Bible shaped by competing forces
. . . .The story "about" the Bible raises significant issues. From the historical records, the collection does not appear to be a deliberate product. A plausible case can be made that the church stumbled into the collection, a process lasting more than 300 years, and the Christian Bible was perhaps not finalized until the 16th century. The collection was shaped by competing religious factions, economics, personal ideologies, politics, the influence of larger churches and more. Many texts were eventually excluded.
Nevertheless, the fourth-century collection is still religiously quite diverse with four competing gospels, and Paul's undisputed letters vying with later texts in matters of faith and practice. Surprisingly, second-century Christians included texts in the collection based on their pre-Scripture faith; yet today's Christians judge the validity of modern religious experience by Scripture and creedal confessions . . . .