When it comes to the study of the New Testament canon, few questions have received more attention than the canon’s date. When did we have a New Testament canon? Well, it depends on what one means by “New Testament canon.” If one is simply asking when (some of) these books came to be regarded as Scripture, then we can say that happened at a very early time. But, if one is asking when we see these books, and only these books, occur in some sort of list, then that did not happen until the fourth century. To establish this fourth-century date, most scholars will appeal to the well-known canonical list of Athanasius, included in his Festal Letter in 367 A.D.
But, is Athanasius really the first complete New Testament list? Despite the repeated claims that he is, we have a list by Origen more than a century earlier (c.250), that seems to include all 27 books. Origen, in his Homilies on Joshua, writes:
So too our Lord Jesus Christ…sent his apostles as priests carrying well-wrought trumpets. First Matthew sounded the priestly trumpet in his Gospel, Mark also, and Luke, and John, each gave forth a strain on their priestly trumpets. Peter moreover sounds with the two trumpets of his Epistles; James also and Jude. Still the number is incomplete, and John gives forth the trumpet sound through his Epistles [and Apocalypse]; and Luke while describing the deeds of the apostles. Latest of all, moreover, that one comes who said, “I think that God has set us forth as the apostles last of all” (1 Cor 4:9), and thundering on the fourteen trumpets of his Epistles he threw down, even to their very foundations, the wall of Jericho, that is to say, all the instruments of idolatry and the dogmas of the philosophers.
This is a fascinating passage. A reasonable interpretation of Origen’s words would leave us with a list of 27 books (he obviously puts the book of Hebrews with Paul’s letters). There is the question of whether the book of Revelation was original to this list—some manuscripts have it, some do not. …
This language suggests not only that Origen had a 27 book canon, but that, in his mind at least, that canon was closed.
Jesus’ statements in ‘Revelation’ support the apostles’ NT church life teaching and also present a balance to the trendy, lovey-dovey view of God. Jesus also added a strict warning to not be altered :: The Bible can be trusted!
The Early Church Fathers and Biblical Authority 100-400 A.D.: “All writers accepted the inspiration and authority of Holy Scripture as self-evident. … There was no temptation to restrict its range to favored passages of the Bible.”
The Gospels are New Covenant and Apply To Us Today — Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to lead the disciples into all truth and to REMIND them of what He taught them to do. Then they did it and we can too — unstoppable!