Christians and critics alike often find the development of the New Testament canon an intriguing topic.
As do I.
In fact, with so much discussion on this (sometimes in popular movies or novels even) this is a useful area to check out yourself. Recently I read an interesting post that has a quick summary with some great insight. It also offers some good direction on engaging other works of early Christianity. Read more about the info below here.
Dr. Kruger equips us with four categories that the Church had as they sought to discern the canon. (He explores these each in his post.)
- Recognized Books
- Disputed Books (Not what you think...)
- Rejected Books (...this isn't what you are thinking either...)
- Heretical Books (...but this is what you are thinking!)
And he helpfully shared the implications of these categories:
Knowing these categories can give a person a fairly basic picture of how the canon developed: (1) there was a core canon from a very early time, (2) there was dispute about some of the smaller books that took some time to resolve, (3) Christians continued to find some non-canonical books to be orthodox and helpful, though not Scripture, and (4) some books were so theologically off the mark that they were regarded as altogether heretical.
Again, you can check out his full (& interesting) conversation on this here. It's worth a look for conversations you may find yourself...or building your own trust and understanding of the Church, God's Word, and His hand that has worked throughout history.