So the facts certainly appear to indicate that the canonical Gospels were widely recognized as being authoritative well before the late second century. In addition to 1 Timothy 5:18, six major Christian sources refer to the teachings of Jesus alternatively as the Gospel, the words of Christ and Scripture between AD 95 and

Thus, while the Gospels were one major corpus in the New Testament canon to be accepted as sacred, the other was Paul’s epistles. Besides being called Scripture in 2 Peter 3:15–16, verses from Paul’s epistles are referred to, often as inspired, in Clement’s Corinthians(47), Ignatius’ Ephesians(10) and To Polycarp(1, 5), as well as in Polycarp’s Philippians(1, 3–4, 6, 12). In a few of these passages, Paul’s letters as a whole are both discussed and referred to as Scripture.