Did the Council of Nicea determine the New Testiment canon?

My question revolves around the true role of the Council Of Nicea. Some
have argued that the council canonized certain texts to fit their
purposes. I have heard the counter argument that the council merely
canonized what was already widely accepted as Inspired Word, but even this
wide acceptance does little to guarantee that the NT is indeed God’s
inspired word. the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles seem to sort of
stand on their own because they merely retell fact and carry little
preaching except for those instances in which it quotes Christ. However,
the Pauline Epistles, as well as the other epistles, clearly define much
of Christian doctrine and, despite the fact that they cross-reference each
other as Gospel, I don’t see much of a reason why we seem to hold Paul’s
words and Peter’s words to be infallible in the Bible. Saying that God
wouldn’t allow anything erroneous to enter the Bible only further confuses
the argument because then any other religion could argue that THEY are
truly inspired because Allah or Yahweh wouldn’t allow this or that. I
remember a scripture in the Gospels in which Jesus references the Law,
Psalms, and Prophets and in my mind that canonizes the OT and I already
explained my feelings in regard to the Gospels and Acts (I will include
Revelations in this because it proclaims divine inspiration) but if you
could please clarify the question of the rest of the NT, I would greatly
appreciate it.

The argument that the council of Nicea changed the canon of
scriptures is specious. There is absolutely not a shred of evidence that
they did anything to change the content of the accepted canon of New
Testament scripture. For someone to argue that such and such book is not
inspired may or may not be valid, but the claim that the council of Nicea
changed the canon to fit their own idea of orthodoxy simply does not agree
with the facts we have available. The “canon” was basically fixed by
around 200, or at the latest AD 250.

In regard to the letters of Paul or Peter or so forth, I am
afraid the seemingly circular argument you refer to is in fact the
strongest argument for these books being inspired. The fact that the
entire Bible as a whole shows marks of inspiration is evidence that God
had a hand in determining what ended up in the Bible. The skeptic may
find this argument unconvincing, but in the end, I believe it is
compelling. It is logical (although the skeptic will not accept this
logic) that if God is able to create and put together a group of, say, 80%
of the Bible books which are inspired, that he would also be able to
influence the whole thing. I understand that this is not the kind of
proof acceptable in a court of law, but I believe it is logical proof.

When I discuss this matter, I will always concede that I
cannot prove that every verse in the Bible is inspired. However, let me
suggest one more approach. I suggest you spend some time reading the
apocryphal books–those which did not make the cut. I would suggest
reading the OT apocrypha (available in any RC Bible) as well as some of
the very early church father?s letters which did not make the cut, such as
the Didache, the letter of Clement of Rome, the letters of Ignatius,
Polycarp and so forth. I believe that if you read these books, the
difference between an inspired book and a useful, but uninspired book will
make itself plain to you. Didache is good reading, but the Bible reader
will be able to tell the difference immediately. These writings are
available in any good library, so you can do the research for free. I am
convinced that your faith in the inspiration of 1 Timothy or 2 Peter will
be increased by this sort of study.

John Oakes, PhD

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