We have noticed that there is serious confusion on the internet regarding the development of the New Testament.
First of all, the canon of the New Testament was not even on the agenda at the Council of Nicaea:
Secondly, there are a lot of people running around the internet claiming that the New Testament was not put together until centuries after Christ was crucified.
Dan Brown, the author of the Davinci Code, and many others have attempted to promote the claim that that New Testament books were not decided upon until the 4th century under the Roman Catholic councils.
Does this claim have any merit whatsoever?
Well, for starters, Dan Brown is not a religious expert at all. In fact, Dan Brown admitted in court that his wife did most of the research for the Davinci Code:
The reality is that the Davinci Code is interesting fiction, but the facts about the New Testament tell an entirely different story:
Fact #1) Paul's letters were already considered scripture in the mid 1st century. Take a look at how the apostle Peter himself called them Scripture:
2 Peter 3:14-16
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Fact #2) The apostle Paul, writing between A.D. 62 and A.D. 65, quoted Luke 10:7 and called it Scripture:
Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.
Now look at how Paul quoted Luke 10:7 as Scripture in 1 Timothy 5:18.....
For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."
So we can clearly see that the apostle Paul himself considered the gospel of Luke to be scripture in the middle of the 1st century.
Fact #3) Irenaeus, writing about 170 A.D., tells us that the 4 fold gospel was already a rock solid fact by then:
But it is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the church has been scattered throughout the world, and since the "pillar and ground" of the church is the Gospel and the spirit of life, it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing incorruption on every side, and vivifying human afresh. From this fact, it is evident that the Logos, the fashioner [demiourgos] of all, he that sits on the cherubim and holds all things together, when he was manifested to humanity, gave us the gospel under four forms but bound together by one spirit. (Against Heresies 3.11.8)
Fact #4) The fact of the four-fold gospel is also reflected in the "Muratorian Fragment" which was written about the same time (around 170 A.D.) that Irenaeus was writing. The Muratorian Fragment lists for us basically the whole New Testament canon and it shows us once again that the four-fold gospel was an established fact by then.
Fact #5) We have approximately 50 manuscripts of the New Testament that PRE-DATE the Roman takeover of the established church in the 4th century.
Fact #6) We have more than 32 THOUSAND New Testament quotations from the early church writers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries. In fact, we could recreate virtually the entire New Testament just from the quotes of the early church writers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries. We can be QUITE certain that the New Testament we have today has come down to us just as it was from the earliest days, and we can be QUITE certain what they considered to be scripture.
Yes, the Roman government came along in the 4th century and corrupted and paganized the institutional church. There were many Christians who resisted this, and they were persecuted brutally. However, Christianity and the Bible were doing JUST FINE before Rome ever came on the scene.