- Did the book reflect the same quality of inspiration as the writings of the Old Testament?
- Was the human writer an apostle or an associate of an apostle?
- Was the book consistent with established, orthodox doctrine?
- How was the book received by the churches?
As the Apostolic Age came to a close, books were being identified as inspired by God. The term Scripture was a common designation in First Century AD Judaism for the canonical books. Paul quoted from both Luke’s Gospel and Deuteronomy referring to them as Scripture.
- For the Scripture says, You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing, and The laborer is worthy of his wages. - 1 Timothy 5:18
Peter identified Paul’s epistles as Scripture.
- as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures ... - 2 Peter 3:15-16
John placed the book of Revelation on par with the rest of Scripture by quoting the Deuteronomic curse for changing the Scriptures.
- I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city .... - Revelation 22:18-19
The New Testament canon was accepted long before the church councils of the Third and Fourth Centuries AD. Shortly after Revelation was penned, Clement of Rome (AD 95), Ignatius of Antioch (AD 115), and Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John (AD 108) testified to the acceptance of the New Testament canon. In fact, between AD 70 and AD 170, all the New Testament books were quoted and recognized as canonical.