Where did the New Testament come from? How did we end up with these 27 books?
- The Apostolic Fathers were church leaders who wrote between the end of the first century and the first half of the second century.
- Their use of the New Testament books in their writings gives us insight into how the church viewed these books.
- For example, Clement of Rome wrote a letter to the Corinthian churches around the year 90 and referred to 1 Corinthians, Romans, and Hebrews.
- Many of the books of the New Testament are cited by the church fathers.
- Marcion was the first person we know of to list a canon. He was a heretic who only used edited versions of books that agreed with his false teachings.
- The Muratorian Canon is a list using most of our NT books dating from the late second century (150-200).
- The first known person to make a list that includes our 27 books, no more or less, was Athanasius writing in 373 AD.
- Eusebius wrote a church history around 303 AD. He lists 22 books that everyone recognizes and a group of 5 books that most people recognize. These 27 match our modern 27 books.
Jimmy L. Stokes II has served as preaching minister at the Northeast Side Church of Christ in Bartlett, TN (metro Memphis) since 2010. Bro. Stokes grew up in the Memphis area and is active in the community on a variety of fronts and creatively engages community issues with faith, serves on the Planning Commission in Horn Lake, MS. God uses both his preaching and his musical talents to bless the church. Stokes earned a B.S. in Religious Studies at Southwestern Christian College. He is married to Akilah (Hill) and they have one daughter, Xaria.
Dr. Allen Black is the dean of HST and Professor of New Testament. He has been at HST since 1983, and teaches the Gospels, Hebrews, 1 Peter, and New Testament Exegesis. Black has served as Adult Education Minister at the Highland Church of Christ for over 35 years.
Harding School of Theology, a graduate school of theology (seminary) in Memphis, TN, has been equipping ministers since 1958. Accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, and offering degree programs at the master’s and doctoral levels, HST equips Christian leaders to higher standards of ministry scholarship and challenges them to a deeper faith in God. Combining academic rigor and interpersonal connections, HST emphasizes student engagement in ministry as they study. HST is associated with Churches of Christ, is part of the Stone-Campbell Movement, and is part of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas.