According to second Timothy all Scripture is the “inspired” Word of God. The text reads, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16 NRSV). The early church accepted the Old Testament of the Bible as Holy Scripture because Jesus and the apostles accepted it. They understood that Scripture was inspired by God, passed on from God to the Apostles and from the Apostles to the church. Because the doctrine came from God, the church trusted and believed that the doctrine was authoritative and therefore unchangeable. However, during the second century as Christianity grew other doctrines appeared that contradicted the teachings of the apostles. These doctrines attacked the core beliefs of the Christian faith. Because of these attacks, the church responded by establishing a list of inspired books which the Church regarded as organizing Holy Scripture. The list of books is called the canon of Scripture. Canon means rule or straight rod, it is a list of inspired writings that are considered the authoritative scripture of Christianity. The list also distinguishes the writings of the apostles from the writings of heretics.
Criteria for Canonization
In order for Scripture to be approved for canonization, three basic criteria were established. First, the Scripture must be either Apostolic, which meant it must be written by an apostle or someone that knew an apostle. Second, the Scripture must support the rule of faith. In other words, the text cannot contradict the core set of Christian beliefs about the identity of Christ. Finally, the Scripture must be widely used by churches in the community.
Christian Doctrine Challenged
Christians believe in one God and Jesus the Son of God Additionally, Christians believe that God created the universe and that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. Christians also believe that Jesus was fully God and fully human. According to John 1, verses 1 through 3 Jesus and God are one and everything that was created was created by Him. The 14th verse of the first chapter of John confirms that Jesus became flesh and lived among His people. The text reads, “The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son” (John 1:14 NRSV).
In contrast, Gnosticism a movement with teachings similar to Christianity taught that Jesus was a messenger. He brought the secret knowledge necessary for salvation. Gnostic doctrine was based on secret knowledge which Gnostics taught was required for salvation. Similar to Christian doctrine, Gnostics declared that the...