St Peter was the first to recognise Jesus as Lord. He was the only desciple to be given the keys to the kingdom of heaven. 1 Chorinthians 15:5 says that the resurrected christ came to him first and not to the others. He was the first Bishop of Rome and crucified himself upside down in commemoration of Christ. Therefore, with these 5 accolades which the other desciples do not pocess, he should be leading the new testament and not a tax collector called Matthew. This makes a basphemy of Christ who gave the keys to the kingdom of heaven to St Peter and not to Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. And for more about what's on-topic here, please see: What topics can I ask about here?. As it is, your question seems more like a statement than an actual question. Though it is likely to be closed, I do hope you'll spend some time browsing the questions and answers here. – Lee Woofenden Sep 28 '16 at 17:55
  • Robin, it is in the Gospel of Matthew that the passing of the keys is recorded. Might not that non trivial assignment be considered of some importance in deciding how to arrange the canonical books? I'll leave the issue of the provenance of the books of Peter to others. The other point is that the Gospels have teachings of Jesus in them, which would influence any decision on "what books come first" in a collection of the canonical sources. – KorvinStarmast Sep 28 '16 at 19:05
  • 1
    It's important to know that just because a document says it is written by Peter, or anyone, that doesn't always mean it is. There are plenty of other 'gospels' around that we can be sure were not written by the people named as authors. – DJClayworth Sep 28 '16 at 19:48

We don't know exactly why the four canonical Gospels were chosen and the other Gospels excluded. We certainly don't know why there were arranged in the order that they were. However, the following issues may have played major roles.

(1) Apostolic authority. Matthew and John were believed by early Christians to have been written by their namesakes, and Mark was believed to have written down the testimony of Peter. Luke is an oddball in this regard, but at least it was accepted to be a genuine work of Luke the physician. The Gospel of Peter was (and is) believed to be a forgery, not actually written by Peter.

(2) Antiquity. The four canonical Gospels are the oldest Gospels we now possess. They may or may not have been the oldest Gospels known to the early Christians, but they were certainly very ancient, having been written some time before 100 CE. The Gospel of Peter, in contrast, was probably written in the second century.

(3) Order of production. It was believed that the Gospels were written in the order given in our modern Bibles, which may explain why they were arranged that way. (See Augustine's Harmony of the Gospels 1.2, for instance.)

(4) Orthodoxy. The four canonical Gospels were interpreted as orthodox in their theology. In contrast, the Gospel of Peter was believed to support the Docetic heresy.

In my opinion, momentum was probably also a major factor. Once the four canonical Gospels were grouped together, adding or subtracting from them would have meant changing the standard, which is (IMO) harder to do than to get the standard started in the first place. But this is just my opinion, and nothing I have heard from scholars. In contrast, the four points above are well-known to scholarship.

  • They are arranged by what was believed to be their chronological order of authorship. They didn't have the Markian primacy theories at that time apparently and since then the order became standard. christianity.stackexchange.com/a/43535/24841 I know you mention this but your intro makes it sound like we don't know at all. – Joshua Sep 30 '16 at 16:12

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.