The entire Christian world unanimously believes that the Bible is inspired and true, that it is the Word of God written down and bounded. But how did we ever get such a wonderful written sacred Text?
First, the Bible did not fall down from heaven. Instead, God used his Church as his instrument to authoritatively define which books belong in the Bible. We have to know that the Bible is a Catholic Book. Yes! It is a Catholic Book written and bounded by the rightful God-given authority of the Catholic Church basing it from her Tradition. This is something that other Christians who have attacked the Catholic Church would never want to know or would rather deny because they know they could never discredit this important historical fact. Some well known Protestants, like John Newman, and G.K. Chesterton became Catholic when they discovered this fact.
|The New Testament books were written at this span of time.|
|140||Marcion, a businessman in Rome, taught that there were two Gods: Yahweh, the cruel God of the Old Testament, and Abba, the kind father of the New Testament. Marcion removed the Old Testament as scriptures and, since he was anti-Semitic, kept from the New Testament only 10 letters of Paul and 2/3 of Luke’s gospel (he deleted references to Jesus’s Jewishness). Marcion’s “New Testament”, the first to be compiled, forced the mainstream Church to decide on a core canon: the four Gospels and Letters of Paul.|
|200||The periphery of the canon is not yet determined. According to one list, compiled at Rome c. AD 200 (the Muratorian Canon), the New Testament consists of the 4 gospels; Acts; 13 letters of Paul (Hebrews is not included); 3 of the 7 General Epistles (1-2 John and Jude); and also the Apocalypse of Peter.|
|367||The earliest list of the books of the NT, in exactly the number and order in which we presently have them, is written by Athanasius, Catholic Bishop of Alexandria, in his Festal letter # 39 of 367 A.D..|
|382||The Council of Rome under Pope Damasus’ initiative continued with the defining of a universal canon for all city-churches. The said council listed the New Testament books according to the number and order we now have at present.|
|393||The Council of Hippo continued discussing which books and epistles must belong in the bible. The Canon proposed by Bishop Athanasius still prevailed.|
|397||Amidst the problem of schisms happening within the Church in the east, especially within Antioch, the Council of Carthage, continued to refine the canon of the New Testament for the Western Church, sending it back to Pope Innocent for ratification.|
|AD787||The Ecumenical Council of Nicaea II adopted the canon of Carthage. At this point, both the Latin West and the Greek / Byzantine East had the same canon. However, the non-Greek, Monophysite and Nestorian Churches of the East (the Copts, the Ethiopians, the Syrians, the Armenians, the Syro-Malankars, the Chaldeans, and the Malabars) were still left out. But these Churches came together in agreement, in 1442A.D., in Florence.|
|1442||The 27 books of the New Testament affirmed at the Council of Florence was recognized by the entire Church. This council confirmed the Roman Catholic Canon of the Bible which Pope Damasus I had published a thousand years earlier. So, by 1439, all orthodox branches of the Church were legally bound to the same canon. This is 100 years before the Protestant Reformation.|
|1536||Luther Protested against the Catholic Church. In his translation of the Bible from Greek into German, Luther removed 4 N.T. books (Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation) and placed them in an appendix saying they were less than canonical.|
|1546||At the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church reaffirmed finally the full list of 27 New Testament books. The council also confirmed the inclusion of the Deuterocanonical books which had always been a part of the Bible canon since the early Church as confirmed at the councils of 393 AD, 373, 787 and 1442 AD. At Trent, Rome actually dogmatized the canon, making it more than a matter of canon law, which had been the case up to that point, closing it for good.|