The New Testament Canon: The Development of the Gospels from Oral Tradition to Sacred Scripture

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The Word Made Flesh

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are arguably the most important works of literature to emerge after the Old Testament in human history. The other books of the New Testament witness to the effectiveness of the Gospels’ teachings and the reality that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God. But where and when, exactly, were the books of the New Testament written? Who really wrote them? And how do we know they are the authentic Word of God? Monica Migliorino Miller, Ph.D. answers these questions and more in this course on the fascinating history and content of the New Testament Canon.

Meet the Authors

Sacred scripture is sometimes thought of as being written by God himself, supernatural writings which mystically found their way onto paper. The reality, however, is that the New Testament is comprised of writings by ordinary people who had extraordinary experiences with God. Dr. Migliorino Miller draws on extensive historical research to reveal:

• The chronology of the books of the New Testament and their cultural influences
• Details of the relationships between the various New Testament writers
• How and why the 27 books were compiled to form the New Testament
• The legitimacy of the four Gospels as factual accounts of historical events

In this course, you will also learn about the Catholic Church’s integral role in the formulation of the New Testament Canon, and the various instances in which the Church defended the New Testament from heretical interpretations.

Getting to the Heart of Christianity

Studying and understanding the New Testament is crucial for Christians who wishes to deepen their faith. When we take time to better understand the foundations of our faith, we take time to understand ourselves in the process. Understanding the rich history of the New Testament can only strengthen our faith; it demystifies scripture by making it tangible. We can more confidently profess to believe in Jesus by getting to know those who first professed to believe in Him. Walk through the history of the Christian faith, which began with New Testament and continues with us, with Dr. Migliorino Miller as your guide.


  1. A Tour of the New Testament
  2. What is the "canon" of the New Testament? Discuss what your Dr. Miller calls the "literature of the Bible." Does this take away from the reliability of Scripture? How does one read different kinds of literature found in the New Testament?
  3. The Septuagint and Other Major Translations
  4. What are the most important translations of Scripture that influenced the life of the Church? Discuss the meaning of the word "septuagint" and why this is important in biblical interpretation and discrepancies amongst different translations.
  5. The Gospels of Matthew and Mark
  6. We begin studying the Gospels by focusing most heavily on Matthew and Mark. Join Dr. Miller in taking a look at the historical teaching and preaching of Jesus Christ as represented in these Gospels and breaking down their similarities and differences.
  7. The Gospels of Luke and John
  8. Here we continue our study with Luke and John and compare the four Gospels, considering "quelle theory" as discussed in the previous lecture. Could the history of the four Gospels and their intended audiences shed light on why each Gospel differs in its delivery?
  9. The Reliability of the Gospels
  10. Studying the differences in the four Gospels shouldn't take away from the reliability of Sacred Scripture. How can we trust the gospels as an authentic and accurate record of the life of Jesus Christ?
  11. The Early Threat of Gnosticism
  12. Explore one of the earliest challenges to Christianity and the writings of the New Testament: Gnosticism. What is Gnosticism? Learn about some of the challenges that the Church faced after rejecting the Gnostic writings and doctrines.
  13. Irenaeus, Damasus and the Muratorian Fragment
  14. Discuss the various lists that developed in the early years of the Church about which books would make the "final cut" and become Sacred Scripture accepted by the Church. What did this process look like for the Church?
  15. Valuable Lessons Learned
  16. Review the lessons we’ve learned from the manner in which the New Testament came into existence. Dr. Miller concludes this course with a summary understanding of the nature of divine inspiration itself and how this affected the compilation of the New Testament canon.

Lecture Sample


Meet Your Professor

Professor Monica Miller received her Ph.D. from Marquette University. She is an associate professor of Sacred Theology at Madonna University in Orchard Lake, Michigan. Miller teaches in the St. Mary’s College of Madonna University, which offers Baccalaureate degrees in Sacred Theology, Philosophy, and Polish Studies.

Miller is the Founder and Director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, a Pro-Life activist organization, “dedicated to advocacy of the sanctity of human life, especially protection of the right to life of unborn children through the organization of public demonstrations, pickets, educational programs, etc.” She founded the organization in 1986 and has organized hundreds of pro-life pickets, rallies, demonstrations and conferences. Miller is also the national co-director for the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Nationwide Rallies.

Miller has written several books including Sexuality and Authority in the Catholic Church (University of Scranton Press, 1995), The Authority of Women in the Church (Crisis Books, 1997), and The Theology of the Passion of the Christ (Alba House, 2005), a theological study of Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, and Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars (Saint Benedict Press, 2012). Her published articles include: “Twelve Ways” (To Instantly Improve the Novus Ordo) Pro-Life Society, July 2010; “Adopting Embryos” National Catholic Register, March 2009; and “The Gender of the Holy Spirit” New Oxford Review, May 2003

Monica is married to Edmund Miller, founder of Guadalupe Partners. Together they have three children: Bernadette, Patrick and Joseph and reside in South Lyon, Michigan.


Homeschooling Products

The Homeschooling Set includes the Streaming Video and Homeschooling Course Guide. Each Course Guide contains everything needed for a student to complete the course, including:

  • Lesson Plan
  • Quizzes
  • Final Essay
  • Lecture Notes
  • Answer Key


Monica Migliorino Miller, PhD
TAN Courses
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