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Friday December 8th 2023

The Formation of New Testament

It takes more than 200 years to complete the whole New Testament canonization.

Our Lord Jesus unfolded the New Testament. His teachings were oral without any written record. However, his words and actions were told over and over again by his followers and witnesses. Later they were written down as record. These written records became the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The Gospels were first gathered as the N.T. canon. In the middle of the second century, many churches publicly taught from the writings of the Gospels. However, the Gospels were not the first biblical books in existence.

Actually Paul’s Epistles existed before the Gospels. Besides Paul’s Epistles, there are other apostles’ Epistles. Totally there are 21 of them. Other apostles’ Epistles are James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude and Hebrews.

By the end of the second century, the four Gospels, Acts, Paul’s Epistles and some of the other Epistles were already gathered as canon. This was essentially an embryonic version of the N.T. canon.

In the 3rd and 4th centuries, many church leaders testified that the N.T. canon of 27 books had already been completed. Yet traditionally, we say that the N.T. canon wasn’t completely formalized until 367 A.D.

Totally there are 27 books in the N.T. We usually separate them into 4 segments. They are
1. The Gospels (4)
2. Acts (1)
3. Epistles (21)
4. Revelation (1)

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