Saturday, March 10, 2018

Defending The Traditional Dating Of The New Testament Books

  • Defining The Issues:
          -Liberal skeptics have attempted to cast doubt on the claims of Christianity by insisting that the New Testament books were written by pseudonymous authors hundreds of years after traditionally ascribed dates and that the early church had intentionally omitted writings which have now been referred to as lost books of the Bible.
  • We Know That At Least Half Of The New Testament Was Authored By The Apostle Paul Because Peter Had Equated His Writings With The "Other Scriptures":
          -"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." (2 Peter 3:15-16)
  • 1 Corinthians Contains An Oral Creed Uttered By The Apostle Paul That Even Most Liberal Scholars Date To The Time Frame Of Christ's Death In The 30's. So We Know That The Gospel Has Been Preserved Throughout The Centuries By The Divine Providence Of God:
          -"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
  • The Apostle Paul Quoted From Luke's Gospel Narrative In 1 Timothy 5:18, Which Gives Us Sufficient Reason To Believe That Both The One Gospel Narrative And Acts Were Written At Early Dates By The Traditionally Ascribed Author:
          -"And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house." (Luke 10:7)
          -"For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:18)
  • Early Manuscript Fragment Of John's Gospel Narrative:
          -"The earliest actual manuscript copy of any New Testament work is a fragment of John 18, written on papyrus. It has been dated to AD 100." (Nick Page, Instant Expert: The Bible, p. 40)
  • The New Testament Epistles Were Being Circulated To Other Churches Even As The Apostles Lived:
          -"And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea." (Colossians 4:16)
          -"I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers." (1 Thessalonians 5:27)
          -"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” (Revelation 1:10-11)
  • Incredible Consistency Among Thousands Of New Testament Manuscripts--No Difference In Rendering Even Comes Close To Harming An Article Of Judeo-Christian Tradition:
          -"The works of several ancient authors are preserved to us by the thinnest possible thread of transmission..in contrast...the textual critic of the New Testament is embarrassed by the wealth of his material." (Bruce M. Metzger, cited in Evidence That Demands a Verdict)
          -"The number of mss. of the New Testament, of early translations from it, and of quotations from it in the oldest writers of the Church, is so large that the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved in some one or the others of these ancient authorities.This can be said of no other book in the world." (Frederic G. Kenyon, Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts: Being a History of the Text and Its Translations)
          -"Even liberal bishop John A. T. Robinson argued in his Redating the New Testament that the entire New Testament was written and in circulation between 40 and 65 A.D. And liberal Peter Stuhlmacher of Tubingen, trained in Bultmann’s critical methodology of form criticism, says, “As a Western scripture scholar, I am inclined to doubt these [Gospel] stories, but as historian, I am obligated to take them as reliable…The biblical texts as they stand are the best hypothesis we have until now to explain what really happened.” (https://www.jashow.org/articles/the-historical-reliability-of-the-new-testament-text-part-4/)
  • Major Patristic Evidence For The Traditional Dating And Authorship Of The New Testament Scriptures. See This Comprehensive Article From Evidence Unseen For Further Details:
          -"The three earliest church fathers that we have are Clement of Rome (A.D. 96), Ignatius (A.D. 108), and Polycarp (A.D. 110). These three wrote between A.D. 96 and 110, and they quote 25 of the 27 New Testament books. This demonstrates that these were in circulation before their time. Geisler and Nix write, “The apostolic Fathers may be cited as referring to all of the New Testament books within about a century of the time they were written.” The early Christians quoted the NT so much that they quoted all but eleven verses."
  • Professor Michael J. Kruger Documents At The Canon Fodder The Church Father Origin As Recognizing The Full New Testament Canon In The Third Century:
          -"So too our Lord Jesus Christ…sent his apostles as priests carrying well-wrought trumpets. First Matthew sounded the priestly trumpet in his Gospel, Mark also, and Luke, and John, each gave forth a strain on their priestly trumpets. Peter moreover sounds with the two trumpets of his Epistles; James also and Jude. Still the number is incomplete, and John gives forth the trumpet sound through his Epistles [and Apocalypse]; and Luke while describing the deeds of the apostles. Latest of all, moreover, that one comes who said, “I think that God has set us forth as the apostles last of all” (1 Cor 4:9), and thundering on the fourteen trumpets of his Epistles he threw down, even to their very foundations, the wall of Jericho, that is to say, all the instruments of idolatry and the dogmas of the philosophers. (Hom. Josh. 7.1, as cited in Metzger, The New Testament Canon, 139)
  • A Few Comments On So-Called "Lost Books" Of The Bible:
          -These so-called "lost books and gospel narratives" that did not make it into the canon were excluded because they never belonged there in the first place. They were never removed from the canon, but rather, were rejected as inspired. The early church did not establish the canon, but rather, recognized which books were God-breathed. The Lord never authorized man to be in a position to determine which of His books would be deemed worthy of being considered Scripture. God, not man, decided the canon. There has always been a general consensus as to which books should be included in the New Testament canon. The books of Hebrews, James, 2 John, 3 John, 2 Peter, and Revelation were questioned for a time. Even so, they passed the test for canonicity under the divine providence of God.

3 comments:

  1. I especially liked the point that you made about the early church fathers quoting scripture. Thus proving the scriptures early origen.

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  2. "We Know That At Least Half Of The New Testament Was Authored By The Apostle Paul Because Peter Had Equated His Writings With The "Other Scriptures" "

    Why should we suppose Paul had seen the gospels we have? There were numerous writings in the early church; at best this indicates Paul saw some texts, but not the canonical gospels.

    More likely, however, "other scriptures" refers to what we would call the Old Testament. Certainly that is what Paul meant by "scripture" whenever he used the word in his epistles.

    "1 Corinthians Contains An Oral Creed Uttered By The Apostle Paul That Even Most Liberal Scholars Date To The Time Frame Of Christ's Death In The 30's. So We Know That The Gospel Has Been Preserved Throughout The Centuries By The Divine Providence Of God:"

    Again, this only proves there was something in the way of a gospel. The early creed in 1 Cor 15 is just a few verses, and is likely to have been an oral tradition originally, and that may well have still been the case when Paul was writing.

    It is telling that the creed is absent from the gospels; none of them report the same sequence of appearances that are presented in the creed, so to claim this as evidence that they were already written is very dubious.

    "The Apostle Paul Quoted From Luke's Gospel Narrative In 1 Timothy 5:18, Which Gives Us Sufficient Reason To Believe That Both The One Gospel Narrative And Acts Were Written At Early Dates By The Traditionally Ascribed Author:"

    More likely, the quote comes from the OT, given Paul specifically says it is from scripture, which to him was exclusively the OT (Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:15).

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  3. Hello Anonymous,

    "Why should we suppose Paul had seen the gospels we have? There were numerous writings in the early church; at best this indicates Paul saw some texts, but not the canonical gospels."

    We can make that assumption because the four gospels were written for the people of God and read by the people of God. Paul was definitely associated with the Christian church. The vast majority of apocryphal Christian literature came long after he was deceased.

    "More likely, however, "other scriptures" refers to what we would call the Old Testament. Certainly that is what Paul meant by "scripture" whenever he used the word in his epistles."

    That is true, but notice how Peter assigns the same status to Paul's letters as the Old Testament. Both are considered by him to be inspired Scripture. Paul's epistles were already being circulated around the Middle East and Asia Minor as the apostles lived.

    "It is telling that the creed is absent from the gospels; none of them report the same sequence of appearances that are presented in the creed, so to claim this as evidence that they were already written is very dubious."

    I was not speaking of the four gospel narratives per sae, but pointing out that we do have the gospel message preserved in its original state. Nonetheless, the argument that the exact sequence of wording in this oral creed does not appear in the four gospels is foolish and lacking in substance. Paul and the authors of the four gospels were different people and had their own ways of expressing ideas. There is no disagreement amongst these sources.

    "More likely, the quote comes from the OT, given Paul specifically says it is from scripture, which to him was exclusively the OT (Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:15)."

    While the phrase "The laborer is worthy of his wages" is based on the Old Testament, it is still a citation from Luke by Paul. It is a verbatim citation.

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