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The Principles of New Testament Canon The process of determining New Testament canon is the study of how the twenty-seven books that are currently part of the New Testament came to be From the many early Christian writings only twenty-seven were placed into ecclesiastical canon The process of researching New Testament canon is the study of how the select list of twenty-seven was formulated The canonized books of the New Testament are considered sacred scripture and have been determined to be canon throughout a very controversial history The word canon comes from the Greek word kanon which means reed a tool for measurement or alignment In the craftsmanship field a reed was known to be a standard or a ruler in which to judge other things by Finally the word came to be recognized as a formal list or table Throughout the first three centuries of the Christian era the term kanon was designated to set aside ethical and doctrinal content of the Christian faith The first use of canon as applied to Christian writings occurred in 350 AD when Athanasius bishop of Alexandria in his decrees of the Council of Nicea used the term canon to refer to authentic New Testament works In the decree the bishop describes the document known as The Shepherd of Hermas as not part of New Testament canon In 367 in the bishops famous Easter Letter he gives a list of authoritative early Christian writings and refers to them being canonical At about the same time in history the Council of Laodicea refers to two different lists of New Testament writings both ones that are canonical and those that are uncanonical Canon is referred to today as being the closed set of Christian writings that formulate the New Testament The word kanon first appeared in early Christian writings when Paul wrote to Galatia Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this kanon Gal 616 Paul
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