10 Misconceptions About the New Testament Canon

Greg Strand – July 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Questions about canonicity of the Bible have often been used to discredit the authority of the Bible. This issue has become especially acute in the past number of years with attention being given The Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Judas, and others, gospels besides the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Michael J. Kruger is doing some of the most helpful work today on the issues of the canon. Kruger penned Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books (Crossway, 2012), and he has also written The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate (IVP, 2013) which will be published later this year.

Kruger also writes a blog in which he includes a great deal of helpful information. He has done a couple of extremely helpful series, one I share today, and the second tomorrow.

Below you will find links to his excellent series on “10 Misconceptions About the NT Canon.

  1. The Term “Canon” Can Only Refer to a Fixed, Closed List of Books
  2. Nothing in Early Christianity Dictated That There Would be a Canon
  3. The New Testament Authors Did Not Think They Were Writing Scripture
  4. New Testament Books Were Not Regarded as Scriptural Until Around 200 A.D.
  5. Early Christians Disagreed Widely over the Books Which Made It into the Canon
  6. In the Early Stages, Apocryphal Books Were as Popular as the Canonical Books
  7. Christians Had No Basis to Distinguish Heresy from Orthodoxy Until the Fourth Century
  8. Early Christianity was an Oral Religion and Therefore Would Have Resisted Writing Things Down
  9. The Canonical Gospels Were Certainly Not Written by the Individuals Named in Their Titles
  10. Athanasius’ Festal Letter (367 A.D.) is the First Complete List of New Testament Books

This series is important for you to read. And then after you have read it, have your elders and other leaders read it.

Greg Strand


Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

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