The average internet-level narrative goes something like this: the earliest Christians had no clear understanding for why Jesus died on the cross and what it accomplished. But this narrative can be easily refuted.
If Christians thought the world would end in their own lifetime, then, it is argued, they would not have been interested in composing new scriptural books. Thus, the idea of a canon must be a later ecclesiastical development.
The popular internet-level narrative goes like this: Jesus was not God, nor did he claim to be God. He was just an ordinary man. At a later point, his followers began to assign attributes to him that were semi-divine–like an angel. But is that really so?
So, how do we break into the lives of people who are immersed in this postmodern reality? How do we reach them for the gospel? Do we offer therapeutic entertainment to draw them in? Nope. Instead, we do the unthinkable in our modern age. We preach.
One of the most common misconceptions about the New Testament canon is that the authors of these writings had no idea that they were writing Scripture-like books. To explore this further, let us just consider just one of our gospels, namely the Gospel of Matthew.
In God’s sovereign providence we’ve been given multiple Gospels “according to” Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, in order to provide us with a diversity of perspectives that can legitimately be viewed as complementary rather than contradictory.
One of the more famous and most discussed differences on chronology in the gospels deals with the timing of the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. Here is a difference often trumpeted forth as a clear error between the Synoptics and John.