How Much Did Early Christians Refer to the New Testament? - Summary Grid - Sept. 2016 version

A number of people have made outrageous claims, making lots of money, selling books claiming early Christianity believed in a different Bible from today. Many assume no one really knows what early Christians believed. But we do know, and quite well, by observing what scriptural books they referred to when they wrote their religious letters, commentaries, and treatises. This actually undercounts, because they might consider some books scripture that they never happened to mention. (For example, in your writing, how often do you mention the book of Philemon?) Nevertheless, this shows at a minimum some of what they accepted as scripture. Of course, writings with few pages usually refer to only a few New Testament books, as one would expect. Early Christians referred to every book of the New Testament. There were many other books out there, of Greek philosophy, paganism, and Gnostic works, but these were called "poisons", and "foreign food" to avoid.

Legend of the row colors

red = persecution of Christians

pink = strange teacher

green = heresy

 

orange= schism

blue = Bible manuscript

W = Books and quotes mentioned by name or by writer 4G = Mention of 4 gospels I = Implied. ex: "14 letters of Paul" J = Quoted as words of God/Jesus/Savior/Lord m = debated X = rejected

S = Referred to as scripture, gospel, or by apostle(s) E =not scripture but good to read Q = Quote of 1 or more verses 1/2 = quote of 1/2 verse A = Allusion - = no reference

Christian writer, heretic, or Bible manuscript

pages

Date A.D.

NT

Gsp

Mt

Mk

Lk

Jn

Ac

Rm

1C

2C

Ga

Ep

Pp

Cl

1T

2T

1T

2T

Tt

P

He

Jm

1P

2P

1J

2J

3J

Jd

Re

+ reference to other books

Nero and Domitian persecute Christians

 

50 & 95/96

Est 500K Christians. Christians were labeled atheists and killed for refusing to worship the emperor and pagan idols.

 

Clement of Rome (wrote 1 Clement)

16

96-98

-

-

J

J

1/2

-

Q

W

-

-

-

-

A

A

-

-

-

1/2

-

Q

Q

Q

A

-

-

-

-

Q

-

Papias, disciple of John + "Presbyters"

2+ 1/2

95-117

-

-

W

W

-

J

-

-

S

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

A

-

A

-

-

-

?

-

Ignatius disciple of John (shortest version)

13

c.100-117

-

-

Q

-

-

A

-

-

A

-

W

-

-

Q

-

-

A

-

-

-

-

-

1/2

-

-

-

-

-

Trajan persecutes Christians

 

107

Answered Pliny the Younger's letter. Christians are not to be sought after, but only killed if found.

 

Didache (=Teaching of the Twelve Apostles)

4

before 125

-

-

Q

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

A

-

Apology of Aristides (Greek version)

4

125,138-161

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Letter to Diognetus (=Mathetes to Diognetus)

5

130-150

-

W

A

-

-

A

-

-

-

A

-

A

-

-

-

A

-

-

-

-

-

A

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Hadrian persecutes Christians

 

118 & 134

Hadrian loved Greek culture. He persecuted both Jews & Christians. Jewish Bar Cochba revolt happened under him.

 

Bar Cochba persecutes Christians

 

135

Christians persecuted in Israel because Christians would not join Bar Cochba's revolt.

 

p52 (=John Rylands) John 18:31-33; 18:37-38

117-138

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Epistle of Barnabas

12 1/2

100-150

-

-

Q

1/2

Q

A

A

-

-

A

-

-

-

A

-

-

A

-

-

-

Q

A

-

A

-

-

-

-

-

-

p46 (=Chester Beatty II) 1,680 verses 70% Paul+Heb

100-150

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2 Clement (anonymous writer)

5

c.150

-

-

Q

-

Q

-

-

-

Q

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

A

Q

A

-

-

-

-

-

Gos. of Egyptians quote

Polycarp, disciple of John, to the Philippians

3 1/2

100-155

-

-

Q

1/2

Q

-

1/2

Q

Q

A

Q

W

-

Q

1/2

Q

Q

-

-

-

-

Q

-

1/2

-

-

-

-

-

Total Apostolic Fathers - until 155 A.D.

67.5

-155

0

1

8

4

5

4

3

2

5

4

3

2

2

2

3

1

4

1

2

0

2

3

6

3

3

0

0

0

2

1

Shepherd of Hermas

46 1/2

c.160

-

-

-

Q

-

1/2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1/2

Q

1/2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Justin Martyr, philosopher and apologist

137

c.138-165

W

W

J

J

J

J

A

-

-

-

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

Acts of Pontius Pilate

Gnostic heresies become widespread

 

c.170-

Gnostics all believed the Creator was evil/foolish. Rejecting the O.T., they mixed Greek paganism & parts of N.T..

more than 33

Tatian + The Diatessaron, Encratite later

18+86

died 172

-

-

W

W

W

W

-

A

A

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p66(=Bodmer II) p14/15 92% of John 808 1/2 verses

125-175

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p4+p64+p67 Lk 1:58-59,etc. Mt 26:7-8,etc. 95 verses

c.150-175

-

-

W

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Athenagoras (apologist)

33 1/2

177

-

-

Q

-

Q

-

-

-

S

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Christians of Vienna and Lugdunum (Lyons)

6 1/2

177

-

-

-

-

Q

J

1/2

-

A

-

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Q

-

Persecution of Marcus Aurelius

 

162/166-180

Aurelius was a Stoic philosopher. Persecution, mainly in Gaul, ended with his death.

 

Claudius Apollinaris of Hierapolis + Rhodon

1/2 + 1/2

160-177/180

-

W

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Melito of Sardis + Theophilus of Caesarea

11 +

170-177/180

I

-

A

S

S

-

-

-

S

-

-

-

-

-

S

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Dionysius of Corinth + Hegesippus

+2 1/2

170-180

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Theophilus of Antioch (to Autolycus)

32

168-181/188

-

W

Q

-

Q

W

-

Q

Q

Q

-

Q

-

-

-

-

Q

-

-

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Shepherd of Hermas

Ebionites & Clementina (Law, Father, Son)

265 1/2+

- 181 -

-

-

Q

Q

Q

J

-

-

A

A

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Ebionite books

Irenaeus of Lyons, disciple of Polycarp

284

182-188

W

4G

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

-

W

Q

W

1/3

I

W

-

A

W

Hermas, X Gospel of Truth X others

Passion of the Scillitan Martyrs

180-202

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

P

a

u

l

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Caius and the Muratorian Canon

3

190-217

I

4G

I

I

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

-

-

-

-

W

W

-

W

W

Wisdom of Solomon, some accept Apoc. of Peter

Sabellian heresy (Praxeas, Noetus,Callistus)

 

200-257-

Sabellians believed the Father, Son, & Spirit were one person. Also called Patripassians for "passion of the Father".

 

Persecution of Septimus Severus

 

202

Est. 2M Christians. Although a Christian helped him through an illness, he didn't repeal existing laws against them.

 

Serapion of Antioch (against Marcion)

200-210

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

X Gospel of Peter

Minucius Felix + Apollonius of Ephesus

25+1

c.210

-

-

J

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Clement of Alexandria

424

193-217/20

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

S

W

W

W

S

W

W

W

-

W

Q

W

W

W

-

W

W

Preaching of Peter

 

Hermas, Gosp. of the Egyptians, Gosp. of the Hebrews, Tradition of Matthias, Greek philosophers

p75 Lk 3:18-22; etc. Jn 1:1-11:45,etc. 1,166 verses

175-225

-

-

-

-

W

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p45 (=Chester Beatty I) Gospels + Acts 833 verses

200-225

-

-

W

W

W

W

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p30 1Th 4:12-13,16-17 etc. 2Th 1:1-2 etc. 25 verses

ca.225

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Tertullian (joined Montanist church)

741

198-220

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

I

Q

A

W

-

W

A

-

W

W

combined Gal 3:15 & 4:3

Asterius Urbanus (against Montanists)

2

c.232

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Hippolytus, pupil of Irenaeus (undisputed)

218

222-235/6

W

W

J

W

J

W

Q

W

S

W

W

S

W

W

W

W

W

A

1/2

-

A

-

Q

-

-

-

-

W

X Gospel of the Egyptians,

X others, X Gos. of Thomas

Maximin Thrax persecutes Christians

 

235-238

First empire-wide persecution, but only of clergy. Persecution stopped when his soldiers assassinated him.

 

Instructions of Commodianus & Julius Africanus

25

232-245,240

I

-

W

A

W

-

-

P

a

u

l

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

A

-

Origen (heterodox teacher)

742

225-254

W

4G

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

Q

W

X

W

m

m

W

W

Hermas (disputed)

 

Acts of Paul inferior to John's gospel. Gospel of Thomas (read elsewhere)

Severe persecution by Decius and Gallus

 

250-251-3

1st Christian schism. Were Christians who sacrificed but repented eventually restored, or doomed forever (Novatian)?

 

Novatian (his schism lasted over 200 years)

38 1/2

250/254-257

W

W

J

-

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

S

S

-

-

W

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

Treatise Against Novatian

6 1/2

254-256

-

-

J

-

J

W

-

S

Q

-

-

S

S

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

S

1/2

-

-

Q

-

-

Q

W

-

Treatise on Rebaptism

11

c.250-258

W

W

Q

W

W

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

X book Preaching of Paul

Cyprian of Carthage (against Novatian)

250

c.246-258

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

-

A

-

W

W

W

W

-

-

W

-

Roman church leaders (letter 2,29,30)

1 + 4

250-251

-

-

-

-

-

J

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Moyses, et al. to Cyprian (letter 25)

2 1/2

250

-

-

J

-

-

-

-

S

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1/2

-

Cornelius to Cyprian (letters 45,47)

1

c.246-256

-

-

1/2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Firmilian of Caesarea to Cyprian (74)

7

254-257

-

-

J

1/2

J

J

-

-

S

S

W

S

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

Seventh Council of Carthage (85 bishops)

7

258

-

-

Q

-

-

J

-

S

-

-

1/2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

Valerian persecutes Christians

 

257-260

Tolerant at first, but then 2nd most severe persecution. Stopped when captured by Persian Shapur II.

 

Gregory Thaumaturgus (undisputed works)

28 1/2

240-265

-

-

J

-

A

-

-

-

S

-

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1/2

-

Dionysius of Alexandria (Origenist)

39 1/2

246-265

-

W

W

W

W

W

W

S

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

Q

-

-

W

W

W

-

*

-

Dionysius of Rome, Malchion & Pierius

1+3

259-275

W

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

A

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Aurelian Persecution

 

270

At first tolerant, Aurelian died soon after he decided to persecute Christians.

 

Archelaus Disputation with Manes

58

262-278

W

W

W

J

J

Q

S

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

-

Q

S

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Anatolius of Alexandria (mathematician)

7 1/2

270-280

I

-

J

-

J

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p47 (=Chester Beatty III) 31% of Rev. Rev 9:10, etc.

c.250-300

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

Theonas of Alexandria Letter to Lucianus

3

282-300

-

-

-

A

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1/2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p72 + p38+0162+0171+0220+0232 191 + 70 verses

ca.300

-

-

W

-

W

W

W

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

W

-

-

-

W

-

-

Adamantius Dialogue on the True Faith

42

c.300

-

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

-

W

W

W

S

-

-

-

S

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

Sinaitic Old Syriac (most of the 4 gospels)

3/4th century

-

-

W

W

W

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Arnobius Against the Heathen (undisputed)

126 1/2

297-303

-

-

-

-

-

A

-

-

A

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Victorinus of Petau, Austria (OT comment'r)

18 1/2

martyr 304

W

4G

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

-

W

W

W

W

-

W

W

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

Most severe persecution by Diocletian

 

284,303-05

Est 5M Christians. Most severe persecution. Destroyed churches & scriptures. Killed Christians for not sacrificing.

 

Phileas of Thmuis, Egypt + Pamphilus

2 1/2+2

-307, -309

-

-

-

-

W

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1/2

-

-

-

-

-

Peter of Alexandria (undisputed)

8 1/2

285-311

-

-

J

-

-

W

1/2

1/2

-

A

-

Q

W

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

Methodius (corrected Origen's followers)

79 1/2

270-311/12

I

W

J

1/2

Q

Q

-

S

W

S

W

W

1/2

W

W

-

Q

-

-

-

A

-

A

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

Theophilus' Martyrdom of Habib the Deacon

5 1/2

events c.315

-

-

S

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

X Gospel of Peter

Athanasius Against the Heathen, Incarnation

56

c.318

-

W

J

J

J

J

Q

W

W

W

-

W

W

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

J

-

J

-

-

-

-

-

-

Hermas - edifying

Total Christian writer references to 312 A.D.

3705.3

up to 318

18

20

41

23

34

28

22

23

27

20

17

21

18

16

14

10

20

9

12

3

15

10

17

8-1

16

7

1

6

18

+ = 7; disputed = 3; X = 6

Christian writer, heretic, or Bible manuscript

pages

Date A.D.

NT

Gsp

Mt

Mk

Lk

Jn

Ac

Rm

1C

2C

Ga

Ep

Pp

Cl

1T

2T

1T

2T

Tt

P

He

Jm

1P

2P

1J

2J

3J

Jd

Re

+ reference to other books

www.Biblequery.org/Bible/BibleCanon/EarlyChristianNTGrid.doc. References at www.Biblequery.org/Bible/bibleCanon/EarlyChristianNTGridReferences.html. Copyright (c) 2008-2017 Steve Morrison. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA