Benjamin Laird

Creating the Canon
IVP Academic, 2023
By Benjamin Laird

WHO: Benjamin Laird, associate professor of biblical studies at the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity at Liberty University. 

HE SAYS: “Should we think of the canonical writings as something like ‘classics’ from the early church that were incorporated into the New Testament as a result of their popularity, or are there certain attributes or qualities that belong to these writings alone?”

THE BIG IDEA: This overview offers constructive insight on matters tied to the composition, collection and authority of the New Testament.

THE PROGRESSION: In Part 1, “Questions Relating to the Composition of the New Testament Writings,” looks at subjects that relate to the composition of the New Testament writings. Part 2, “Questions Relating to the Formation of the New Testament Canon,” addresses the essential questions related to the canon’s formation, evaluates common assumptions, and offers an overview of some of the most important witnesses to the early state of the canon. Part 3, “Questions Relating to the Authority of the New Testament Canon,” examines the canon’s authority, considering apostolic instruction and testimony and discussing assumptions and viewpoints. 

“What is needed is a fresh evaluation of the evidence for the early state of the canon and a renewed focus on the arguments both for and against the apostolic authorship of the canonical writings.”