Nevertheless, this period is extremely important since it was what was preserved and what was needed for the life of the early congregations. The first question to be asked was: Where could one find the expression of the common spirit of the congregation? Originally the real mediators of the message were those who were the bearers of the Spirit, the “pneumatics” who had the pneuma (the spirit). But, as you know from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, especially the 12th chapter, he already had difficulties with the bearers of the Spirit because they produced disorder. Therefore he already emphasizes the order besides the Spirit. In the supposedly Pauline letters of the New Testament, this emphasis on ecclesiastical order becomes increasingly important. In the generation of the Apostolic Fathers, the ecstatic Spirit almost had disappeared. It was considered to be dangerous, and why, one asked, do we need it?: everything the Spirit has to say has already been classically expressed in Bible and tradition; therefore, instead of the prophets, who travelled from place to place, following the Apostles we now have definite norms and authorities in the early Christian congregations, and the first thing we must do is to find out about these norms and authorities.

The first and basic authority is the Old Testament, and the older parts of the New Testament, as they already had appeared and were collected. But the New Testament at that time had a very vague edge: there were many books which were not yet decisively received into the canon of the Bible. It took more than 200 more years before the Church finally decided about all those books which we now consider as the New Testament. But in any case, the Church possessed the whole Old Testament and a central basic amount of New Testament books.