The New Testament of the Bible

by Jesus Christ Savior | The Latin Vulgate Bible published by St. Jerome served as the standard Bible for Western Christian civilization for over 1000 years (image: Jerome 345-420. Doctor of the Church- Feast Day, September 30).

There were three stages in the formation of the Gospels: the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the oral tradition of the Apostles, and the written word. There were eight named writers of the New Testament: Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude.

The Canon of the New Testament was formed within the early Christian community, the Church. The Tradition of the Fathers of the Church was important to early Christianity, for they were the ones who chose those inspired books which best reflected the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in the formation of the canon of the New Testament, and were also involved in the interpretation of Scripture. Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons, first proposed a canon of the New Testament in 180 AD. Three Fathers of the Church – Athanasius of Alexandria in his Letter of 367, Jerome in Bethlehem with the completion of his Latin New Testament in 384, and Augustine at the Council of Hippo in 393 – agreed that 27 Books were the inspired Word of God. The Canon of the New Testament of the Bible was confirmed at the Third Council of Carthage in 397 AD.

Our New Testament of the Bible in the West was written in Greek. There are indications in the writings of the Fathers of the Church (Papias of Hierapolis, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea, and St. Jerome) that “Matthew put together the sayings of the Lord in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could” (Papias, in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, III, 39, 16). The oldest manuscripts available to us are the Curetonian and Sinaiticus texts of the Old Syriac Gospels, the Greek Codex Sinaiticus from St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai, Egypt, and the Codex Vaticanus in Greek from the fourth century AD.

St. Jerome (345-420) was commissioned by Pope Damasus in 382 to produce a new Latin translation of the Bible. Jerome completed the translation of the New Testament Gospels into Latin in 384, and finished his translation from both Greek and Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament by 405. In view of his work, St. Jerome was named the Father of Biblical Scholars. The Latin Vulgate Bible published by St. Jerome served as the standard Bible for Western Christian civilization for over 1000 years. 1-3, 9, 17-22

Our anonymous author is a physician and a Masters graduate in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio. He teaches Sunday Bible Class at St. James Catholic Church and serves both Pastoral Care and the Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital.