the core and in what geographical areas they appeared, a note of procedure seems in order.

The Apostolic Fathers quoted materials that would make up both the Old and New Testaments. How they used the Old Testament provides a window on how to detect New Testament inferences in their writings when they give no attribution. For example, we can suppose that those writers who were careful in quoting an Old Testament passage would do so with the New Testament, thus making the pieces they used easy to identify. Conversely, those who used Old Testament material in a less accurate way would do so with the New Testament as well, thus making it more difficult to detect the source of their teachings. [13] It is apparent that most of these early Christian writers relied greatly on their memories and therefore seldom produced exact quotes of the passages they cited or used.

Only rarely do the writers actually name the piece they are quoting or paraphrasing. They often signal a quote with a phrase like, “As it is written,” “According to the Lord,” or “It has been said,” and so forth. More often, however, they simply work the material into their arguments without any attribution whatsoever. Since Matthew, Mark, and Luke share many stories and sayings, determining which Gospel an author had in mind presents difficulties. Fortunately, in many instances there are sufficient differences in the original accounts to make a determination or, at worst, an educated guess as to the source.

For the purposes of this study, a passage must fall into one of four categories in order to be identified as a New Testament piece. First, there is the actual quote, in which the material is introduced by a formula citandi (words such as “The Lord said,” or “It has been written”). The next category is the paraphrase, where it is obvious where the material came from due to the use of identical or near identical phrases. Next is similarity of thought, where only a word or two are identical, but the thought is the same. Finally, there is the allusion, which has no words in common, but we can postulate the source of the idea. [14]

In our analysis, however, we cannot assume that the Apostolic Fathers quoted from every piece in their collections. For example, none of the Apostolic Fathers quote from Paul’s epistle to Philemon, [15] yet it is found on the earliest lists of authentic books. Thus, silence does not prove a work’s absence, only that it contained nothing useful for the Apostolic Fathers’ current debates or admonitions. Even so, this chapter does not list unused works, like Philemon, as part of the core documents.

The Core That Formed the Earliest Collections

Fortunately, there are enough secure references in these early writings to establish the core materials. Looking at the locations where the writers lived gives a view of how widespread the collections were. [16] We have writings from Rome, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt. Thus, the writings represent a large area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, covering the area where early Christians congregated and collected sacred writings.

Most theologians and students of the Bible agree that the writings of Paul were the earliest written materials and that certain congregations collected and disseminated them. Debate still flourishes over when the Gospels were written, but most agree that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written well before the end of the first century, while John’s was written toward the end. [17] By AD 125, the Gospel writings seem to have formed a collection of their own, which early Christians added to the Pauline collection, thus providing the proto-orthodox group with a kind of standard work which was widely recognized and used. But do the writings of the Apostolic Fathers bear out this model?

Though the following is painted with a rather broad brush, so to speak, the ancient literature allows us to make the following conclusions.

First, the four Gospels were all known. With the exception of Clement of Rome and Polycarp, all the early writers use them.

Second, there is good evidence that the documents formed a single collection very early. Ignatius, bishop in Syrian Antioch, writing about AD 115, referred in his works to “the Gospel” as an authoritative document. Since his writing shows that he knew of more than one such document, it seems that the phrase “the Gospel” referred to the fourfold collection. His words, with those of others, imply that Christians viewed Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as a single Gospel having four parts, and that this Gospel was compiled around the turn of the century. [18]

Third, the book of Acts is well attested. It may have been that Acts was separated from Luke’s Gospel when the Gospels were made into a collection. With the possible exception of Barnabas and Papias, all the early writings show the authors were familiar with Acts and considered it authoritative. [19]

Fourth, of the epistles of Paul, all are well certified with the exception of 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Hebrews, often separated from Paul, is cited as well (though only by Clement, Ignatius, Barnabas, and the Shepherd of Hermas). Even so, the extant references show this work was known in Rome, Syria, and Egypt.

Finally, of the general epistles, only 1 Peter, 1 John, and Jude are referenced. The book of Revelation is poorly attested this early.

Taken all together, the writings of the Apostolic Fathers suggest that widely separated Christian congregations held similar collections of writings. [20] From Egypt to Rome, the proto-orthodox churches were using a set of holy materials that consisted of the four Gospels and the epistles of Paul, except perhaps for 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. They also had at least 1 John and 1 Peter. This is not to say that the other works that eventually made their way into the New Testament were unknown. It only shows that the Apostolic Fathers did not use them in their extant writings. Thus, some collections may have actually approached the content of the modern New Testament.

It is likely, as noted above, that no one congregation had a collection of scriptures exactly like another’s. [21] Some of the collections that have survived, albeit not before the fourth century, include noncanonical works like the Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache, and 1 Clement, while others do not. [22] The core documents, however, seem to have held a place in the major collections of the early second century, whatever else those collections may have contained.

It is also likely that the collections did not stay stagnant as the Church moved through the second century. Documents continued to surface and circulate. Many of these found their way into collections but more easily into those of congregations that did not follow the path of the proto-orthodox. Before the end of the second century, a large number of documents competed with the core material as authentic and deserving of credit. Many of these were rejected out of hand by the emerging orthodox community, while others found some acceptance. Eventually, some of the latter became what we now call the New Testament Apocrypha. [23]

Impetus to Make a Canon

By the third century, the emerging orthodox congregations felt the need for a standard collection of scripture, a canon. To serve their purposes, they determined that the work had to be unalterable; once it was formed, nothing could be added and nothing taken away. It would act as the foundation for belief, practice, and faith forevermore, thus guarding the church from all the false writings and their negative influence.

It is of note that those who gathered and disseminated the original core documents had different motivation than those who were working for a canon. Devout persons developed the early collections from a desire to preserve the words and acts of the Lord. Those who sought to establish the canon of scripture, on the other hand, sought to produce a document they could use to prove they were the true Christians. [24] It is neither an accident nor coincidence that some of the leaders of the emerging orthodox church threw their energy into hardening a canon after Marcion published his personal, highly edited, and tilted version of the scriptures about the middle of the second century. His work seems to have galvanized them into working toward a sacred text according to their standards. [25] Widespread acceptance of their canon would validate their right to rule God’s kingdom on earth and to declare His truth.

Five Criteria for Canonization

Over time, they settled upon five interrelated criteria that a document must meet to enter their canon. The major criterion was whether the piece conformed to the “rule of faith.” In other words, for these later leaders, the first and foremost point of judgment was the work’s content. [26] This fact suggests that, contrary to a number of scholars who insist on a late development of christology and soteriology, the nascent church had a concrete view of who Jesus was and what He did. The core documents preserved this view and formed the foundation of the criterion as the orthodox Fathers used it. [27] Defenders of the faith such as Tertullian, Clement of Rome, Dionysus of Alexandria, and Novatian, all held to this “rule of truth” or “canon of truth” as they defended the orthodox position. Any book not in harmony with these teachings they deemed unorthodox and excluded it from the list of acceptable works. [28] The evidence suggests that one of the reasons the orthodox won the day was because they stayed closest to the core documents that the nascent church had bequeathed to them. [29]

A second criterion that played a very important part in the acceptance of a writing was its antiquity. The compilers accepted those works which were known to have originated during the first century. For example, the Muratorian Canon, an early list of accepted books, rejected the Shepherd of Hermas, though it was composed well before the mid-second century and prized by many branches, because it considered the Shepherd too recent a production. [30] Writings that claimed to originate from the Lord’s Apostles drew careful attention from the orthodox theologians. To make it into the canon, however, the piece had to have a known link to the past. The compilers rejected those documents known to have never been a part of any collection; they felt that only previously collected documents that came from eyewitnesses or careful historians of the past age should have place in the canon. [31]

A third criterion was how continuously used and widespread a text was. In other words, popularity gave a text additional weight. Little wonder the core documents were readily accepted; they were known from an early date and used all over the empire. The compilers were suspicious of any text they felt was of unknown origin or that only a few branches accepted. On the other hand, if a document had a good following, its chance of getting into the canon was high. For example, the eastern church’s widespread use of the epistle to the Hebrews pushed the more skeptical West to adopt it, while the Western church’s use of the book of Revelation highly influenced its acceptance in the East. [32]

The fourth criterion, and closely related to the one above, was a work’s traditional use. If a work meeting the other criteria reflected what “had always been done” or “what has been believed from the beginning,” it usually qualified as a canonical text. [33] Again, it was the core documents that supplied the criterion. During the third or fourth centuries, if a leader brought into an orthodox congregation a work he claimed was authentic, but no one had heard of it and it contained materials not in conformity with what was known before, the orthodox community rejected it. The same was true if a work had been known from the past but had not been seen as scripture. For example, though the letter of Clement of Rome was well known, often read in church services, and reflected proper church order, no congregation ever considered it to be in the same class as the apostolic writings, and it therefore found no place in the orthodox canon. [34]

The last criterion, and one the compilers found less easy to apply, was the work’s tie to revelation. For the orthodox Fathers, revelation meant the action of the Holy Spirit that allowed God’s leaders to speak His word. The compilers tried to determine if a revelation from God was the ultimate source of the work in question. All felt this factor was important, but various communities interpreted its expression differently. For example, the West emphasized the apostolicity of a work, while the East stressed its inspiration. Admittedly, the two positions were not mutually exclusive; the West felt that inspiration lay behind the Apostles, while the East felt that the Apostles received inspiration. At heart, both groups felt a work had to be inspired to be eligible for the canon. For example, the book of Revelation does not appeal to apostolic authority, but it does cite the spirit and power of inspiration that came upon its author. Therefore, as noted, many western Christian leaders accepted it, and the weight of their opinion brought it into the canon. [35]

Summary

During the early third century, the orthodox church authorities adopted these five criteria as the litmus test for authenticity. That did not mean, however, that all applied the various criteria in exactly the same way. Some weighed one category more heavily than another; some accepted the word of this or that former leader over others, some felt that acceptance by branches in more prestigious areas made a document more holy even if it was not used in a majority of places. Still, the criteria allowed for the remaining pieces of the New Testament to be gathered with the already extant core material.

The point is, though the fringes of the New Testament canon remained unsettled for centuries, the core documents were in place before the apostolic era closed. The proto-orthodox preserved, used, and passed these works on, leaving the developing orthodox Christians with a standard which they could use to eventually agree upon a complete and accurate canon. It is important to note that these books did not become authoritative because they were formally put into the canon. Rather, the orthodox Christians included them in the canon because they were already authoritative. It was not until the last decade of the fourth century that the orthodox councils codified the New Testament. When they did so, they imposed nothing new on the Church but codified what was already accepted and practiced. [36]

The degree to which these final compilers succeeded can be readily seen by comparing those works that were placed in the Bible with those that were not. The quality, majesty, testimony, and inspiration in those twenty-seven books far surpasses those excluded from the canon, including such popular pieces as 1 Clement and the Didache. That such is the case should not be surprising, given the gift the earliest Christians gave the later Church in the composition, collection, and publishing of those core documents. In so doing, they, along with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, provided the guidelines for the makeup of the final edition and preserved the Lord’s teachings for us today.

New Testament Passages in the Apostolic Fathers​

Category A=qu​oted from original source; B=paraphrase of a source;

C=similarity of thought to​ a source; D=allusion to source.

NT Passage​

Father(s)

Work

Category

Matt. 3:7

Matt. 3:15

Matt. 5:5

Matt. 5:7

Matt. 5:13

Matt. 5:26

Matt. 5:28

Matt. 5:35

Matt. 5:39-42

Matt. 5:44

Matt. 5:47

Matt. 6:5, 9–13

Ignatius

Ignatius

Didache

Clement

Ignatius

Didache

Hermas

Hermas

Didache

Didache

Polycarp

Didache

Didache

Eph. 11:1

Smyr. 1:1

Did. 3:7

1 Clem. 13:1f

Eph. 11:1

Did. 1:5

Mand. 4:1:1

Vis. 3:9:8

Did. 1:4–6

Did. 1:3

Pol. 12:3

Did. 1:3

Did. 8:1f

D

B

D

D

D

D

D

C

D

D

D

D

C

Matt. 6:12

Matt. 6:16

Matt. 6:24

Matt. 7:1

Matt. 7:12

Matt. 7:15

Matt. 7:15,16

Matt. 7:21

Matt. 7:23

Matt. 8:17

Matt. 9:11, 13

Matt. 9:13

Matt. 10:10

Matt. 10:16

Matt. 10:22

Matt. 10:28

Matt. 10:32

Matt. 10:33

Matt. 10:40

Matt. 10:41

Matt. 11:28

Matt. 12:31

Matt. 12:33

Matt. 13:3

Matt. 13:17

Matt. 13:20, 21

Matt. 15:8

Matt. 15:13

Matt. 16:26

Matt. 18:3

Matt. 18:17

Matt. 18:19, 20

Matt. 19:9

Matt. 19:12

Matt. 19:23

Matt. 20:28

Matt. 21:33

Matt. 22:11–13

Matt. 22:14

Matt. 22:19

Matt. 22:37

Matt. 22: 37–39

Matt. 22:41–45

Matt. 23:34f

Matt. 24:10–13

Matt. 24:13

Matt. 24:24

Matt. 24:30f

Matt. 24:42

Matt. 25:14

Matt. 25:45f

Matt. 26:7

Matt. 26:24

Matt. 26:31

Matt. 26:63f

Matt. 27:14

Matt. 27:28

Matt. 27:35

Matt. 27:52

Matt. 28:18

Matt. 28:19f

Mark 2:16f

Mark 2:17

Mark 3:28

Mark 3:35

Mark 4:3

Mark 4:18, 19

Mark 6:52

Mark 7:6

Mark 8:16

Mark 8:38

Mark 9:35

Mark 9:43

Mark 9:50

Mark 10:11

Mark 12:1

Mark 12:3–37

Mark 12:7

Mark 12:30

Mark 12:37

Mark 13:13

Mark 14:21

Mark 14:27

Mark 14:38

Mark 14:61f

Mark 15:17

Mark 15:24

Luke 5:8

Luke 5:32

Luke 6:27

Luke 6:27–33

Luke 6:29, 30

Luke 6:31, 36

Luke 6:32, 35

Luke 6:36

Luke 6:44

Luke 8:5

Luke 8:14

Luke 8:21

Luke 9:25

Luke 9:26

Luke 10:3

Luke 10:7

Luke 10:27

Luke 11:4

Luke 11:49f

Luke 12:8

Luke 12:35

Luke 13: 27

Luke 14:34

Luke 16:10f

Luke 16:13

Luke 17:1

Luke 18:1

Luke 19:10

Luke 19:13

Luke 20:9

Luke 20:14

Luke 20:41–44

Luke 22:17–19

Luke 22:69f

Luke 23:7–12

Luke 23:34

Luke 24:39

John 3:3–5

John 3:8

John 3:14f

John 4:10, 14

John 5:21

John 6:33

John 6:51

John 6:58

John 8:28, 29

John 10:7, 9

John 10:18

John 11:25

John 12:3

John 13:20

John 14:6

John 15:16

John 19:34

Acts 1:24

Acts 1:25

Acts 2:24

Acts 4:12

Acts 4:32

Acts 5:41

Acts 7:52

Acts 10:41

Acts 10:42

Acts 13:22

Acts 15:20, 29

Acts 20:35

Acts 26:18

Rom. 1:3,4

Rom. 1:21

Rom. 1:29–32

Rom. 4:3, 10f

Rom. 4:17

Rom. 6:1

Rom. 6:4

Rom. 8:26, 27

Rom. 9:5

Rom. 8:7–13

Rom. 9:21

Rom. 11:33

Rom. 12:4

Rom. 12:9

Rom. 12:17

Rom. 15:29

1 Cor. 1:7

1 Cor. 1:10

1 Cor. 1:11–13

1 Cor. 1:18–20

1 Cor. 1:24, 30

1 Cor. 2:9

1 Cor. 2:10

1 Cor. 2:14

1 Cor. 3:1

1 Cor. 3:2

1 Cor. 3:15

1 Cor. 3:16

1 Cor. 4:1

1 Cor. 4:4

1 Cor. 5:7

1 Cor. 6:2

1 Cor. 6:9

1 Cor. 6:10

1 Cor. 6:15

1 Cor. 6:19

1 Cor. 7:10

1 Cor. 7:29

1 Cor. 7:39, 40

1 Cor. 8:10

1 Cor. 9:15

1 Cor. 9:24

1 Cor. 9:25

1 Cor. 9:27

1 Cor. 10:4

1 Cor. 10:16, 17

1 Cor. 10:24

1 Cor. 10:33

1 Cor. 12:8,9

1 Cor. 12:12

1 Cor. 12:12ff

1 Cor. 12:26

1 Cor. 13:4–7

1 Cor. 13:13

1 Cor. 14:10

1 Cor. 14:20

1 Cor. 14:25

1 Cor. 15:8–10

1 Cor. 15:20

1 Cor. 15:23

1 Cor. 15:26

1 Cor. 15:36, 37

1 Cor. 15:45, 47

1 Cor. 15:58

1 Cor. 16:17

1 Cor. 16:18

1 Cor. 16:22

2 Cor. 3:2

2 Cor. 3:18

2 Cor. 4:14

2 Cor. 5:10

2 Cor. 5:17

2 Cor. 6:7

2 Cor. 6:16

2 Cor. 8:21

2 Cor. 9:8

2 Cor. 9:12

2 Cor. 11:9

2 Cor. 11:23–27

2 Cor. 12:16
Gal. 1:1

Gal. 2:2

Gal. 2:9

Gal. 2:21

Gal. 3:1

Gal. 4:26

Gal. 5:11

Gal. 5:14

Gal. 5:17

Gal. 5:21

Gal. 6:7

Gal. 6:14

Eph. 1:3f

Eph. 1:4

Eph. 1:4–6

Eph. 1:18

Eph. 1:22

Eph. 2:1

Eph. 2:2

Eph. 2:8

Eph. 2:10, 21f

Eph. 2:15

Eph. 2:16

Eph. 2:20

Eph. 2:20–22

Eph. 2:21

Eph. 3:9

Eph. 3:17

Eph. 4:2

Eph. 4:3–6

Eph. 4:4

Eph. 4:4–6

Eph. 4:18

Eph. 4:22ff

Eph. 4:24

Eph. 4:25

Eph. 4:26

Eph. 4:30

Eph. 4:32

Eph. 5:1

Eph. 5:16

Eph. 5:23

Eph. 5:25

Eph. 6:6

Eph. 6:13–17

Phil. 1:27

Phil. 2:3,5

Phil. 2:10

Phil. 2:16

Phil. 2:17

Phil. 2:30

Phil. 3:14

Phil. 3:15

Phil. 3:18

Phil. 3:21

Phil. 4:13

Phil. 4:15

Col. 1:5,6

Col. 1:7

Col. 1:9

Col. 1:12

Col. 1:13

Col. 1:15

Col. 1:16

Col. 1:18

Col. 1:23

Col. 1:24

Col. 1:26

Col. 2:1

Col. 2:2

Col. 2:12

Col. 2:14

Col. 3:4

Col. 3:5

Col. 3:9f

Col. 3:22

Col. 4:7

1 Thes. 2:4

1 Thes. 5:13f

1 Thes. 5:17

2 Thes. 1:4

2 Thes. 3:5

2 Thes. 3:15

T Tim. 1:1

1 Tim. 1:3–5

1 Tim. 1:12

1 Tim. 1:13

1 Tim. 1:16

1 Tim. 1:17

1 Tim. 2:1

1 Tim. 2:8

1 Tim. 3:5

1 Tim. 3:8

1 Tim. 3:16

1 Tim. 4:15

1 Tim. 4:16

1 Tim. 5:5

1 Tim. 5:18

1 Tim. 6:2

1 Tim. 6:7

1 Tim. 6:10

2 Tim. 1:3

2 Tim. 1:5

2 Tim. 1:10

2 Tim. 1:16

2 Tim. 2:3

2 Tim. 2:11

2 Tim. 2:21

2 Tim. 2:25

2 Tim. 3:6

2 Tim. 3:17

2 Tim. 4:1

2 Tim. 4:6

2 Tim. 4:10

Titus 1:2

Titus 1:7

Titus 1:14

Titus 2:4,5

Titus 2:14

Titus 3:1

Titus 3:5ff

Titus 3:9

Phile. 1:20

Heb. 1:2

Heb. 2:5–9
Heb. 2:9

Heb. 2:18

Heb. 3:1

Heb. 3:2

Heb. 3:12

Heb. 4:1

Heb. 4:1–11

Heb. 4:12

Heb. 4:13

Heb. 5:13

Heb. 6:1

Heb. 6:4–6

Heb. 6:18

Heb. 6:20

Heb. 7:3

Heb. 7:7

Heb. 7:19

Heb. 7:22, 23,26

Heb. 9:13ff

Heb. 10:23

Heb. 10:24

Heb. 10:32–39

Heb. 11:11

Heb. 11:13

Heb. 11:37, 39

Heb. 12:1

Heb. 12:2

Heb. 12:6–8

Heb. 12:24

Heb. 12:28

Heb. 13:12

Heb. 13:18

Jam. 1:4

Jam. 1:5

Jam. 1:6–8

Jam. 1:12

Jam. 1:17

Jam. 1:26

Jam. 1:27

Jam. 2:5

Jam. 3:15

Jam. 4:4

Jam. 4:5

Jam. 4:7

Jam. 4:11

Jam. 4:12

Jam. 5:1

Jam 5:2

Jam. 5:4

Jam. 5:7,8

Jam. 5:10

Jam. 5:11

Jam. 5:16

Jam. 5:20

1 Pet. 1:1,2

1 Pet. 1:2

1 Pet. 1:7

1 Pet. 1:8

1 Pet. 1:10f

1 Pet. 1:12

1 Pet. 1:13

1 Pet. 1:17

1 Pet. 1:18, 19

1 Pet. 1:20

1 Pet. 1:21

1 Pet. 2:1

1 Pet. 2:6–8

1 Pet. 2:9

1 Pet. 2:11

1 Pet. 2:12

1 Pet. 2:17

1 Pet. 2:21

1 Pet. 2:25

1 Pet. 3:8

1 Pet. 3:9

1 Pet. 3:13

1 Pet. 3:20, 21

1 Pet. 4:7

1 Pet. 4:8

1 Pet. 4:14–16

1 Pet. 4:16

1 Pet. 4:19

1 Pet. 5:2

1 Pet. 5:5

1 Pet. 5:7

1 Pet. 5:9

1 John 4:18

Jude 1:22f

Apoc. 1:7, 13

Apoc. 7:14

Apoc. 21:5

Apoc. 22:10

Apoc. 22:12

Polycarp

Didache

Clement

Polycarp

Didache

Didache

Hermas

Clement

Clement

Ignatius

Barnabas

Barnabas

Clement

Didache

Ignatius

Clement

Shepherd

Hermas

Clement

Shepherd

Ignatius

Ignatius

Ignatius

Clement

Didache

Ignatius

Clement of Rome

Polycarp

Hermas

Clement of Rome

Ignatius

Ignatius

Clement

Hermas

Hermas

Polycarp

Ignatius

Hermas

Ignatius

Hermas

Polycarp

Hermas

Hermas

Clement

Barnabas

Ignatius

Clement

Didache

Barnabas

Barnabas

Didache

Hermas

Didache

Didache

Didache

Hermas

Clement

Ignatius

Clement

Hermas

Barnabas

Barnabas

Barnabas

Barnabas

Barnabas

Ignatius

Hermas

Clement

Barnabas

Clement

Didache

Clement

Clement

Hermas

Hermas

Clement

Clement

Ignatius

Hermas

Polycarp

Ignatius

Ignatius

Hermas

Hermas

Barnabas

Hermas

Clement

Barnabas

Didache

Hermas

Barnabas

Polycarp

Barnabas

Barnabas

Barnabas

Barnabas

Barnabas

Clement

Polycarp

Didache

Didache

Clement

Clement

Clement

Polycarp

Ignatius

Clement

Hermas

Clement

Clement

Ignatius

Hermas

Clement

Didache

Clement

Polycarp

Polycarp

Barnabas

Clement

Didache

Clement

Ignatius

Clement

Clement

Clement

Hermas

Clement

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Barnabas

Didache

Barnabas

Ignatius

Barnabas

Ignatius

Hermas

Ignatius

Barnabas

Ignatius

Polycarp

Ignatius

Ignatius

Ignatius

Ignatius

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Ignatius

Ignatius

Hermas

Polycarp

Barnabas

Hermas

Ignatius

Polycarp

Hermas

Didache

Hermas

Polycarp

Ignatius

Polycarp

Rome

Didache

Clement

Polycarp

Clement

Polycarp

Ignatius

Clement

Clement

Clement

Barnabas

Barnabas

Clement

Clement

Ignatius

Hermas

Clement

Barnabas

Clement

Clement

Clement

Didache

Polycarp

Ignatius

Ignatius

Ignatius

Clement

Ignatius

Ignatius

Clement

Clement

Clement

Ignatius

Ignatius

Barnabas

Ignatius

Clement

Barnabas

Barnabas

Ignatius

Ignatius

Ignatius

Ignatius

Polycarp

Ignatius

Polycarp

Ignatius

Clement

Ignatius

Clement

Ignatius

Ignatius

Hermas

Polycarp

Ignatius

Clement

Clement

Clement

Ignatius

Hermas

Ignatius

Clement

Clement

Clement

Clement

Ignatius

Clement

Ignatius

Clement

Ignatius

Ignatius

Hermas

Ignatius

Ignatius

Clement

Clement

Ignatius

Clement

Ignatius

Ignatius

Polycarp

Clement

Ignatius

Didache

Polycarp

Clement

Ignatius

Polycarp

Barnabas

Polycarp

Polycarp

Barnabas

Polycarp

Ignatius

Polycarp

Clement

Clement

Clement

Ignatius

Clement

Ignatius

Ignatius

Polycarp

Polycarp

Clement

Ignatius

Clement

Polycarp

Ignatius

Polycarp

Polycarp

Polycarp

Ignatius

Polycarp

Ignatius

Ignatius

Clement

Barnabas

Clement

Clement

Hermas

Barnabas

Polycarp

Barnabas

Ignatius

Ignatius

Ignatius

Hermas

Ignatius

Clement

Barnabas

Ignatius

Barnabas

Ignatius

Hermas

Clement

Clement

Clement

Clement

Clement

Barnabas

Ignatius

Clement

Hermas

Polycarp

Hermas

Polycarp

Ignatius

Barnabas

Clement

Ignatius

Clement

Ignatius

Clement

Polycarp

Ignatius

Polycarp

Polycarp

Ignatius

Polycarp

Clement

Clement

Ignatius

Polycarp

Polycarp

Ignatius

Clement

Polycarp

Ignatius

Clement

Clement

Polycarp

Clement

Hermas

Barnabas

Ignatius

Ignatius

Polycarp

Polycarp

Clement

Ignatius

Clement

Ignatius

Polycarp

Ignatius

Hermas

Polycarp

Barnabas

Clement

Ignatius

Ignatius

Hermas

Ignatius

Polycarp

Ignatius

Polycarp

Polycarp

Ignatius

Ignatius

Ignatius

Barnabas

Clement

Clement

Polycarp

Clement

Polycarp

Polycarp

Barnabas

Polycarp

Clement

Polycarp

Didache

Ignatius

Polycarp

Polycarp

Ignatius

Polycarp

Barnabas

Ignatius

Ignatius

Polycarp

Clement

Polycarp

Ignatius

Clement

Barnabas

Ignatius

Polycarp

Barnabas

Ignatius

Ignatius

Clement

Barnabas

Polycarp

Clement

Barnabas

Ignatius

Ignatius

Barnabas

Clement

Hermas

Barnabas

Barnabas

Clement

Clement

Clement

Hermas

Barnabas

Barnabas

Clement

Ignatius

Polycarp

Barnabas

Hermas

Clement

Polycarp

Polycarp

Ignatius

Ignatius

Ignatius

Barnabas

Clement

Clement

Barnabas

Clement

Clement

Hermas

Clement

Clement

Clement

Barnabas

Clement

Barnabas

Polycarp

Barnabas

Barnabas

Clement

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Clement

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Hermas

Clement

Clement

Hermas

Clement

Clement

Clement

Clement

Barnabas

Hermas

Polycarp

Barnabas

Polycarp

Polycarp

Barnabas

Clement

Barnabas

Hermas

Clement

Polycarp

Clement

Barnabas

Clement

Didache

Polycarp

Polycarp

Clement

Polycarp

Ignatius

Polycarp

Polycarp

Polycarp

Polycarp

Hermas

Polycarp

Clement

Hermas

Hermas

Clement

Ignatius

Clement

Ignatius

Hermas

Clement

Hermas

Clement

Didache

Barnabas

Hermas

Barnabas

Barnabas

Barnabas

Clement

Pol. 6:1,2

Did. 8:1f

2 Clem. 6:1f

Pol. 2:3

Did. 1:2

Did. 16:3–5

Mand. 40:16

2 Clem. 4:2

2 Clem. 4:5

Pol. 1:2, 3

Barn. 5:9

Barn. 5:9

2 Clem. 2:4

Did. 13:1

Pol. 2:2

2 Clem. 5:2–4

Vis. 2:2:7

Mand. 12:6:3

2 Clem. 3:2

Vis. 2:2:8

Pol. 2:2

Rom. 9:3

Rom. 9:3

2 Clem. 5:5; 6:7

Did. 11:7

Eph. 14:2

1 Clem. 24:5

Pol. 1:3

Vis. 3:4:5

1 Clem. 15:2

Trall. 9:1; Phila. 3:1

Rom. 6:1

2 Clem. 6:1f

Sim. 9:29:1,3

Sim. 9:1–3

Pol. 11:2

Eph. 5:2

Mand. 4:1:1

Smyr. 6:1

Sim. 9:20:2

Pol. 5:2

Sim. 5:2:1

Mand. 12:1:2

2 Clem. 6:9

Bar. 4:14

Magn. 5:2

2 Clem. 3:4

Did. 1:2

Bar. 12:10

Bar. 6:6

Did. 16:3–5

Vis. 2:2:7

Did. 16:3–5

Did. 16:6

Did. 16:1

Sim. 5:2:1

2 Clem. 5:5; 6:7

Eph. 17:1

1 Clem. 46:7, 8

Vis. 4:2:6

Barn. 5:12

Barn. 7:9

Barn. 7:3

Barn. 7:9

Barn. 6:6

Magn. 9:3

Sim. 5:6:4

2 Clem. 17:1

Barn. 5:9

2 Clem. 2:4

Did. 11:7

2 Clem. 9:11

1 Clem. 24:5

Sim. 9:20:1, 2

Mand. 4:2:1

1 Clem. 15:2

2 Clem. 6:1f

Smyr. 10:2

Sim. 8:6:4;

9:14:6

Pol. 5:2

Eph. 16:1

Magn. 10:2

Mand. 4:1:6

Sim. 5:2:1

Bar. 12:10

Sim. 5:2:1

2 Clem. 3:4

Bar. 12:10

Did. 16:3–5

Vis. 4:2:6

Barn. 5:12

Pol. 7:2

Barn. 7:9

Barn. 7:9

Barn. 6:6

Barn. 5:9

Barn. 5:9

2 Clem. 2:4

Pol. 13:3

Did. 1:3

Did. 1:4–6

1 Clem. 13:1f

2 Clem. 13:4

1 Clem. 13:1f

Pol. 2:3

Eph. 14:2

1 Clem. 24:5

Sim. 9:20:1, 2

2 Clem. 9:21

2 Clem. 4:1f

Smyr. 10:2

Sim. 8:6:4;

9:14:6

2 Clem. 5:2–4

Did. 13:1

2 Clem. 3:4

Pol. 4:1,2

Pol. 1:3

Barn. 5:11

2 Clem. 3:2

1 Clem. 16:1

2 Clem. 4:5

Magn. 10:2

2 Clem. 8:5

2 Clem. 4:1f

1 Clem. 46:7,8

Mand. 9:8

2 Clem. 2:5–7

Sim. 5:2:1

Sim. 5:2:1

Sim. 5:2:1

Barn. 12:10

Did. 11:2

Barn. 7:9

Smyr. 1:2

Barn. 6:6

Smyr. 3:2

Sim. 9:15:3

Phil. 7:1

Barn. 12:7

Rom. 7:2

Pol. 5:2

Eph. 5:2; Rom. 7:3

Barn. 6:3

Barn. 6:3

Magn. 7:1

Sim. 9:12:1

Sim. 5:6:3

Vis. 2:2:8

Eph. 17:1

Eph. 6:1

Vis. 2:2:8

Pol. 12:3

Barn. 11:1ff, 8

Mand. 4:3:4

Magn. 5:1

Pol. 1:2

Vis. 4:2:4

Did. 4:8

Sim. 9:14:6

Pol. 2:1

Smyr. 3:3

Pol. 2:1

1 Clem. 18:1

Did. 1:2

1 Clem. 2:1

Pol. 2:3

1 Clem. 59:2

Pol. 12:2

Smyr. 1:1

1 Clem. 36:2

2 Clem. 19:2

1 Clem. 35:5,6

Barn. 13:7

Barn. 13:7

2 Clem. 1:8

1 Clem. 33:1

Eph. 19:3

Mand. 10:2:5

1 Clem. 32:2

Barn. 13:2–3

2 Clem. 8:2

Clem. 40:1

1 Clem. 38:1

Did. 5:2

Pol. 5:1

Eph. (Inscription)

Eph. 11:1

Eph. 2:3

1 Clem. 47:1

Ep. 28:1

Eph. 17:2

1 Clem. 34:8

2 Clem. 11:7; 14:5

1 Clem. 40:1

Phila. 7:1

Eph. 8:2

Barn. 4:11

Trall. 5:1

2 Clem. 9:3

Barn. 6:11ff

Barn. 4:11

Eph. 15:3

Trall. 2:3

Rom. 5:1

Magn. 10:3

Pol. 11:2

Eph. 16:1

Pol. 5:3

Eph. 16:1

1 Clem. 46:7

Eph. 4:2

2 Clem. 9:3

Trall. 6:1

Eph. 11:1

Mand. 4:4:1,2

Pol. 3:2

Rom. 6:1

1 Clem. 5:1,5

2 Clem. 7:1

2 Clem. 7:1

Trall. 12:3

Sim. 9:12:1

Phila. 4:1

1 Clem. 48:6

1 Clem. 48:6

1 Clem. 48:5

1 Clem. 46:7

Trall. 11:2

1 Clem. 37:5

Pol. 11:4

1 Clem. 49:5

Pol. 3:2,3

Pol. 11:4

Sim. 9:29

Pol. 4:3

Rom. 9:2

1 Clem. 24:1

1 Clem. 24:1;

37:3

Pol. 2:1

1 Clem. 24:4,5

Eph. 20:1

Eph. 10:2; 20:1

Pol. 10:1

1 Clem. 38:2

Eph. 2:2

Did. 10:6

Pol. 11:3

1 Clem. 36:2

Trall. 9:2

Pol. 2:2

Barn. 4:11f

Pol. 6:2

Pol. 4:2

Barn. 6:11–13

Pol. 4:1

Eph. 15:3

Pol. 5:1

1 Clem. 2:7; 24:4

1 Clem. 38:2

1 Clem. 38:2

Phila. 6:3

1 Clem. 5:5,6

Phila. 6:3

Phila. 1:1

Pol. 12:2

Pol. 9:2

1 Clem. 5:2

Trall. 10:1

1 Clem. 2:1

Pol. 3:3

Eph. 18:1

Pol. 3:3

Pol. 5:3

Pol. 5:3

Eph. 16:1

Pol. 5:1

Rom. 7:2

Eph. (Inscription)

2 Clem. 14:2

Barn. 3:6

1 Clem. 59:3

2 Clem. 14:2

Sim. 9:16:2,3

Barn. 2:1

Pol. 1:3

Barn. 6:11ff

Eph. 20:1

Smyr. 1:1

Eph. 9:1

Sim. 9:4:3

Eph. 9:1

2 Clem. 14:2

Barn. 6:11ff

Eph. 19

Barn. 6:11ff

Pol. 1:2

Sim. 9:13:5

1 Clem. 46:4

1 Clem. 46:7

1 Clem. 46:1–4

1 Clem. 51:5

2 Clem. 19:2

Barn. 6:11ff

Eph. 20:1

1 Clem. 46:7

Mand. 3:1

Pol. 12:1

Mand. 10:2:1–2, 4–5

Pol. 5:2; 6:1

Eph. 1:1

Barn. 2:1

2 Clem. 14:2

Pol. 5:1

2 Clem. 13:1

Pol. 6:2

1 Clem. 3:4

Pol. 5:2

Phila. 8:2

Pol. 2:1

Pol. 9:2

Rom. 2,4

Pol. 1:1

1 Clem. 38:2

1 Clem. 5:1,5

Smyrn. 11:3

Pol. 12:3

Pol. 2:1

Smyrn. 4:2

1 Clem. 47:1,2

Pol. 1:2

Eph. 2:1

1 Clem. 59:2

1 Clem. 59:2

Pol. 12:2

1 Clem. 59:2

Sim. 12:2,3

Barn. 12:7

Trall. 5:2

Smyrn. 1:2

Pol. 10:1 (Latin)

Pol. 10:1

1 Clem. 38:2

Eph. 19:2

1 Clem. 2:4

Eph. 17:2

Pol. 12:2

Smyrn. 1:2

Vis. 2:2:8

Pol. 11:2

Barn. 6:12f

2 Clem. 13:1

Eph. 2:1

Rom. 2:1

Vis. 3:3:5

Eph. 10:1

Pol. 11:4

Rom. 10:3

Pol. 11:4

Pol. 8:1

Eph. 14:1; 20:1;

Magn. 8:1

Smyrn. 10:2

Rom. 9:2

Barn. 12:7

1 Clem. 61:2

2 Clem. 20:5

Pol. 12:3

1 Clem. 29:1

Pol. 11:2

Pol. 5:2

Barn. 5:6

Pol. 12:3

2 Clem. 25:1

Pol. 4:3

Did. 13:1

Pol. 4:3

Pol. 4:1

Pol. 4:1

Trall. 7:2

Pol. 12:1

Barn. 5:6

Eph. 2:1

Pol. 6:2

Pol. 5:2

1 Clem. 24:4

Pol. 11:4

Eph. 17:1

1 Clem. 24:2

Barn. 7:2

Rom. 2:2

Pol. 9:4

Barn. 1:3, 4,6

Pol. 6:1

Magn. 8:1

1 Clem. 1:3

Barn. 14:5f

Pol. 6:3

1 Clem. 2:7

Barn. 1:3, 4,6

Magn. 8:1

Eph. 2:2

Barn. 5:5f; 14:4; 16:9

1 Clem. 36:2–5

Sim. 9:12:2, 3

Barn. 6:17–19

Barn. 5:5ff

1 Clem. 36:1

1 Clem. 26:1

1 Clem. 17:5

Vis. 2:3:2

Barn. 4:9–10, 13

Barn. 15

1 Clem. 21:9

Magn. 3:2

Pol. 9:1

Barn. 6:19

Mand. 4:3:2, 3;

Sim. 9:26:6

1 Clem. 27:2

Pol. 12:2

Pol. 12:2

Phil. 11:1

Phil. 11:1

Phil. 11:1

Barn. 8:1ff; 14:4–6

1 Clem. 27:1

2 Clem. 11:6

Barn. 4:9–10, 13

2 Clem. 26:4

1 Clem. 27:1

Sim. 1:1,2

1 Clem. 17:1

1 Clem. 19:2

2 Clem. 1:6

Barn. 5:5ff; 14:4; 16:9

1 Clem. 56:4

Barn. 5:1

Pol. 6:3

Barn. 5:5ff

Barn. 4:9–10, 13

2 Clem. 16:4

Mand. 9:6

Mand. 9:1;

Sim. 9:24:1,2

Mand. 9:1

Vis. 2:2:7

Mand. 9:11

Mand. 12:1:1

Sim. 1:8;

Mand. 8:10;

Vis. 3:9:2

Sim. 2:5

Mand. 9:11; 11:6

2 Clem. 6:3, 5

Mand. 3:1; 5:2:5–7;

Sim. 5:6:5,7

Mand. 12:2:4

Sim. 9:23:2–4;

12:6:3; Mand. 2:2,3

Sim. 9:23:2–4; 12:6:3

Vis. 3:9:4–6

Sim. 8:6:4

Vis. 3:9:4–6

2 Clem. 20:2–4

2 Clem. 20:2–4

Mand. 9:2

2 Clem. 15:1

1 Clem. 49:5

2 Clem. 16:4

1 Clem. Intro.

Barn. 5:1

Vis. 4:3:4

Pol. 1:3

Barn. 5:5, 6; 6:7

Pol. 1:3

Pol. 2:1

Barn. 4:11f

1 Clem. 7:2, 4

Barn. 5:6

Sim. 9:12:2,3

2 Clem.14:2

Pol. 2:1; 12:2

1 Clem. 30:1,2

6:2–4

1 Clem. 59:2

Did. 1:4

Pol. 5:3

Pol. 10:2

1 Clem. 2:4

Pol. 8:1,2

Rom. 5:1

Pol. 6:1; 11:4

Pol. 5:2; 6:1

Pol. 2:2

Pol. 6:3

Vis. 3:3:5

Pol. 7:2; 11:4

1 Clem. 49:5

2 Clem. 16:4

Sim. 9:14:6; 8:6:4

Sim. 8:6:4

1 Clem. 2:2

Rom. 5:1

1 Clem. 30: 1,2

Eph. 5:3

Vis. 3:11:3; 4:2:4

1 Clem. 2:4

Mand. 12:2:4

1 Clem. 49:5; 50:3

Did. 2:7

Barn. 7:9

Vis. 2:2:7

Barn. 6:13

Barn. 21:3

Barn. 21:3

1 Clem. 34:3

D

C

D

D

D

D

C

C

D

B

D

D

D

C

B

D

C

C

C

D

B

B

B

C

C

D

D

D

D

D

B

D

D

D

D

D

B

D

B

D

D

D

C

C

D

B

D

D

D

D

D

C

D

D

D

D

C

B

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

B

C

D

D

D

C

D

D

D

C

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

C

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

B

D

B

C

B

D

D

B

D

D

D

B

B

D

C

D

D

D

C

D

D

D

C

D

C

C

D

C

C

C

C

C

A

D

A

B

B

D

A

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Notes

[1] Bruce M. Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987), 1.

[2] See David R. Peck, “A History of the Book of Moses to Its Canonization” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 2002), 48–95.

[3] Metzger, Canon of the New Testament, 7.

[4] In the late 1800s, scholars from the University of Tübingen in Germany, under the influence of F. C. Baur, concluded that the Gospels and other works that found their way into the New Testament were written no earlier than AD 130 and were the product of much wishful thinking on the part of these later Christians. The classic study from the school is that of Walter R. Cassels, Supernatural Religion (London: Longmans, Green, 1875), which remains important reading on the subject to this day. His conclusions were rebutted by John B. Lightfoot in his work, Essays on the Work Entitled “Supernatural Religion” (New York: Macmillan, 1889), which gathered into one collection the materials he published in Contemporary Review between 1874 and 1877.

[5] The great and abominable church founded by the devil, whose work is mentioned in 1 Nephi 13, seems to have done much of its damage prior to the period under consideration in this paper and therefore receives only this mention. Being recognized as scripture and also collected, however, did not prevent apostolic writings from later tampering. The short and long endings of the Gospel of Mark and the account of the adulterous woman in John, found in some renditions and not in others, are two examples. However, as the core documents became public property, it was harder for entities to make sizable changes in them (see Larry W. Hurdato, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003], 536). For Latter-day Saints, a very helpful overview is Thomas A. Wayment, “The Story of the New Testament,” in The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ: From Bethlehem to the Sermon on the Mount, ed. Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Thomas A. Wayment (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005), 21–47. Wayment notes that though scribes did change the text, “the stories of Jesus’ life and the activities of the Apostles are largely unassailable. . . . The New Testament Gospels appear to be complete documents without major gaps or interpolations” (44–45).

[6] Eusebius’ account of the desertion of Jerusalem by the Christians in AD 66 suggests that the prophecy was known and heeded (see Eusebius, History of the Church, 3.5).

[7] For an exhaustive study of the dating of the New Testament documents, see John A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (London: S.C.M., 1976). Taking on those who argue for a later date of composition, Robinson argues that all the documents which became part of the New Testament were written before AD 70, including John’s Gospel and the book of Revelation. Though his well-reasoned and carefully articulated arguments appeal to me, he has not convinced me in every case. Some of the writings—for example, 1 John, Jude, and Revelation—fit better toward the end of the first century. Even so, Robinson’s work commends itself for careful study and convincingly argues that much of the material had been around in written form a long time before the earliest collections were made.

[8] Eusebius, History of the Church, 2.15.1–2.

[9] Many scholars believe Luke and Matthew used a “sayings source,” often referred to as “Q,” short for the German word Quelle, meaning “source.” There is scholarly disagreement as to when Christians began to write down Jesus’ words and just what those words were. A number of more liberal scholars taught the Gospel of Thomas, found among the Nag Hammadi materials, as proof of their position, and even place this very Gnostic and late book ahead of the Gospels, insisting it better reflects the historical Jesus. Hurdato has convincingly countered this view, insisting that the earliest Christians had a well-developed Christology and understanding of the central message and mission of Jesus (see Lord Jesus Christ, 219–48, 256–57). For a balanced treatise on the subject of Q, see C. M. Tuckett, Q and the History of Early Christianity: Studies on Q (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996).

[10] This makes sense, given the importance that the early Christians placed on the Lord’s teachings. Some have suggested, however, that though this sayings source preserved the pure form of the Gospel message, it was amplified and embroidered for and by later copyists and compilers such that much of the original message was distorted and thereby lost. Scholars who have developed theories about the content of Q work on the assumption that it was strictly a sayings source that viewed Jesus as a great teacher and one who heralded the coming kingdom of God. They do not, however, view Him as the Christ or His death as redemptive (see Hurdato, Lord Jesus Christ, 217–18).

[11] David Trobish, First Edition of the New Testament (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 3–43. Trobish believes “that the New Testament was created not by a long and gradual process, but in a single action.” His thesis goes against a long-prevailing view held by Bruce M. Metzger and Bart D. Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, 4th ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), and more especially Wilhelm Bousset, Kyrios Christos: A History of the Belief in Christ from the Beginning to Irenaeus, J. E. Steely, trans. (Nashville: Abingdon, 1970), who believe that Christianity and its writings developed in discrete unilinear layers or stages over a period of nearly two centuries. Trobish’s work presents strong evidence that there was a very influential collection of core Christian writings very early, but he seems to be pushing his evidence too far in making the claim that this collection contained exactly the same writings, albeit not in the same order, that are in the current canon. For a review of his work, see D. C. Parker, “Review of Books,” Journal of Theological Studies (April 2002), 298, and J. Wright, “Book Reviews,” Choice (October 2001), 329.

[12] Specifically: Barnabas, Didache, 1 Clement, Ignatius, Papias, Polycarp, Shepherd of Hermas, Letter to Diagetus, 2 Clement. The dating of some of these works is uncertain, but all were written before AD 140. For details, see J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1970).

[13] See “A Committee of the Oxford Society of Historical Theology,” The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers (Oxford: Clarendon, 1905), i–iii, 2.

[14] See the chart at the end of this chapter that gives the scriptural reference for those phrases the Apostolic Fathers used to identify the core materials, where they are found in the Fathers’ writings, and to which category they belong. The chart is derived from Committee, The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers.

[15] Ignatius does refer to Onesimus but does not cite Paul. He uses the Pauline word onaim?n (aorist optative of oninomai, “have joy in or benefit from,” found in Philemon 1:20), but one word is not sufficient to show that he had access to Paul’s letter (see Ignatius, To the Ephesians, 2.2).

[16] A very helpful study is Committee, The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers.

[17] See Wayment, “The Story,” 29–31, who argues that John’s Gospel was written very early and therefore provides an excellent eyewitness account of the Savior’s ministry. His argument that dating it late lessens its validity has some merit, but the Lord had promised John and others of the Apostles that the Holy Ghost would “bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). It could be argued, therefore, that a late date for the Gospel does not invalidate its accuracy.

[18] Second Clement also makes reference to “the gospel,” and seems to have more than a single source in mind (see 12.2). He also refers to writings he calls “the books and the Apostles,” suggesting he was aware of two groups of sacred works (14.2). For a discussion, see F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: How Reliable Are They? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1943), 23.

[19] So few fragments from Papias have been preserved that drawing conclusions from his material is tenuous at best.

[20] Hurdato, Lord Jesus Christ, 491. By the time of Irenaeus, the fourfold Gospels had been marked off to the extent that he could refer to them as a closed body. On this development, see Martin Hengel, The Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ (London: SCM, 2000), 1–33.

[21] The earliest lists evaluating the various writings held by Christian churches shows such a variety. For example, the Muratorian Canon mentions two epistles of Paul, Laodiceans and Alexandrians, along with the Book of Wisdom, as being held authentic by some but rejected by most. It also notes that the Shepherd of Hermes was well accepted but not by all. For various ancient lists with their evaluation of books circulating among the Christians, see Metzger, Canon of the New Testament, 305–15.

[22] Sinaiticus contains the Letters of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas while Alexandrinus included 1 and 2 Clement. Because Vaticanus breaks off at Hebrews 9:14, it is unknown what other materials it contained (see Bruce, Canon of Scripture, 205–7).

[23] See Thomas A. Wayment, “False Gospels: An Approach to Studying the New Testament Apocrypha,” in this volume.

[24] Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 19.

[25] Ehrman, Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, 19.

[26] Metzger, Canon of the New Testament, 252.

[27] Hurdato, Lord Jesus Christ, 2–3, 24–26.

[28] Metzger, Canon of the New Testament, 252, Bruce, Canon of Scripture, 260–61. Some have pushed the idea that the early Church did not have a clear conception of what was orthodox and what was not (see Walter Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity, ed. Robert Kraft and Gerhard Krodel [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971]). Bauer argued that earliest Christianity was not composed of a single harmonious unit. The harmony suggested by Eusebius and promulgated by orthodox Christianity for centuries, he believed, was little short of propaganda. Instead, the church was fragmented by competing factions and divergent forms with no standard by which to judge which was correct. Bauer’s methodology has been questioned, and, though scholars admit that early Christianity was not monolithic, they insist that it did have core beliefs intact. For a list of books and articles evaluating Bauer’s work, see Ehrman, Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, 33–34n16. Hurdato, Lord Jesus Christ, 520–21, has shown that Bauer’s work simply has not withstood the test of time. He argues effectively that the earliest church had a strict sense of who Jesus was and what He taught. The proto-orthodox continued to trust that sense and used it as the criterion for judging what was true and false (see Hurdato, Lord Jesus Christ, 1–11, 259–62).

[29] See Hurdato, Lord Jesus Christ, 259–347.

[30] Ehrman, Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, 19.

[31] Metzger, Canon of the New Testament, 253; Bruce, Canon of Scripture, 259–60. According to Eusebius, Origen argued for apostolic authority for any writing to be considered holy (see, for example, Eusebius, History of the Church, 6.12.1–6).

[32] Ehrman, Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, 19; Metzger, Canon of the New Testament, 253, Bruce, Canon of Scripture, 261–62.

[33] Bruce, Canon of Scripture, 262–63.

[34] Bruce, Canon of Scripture, 262–63.

[35] Bruce, Canon of Scripture, 263–65.

[36] Bruce, New Testament Documents, 27.