Is this true? I thought that already at the council of Nicea all the christians agreed on which books were supposed to be in the bible. But if they changed so much and changed their opinion so often then how can we be sure that there isn't a book in the bible which doesn't belong there or that there are not books which are lacking which belong in the bible? I think this is somewhat concerning that they changed their opinion about books so often. Actually I thought about this just today. If I had lived back then I don't think I would have been able to say which book is biblical and which isn't and which doctrine is correct and which isn't. For example if you take James 3 which teaches that faith without works is dead then you might actually think that this doesn't fit together with what Romans teaches. My bible extra mentions that there is no contradiction to Romans, but where do they know this? I think if a catholic had told me exactly the same stuff which James 3 says and I had not known that this is in the bible then I would have said that he's wrong and that he's legalistic. Very often I have problems making different statements from different books in the bible fit together and agree with each other. And when I read such things here then I ask myself what if the biblical canon isn't infallible at all and the fact that the bible looks today the way it looks is due to the decisions of some influencial men. And what's also very frustrating is simply the fact that you can impossible know all these things. I'm not a historian and no archaeologist and I don't know much about these things but in order to be able to defend the bible you actually had to be an expert at all these areas and this is simply impossible, this makes me feel really dumb. Even if I read a book about the bible then I still wouldn't know everything and I also wouldn't be able to answer every question and this means you'll always be dependant on what other christian scholars say and these other christian scholars also argue with non-christian scholars an everybody thinks he's right. This makes it so hard to totally trust the bible. How can you totally trust the bible and really rely on it and have a naive,child-like faith when you have to read such things? Church Texts (0-300 AD): Tobit Maccabees Gospel of Mark Gospel of John Gospel of Mary Magdalene Gospel of Judas... Catholic Canon (400+ AD): Tobit Maccabees Gospel of Mark Gospel of John Gospel of Mary Magdalene (no longer accepted) Gospel of Judas (no longer accepted) Protestant Bible (1600+ AD): Tobit (no longer accepted) Maccabees (no longer accepted) Gospel of Mark Gospel of John Gospel of Mary Magdalene (no longer accepted) Gospel of Judas (no longer accepted) Here is a more detailed version: 30 a.d. - 160 a.d. Summary - The New Testament is not clearly distinguished from other Christian writings. Gospels - Generally accepted by 130 Justin Martyr's "Gospels" contain apocryphal material Polycarp was the first to use the four Gospels we have today. Pauline Writings - Generally accepted by 130, though quotations from them are rarely introduced as scriptural. Acts - Scarcely known or quoted from Philippians, 1 Timothy - Rejected as scriptural by Justin Martyr 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon - Rejected as scriptural by Polycarp and Justin Martyr Hebrews - Not considered canonical by majority, and expressly rejected as scriptural by Polycarp and Justin Martyr James - Not considered canonical, and never quoted from; expressly rejected as scriptural by Polycarp and Justin Martyr 1 Peter - Not considered canonical 2 Peter - Not considered canonical and never cited 1,2,3 John - Not considered canonical and rejected as scriptural by Justin Martyr, and partially rejected by Polycarp Jude - Not considered canonical and rejected as scriptural by Polycarp and Justin Martyr Revelation - not canonical and rejected as scriptural by Polycarp Ignatius of Antioch was unaware of half the Gospels and the majority of the Pauline writings. 160 a.d.- 250 a.d. Summary - Awareness of a Canon begins toward the end of the 2nd century. Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria were the first to use the phrase "New Testament" in the 2nd and 3rd century. Gospels - Accepted Acts - Gradually accepted Pauline Writings - Accepted with certain exceptions 2 Timothy - Rejected by Clement Philemon - Rejected by Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian, and Clement Hebrews - Not considered canonical until the 4th century in the West. Disputed by Origen. First accepted by Clement. James - Not canonical. First mentioned and disputed by Origen. Rejected by Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement 1 Peter - Gradual acceptance. First accepted by Irenaeus and Clement 2 Peter - Not canonical. First mentioned and disputed by Origen. Rejected by Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement 1 John - Gradual acceptance. First accepted by Irenaeus, and rejected by Origen. 2 John - Not canonical. Disputed by Origen and rejected by Tertullian and Clement 3 John - Not canonical. Disputed by Origen and rejected by Tertullian and Clement Jude - Gradual acceptance. Accepted by Clement and rejected by Origen. Revelation - Gradual acceptance. First accepted by Clement and rejected by the Barococcio Canon of 206 Epistle of Barnabas - Accepted by Clement Shepherd of Hermas - Accepted by Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, and Clement The Didache - Accepted by Clement The Apocalypse of Peter - accepted by Clement The Acts of Paul - Accepted by Clement, and appears in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Armenian, and Arabic translations Gospel of Hebrews - Accepted by Clement. Accepted by Muratorian Canon of 190 which excluded Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and included The Apocaplypse of Peter and Wisdom of Solomon. 250 a.d. – 325 a.d. Summary - The “Catholic epistles” and Revelation are still being disputed The “Catholic,” or general, epistles are the terms sometimes used for the letters written by James, Peter, John, and Jude. They are so called because they are addressed to Christians in general, not to any church or person in particular such as the epistles to the Corinthians, Thessalonians etc. The word "catholic" originated from Greek and then Latin words which simply meant “throughout the whole.” Gospels, Acts, Pauline Writings - Accepted Hebrews - Accepted in the East. Disputed and rejected in the West. James - Disputed and rejected in the East, and rejected in the West. 1 Peter - Fairly well accepted 2 Peter - Still disputed 1 John - Fairly well accepted 2, 3 John, Jude - Still disputed Revelation - Disputed, especially in the East. Rejected by Dionysius Council of Nicaea (325 a.d.) Questions canonicity of James, 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude From 325 a.d. to Council of Carthage (397 a.d.) Summary - St. Athanasius first lists our present 27 New Testament books as such in 367 a.d. Disputes still persist concerning several books, almost right up until 397, when Canon is authoritatively closed. Gospels, Acts, Pauline Writings, 1 Peter, 1 John - Accepted Hebrews - Eventually accepted in West James - Slow acceptance. Not even quoted in the West until around 350 a.d.! 2 Peter - Eventually accepted 2, 3 John, Jude - Eventually accepted Revelation - Eventually accepted. Rejected by Cyril, John Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzen Epistle of Barnabas - Accepted by Codex Sinaiticus in late 4th century Shepherd of Hermas - Accepted by Codex Sinaiticus in late 4th century. Used as a textbook for catechumens (those studying to become Christian). 1 Clement, 2 Clement - Accepted by Codex Alexandrinus in late 5th century!