From Brian McLaren: I think it's safe to say that there was a lot of variety in the early church -- different structures, titles, styles, liturgies, non-liturgies, emphases, language, taboos, problems, etc. Modern minds, however, wanted to systematize the Bible just as they wanted to systematize everything else. They wanted "The New Testament Church" to be as consistent as the McDonald's franchise: same menu, same pricing, same bathroom soap. The whole biotic world was being systematized in a science called taxonomy under the elegant rubric of kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. Similarly, the elements of the Bible (modern systematicians hoped) could be captured and tamed and dissected and analyzed and categorized and rendered elegantly neat -- like stuffed mammals posed in an exhibit at a museum. Going to a museum is a lot more convenient than going out into the forest to see animals in their natural habitat, and getting the Bible in this systematized way was similarly more convenient. One could stay clean and out of danger, and museum creatures need neither food nor cleaning -- an added bonus. Similarly, I think there was a desire to get the messy business of reading over and done with once and for all.