The “Prophets and Apostles” as a Synonym for Bible

This is a subsidiary post of Apostolicity and the New Testament.
It is also a subsidiary post of The Term “Apostles” as Applied to Writings.

[Emphasis added in quotes below]

Justin Martyr

“…and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are being read as long as it is allowable”  1 Apology 67.3


(d. 202)

“Scripture for Irenaeus consists of the Old and New Testament, though he never uses the term testamentum in this sense.  He indicates the two parts by ‘the prophets‘ and ‘the gospel(s)‘ respectively, or else he uses the terms ‘the law and the prophets‘ to designate the Old Testament, and ‘the gospels and the apostolic writings‘ to designate the New Testament.  (p. 128-129 in Flesseman-van Leer 1954, see bibliography)

The Muratorian Fragment
(2nd or 4th Century)

“And therefore [the Shepherd of Hermas] ought indeed to be read; but it cannot be read publicly to the people in church either among the Prophets, whose number is complete, or among the Apostles, for it is after [their] time.  (The Text of the Muratorian Fragment)



“The church harmoniously joins the law and the prophets with the writings of the evangelists and apostles.  From this source she drinks in the true faith…”  The Prescription Against Heretics, ch. 36


Vincent of Lerins
(d. 445)

Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation.  Commonitory 2.5

What is meant by sheep’s clothing? What but the words which prophets and apostles with the guilelessness of sheep wove beforehand as fleeces, for that immaculate Lamb which takes away the sin of the world? What are the ravening wolves? What but the savage and rabid glosses of heretics, who continually infest the Church’s folds, and tear in pieces the flock of Christ wherever they are able?  Commonitory 25.66


Hans Von Campenhausen

“The authority of the biblical writings is based on the fact that they reliably record the predictions of Christ in the prophets and the testimony to Christ of the apostles…For short the two Testaments are referred to simply as ‘The Prophets’ and ‘the Apostles’.”  (Source: See p. 330 of Campenhausen in bibliography)


Brevard S. Childs

“The formation of a canon of Scriptures is a recognition of the need for a context, different from both Testaments, in which the Christian Church continues to wrestle in every new age with the Living God who continues to confront his people through the ancient testimony of the prophets and apostles.”  (Source:  Childs, Biblical Theology in Crisis, Westminster, 1970, p. 113, cited in Seitz, Character, Kindle location 3958, bibliography)

Christopher Seitz

“…the church’s inheritance of prophets and apostles…”  (Source: Seitz in The Character of Christian Scripture, Kindle location 83, bibliography)

“The authority of both the NT and the Christian Scripture as a twofold witness is derived from the claims of the OT – claims presupposed in the NT and asserting themselves in the milieu from which its own composition, as the ‘apostles’ half of ‘prophets and apostles,’ is coming about.”  (Source: same as above, Kindle location 1085)


For More:

Farkasfalvy, Denis M.  “‘Prophets and Apostles’: The Conjunction of the Two Terms Before Irenaeus” (1980, 26 pages) in Texts and Testaments edited by March (see bibliography).

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