Apocryphal Gospels, Conspiracy Theories, and the Mainstream Media

One thing that I have observed over the years is that major media outlets love apocryphal gospels.  Whenever the person of Jesus is discussed–usually at Easter and Christmas–there is always a discussion about how the real story of Jesus has been suppressed and can only now be found in these lost gospels.

Sweeping claims are then made about how there was no agreement on much of anything in the first four centuries of the faith and that other stories of Jesus circulated by the thousands. Only after Constantine came along does the church decide which books to accept (and then subsequently denies all other books admission to the club).

When …

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Persistent Myths about the Origins of the New Testament

Are the NT manuscripts corrupted?  Have scribes irreparably changed the text?  Were Christian scribes competent to copy the text reliably?

How many “other” gospels were there in early Christianity? Were these gospel suppressed by “orthodox” groups? Were these lost gospels as popular as the canonical ones?

Don Carson and I answer these questions for a TGC video:

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When Is the First Time We See a New Testament Book Used as Scripture?

Few issues in the study of the NT canon have generated more discussion (and disagreement) than that of the canon’s date.  When were Christian writings first regarded as “Scripture”?  When was the first time we can see that happening?

For many modern scholars, the key time is the end of the second century.  Only then, largely due to the influence of Irenaeus, were these books first regarded as Scripture.

But, I think there is evidence that NT books were regarded as Scripture much earlier.  And some of this evidence is routinely overlooked.  A good example is the widely neglected text tucked away in 1 Tim 5:18:

For the Scripture says,

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It’s Here! My New @Ligonier DVD Series on the Origins of the NT Canon

One of the most common questions I am asked is whether I have introductory, lay-level material on the origins of the NT canon that people can use in their churches.  For small group Bible studies or Sunday School classes, most people simply won’t read Canon Revisited or any of my other books.

So, I am pleased to say that Ligonier is about to release a new DVD series where I give six introductory lectures on the origins and authority of the NT canon.  My hope is that this will meet a need for churches looking to do something on canon but not knowing where to turn.

You can order the …

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What about the ‘Lost’ Books of the Bible?

In modern studies of the NT canon, there is a lot of discussion (maybe even obsession!) with so-called ‘lost’ books of the Bible. So, we have recent book titles like Lost Scriptures, Forgotten Scriptures, and The Lost Bible.

In fact, scholar Philip Jenkins even wrote a whole book documenting (and critiquing) the academic community’s fascination with this theme: Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way.

So what do we with these other books of the New Testament?  A few quick thoughts.

First, most of these books weren’t really ‘lost.’  The early church fathers were very much aware of these other books.  Indeed, they …

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