The Formation of the New Testament
The Bible is the best selling book in history by far, and for Christians it is the very source of our information about who God is, what He has done for us, and what He expects us to do. Therefore, it is very important that we know how it came into being, who wrote it, how it was preserved, and what evidences we have that we have an accurate copy of the originals.
The New Testament is made up of 27 letters written by nine different authors over about 50 years (45-95 A.D.). The authors were either Apostles of Jesus Christ, or in Luke and Mark’s case, got their information and authority to write from the Apostles. These authors wrote at different times from different places to different audiences for different purposes, yet all of them had the same message of redemption through the atoning work of Christ on the cross. How did all these letters sent out to different places end up being gathered together into one book we call the New Testament? Who decided which books should be included or excluded? Since the writing material was so poor in the first century, how were these books preserved? What early copies do we have that help us verify what the originals said?
We will endeavor to discover just how your Bible that you read ended up just as you have it, and how we know that it is a reliable copy of what was originally written by the Apostles.