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Council of Nicaea, the Bible and Gospel Truth

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
in response to reader comment: To Plato

Submitted by Lactantius Jr. (United Kingdom), Dec 4, 2006 at 12:22

To Raqib

The New Testament we read today, is not the product of the Council of Nicea. By the time of the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 (which the Emperor Constantine convened, but the gathering of 318 bishops made the decisions), the issue of what would be included in the Bible was not even debated. The deliberations of the Council focused on the deity of Christ, and the authority of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, was taken for granted by all the bishops present. The final statements regarding formal recognition of the 27 books of the New Testament that we have today (what we call the Canon) were made at African synods (at Hippo and Carthage) in AD 393 and 397.

The process of recognizing the true and separating it from the false gained momentum in the second century AD, when the heretic Marcion was born circa AD 85 at Sinope (modern Sinop on the Black Sea) in Pontus, and produced his own, very reduced, list of authorized books. Since the caricature always comes after the original, this implies that the main features of the NT collection were in place at that time.

It's important to note that the Canon was decided by God and merely recognized by man. Leading New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce put it well:

‘The New Testament books did not become authoritative for the Church because they were formally included in a canonical list; on the contrary, the Church included them in her canon because she already regarded them as divinely inspired, …. [Church] councils [did] not impose something new upon the Christian communities but codif[ied] what was already the general practice of those communities.'

One of the world's greatest authorities on the Greek New Testament, Bruce Metzger, pointed out:

‘You have to understand that the canon was not the result of a series of contests involving church politics. … . You see, the canon is a list of authoritative books more than it is an authoritative list of books. These documents didn't derive their authority from being selected; each one was authoritative before anyone gathered them together.'

You say the Bible has been "rewritten approximately 100 to 140 times since the Council of Nicaea, until the present day. No it has not Raqib. It has been, and continues to be translated, many, many times, into the different languages of the world, the intention being to give each people group, the Word of God in their own language,

"2,403 languages have some or all of the Bible. Of these, 426 have an adequate Bible; 1,115 have an adequate New Testament; 862 have at least one book of the Bible."

Taken from the Wycliffe website at:-


You mention the "Gospel of Barnabas" and you really would be best avoiding mentioning this Raqib, since it contradicts the Qur'an.


The ‘Gospel of Barnabas'first appeared in Holland in AD 1709. This manuscript was written in Italian and supplied with footnotes in poor Arabic. This document is now preserved in the Imperial Museum in Vienna.

George Sale translated the Qur'an from Arabic into English in 1734, and in his Preliminary Discourse to his translation, he first drew the attention of the Christian world to a Gospel attributed to Barnabas, which recorded the life of Jesus in a manner very different from that found in the four Biblical Gospels, but corresponding to the Qur'anic portrait of Him. Sale mentioned a Spanish translation in the possession of the Moriscoes in Africa (which no longer exists apart from a few known extracts), and whilst the Spanish manuscript was lost in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries, an eighteenth century copy of the original Spanish manuscript was discovered in the 1970s in the University of Sydney's Fisher library, and there is an Italian translation in the library of Prince Eugene of Savoy.

In the preface to the Spanish ‘Gospel of Barnabas,' it says on the title page, that it was a translation from the Italian by a Spanish Muslim named Mostafa de Aranda (Aranda is a town in Spain).

In 1907 the Gospel of Barnabas was translated into English by Laura and Lonsdale Ragg, and in their introduction, they provided internal and external evidence showing that the Gospel of Barnabas was a Medieval forgery. ("medieval" from the 8th.to the middle of the 15th.century).

Since then, Arabic and Urdu translations have been produced, all however, without the introduction by the Raggs. Lt.-Col. Muhammad Ata ur- Rahim (Pakistan) reprinted the ‘Gospel of Barnabas' in English in 1973, again omitting the introduction, but substituting another one written from the Islamic point of view.

Since the beginning of this century, when an Arabic translation became well known in the Islamic world, Muslim scholars and writers have made much of the book. In 1973 the Raggs' English translation of the Gospel was first published in the Muslim world. Since then approximately 100,000 copies have been printed in Pakistan. It has caused considerable excitement as it appears to finally prove, from Christian origins, that Jesus was the ‘Isa' of Islam and that Muhammad was indeed to be the final messenger of Allah to all mankind.

Muslims fondly suppose that this Gospel has been denounced in the Christian world solely because of its Islamic character. It is truer to say that this is the only real reason why it has attracted so much publicity in the Muslim world. The external and internal evidences around the book, give a far better reason for rejecting it. They prove conclusively that it was compiled only a few centuries ago, as a deliberate forgery, to impose both Qur'anic and traditional Muslim dogmas on the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, as it is described in the four genuine Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.


At the very start of the ‘Gospel of Barnabas' Jesus is called the Christ: "God has during these past days visited us by his prophet Jesus Christ" (p.2). However, throughout the book Jesus denies being the Messiah: "Jesus confessed and said the truth, ‘I am not the Messiah ' " (chap. 42). How can Jesus be the Christ and deny being the Messiah when both words mean exactly the same thing? Whoever wrote this book did not know that the Greek meaning of the word Christ is Messiah. Barnabas was a Hebrew who lived on the island of Cyprus, a Greek-speaking island, and travelled around the 1st century Greek-speaking world! He was Hebrew and knew Greek and could not have been unaware of the meaning of this famous title.

Christ. The word (Christ) is the Greek translation for the Hebrew word (Messiah). Both these words when translated into English mean the Anointed One or the Chosen One. This word is not an obscure or rarely used word, on the contrary, it is one of the most famous words in the Jewish and Christian religions. There is no doubt that a religious Jew like Barnabas, would have been very familiar with this word. Actually, this denial of Jesus being Messiah, also means denying that Jesus is Christ, and this is what the New Testament says about such denial:-

"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? he is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son."

I John 2:22

There are several ways in which the ‘Gospel of Barnabas' can be shown to be false, most importantly for you Raqib as a Muslim, is that it contradicts the Qur'an. It also contains historical, geographical, historical, climatic and internal inaccuracies, ie. it is self-contradictory. There are plenty of contradictions between the ‘Gospel of Barnabas' and the Bible, between the ‘Gospel of Barnabas' and the Qur'an, with some being documented at :-


The Gospel of Barnbas is best left alone Raqib, since it can so easily shown to be fraudulent.


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