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The Canon of the N.T.
pp. 37 - 40
There are twenty-seven books in the N.T. canon, and Michaelis says that, in the case
of the N.T., the testimony is much stronger than in the case of any other ancient writings,
for the books of the N.T. were addressed to large societies in many distant parts of the
world, in whose presence they were often read, and who acknowledged them as the
autographs of the writers themselves. Unlike other writings that have come down to us
from antiquity, those of the N.T. were read over three-quarters of the known world, and
an unbroken succession of writers, from the very age of the apostles to our own time,
both friend and foe, make continual reference to them and give quotations from them.
Before the close of the second century, translations of the N.T. had been made. This
would effectively prevent alterations, additions, or subtractions, for such a fraud would
immediately become known and exposed.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica, third edition, says:
"This argument is so strong, that, if we deny the authenticity of the N.T., we may with
a thousand times greater propriety reject all the other writings in the world."
A few facts.
It cannot be shown that any one doubted the authenticity of any book of the
N.T. in the period when such books appeared.
There is no record that would lead one to reject any such books as spurious.
No great length of time elapsed after the death of the writer before the N.T. was
The books of the N.T. are actually mentioned by writers living at or near the
same time as the Apostles.
No facts are recorded of what actually happened after the deaths of the writers,
apart, of course, from prophecy.
Some outstanding witnesses.
Irenaeus, born 120A.D., calls the books of the N.T. "The Rule of Truth", Tertullian
said of Marcion, the Gnostic, that he appeared to make use of "a complete document".
Clement of Alexandria exclaims against any other authority besides "the true evangelical
canon". Origen was zealous in maintaining the "Ecclesiastical Canon'", and recognized
"Four Gospels only, which alone are received without controversy in the universal church
spread over the whole earth".