Do We Have All of the New Testament?
(by Bob Pulliam)
It is only natural for a person to wonder whether or not we have all of God's word, and whether it is accurate. It is dishonest and inexcusable to assert that the Bible is incomplete before making a study of the topic. You will find several of these "informed" people in the world today. The first thing that you should do is ask them how much research they have done on this subject. Don't take answers such as, "I've given it thought", or, "A little bit".
Ask them what scholarly works they've read on the subject. Ask them what types of textual studies they've been engaged in to reach such important conclusions. Usually, those who make such assertions are doing nothing more than excusing themselves from obedience to God's word. After all; if we don't have all of it, and it's not accurate, then we shouldn't pay it much attention.
Most Bible students realize that the Bible was not written in English. Especially not "Shakespearean English". The language at the time of Christ and the apostles was Greek. Greek manuscripts have to be translated into English before usable by us. This is where "versions" come into use. They are translations (or revisions of earlier translations) of the Greek manuscripts (just like you or I would have to have a translation of a letter written in Spanish, before we could read it). See Translations Chart.
We possess all of the materials that are contained in the versions shown. This leaves hardly any time for material from the Bible to be lost. If it had been, people in the second century surely would have known it. But they considered themselves to have all that God had given.
In addition to these early versions, we have information and lists that go back to the second century. None of these speak of any New Testament documents that we do not already have. If there were inspired materials, necessary for man's salvation, that were missing, we would at least know about it. One of the early lists of inspired writings would speak of it. For example: One such list, called the "Muratorian Fragment", dates back to around 170 AD. It lists every book of our modern day New Testament versions except James, I and II Peter, and one of the epistles of John. It also lists other books that it branded as "heretical" (written by heretics). We have everything listed and can check it all for ourselves.
We also find writers such as Ignatius (115 AD), Clement (96 AD), Polycarp and others who wrote about the books in our modern day New Testament. Origen, who wrote about 220 AD mentions all of the books of our New Testament as being accepted by all (in his day), except: Hebrews, II Peter, II and III John, James and Jude. Eusebius, who wrote about 300 AD, wrote of all as being acknowledged except: II Peter, II and III John, James and Jude. He stated that these were only disputed by a minority. Athanasius accepted all 27 books of the New Testament in 367 AD.
The idea that there are missing books in our present New Testament is actually absurd. The amount of early writings and versions attest to the completeness of our present New Testament. Those who would deny it, haven't done their homework.