The Muratorian Fragment Claims Apostolic Authorship of the New Testament’s Contents

In speaking of a book which was deemed to have value but not to qualify for the New Testament, the Muratorian Canon reads:

And therefore it 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.

Full text of the Muratorian Fragment

Athanasius Claims Apostolic Authorship of the New Testament’s Contents

From the 39th Festal Letter* of Athanasius, 20th bishop of Alexandria, published in 367 emphasis added]:

Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James, one; of Peter, two; of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John.

*There are 43 such letters of Athanasius extant, numbered 1-64 (i.e., 21 of them are missing).

The New Testament Itself Implicitly Claims Apostolic Authorship of Its Contents

The New Testament ascribes authorship of its 27 books to 8 men, each of whom is revealed in its pages to be either an apostle or working under the direct supervision of an apostle.  Thus James and Jude – the brothers of the Lord – take their place among the apostles after the resurrection (e.g. Acts 1:14 and 1 Corinthians 9:5.), while Mark and Luke – by virtue of their status as co-workers – are deemed “apostolic men.”

Here then are the eight apostolic authors named in the New Testament in the order of the appearance of the first (or only) book ascribed to each.  I have put all books ascribed to each author in parentheses after his name.

Matthew (Matthew)  –  There is only one Matthew mentioned in the New Testament (Matt 9:9; 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13), and he is one of the original twelve apostles.

Mark (Mark) –  There is only one “Mark” mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37, 39; Col 4:10; 2 Tim 4:11; Phile 1:24; 1 Pet 5:13), and he is the one also called John who was a co-worker of Barnabas (as well as his cousin), Paul, and Peter.

Luke (Luke, Acts)  –  There is only one “Luke” mentioned in the New Testament (Col 4:14; 2 Tim 4:11; Phile 1:24), and he is the one who was a co-worker of Paul’s.

John (John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation)  –  Although there are several persons in the New Testament named “John,” this is John the son of Zebedee who was one of the original twelve apostles.

Paul (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews) –  There is only one person named “Paul” in the New Testament, and he is the apostle who had originally been known as Saul of Tarsus.

James (James)  –  Although there are several persons named “James” in the New Testament, this is the brother of Jesus (i.e. another son of Mary)

Peter (1 Peter, 2 Peter)  –  There is only one person in the New Testament named “Peter,” and he is the one who was among the original twelve apostles.

Jude (Jude)  –  There is only one person named “Jude” in the New Testament, and he is the brother of Jesus and James (i.e. also a son of Mary).

Related post: The New Testament Is Itself an Implicit Claim That Its Contents Are Apostolic

Related post on a different blog (Bible Study Notes for the Kingdom of God):  Individual Writing Apostles

Archaeology Testifies to the Hezekiah of the Bible

Below are a video (2:58) and an audio (3:55), produced by different sources, which report yet another occasion where modern archaeology confirms the claims of the ancient Bible.

People interested in history and truth turn to the Bible.

Video (2:58) from CBN

Audio (3:55) from the Colson Center for Worldview  [Editorial note as of March 3, 2017: Sorry, but it appears that the Colson Center is no longer publishing this page.]

References to New Testament Persons Outside the Bible

(These could be called extra-biblical or extrabiblical sources.)

Wikipedia article:  List of biblical figures identified in extra-biblical sources

John the Baptist is mentioned by Josephus.



James the brother of Jesus is mentioned by Josephus.


Notes on the Verisimilitude of the New Testament

My post Craig Evans on the Reliability of the Bible.  It contains a link to a transcript of an interview with Evans titled “Is the Bible Reliable?”  (The article does not, however, contain the word “verisimilitude.”)

YouTube video Bart Ehrman & Craig Evans 2012 Debate P1 (start at 14:04).  Herein, Dr. Evans describes various aspects of verisimilitude in the New Testament.

Facebook post by Neil Shenvi on The frequency of first names in the biblical accounts matches the actual frequency of names in 1st century Palestine.  Neil told me that he derived this information from R. Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Eerdmans (2006), p. 85-88.  Neil also recommended this YouTube video lecture by Dr. Peter J. Williams (Warden of Tyndale House in the UK):  New Evidences the Gospels were Based on Eyewitness Accounts (total time 53:45).

The Wikipedia article Language of Jesus identifies numerous Aramaic words found in the Greek New Testament (e.g. Abba, mammon, hosanna, Gethesemane).  Most Bible scholars believe that Aramaic was the language used by Jesus and His disciples because it was the common language of the cities and regions in which they lived and traveled.  Greek was the lingua franca of the broader world at that time.  Therefore, finding some Aramaic words sprinkled throughout documents written in Greek is just what you would expect of a first-century Mediterranean-wide social movement that originated in Palestine.

Why the Ancient Christian Record About Jesus Is the Most Reliable | by J. Warner Wallace

In this substantive post, Wallace includes a three-column chart showing the major historical claims about the life of Jesus from the point of view of the biblical writers, hostile Jewish witnesses, and hostile Gentile witnesses.

(13-minute read; 3,103 words)

Source: Why the Ancient Christian Record About Jesus Is the Most Reliable | Cold Case Christianity

(HT: Greg West at The Poached Egg of Ratio Christi)

A. N. Sherwin-White on Jesus as Historical Figure

(2-minute read; 350 words)

Source: Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes: A. N. Sherwin-White on Jesus as Historical Figure

Authorship and Dating of the New Testament Books by Inspiring Philosophy

Gives the evidence for dating most of the New Testament books before 70 A.D.

Length: 16:59