Original Compostion and Distribution of the NT Writings
In addition, we have Paul authenticating Luke's writings as inspired, authoritative Scripture, and Peter authenticating Paul's letters as inspired authoritative Scripture. In 1 Timothy 5:17-21, Paul gives instructions regarding the treatment of elders, both those who are faithful in caring for the church and in teaching God's Word and also regarding those who are not. Now when he quotes the basis for his teaching, he writes: "For Scripture says, 'Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,' and 'The worker deserves his wages'" (1 Tim. 5:18, NIV). The first quote is from Deuteronomy 25:4 and the second is from Luke 10:17. Here is Paul, around 62 A.D., roughly two years before his second and final imprisonment in
Then in Rome, just before the outbreak of the persecution by Nero (c. 64 A.D.), Peter knew that the end of his life and ministry was near and so wrote his last will and testament to Christians who knew both him and Paul. In this letter, Peter says this concerning Paul and his writings: "Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction" (2 Pet. 3:15-16, NIV, italics mine). Not only does Peter affirm Paul wrote with divine wisdom and authority in general, but that his letters were as fully inspired and authoritative as the OT itself! So early on, the Apostles and their associates knew that they were writing under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that several of the books they had written were on the same level of authority as the OT.
All the books which now form the complete NT canon we possess, were written and put into circulation by no later than 100 A.D. This has been confirmed by the many NT quotations and allusions found in the writings of Early Christian writers such as Clement, Bishop of Rome (c. 60-95 A.D.); Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch (c.70-115 A.D.); Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (c. 75-150 A.D.); Justin Martyr, a Christian philosopher and apologist who first ministered in Syria, then later established an academy in Rome (c. 90-150 A.D.); and Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (c. 130-200 A.D.), who wrote the book Against All Heresies. The evidence from the writings of these