On this day of May 2 in 373, Athanasius of Alexandria died in the city where he served as bishop. A devoted champion of orthodoxy, Athanasius is known for combating Arianism, the heresy that denied the deity of Jesus Christ and claimed He was a created being subordinate to God the Father.
Athanasius also gave us one of the first lists of the canon, the books that were accepted as Holy Scripture. In his famous “Easter Letter” of 367, the bishop listed the same books of the New Testament that we know today, adding,
These are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these.
Athanasius did not invent the canon, but he did confirm which books were considered inspired and authoritative for God’s people, even back then. This gives us all the more reason to consider Holy Scripture inspired and authoritative today.
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