We talk about the Council of Nicaea, this group of men getting together to decide what’s gonna be in our Bible today.
But that’s not what happened. The point is that the New Testament documents were recognized very early by the early church fathers, between 106 and 110 AD. Basically early church fathers like Ignatius and others recognized 25 out of the 27 books we call the New Testament canon that early. The councils came much later largely because you couldn’t have councils work while Christianity was on the run. Christianity was persecuted a good portion of the first three centuries. It wasn’t until Constantine made Christianity tolerable in about 311 AD that Christians could freely associate and do these kind of things from all over the Roman Empire and come together and hash some things out. But the Bible wasn’t written by the Council of Nicaea nor did the Bible come together in a canon in the Council of Nicaea. The canon had been recognized generally by early church fathers much before that. There were later councils that did say this is definitely the Canon but that had already been recognized earlier.
What was the purpose of the council then?
People come together to argue over different things and there were councils over the deity of Christ, who had the right view of the deity of Christ, that was one council. I’m not an expert on these church history issues but I know that was one of the things they argued over. We still get together and argue over stuff. Theology is a big topic so next month I’m going to Denver to go to the Evangelical Theological and Philosophical Society where people will give papers and talk about these things. People have been doing that forever so I don’t see any problem with people doing that. But what’s underneath the question is that “these things can’t be trusted because they were decided very late.” That’s not the case. They may have been talked about very late but they were also talked about much earlier as well. And the evidence shows that these are early documents written by eyewitnesses or people who knew eyewitnesses. And it’s a very strong case that what the New Testament says about Jesus is really true and if that’s really true, then Christianity is true.