The convenient “package” of sacred scriptures that we call the Bible did not suddenly appear during the time of the apostles. Numerous Gospels, Epistles, Revelations, and other writings were originally part of the New Testament in various times and places. One might find it strange to know that some of these books are no longer included in our Bibles.
But why were these writings removed from the New Testament? Were they suppressed by Constantine or a politicized church? Was there a secret conspiracy to hide certain writings from Christians?
The long and complicated history of the New Testament is an intriguing subject. I came across an essay that I have “borrowed” by Fr. James Bernstein, a Jewish convert to the Christian faith who was one of the founding members of Jews for Jesus. He briefly tells his story of converting from Judaism to Christianity in his teenage years, and then discusses his in depth journey into historical records to find out where we got our New Testament. It is a long, but worthwhile read, especially for anyone who has had questions regarding the validity or historical merit of the New Testament:
As a Jewish convert to Christ via evangelical Protestantism, I naturally wanted to know God better through the reading of the Scriptures. In fact, it had been through reading the Gospels in the “forbidden book” called the New Testament, at age sixteen, that I had come to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our promised Messiah. In my early years as a Christian, much of my religious education came from private Bible reading. Continue reading Where did the Christian Bible come from?