Early Lists Of The Books Of The New Testament

M S M Saifullah, Qasim Iqbal & Muhammad Ghoniem

© Islamic Awareness, All Rights Reserved.

First Composed: 25th August 1999

Last Modified: 31st August 1999

Assalamu-`alaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

Below is a list of books of the New Testament drawn at different times in the history of Christianity. The list is taken from Appendix IV of Bruce Metzger's The Canon Of The New Testament: Its Origin, Significance & Development (1997, Clarendon Press, Oxford). Some of the footnotes and cross references are presented and marked in red. Interested reader may go through the book for further details.

1. The Muratorian Canon

The following translation usually follows the amended text edited by Hans Lietzmann, Das Muratorische Fragment und die Monarchianischen Prologue zu den Evangelien (Kleine Texte, I; Bonn, 1902; 2nd ed., Berlin, 1933.) Owing to the wretched state of the Latin text, it is sometimcs difficult to know what the writer intended; several phrases, therefore, are provided with alternative renderings (enclosed within parentheses). Translational expansions are enclosed within square brackets. The numerals indicate the lines of the original text.

. . . at which nevertheless he was present, and so he placed [them in his narrative] (2) The third book of the Gospel is that according to Luke. (3) Luke, the well-known physician, after the ascension of Christ, (4-5) when Paul had taken him with him as one zealous for the law, (6) composed it in his own name, according to [the general] belief. Yet he himself had not (7) seen the Lord in the flesh; and therefore, as he was able to ascertain events, (8) so indeed he begins to tell the story from the birth of John. (9) The fourth of the Gospels is that of John, [one] of the disciples (10) To his fellow disciples and bishops, who had been urging him [to write], (11) he said, 'Fast with me from today for three days, and what (12) will be revealed to each one (13) let us tell it to one another.' In the same night it was revealed (14) to Andrew, [one] of the apostles, (15-16) that John should write down all things in his own name while all of them should review it. And so, though various (17) elements may be taught in the individual books of the Gospels, (18) nevertheless this makes no difference to the faith of believers, since by the one sovereign Spirit all things (20) have been declared in all [the Gospels]: concerning the (21) nativity, concerning the passion, concerning the resurrection, (22) concerning life with his disciples, (23) and concerning his twofold coming; (24) the first in lowliness when he was despised, which has taken place, (25) the second glorious in royal power, (26) which is still in the future. What (27) marvel is it, then, if John so consistently (28) mentions these particular points also in his Epistles, (29) saying about himself 'What we have seen with our eyes (30) and heard with our ears and our hands (31) have handled, these things we have written to you'? (32) For in this way he professes [himself to be not only an eye-witness and hearer, (33) but also a writer of all the marvelous deeds of the Lord, in their order. (34) Moreover, the acts of all the apostles (35) were written in one book. For 'most excellent Theophilus' Luke compiled (36) the individual events that took place in his presence - (37) as he plainly shows by omitting the martyrdom of Peter (38) as well as the departure of Paul from the city [of Rome] (39) when he journeyed to Spain. As for the Epistles of (40-1) Paul, they themselves make clear to those desiring to understand, which ones [they are, trom what place, or for what reason they were sent. (42) First of all, to the Corinthians, prohibiting their heretical schisms; (43) next, to the Galatians, against circumcision; (44-6) then to the Romans he wrote at length, explaining the order (or, plan) of the Scriptures, and also that Christ is their principle (or, main theme). It is necessary (47) for us to discuss these one by one, since the blessed (48) apostle Paul himself, following the example of his predecessor (49-50) John, writes by name to only seven churches in the following sequence: to the Corinthians (51) first, to the Ephesians second, to the Philippians third, (52) to the Colossians fourth, to the Galatians fifth, (53) to the Thessalonians sixth, to the Romans (54-5) seventh. It is true that he writes once more to the Corinthians and to the Thessalonians for the sake of admonition, (56-7), yet it is clearly recognizable that there is one Church spread throughout the whole extent of the earth. For John also in the (58) Apocalypse, though he writes to seven churches, (59-60) nevertheless speaks to all. [Paul also wrote] out of affection and love one to Philemon, one to Titus, and two to Timothy; and these are held sacred (61-3) in the esteem of the Church catholic for the regulation of ecclesiastical discipline. There is current also [an epistle] to (64) the Laodiceans, [and] another to the Alexandrians, [both] forged in Paul's (65) name to [further] the heresy of Marcion, and several others (66) which cannot be received into the catholic church (67) - for it is not fitting that gall be mixed with honey. (68) Moreover, the Epistle of Jude and two of the above-mentioned (or, bearing the name of John are counted (or, used) in the catholic [Church] and [the book of Wisdom, (70) written by the friends of Solomon in his honour. (71) We receive only the apocalypses of John and Peter, (72) though some of us are not willing that the latter be read in church. (73) But Hermas wrote the Shepherd (74) very recently, in our times, in the city of Rome, (75) while bishop Pius, his brother, was occupying the [episcopal] chair (76) of the church of the city of Rome. (77) And therefore it ought indeed to be read; but (78) it cannot be read publicly to the people in church either among (79) the prophets, whose number is complete, or among (80) the apostles, for it is after [their] time. (81) But we accept nothing whatever of Arsinous or Valentinus or Miltiades, (82) who also composed (83) a new book of psalms for Marcion, (84-5) together with Basilides, the Asian founder of the Cataphrygians....

2. The Canon Of Origen (A.D. c. 185 - 254)

From the composite account put together by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, Vl. XXV. 3-14.

In the first book of his [Origen's] Commentary on the Gospel according to Matthew, defending the canon of the Church, he testifies that he knows only four Gospels, writing somewhat as follows:

(4) 'Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that first was written that according to Matthew, who was once a tax collector but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, who published it for those who from Judaism came to believe, composed as it was in the Hebrew language. (5) Secondly, that according to Mark, who composed it in accordance with the instructions of Peter, who in the catholic Epistle acknowledges him as a son, saying, "She that is in Babylon, elect together with you, salutes you, and so does Mark, my son" (1 Pet. V. 13). (6) And thirdly, that according to Luke, the Gospel commended by Paul (cf. 2 Cor. viii. 18) and composed for those who from the Gentiles [came to believe]. After them all, that according to John.'

(7) And in the fifth book of his Expositions on the Gospel according to John, the same person says this with reference to the Epistles of the apostles:

'But he who was made sufficient to become a minister of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. III. 6), that is, Paul, who "fully preached the gospel from Jerusalem and round about even unto Illyricum" (Rom. XV. 19), did not write to all the churches which he had instructed; and even to those to which he wrote he sent but a few lines. (8) And Peter, on whom the Church of Christ is built, "against which the gates of hell shall not prevail" (Matt. xvi. 18), has left one acknowledged Epistle; possibly also a second, but this is disputed. (9) Why need I speak of him who leaned back on Jesus' breast (John xiii. as), John, who has left behind one Gospel, though he confessed that he could write so many that even the world itself could not contain them (John XXI. 25)? And he wrote also the Apocalypse, being ordered to keep silence and not to write the voices of the seven thunders (Rev. X. 4). (10) He has left also an Epistle of a very few lines; and, it may be, a second and a third; for not all say that these are genuine but the two of them are not a hundred lines long'.

(11) In addition he makes the following statements concerning the Epistle to the Hebrews, in his Homilies upon it: 'That the character of the diction of the Epistle entitled "To the Hebrews" has not the apostle's rudeness in speech, who acknowledged himself to be rude in spcech (1 Cor. XI. 6), that is, in style, but that the Epistle is better Greek in the framing of its diction, will be admitted by everyone who is able to discern differences of style. (12) But again, on the other hand, that the thoughts of the Epistle are admirable, and not inferior to the acknowledged writings of the apostle, this also everyone who carefully examines the apostolic text will admit'.

(13) Further on he adds: 'If I gave my opinion, I should say that the thoughts are those of the apostle, but the style and composition belong to some one who remembered the apostle's teachings and wrote down at his leisure what had been said by his teacher. Therefore, if any church holds that this Epistle is by Paul, let it be commended for this also. For it is not without reason that the men of old time have handed it down as Paul's. ( 14) But who wrote the Epistle, in truth, God knows. Yet the account that has reached us [is twofold], some saying that Clement, bishop of the Romans, wrote the Epistle, and others, that it was Luke, the one who wrote the Gospel and the Acts'.

3. The Canon Of Eusebius Of Caesarea (A.D. 265 - 340)

From Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, III. xxv. 1-7.

At this point it seems appropriate to summarize the writings of the New Testament which have already been mentioned. In the first place must be put the holy quaternion of the Gospels, which are followed by the book of the Acts of the Apostles. (1) After this must be reckoned the Epistles of Paul; next in order the extant former Epistle of John, and likewise the Epistle of Peter must be recognized. After these must be put, if it really seems right, the Apocalypse of John, concerning which we shall give the different opinions at the proper time. (3) These, then, [are to be placed] among the recognized books. Of the disputed books, which are nevertheless familiar to the majority, there are extant the Epistle of James, as it is called; and that of Jude; and the second Epistle of Peter; and those that are called the Second and Third of John, whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name.

(4) Among the spurious books must be reckoned also the Acts of Paul, and the Shepherd, as it is called, and the Apocalypse of Peter; and, in addition to these, the extant Epistle of Barnabas, and the Teachings of the Apostles, as it is called. And, in addition, as I said, the Apocalypse of John, if it seem right. (This last, as I said, is rejected by some, but others count it among the recognized books.) (5) And among these some have counted also the Gospel of the Hebrews, with which those of the Hebrews who have accepted Christ take a special pleasure.

(6) Now all these would be among the disputed books; but nevertheless we have felt compelled to make this catalogue of them, distinguishing between those writings which, according to the tradition of the Church, are true and genuine and recognized, from the others which differ from them in that they are not canonical [lit., entestamented], but disputed, yet nevertheless are known to most churchmen. [And this we have done] in order that we might be able to know both these same writings and also those which the heretics put forward under the name of the apostles; including, for instance, such books as the Gospels of Peter, of Thomas, of Matthias, or even of some others besides these, and the Acts of Andrew and John and the other apostles. To none of these has any who belonged to the succession of ecclesiastical writers ever thought it right to refer in his writings. (7) Moreover, the character of the style also is far removed from apostolic usage, and the thought and purport of their contents are completely out of harmony with true orthodoxy and clearly show themselves that they are the forgeries of heretics. For this reason they ought not even to be reckoned among the spurious books, but are to be cast aside as altogether absurd and impious.

4. A Canon Of Uncertain Date And Provenance Inserted in Codex Claromontanus

In the sixth-century codex Claromontanus (D), a Greek and Latin manuscript of the Epistles of Paul, someone placed between Philemon and Hebrews a Latin list of the books of the Bible. Zahn and Harnack were of the opinion that this list had been drawn up originally in Greek at Alexandria or its neighbourhood about A.D. 300. J. Weiss suggested a North-African origin.

[An Old Testament list is followed by:]

Four Gospels:
Matthew, 2600 lines
John, 2000 lines
Mark, 1600 lines
Luke, 2900 lines
Epistles of Paul:
To the Romans, 1040 lines
The First to the Corinthians, 1060 lines
The Second to the Corinthians, 70 (sic) lines
To the Galatians, 350 lines
To the Ephesians, 365 lines
The First to Timothy, 209 lines
The Second to Timothy, 289 lines
To Titus, 140 lines
To the Colossians, 251 lines
To Philemon, 50 lines
- The First to (sic) Peter,9 200 lines
The Second to (sic) Peter, 140 lines
Of James, 220 lines
The First Epistle of John, 220
The Second Epistle of John, 20
The Third Epistle of John, 20
The Epistle of Jude, 60 lines
- Epistle of Barnabas, 850 lines
The Revelation of John, 1200
The Acts of the Apostles, 2600
- The Shepherd, 4000 lines
- The Acts of Paul, 3560 lines
- The Apocalypse of Peter, 270

The dash before 1 Peter may be only a 'paragraphus', or Greek paragraph mark, to suggest that 1 Peter and the items that follow are not part of the 'Epistles of Paul'. The other four dashes lower in the list identify works of doubtful or disputed canonicity.

5. The Canon Of Cyril Of Jerusalem (c. A.D. 350)

From Cyril's Catechetical Lectures, iv. 36.

Then of the New Testament there are four Gospels only, for the rest have false titles and are harmful. The Manichaeans also wrote a Gospel according to Thomas, which being smeared with the fragrance of the name 'Gospel' destroys the souls of those who are rather simple-minded. Receive also the Acts of the Twelve Apostles and in addition to these the seven Catholic Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude; and as a seal upon them all, and the latest work of disciples, the fourteen Epistles of Paul.

But let all the rest be put aside in a secondary rank. And whatever books are not read in the churches, do not read these even by yourself, as you have already heard [me say concerning the Old Testament apocryphal].

Bruce Metzger comments:

The chief surviving work of Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-86), his Catechetical Lectures , were instructions for catechumens as Lenten preparation prior to undergoing baptism on Holy Saturday. Dating from about A.D. 350 they were delivered mostly in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built by Constantin, and were published from shorthand notes taken down by a member of the congregation. It is not surprising that this series of lectures, devoted, as they are, to presenting a full summary of Christian doctrine and practice, contains a list of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. After enumerating the books of the Old Testament, Cyril declares that the New Testament contains only four Gospels, and warns his hearers against other gospels that are forged and hurtful. Following the four Gospels are the Acts of the Twelve Apostles, the seven Catholic Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude, and, Cyril concludes, 'as a seal upon them all, the fourteen Epistles of Paul. But let all the rest be put aside in a secondary rank. And whatever books are not read in the churches' do not read these even by yourself'.[1]

6. The Cheltenham Canon (c. A.D. 360)

From a list contained in a tenth-century Latin manuscript of miscellaneous content (chiefly patristic) that once belonged to the library of Thomas Phillipps at Cheltenham, England; it was identified in 1886 by Theodor Mommsen.

[An Old Testament list is followed by:]

Likewise the catalogue of the New Testament:
Four Gospels: Matthew, 2700 lines
Mark, 1700 lines
John, 1800 lines
Luke, 3300 lines
All the lines make 10,000 lines
Epistles of Paul, 13 in number
The Acts of the Apostles, 3600 lines
The Apocalypse, 1800 lines
Three Epistles of John, 350 lines
One only
Two Epistles of Peter, 300 lines
One only

Since the index of lines [= stichometry] in the city of Rome is not clearly given, and elsewhere too through avarice for gain they do not preserve it in full, I have gone through the books singly, counting sixteen syllables to the line, and have appended to every book the number of Virgilian hexameters.

7. The Canon Approved By The Synod Of Laodicea (c. A.D. 363)

The absence of Canon 60 in a variety of Greek, Latin, and Syriac manuscripts makes it probable that it was a somewhat later appendage, clarifying Canon 59.

Can. 59. Let no private psalms nor any uncanonical books be read in church, but only the canonical ones of the New and Old Testament.

Can. 60. [After listing the books of the Old Testament, the canon continues:] And these are the books of the New Testament: four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles; seven Catholic Epistles, namely, one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude; fourteen Epistles of Paul, one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Hebrews, two to Timothy, one to Titus, and one to Philemon.

Bruce Metzger says:

That a synod held about 363 at Laodicea, a city in Phrygia Pacatania of Asia Minor, took some action regarding the canon is certain, but its precise decision is unknown to us. At the close of the decrees (or 'canons' as such decrees were commonly called) issued by the thirty or so clerics in attendance we read: 'Let no private psalms nor any uncanonical books be read in the church, but only the canonical ones of the New and Old Testament.' Thus far the decree is found in all accounts of the synod with but trifling variations. In the later manuscripts, however, this is followed by a list, first of Old Testament books, then of the New - the latter corresponding to our present canon, with the omission of the Book of Revelation). Since the lists are also omitted in most of the Latin and Syriac versions of the decrees, most scholars consider them to have been added to the report of the Synod of Laodicea sometime after 363. Probably some later editor of the report felt that the books which might be read should be named. In any case, it is clear that the Synod of Laodicea attempted no new legislation. The decree adopted at this gathering merely recognizes the fact that there are already in existence certain books, generally recognized as suitable to be read in the public worship of the churches, which are known as the 'canonical' books. If the catalogues are genuine, they simply give the names of these books, already received as authoritative in the churches that were represented at the synod.[2]

8. The Canon Of Athanasius (A.D. 367)

From Athanasius' Thirty-Ninth Festal Epistle (A.D. 367).

. . . Again [after a list of the Old Testament books] it is not tedious to speak of the [booksl of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. After these, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles called Catholic, of the seven apostles: of James, one; of Peter, two; of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul the apostle, written in this order: the first, to the Romans; then, two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then, to the Philippians; then, to the Colossians; after these, two of the Thessalonians; and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John.

These are fountains of salvation, that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone the teaching of godliness is proclaimed. Let no one add to these; let nothing be taken away from them...

Bruce Metzger comments:

Of the forty-five such festal epistles that Athanasius wrote from A.D. 329 onwards, the Thirty-Ninth Festal Epistle of 367 is particularly valuable, for it contains a list of the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. In the case of the Old Testament, Athanasius excludes the deuterocanonical books, permitting them only as devotional reading. The twenty-seven books of the present New Testament are stated to be the only canonical ones; they stand in sequence of Gospels, Acts, the seven Catholic Epistles the Pauline Epistles (with Hebrews inserted between 2 Thessalonians and 1 Timothy), concluding with the Apocalypse of John. 'These', he declares, 'are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone the teaching of godliness is proclaimed. Let no one add to these; let nothing be taken away from them.'[3]

Further Metzger adds:

The year 367 marks, thus, the first time that the scope of the New Testament canon is declared to be exactly the twenty-seven books accepted today as canonical. But not every one in the Church was ready to follow the opinion of the bishop of Alexandria. For example, the distinguished theologian and contemporary of Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus (d. 389), toward the end of his life drew up in verse (perhaps as an aid to the memory of his readers) a catalogue of the Biblical books. So far as concerns the Old Testament, he agrees with Athanasius, but when it comes to the New Testament he differs in placing the Catholic Epistles after the Pauline Epistles and, more significantly, in omitting Revelation. He then declares, '[In these you have all. And if there is anything outside of these, it is not among the genuine [books].' Although Gregory thus excludes the Apocalypse from the canon, he knows of its existence, and on rare occasions in his other works quotes from it.[4]

9. The Canon Approved By The 'Apostolic Canons' (c. A.D. 380)

A series of eighty-five Canons attributed to the apostles was compiled in the late fourth century by the redactor of the Apostolic Constitutions, of which it forms the concluding chapter;

Can. 85. Let the following books be esteemed venerable and holy by all of you, both clergy and laity. [A list of books of the Old Testament. . .] And our sacred books, that is, of the New Testament, are the four Gospels, of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John; the fourteen Epistles of Paul; two Epistles of Peter; three of John; one of James; one of Jude; two Epistles of Clement; and the Constitutions dedicated to you, the bishops, by me, Clement, in eight books, which it is not appropriate to make public before all, because of the mysteries contained in them; and the Acts of us, the Apostles.

Bruce Metzger comments:

Furthermore, manuscripts of the Arabic version (probably made in Egypt) of the Eighty-Fifth Apostolic Canon differ with respect to the list of canonical Scriptures. Three dating from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, make no mention of the Epistle of Clement. In other manuscripts, following the mention of 'the Apocalypse, vision of John', the list includes with 'the two Epistles of Clement in one book'.[5]

10. The Canon Of Gregory Of Nazianzus (A.D. 329-89)

This canon, included among Gregory's poems (I. xii. 5 ff.), was ratified by the Trullan Synod in 692. It is in iambic verse, the lineation of which (but not the rhythm) is preserved, so far as possible, in the translation. Only the New Testament part is given here.

[List of books of the Old Testament....]
But now count also [the books] of the New Mystery;
Matthew indeed wrote for the Hebrews the wonderful works of
And Mark for Italy, Luke for Greece,
John, the great preacher, for all, walking in heaven.
Then the Acts of the wise apostles,
And fourteen Epistles of Paul,
And seven Catholic [Epistles], of which James is one,
Two of Peter, three of John again.
And Jude's is the seventh. You have all.

If there is any besides these, it is not among the genuine [books].

Metzger comments:

The year 367 marks, thus, the first time that the scope of the New Testament canon is declared to be exactly the twenty-seven books accepted today as canonical. But not every one in the Church was ready to follow the opinion of the bishop of Alexandria. For example, the distinguished theologian and contemporary of Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus (d. 389), toward the end of his life drew up in verse (perhaps as an aid to the memory of his readers) a catalogue of the Biblical books. So far as concerns the Old Testament, he agrees with Athanasius, but when it comes to the New Testament he differs in placing the Catholic Epistles after the Pauline Epistles and, more significantly, in omitting Revelation. He then declares, '[In these you have all. And if there is anything outside of these, it is not among the genuine [books].' Although Gregory thus excludes the Apocalypse from the canon, he knows of its existence, and on rare occasions in his other works quotes from it.[6]

11. The Canon Of Amphilochius Of Iconium (d. 394)

This canon, like the preceding, is in iambic verse; it was written for Seleucus, a friend of Amphilochius. Only the New Testament part (lines 289-319) is given here.

[List of books of the Old Testament.....]
It is time for me to speak of the books of the New Testament.
Receive only four evangelists:
Matthew, then Mark, to whom, having added Luke
As third, count John as fourth in time,
But first in height of teachings,
For I call this one rightly a son of thunder,
Sounding out most greatly with the word of God.
And reccive also the second book of Luke,
That of the catholic Acts of the Apostles.
Add next the chosen vessel,
The herald of the Gentiles, the apostle
Paul, having written wisely to the churches
Twice seven Epistles: to the Romans one,
To which one must add two to the Corinthians,
That to the Galatians, and that to the Ephesians, after which
That in Philippi, then the one written
To the Colassians, two to the Thessalonians,
Two to Timothy, and to Titus and the Philemon,
One each, and one to the Hebrews.
But some say the one to the Hebrews is spurious,
not saying well, for the grace is genuine.
Well, what remaills? Of the Catholic Epistles
Some say we must receive seven, but others say
Only three should be received--that of James, one,
And one of Peter, and those of John, one.
And some receive three [of John], and besides these, two
of Peter, and that of Jude a seventh.
And again the Revelation of John,
Some approve, but the most
Say it is spurious,This is
Perhaps the most reliable (lit., most unfalsified)
carlon of tlle divinely inspired Scriptures.

Bruce Metzger comments on this canon:

In the list of the New Testament books, Amphilochius reports some of the earlier debate concerning the Hebrews, the Catholic Epistles, and the Apocalypse. In fact, not only does he report the doubts of others concerning these books, but he himself appears to reject 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude, and almost certainly rejects Revelation. The most curious feature is that, having thus started the doubts as to the right of several books to be included in the sacred collection, the author ends with the incredible phrase: 'This is perhaps the most reliable canon of the divinely inspired Scriptures'! The presence of the word kanwn, meaning a hypothetical form of the sentence as a whole. In other words, here we have a bishop in Asia Minor, a colleague of the Gregories as of Basil, and yet he seems to be uncertain as to the exact nature of the canon![7]

12. The Canon Approved By The Third Synod Of Carthage (A.D. 397)

The first council that accepted the present canon of the books of the New Testament was the Synod of Hippo Regius in North Africa (A.D. 393); the acts of this council, however, are lost. A brief summary of the acts was read at and accepted by the Synod of Carthage, A D. 397.

Can. 24. Besides the canonical Scriptures, nothing shall be read in church under the name of divine Scriptures. Moreover, the canonical Scriptures are these: [then follows a list of Old Testament books]. The [books of the] New Testament: the Gospels, four books; the Acts of the Apostles, one book; the Epistles of Paul, thirteen; of the same to the Hebrews, one Epistle; of Peter, two; of John, apostle, three; of James, one; of Jude, one; the Revelation of John. Concerning the confirmation of this canon, the transmarine Church shall be consulted. On the anniversaries of martyrs, their acts shall also be read.

According to Zahn, in 419 another Synod held at Carthage gave the concluding words in the following form:

. . . the Revelation of John, one book. Let this be sent to our brother and fellow-bishop, Boniface [of Rome], and to the other bishops of those parts, that they may confirm this canon, for these are the things that we have received from our fathers to be read in church.


[1] B. M. Metzger, The Canon Of The New Testament: Its Origin, Significance & Development, 1997, Clarendon Press, Oxford, pp. 209-210.

[2] ibid., p. 210.

[3] ibid., pp. 211-212.

[4] ibid., p. 212.

[5] ibid., p. 225.

[6] ibid., p. 212.

[7] ibid., pp. 212-213.

The Canon Of The Bible