It is well known that the New Testament Canon of Scripture (the 27 books of our New Testament bible today) received approval and official status at the Synod of Rome in 382 A.D. Subsequent Synods in other countries confirmed the same canonicity.
Practically, however, a collection of scriptures (no less than 22 of the 27 books) was already circulating among the churches in Europe, Greece, Syria and Africa as early as 170 – 220 A.D.
Our knowledge of this early canonicity comes from 4 main sources who write about the collection they were using:
1. The Muratorian Canon
2. Irenaeus (ca.130 – 200)
3. Tertullian (ca.160-220)
4. Origen (ca.185 -254)
In general, approximately 23 of the 27 books of the canon were given status by the above four authorities before the year 200 A.D. The remaining 5 books are often called the catholic books (catholic meaning “universal” ) and are I Peter I& II John, Jude, and Revelation . They received official status at a later date.
Only one of the apocrypha books was given any consideration as having any authority but this writing …. “The Shepherd of Hermes” …. was not universally accepted so was dropped from consideration. The rest of the apocrypha was never acknowledged by any reputable church leader or “the churches” as scripture.
There is clear and abundant evidence of a very early formation for the canon of scripture without a single “body of officials” giving approval to this circulating canon. The Synod of Rome in 382 A.D., therefore, only confirmed what was already practically acknowledged and in use by early churches nearly 200 years earlier.
Do we have the right bible? Are all the correct books in this canon of scripture? We answer with a resounding yes. Read more here for confirmation: