There were three main criteria used in canonization:

I think there is a lot of misconceptions as to how the Bible was canonized. It was not some sort of formulaic decision based on the criteria.

  • Arthur Darby Nock, a professor at Harvard said to illustrate, "The most traveled roads in Europe are the best roads, that's why they're so heavily traveled."
  • William Barclay said, "It is the simple truth to say that the New Testament books became cononical because no one could stop them doing so.
  • Bruce Metzger, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary gave the example: suppose a group got together today to pronounce the works of Bach and Beethoven as great music. We know it is, but not because of this pronouncement. It is great because of the merit of the music itself, and because we have a sensitivity as to what is good music and what is not.

    See also: Are the gospels reliable?