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The New Testament Canon

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					The New Testament Canon: An Overview by Genre
(Numbers in parentheses after each book indicate the total number of chapters / verses / words in the Greek version; for more details, see my NT Statistics page)

The NT is normally divided into four main parts (Gospels, Acts, Letters, Apocalypse), although the twenty-one "Letters" are best subdivided into three different sub-categories: I) Four "Gospels": "Good News" about Jesus Christ; authorship attributed to the four "Evangelists"; verbal portraits of Jesus written for various early Christian communities; similar to ancient biographies in form (but rather different from modern biographies!): The Synoptic Gospels: Matthew (28 / 1071 / 18345) Mark (16 / 678 / 11304) Luke (24 / 1151 / 19482) The Fourth Gospel: John (21 / 879 / 15635) II) One "Acts": a partial narrative account of the growth of the Early Church; a continuation of Luke's Gospel; contains historical materials, but is not a complete "history" of apostolic Christianity (at least not by modern historical standards): The Acts of the Apostles (28 / 1005 / 18451) III) Twenty-One "Letters" or "Epistles": written by (or attributed to) various early Christian leaders, known as “apostles” IIIa) Thirteen Letters attributed to Paul: real letters written by Paul (or his associates) to particular communities or individuals, concerning various local problems and issues: Letters sent to Christian communities in the following cities: Romans (16 / 433 / 7111) 1 Corinthians (16 / 437 / 6829) 2 Corinthians (13 / 256 / 4477) Galatians (6 / 149 / 2230) Ephesians (6 / 155 / 2422) Philippians (4 / 104 / 1629) Colossians (4 / 95 / 1582) 1 Thessalonians (5 / 89 / 1481) 2 Thessalonians (3 / 47 / 823) Letters addressed to individual Christian leaders: 1 Timothy (6 / 113 / 1591)

2 Timothy (4 / 83 / 1238) Titus (3 / 46 / 659) Philemon (1 / 25 / 335)
Notes on the Pauline Letters: * 1 Tim, 2 Tim, Titus are usually called the "Pastoral Letters" since they are addressed to leaders or "shepherds" of Christian communities. * Eph, Phil, Col, Phlm are sometimes called "Prison Letters" since Paul apparently wrote them while in prison (Eph 3:1; 4:1; Phil 1:7, 13-14; Col 4:3, 10; Phlm 9-10). * Rom, 1 Cor, 2 Cor, Gal, Phil, 1Thess, Phlm are often called the "Undisputed Letters," since most scholars agree they were written by Paul himself. * Eph, Col, 2 Thess, and 1 Tim, 2 Tim, Titus are often called the "Disputed" or "Deuteropauline Letters," since many scholars believe they were written by Paul's followers after his death, rather than by Paul himself; but scholarly opinion is divided, with some scholars arguing for their authenticity.

IIIb) One Biblical Sermon: interprets Jesus in light of the OT; in the past sometimes attributed to Paul, but neither the author nor the audience is explicitly mentioned: Hebrews (13 / 303 / 4953) IIIc) Seven Catholic Epistles or General Letters: authorship attributed to other apostles (for whom they are named!); most not written to individual communities, but to broader audiences ("catholic" = "general, universal"): James (5 / 108 / 1742) 1 Peter (5 / 105 / 1684) 2 Peter (3 / 61 / 1099) 1 John (5 / 105 / 2141) 2 John (1 / 13 / 245) 3 John (1 / 15 / 219) Jude (1 / 25 / 461) IV) One "Apocalypse": a highly symbolic narrative that interprets a historical crisis and provides hope for a better future: The Book of Revelation (22 / 404 / 9825)


				
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posted:12/14/2008
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