Why did Constantine and the Council of Nicaea choose to"edit" The Bible by inserting and removing certain books? What was the real aim of canonization?


This is an easy one!  Constantine did not "edit" or change the New Testament in any way.  Neither did the Council at Nicaea change the New Testament in any way whatsoever.  This is a false rumor which has been supported by a number of people.  Most famous of these is Dan Brown in his book The DaVinci Code.  From a scholarly point of view the idea that the Council of Nicaea changed the New Testament is sheer nonsense.  We have dozens of manuscripts in Greek of the New Testament from the second and third century–generations before Constantine was even born!  If Constantine changed the New Testament or if he excised whole portions, surely there would be some evidence in these earlier manuscripts.  We have nearly complete New Testament manuscripts from about AD 350 (Codex Vaticanus, Alexandrinus and Sinaiticus), which is from about the time the Council of Nicaea took place.  Scholars have also recognized dozens of partial New Testament nanuscripts from the second and third centuries (Chester Beaty Papyri, Washington Manuscript, Rylands Papyrus, Magdalene Manuscript and many others). Again, there is not a shred of evidence that anything was either added to or taken from the New Testament by the Council of Nicaea.  In fact, if these bishops had tried to change the New Testament, you can be assured that this move would not have been accepted by the church as a whole, for which the canon of the New Testament had already been fixed for well over one hundred years before the council was held.  Add to this the fact that we have tens of thousands of quotes from the New Testament from the early church fathers.  If there were some hidden or removed section of the New Testament, there would be some evidence of this fact from the innumerable quotes we have from the early Christian writers.  Again, such evidence is completely lacking.

Rest assured that these claims that the New Testament was changed by Constantine is absolutely, without a doubt, false.  It is my personal belief that Satan, who is known as the Father of Lies in the New Testament, is the one behind these spurious attacks and unfounded attempts to undermine the authority of the inspired Word of God.

As to canonization, I have a quite a bit of material on this in my book "Reasons for Belief" which is available at  Those who "canonized" the New Testament did not necessarily think of themselves as doing so.  Bottom line, the books which were eventually accepted as part of the "canon" (meaning rule) of the New Testament were those which the early church, by consensus, believed to have apostolic authority.  In other words, the books which were accepted were those which the church believed the apostles themselves considered to be inspired by God.

John Oakes

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