Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Holy Bible


Sources that verify the Canonicity of the Holy Bible


Part 2: The Canon of the Council of Laodicea

This Canon was validated by the Quinisext Ecumenical Council. It is therefore one of the six Canons that the Church has acknowledged, as definitive of the Canon pertaining to the Holy Bible.

The Council of Laodicea provided an open canon for the Canonical and Proposed Reading books, because the Holy Bible was still being shaped. The next related council - which was the Council of Carthage – took place 6o years later, during which, a fuller canon was provided, then finally closed.


General (on the 6 Canons)

The 6 accepted canons:


Herebelow is the Synod’s text and alongside it, is the translation of the Canon:

Synod text1


Όσα δεί βιβλία αναγινώσκεσθαι2 της Παλαιάς Διαθήκης.  α΄. Γένεσις κόσμου.  β΄. Έξοδος εξ Αιγύπτου.  γ΄. Λευϊτικόν.  δ΄. Αριθμοί.  ε΄. Δευτερονόμιον.  ς΄. Ιησούς του Ναυή.  ζ΄. Κριταί, Ρούθ.  η΄. Εσθήρ.  θ΄. Βασιλειών πρώτη και δευτέρα.  ι΄. Βασιλειών τρίτη και τετάρτη.  ια΄. Παραλειπομένων πρώτον και δεύτερον.  ιβ΄. Έσδρας πρώτον και δεύτερον.  ιγ΄. Βίβλος Ψαλμών. ρν΄.  ιδ΄. Παροιμοίαι Σολομώντος.  ιε΄. Εκκλησιαστής.  ις΄. Άσμα ασμάτων.  ιζ΄. Ιώβ.  ιη΄. Δωδεκαπρόφητον.  ιθ΄. Ησαΐας.  κ΄. Ιερεμίας και Βαρούχ, Θρήνοι και επιστολαί3.  κα΄. Ιεζεκιήλ.  κβ΄. Δανιήλ.


Τα δε της Καινής Διαθήκης ταύτα. Ευαγγέλια τέσσαρα, κατά Ματθαίον, κατά Μάρκον, κατά Λουκάν, κατά Ιωάννην. Πράξεις Αποστόλων. Επιστολαί καθολικαί επτά, Ιακώβου μία, Πέτρου δύο, Ιωάννου τρείς Ιούδα μία. Επιστολαί Παύλου δεκατέσσαρες. πρός Ρωμαίους μία, πρός Κορινθίους δύο, πρός Γαλάτας μία, πρός Εφεσίους μία, πρός Φιλιππησίους μία, πρός Κολοσσαείς μία, πρός Θεσσαλονικείς δύο, πρός Εβραίους μία, πρός Τιμόθεον δύο, πρός Τίτον μία, και πρός Φιλήμονα μία.


1. Ρ ά λ λ η – Π ο τ λ ή , τόμ. Γ΄, σελ. 225-226.

2. και αυθεντείν

3. ή, Επιστολή.

Which books should be read from the Old Testament:  (a) Genesis of the world (b) The Exodus from Egypt (c) Leviticus (d) Numbers (e) Deuteronomy (f) Joshua (g) Judges and Ruth (h) Esther (i) Kings I and II (j) Kings III and IV (k) Chronicles I and II (l) Ezra I and II (m) Book of Psalms (n) Proverbs of Solomon (o) Ecclesiastes (p) Song of Solomon (q) Job (r) Twelve Prophets (s) Isaiah (t) Jeremiah and Baruch (u) Lamentations and epistles (v) Ezekiel (w) Daniel.



As for the New Testament, the following (should be read): the four Gospels: according to Matthew, according to Mark, according to Luke, according to John; the Acts of the Apostles; Seven Epistles overall: one by Jacob (James), two by Peter, three by John, one by Judas.  Epistles by Paul, fourteen in number: one to Romans, two to Corinthians, one to Galatians, one to Ephesians, one to Philippians, one to Colossians, two to Thessalonians, one to Hebrews, two to Timothy, one to Titus and one to Philemon.



Commentary on the text

1. We can see that the Books of Judith, the 3 Books of the Maccabees (the 4th do not comprise part of the Holy Bible, so we will not preoccupy ourselves with it), the Wisdom of Sirah, the Wisdom of Solomon and the Book of Tobit, are all missing here.


2. Why are these books missing from the canon of the Laodicean Council?  Let us examine this for a moment:

This Council took place 60 years before the Council of Carthage. This signifies that the Canon pertaining to the Holy Bible was still being shaped, AND HAD NOT YET BEEN CLOSED. 

While the Laodicean Council was the first attempt at drafting the books intended for proposed reading, the Carthaginian Council 60 years later finalized the selection of books that would be read as Divine books in the Church.


3. The difference between these two Canons (Carthaginian and Laodicean) is attributed to the aforementioned reason.  The preceding Canon of Laodicea says: “Those books of the Old Testament that should be read”, WITHOUT EXEMPTING OTHER BOOKS THAT THE CHURCH MIGHT WISH TO ADD IN A LATER COUNCIL; whereas the Council of Carthage 60 years later is categorical that the selection has been finalized: “It was also decided that, apart from the Canonical Scriptures, nothing else is to be read in the Church, in the name of Divine Scriptures.  Canonical Scriptures are therefore the following:………..”.

It is very obvious, after comparing the above texts of the two Councils, that the one leaves the Canon open, while the other categorically closes it, with the words: “….apart from the Canonical Scriptures, nothing else is to be read in the Church….”.   Given that the previous Council had left this Canon open, no problem arises from the fact that during the nextCouncil, the remaining Books were included.     

Therefore there is no contradiction here, only a time difference, during which the Canon of the Holy Bible was being defined.


4. However, given that this Council confirmed the Book of Baruch as being Canonical, how can the Protestants reject it?


5. Furthermore, I must mention that the wording of this Council (of Laodicea) is characteristic for another important issue, with regard to the Books of Baruch, Lamentations and Jeremiah’s Epistle.  It says there, with regard to Jeremiah:        “…(s) Isaiah (t) Jeremiah and Baruch (u) Lamentations and epistles (v) Ezekiel …….”.

In this extract, we observe that while Isaiah and Ezekiel (who are mentioned before and after Jeremiah) have a different numbering (s) and (v), Jeremiah with the number (t) includes the Book of Baruch, and the Lamentations and Jeremiah’s Epistles.  This proves that all of them were included under the heading “Jeremiah”; and it thus proves that during the pursuant Council of Carthage, when the Canon referred to “Jeremiah”, it included these Books, along with Baruch, which some mistakenly believe is not included there.


6. Finally, we should mention that in the follow-up of the Laodicean Council’s Canon there is a listing of the Books of the New Testament. However, from that list is missing the Book of Revelations!  The reason is, that this book had not yet been selected by the Church as a part of the Canon on the Holy Bible.  Does that mean the Book of Revelations is a Deuterocanonic book also?  This example alone is adequate proof that the Canon had not yet been completed, and that it was finally closed in the pursuing Council of Carthage, where the Book of Revelations as well as the other Books missing from the Laodicean Council are clearly listed. 

The information was taken from the exceptional book by the reserve professor of the Athens University Mr. Panagiotis Boumis, Dr. of Theology titled:”The Canons of the Church pertaining to the Canon of the Holy Bible” Athens 1986. 

Text: Ν.Μ.

Greek text

Translation by A.N.

Article published in English on: 18-7-2005.

Last update: 4-8-2005.