Who Actually Wrote the Bible?
May 16, 2009 4 Comments
Who wrote the New Testament?
Of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament only eight of them are probably written by whom they are ascribed to. Of the eight; seven are the undisputed letters of Paul, and the other is the Revelations of John, although we don’t know for sure which John it was. In the nineteen that are of disputed authorship, some are hotly argued over, such as; 2 Thessalonians, James, and Peter, and for some there is scarcely any debate over they’re being forgeries at all, such as; 1 Timothy and 2 Peter.
Doubts about the authorship of some of the books that became the canon were expressed in early Christian times, but were mostly dismissed or suppressed. Starting in the early nineteenth century however critical analysis and scholarship on the Bible expanded greatly and some amazing facts started coming out. One of which is the doubtful authorship or forgeries to be found in a book that heretofore had been almost universally accepted to be inerrant.
In the early Christian congregations there was no Bible to draw from, so they used letters and scholarly papers by followers or early converts to hold services and gain knowledge of this shiny new religion. Anything written by Apostles or disciples was highly valued and even in those times there were people who would take advantage of “market conditions”. Early scripture was passed from church to church so many people could see, hear, and learn from it.
Another phenomenon of the times was slightly diverse, or sometimes, hugely different understandings of what the Jesus revelation was all about, and many different groups with different understandings formed and expanded…all needing material to use in their services. A large number of the books used in the new churches were in fact written by people who falsely claimed to be Apostles so they could deceive their readers to accept the views they wanted.
As a result of all this counterfeit and forged “Scripture” it took well over three hundred years for church leaders to decide on an approved book that all could use. Another thing being fought over was whose version of Christianity was the right one. Was it to be the Ebionites or the Marcionites or one of the several Gnostic groups or the Proto-Orthodox? Of course we all know that the Orthodox side was the winners, but many lives were taken and much blood spilt over very small theological differences in the meantime.
The Proto-Orthodox writers in those days such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Hippolytus, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and Tertullian shaped our views of the emerging Christianity and turned the Proto-Orthodox into the Orthodox. By taking divergent views from the Ebionites and the Marcionites they came up with Jesus being both man and God, instead of one or the other, and this became the Orthodox view. It’s not known precisely where the concept of Trinity came from, although some think that Constantine first forwarded the concept.
There remain a number of early Christian writings left among us. Some of these are known as the Apocrypha and they didn’t have enough votes to be canonized and others are called Pseudepigraphical, they are known forgeries. Many other papers and writings were suppressed or destroyed by the early church fathers.