Was the early church "high and dry" being without Scripture until the 3rd centrury?


#21

I just demonstrated how there was not “significant” portions of the NT that was under dispute.

How did you demonstrate this? I believe the Book of Revelation to be a “significant” portion of the NT.


#22

What do you mean by this? Do you mean that every family had their own written Bible to read?

No.

Or do you mean that every family had access to the Church, where they heard the Word of God professed?

Yes

If the former, I don’t believe theirs sufficient evidence to make that claim. And what if I was in one of those communities who did not accept the Book of Revelation as part of the NT?

Frankly, while I enjoy reading the book of Rev, it is insignificant to understanding the essentials of the Christian faith. If it were never written, there would not be much that is lost by way of essential instruction. Most people today who accept the book of Revelation have never even read it (much less understand it). The same goes for 2 and 3 John. I am glad that they are included, but the church would not be in dire straights without them. So, this is probebly the reason why God did not lead the body of Christ to recognize them early on. No big deal.

Michael


#23

[quote=michaelp]The church as the body of Christ, or the Church as a unified institution?
[/quote]

You pick. The answer will be the same either way. They are completely coterminous in this period of history.


#24

Before they died, they wrote their message down.

Did they write down everything they were taught? Where in this teaching does it say that they did so, and when did the Church transition from an “oral + written tradition” Church to a written tradition only Church.

If they wrote down everything they were taught, why didn’t they write down an inspired table of contents for the Bible?

If the Bible is a “fallible list of infallible books” as Protestantism claims, and there’s no one gifted with the ability to infallibly interpret this fallible lsit fo infallible books, then isn’t this the same as having a fallible bunch of fallible books?

If we cannot be infallible sure of what books are in the Bible, and we can’t be infallible sure of what the Bible means, then why have a Bible?


#25

Only the New Testament in the since that you have defined it. This is not the essence of it, nor does it gain authority only when your three element have come together. It is a nice way to break the issues down, but in no way deals with what I originally placed in the post.

Most of the early Chuch has 80% of the New Testament and lived by their dictates as inspired. They were not waiting for these three elements to combine, they were living according to the teaching of the Apostles as they recorded them. The same thing that we do since the Church “officially” recognized (Protestants)/determined (Catholics) the NT. What I am saying, is that this make very little difference in thought or practice.

Michael


#26

Paul couldn’t have quoted from Luke. Paul was beheaded by order of Nero c. 64. Luke was written after the destruction of the Temple (post-70 A.D.)

Where do you get your dating from. There are not many outside of extremely liberal circles that would place the writing of Lk. after the destruction of Jerusalem.

Your arguments are factually wrong. The only “folk theology” was presented by you.

Actually, I did not even see you deal with my arguements. I think you need to reread my post. You must be misunderstanding of what my post was presenting.

I was not saying that the early Church universally recognized the same books that we have, just that the Pauline corpus, the Synoptics, and Acts (%80) of the NT was recognized and accepted very early, probebly by the end of the first century.

You don’t need to get so defensive. This is not a your right, I am wrong issue as far as Catholics and Protestants are concerned. Catholics can still be catholics and adhere to Apostolic succession even while believing this to be the truth. As a matter of fact, I am not saying anything new to most learned Catholics.

Michael


#27

Michael: As others have agreed with you, it is correct that much of Scripture was recognized from the onset…and certainly all of Scripture was recognized by one group or another. This is not a problem. The problem is that the canon was not universally agreed upon, which should be a problem for Protestants. Protestants have no infallible means of discerning what constitutes the Canon. They profess “sola scriptura”…but as Scripture does not tell us exactly which books are Scripture, an extra-Biblical authority must be used to determine the canon. This is where the Church comes in. In the early centuries, certains books were debated. If the Epistle of Clement is Scripture, Protestants should be reading it. Protestants have no infallible means of rejecting Clement. As various books were disputed in the Early Church, how can Protestants ever be sure that they have the correct Canon? The Bible is their utimate authority…yet Christians do not universally agree on a canon. So how can Protestants ever know for sure? Surely it would be very wrong to venerate a book as inspired that is in fact not, and likewise to reject an inspired text. (Protestants have 39 OT books, 27 NT books; Catholics have 46 OT books, 27 NT books; some EOrthodox Churches have the same canon as the Catholic Church, others have a couple extra OT books; the Ethiopian Church considers the Epistle of Clement Canon—or so I’ve recently read; some Syriac communities still reject Revelation, or so I’ve heard; etc).


#28

[quote=itsjustdave1988] In the West, the canon of Scripture was fixed (by local synods) in the 4th century. However, this canon was not universally fixed until the Council of Florence in the 15th century. In response to Protestant claims against this canon, the Council of Trent made this same canon definitive, that is, universally AND immutably fixed (de fide dogma).
[/quote]

The canon was fixed at the Council of Rome for all practical purposes. Pope Damasus I who presided at that council asked Jerome to provide a Latin translation. The result was the Vulgate, published in 405, containing the exact same writings canonized at the Council of Rome. The Vulgate is still the official Bible of the Church.

Trent affirmed the scriptures contained in the Vulgate. After naming them, this statement follows: QUOTE But if any one receive not, as sacred and canonical, the said books entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition; and knowingly and deliberately contemn the traditions aforesaid; let him be anathema. END QUOTE

JMJ Jay


#29

[quote=itsjustdave1988]How did you demonstrate this? I believe the Book of Revelation to be a “significant” portion of the NT.
[/quote]

Ok, lets just say that the Gospels, Pauline corpus, and Acts were accepted. I have no problem saying Rev and 2 and 3 John were not univerally recognized from the beginning because they are not significant to me when it comes to the essense of the Gospel message. Do you even know without looking what the theme of 2 John is? See, not THAT significant to you either.


#30

[quote=mercygate]You pick. The answer will be the same either way. They are completely coterminous in this period of history.
[/quote]

As I said, most of the NT was recognized very early (possibly within the first centrury). The rest were accepted generally, with exceptions here and there, over the next couple of centuries.


#31

this does not change the fact that most of the early church had most of the NT even by the end of the first century

I think you assume too much. Most of the early Church did not have bibles in their home with all of the books in them, or even 80% of the books in them. Most of the early Church, whether they could read or not, learned their faith not from a book, sacred as it was, but from the ordained ministers of the Church. Even when Paul wrote to the communities he admitted he had much more to say, but wanted to say it in person or send a representative with his letters. Christianity was not then, nor is it now simply a “religion of the book,” as Muslims contend. The book was and remains a sacred part of Christianity, but like Paul admits, there’s much more to be said in person.

In fact, I don’t even believe Judaism was a religion of a book. The Pharisees, as Jesus said, held the chair of Moses, and as such, they held the authority. It seems the Judaic religion was far more than a religion of the book, but more correctly a religion of the book and of tradition. Such traditions like believe in an afterlife and resurrection of the bodies, held by the Pharisees was rejected by other Jews such as the Sadducees. Details pertaining to Hannukah and the traditions of the Passover Seder meal have their source of authority in tradition. The Sadducees were the “Torah only” Jews and the Pharisees, from whence Paul came, believed in the authority of Scripture and tradition, just like Christianity.

The Jews themselves didn’t have an authoritative list of sacred books until the 2nd century. Some rejected everything but the Torah, others did not. Some 2nd century Jews like Theodotian, translated their recension of Book of Daniel, for example, into Greek. This recension was not received into the Masoretic texts or by Protestants, although this recession was received by every Chrisitan Church until Protestantism.

In fact, having an authoritative list of sacred books was not very important to the Church, it seems, until Marcion wanted to omit the OT and add his “version” of sacred books, as well as various Gnostic claims which aslo attempted to include their “sacred books” as part of the authentic apostolic tradition.

It was, first and foremost, the authentic orthodox **tradition **of apostolical men who were successors of the apostles which was the basis for determining what was an was not a sacred book. But it was not these sacred books alone that was authoritative in the mind of the early Church. Yet, the canons of the 4th century are the best witness to what their canon of Scripture was according to the collective will of early Christianity.


#32

Did they write down everything they were taught? Where in this teaching does it say that they did so, and when did the Church transition from an “oral + written tradition” Church to a written tradition only Church.

It is a false assumption to think that EVERYTHING that they taught is needed by the Church. Everything that the prophets of the OT prophecied were not recorded. Every goo and gaga of Christ when he was an infant were not written (though the were by defintion inspired). We don’t need everything do we?

If they wrote down everything they were taught, why didn’t they write down an inspired table of contents for the Bible?

There are alot of things that would have been nice. It would have been nice for Paul to answer his retorical quesions in Rom chapter nine better, but he did not. Just because things would have been practically better, does not make the necessary or even expedient for the faith. The OT did not have an inspired table of contents, but somehow Christ and the apostles got by.

If the Bible is a “fallible list of infallible books” as Protestantism claims, and there’s no one gifted with the ability to infallibly interpret this fallible lsit fo infallible books, then isn’t this the same as having a fallible bunch of fallible books?

It is a false notion to claim that we need mathmatical certianty when certain areas only give moral certianty based on the evidence. For example, you do not know “infallibly” that the sun will rise tomorrow, but you act on it nonetheless because of the overwhelming weight of evidence. You have a moral obligation to act on the fallible knowledge that you have recieved because that knowledge while not infallibly certian, is morally certian. It is the same with the canon. We do not need someone to infallibly say “it is inspired and these are the books” before we are morally obligated to submit to it. I know this is alot to put in one short paragraph, but it is concerning the justification of knowledge theory. In short, it is a common but fallacious theory, expoused primarily among the religious, that we can only be certian of something if it “infallible” certianty. Moral certianty is enough for you to act and live as if the sun is rising tomorrow, moral certianty is enough for me to believe the canon we have today.

If we cannot be infallible sure of what books are in the Bible, and we can’t be infallible sure of what the Bible means, then why have a Bible?

See above. If you need me to explain this more, I will need to start another thread. But you can go to www.thetheologyprogram.com and watch the video on certianty.

Michael


#33

[quote=twf]Michael: As others have agreed with you, it is correct that much of Scripture was recognized from the onset…and certainly all of Scripture was recognized by one group or another. This is not a problem. The problem is that the canon was not universally agreed upon, which should be a problem for Protestants. Protestants have no infallible means of discerning what constitutes the Canon. They profess “sola scriptura”…but as Scripture does not tell us exactly which books are Scripture, an extra-Biblical authority must be used to determine the canon. This is where the Church comes in. In the early centuries, certains books were debated. If the Epistle of Clement is Scripture, Protestants should be reading it. Protestants have no infallible means of rejecting Clement. As various books were disputed in the Early Church, how can Protestants ever be sure that they have the correct Canon? The Bible is their utimate authority…yet Christians do not universally agree on a canon. So how can Protestants ever know for sure? Surely it would be very wrong to venerate a book as inspired that is in fact not, and likewise to reject an inspired text. (Protestants have 39 OT books, 27 NT books; Catholics have 46 OT books, 27 NT books; some EOrthodox Churches have the same canon as the Catholic Church, others have a couple extra OT books; the Ethiopian Church considers the Epistle of Clement Canon—or so I’ve recently read; some Syriac communities still reject Revelation, or so I’ve heard; etc).
[/quote]

Read the above post.


#34

because they are not significant to me when it comes to the essense of the Gospel message.

Interesting view. I disagree of course, because I believe “man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.” (Deut 8:3, Matt 4:4).

I don’t think any revelation of God is insignificant when it comes to the essense of the Gospel message.


#35

[quote=itsjustdave1988]I think you assume too much. Most of the early Church did not have bibles in their home with all of the books in them, or even 80% of the books in them. Most of the early Church, whether they could read or not, learned their faith not from a book, sacred as it was, but from the ordained ministers of the Church. Even when Paul wrote to the communities he admitted he had much more to say, but wanted to say it in person or send a representative with his letters. Christianity was not then, nor is it now simply a “religion of the book,” as Muslims contend. The book was and remains a sacred part of Christianity, but like Paul admits, there’s much more to be said in person.

In fact, I don’t even believe Judaism was a religion of a book. The Pharisees, as Jesus said, held the chair of Moses, and as such, they held the authority. It seems the Judaic religion was far more than a religion of the book, but more correctly a religion of the book and of tradition. Such traditions like believe in an afterlife and resurrection of the bodies, held by the Pharisees was rejected by other Jews such as the Sadducees. Details pertaining to Hannukah and the traditions of the Passover Seder meal have their source of authority in tradition. The Sadducees were the “Torah only” Jews and the Pharisees, from whence Paul came, believed in the authority of Scripture and tradition, just like Christianity.

The Jews themselves didn’t have an authoritative list of sacred books until the 2nd century. Some rejected everything but the Torah, others did not. Some 2nd century Jews like Theodotian, translated their recension of Book of Daniel, for example, into Greek. This recension was not received into the Masoretic texts or by Protestants, although this recession was received by every Chrisitan Church until Protestantism.

In fact, having an authoritative list of sacred books was not very important to the Church, it seems, until Marcion wanted to omit the OT and add his “version” of sacred books, as well as various Gnostic claims which aslo attempted to include their “sacred books” as part of the authentic apostolic tradition.

It was, first and foremost, the authentic orthodox tradition of apostolical men who were successors of the apostles which was the basis for determining what was an was not a sacred book. But it was not these sacred books alone that was authoritative in the mind of the early Church. Yet, the canons of the 4th century are the best witness to what their canon of Scripture was according to the collective will of early Christianity.
[/quote]

Thanks Dave, but I don’t think that I ever assumed that they had a bible in every home. You would be right, this would be trying to say to much. But I never said nor implied that. This is not even needed today. If there is one Bible in one Church in one city, this is enough.

The questions concerning the canon are a different story and are not necessarily part of this post since all I was trying to clear up is that the early Church did have access to most of the NT by the end of the first cerntury (again, access does not mean "a bible in every home).


#36

[quote=itsjustdave1988]Interesting view. I disagree of course, because I believe “man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.” (Deut 8:3, Matt 4:4).

I don’t think any revelation of God is insignificant when it comes to the essense of the Gospel message.
[/quote]

Let me ask you this, if someone were to send you off on a mission trip and said, “you can take one book of these Scriptures” which one would you choose:

  1. Gospel of John
  2. Revelation
  3. 3 John

Michael


#37

[quote=michaelp]Let me ask you this, if someone were to send you off on a mission trip and said, “you can take one book of these Scriptures” which one would you choose:

  1. Gospel of John
  2. Revelation
  3. 3 John

Michael
[/quote]

Gospel of John, my favorite.


#38

We don’t need everything do we?

If by everything you mean all of the traditions, the deposit of faith handed on once and for all by the apostles, yes.

St. John’s Gospel admits that “there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.

It seems to me the apostles wanted to say more, but if they did, they would never stop writing. Instead of writing everything down, they ordained others to hand on the traditions, both written and oral, charging them to hold fast to these traditions.

See …

1 Cor 11:2- hold fast to traditions I handed on to you
2 Thess 2:15- hold fast to traditions, whether oral or by letter
2 Thess 3:6 -shun those acting not according to tradition
Jn 21:25 -not everything Jesus said recorded in Scripture
2 Tim 2:2- what you heard entrust to faithful men
Rom 10:17- faith comes from what is heard *
1 Cor 15:1-2- being saved if you hold fast to the word
I preached*


#39

[quote=michaelp]Let me ask you this, if someone were to send you off on a mission trip and said, “you can take one book of these Scriptures” which one would you choose:

  1. Gospel of John
  2. Revelation
  3. 3 John

Michael
[/quote]

I could take any one of these, but that would limit what I taught in my mission. I can teach the entire deposit of faith with any one of these in my possession, or none, because I’m a Christian guided by God and can evangelize and be Christ-like with or without a book in my hand.


#40

If by everything you mean all of the traditions, the deposit of faith handed on once and for all by the apostles, yes.

No, I just mean every word that was uttered by Christ or the apostles.

St. John’s Gospel admits that “there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.

This is a given. No one really is enlightened to much by this verse. It like saying, there are many other things that God did in OT times that are not recoreded. This is assumed.

It seems to me the apostles wanted to say more, but if they did, they would never stop writing. Instead of writing everything down, they ordained others to hand on the traditions, both written and oral, charging them to hold fast to these traditions.

But this is not the point of this thread. I agree the apostles said more, but the question that then arises, did God want what they said to be passed on as a separate avenue of the one deposit of faith. That is very debatable . . . but an unnecessary, but very related, tangent at this point.

I am just trying to keep the focus. Again, I hear it said over and over again on this site that nobody had the NT until the 3rd or 4th century. As I have tried to show, this is a major misrepresentation of the case since most of the Church had access to 80% of the NT.

Michael


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