Was the Christian Bible put together by a pagan emperor in the fourth century?
No! I don’t know why this myth is continually repeated when there is no historical basis for it. Yes, Constantine made Christianity the ‘official’ religion of the Roman Empire. And yes, he hosted the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. But as far as his having anything to do with selecting which books ‘made the cut’ to be included in the Bible, that is pure fiction.
The Council of Nicaea was convened to discuss how to choose the day to celebrate Easter and to resolve a disagreement which arose from within the Church of Alexandria over the nature of Jesus in relationship to the Father. A fellow known as Arius was teaching that Jesus was not the literal son of God, but rather a figurative son. The council voted overwhelmingly against Arius. They decided to celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the paschal full moon. The canon (the official list of books of the Bible) was not on the agenda. Even if it had been, Constantine was not a voting member of the council.
The canon is not an authoritative list of books. It is a list of authoritative books. There is a distinct difference. The books are authoritative. Their authority comes from God, not any group of church leaders at council, and definitely not from Constantine or King James, or any other human leader. The books that make up the Scriptures were recognized as Scripture by the church when they were written, and they were being copied and passed around to the churches who read and studied them as Scripture long before they were ‘assembled’ as one book.
Why are myths about the origin of the Bible perpetuated when the true history is well documented? It can only be to discredit the Scriptures.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:11-13)
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)
Anyone who discredits the Scriptures is doing so to keep you from life. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)