The Apocrypha Books have brought much doubt to many Christians. Here is a break down on why we don’t accept these books as inspired scripture.
What are the Apocrypha books / Deuterocanonical book?
Answer: The apocryphal books or deuterocanonical as some would say are a collection of writings that are uninspired. All throughout the centuries, there has been this silent war between the Roman Catholic church and the protestant church. Most of these issues revolve around these books we call The Apocrypha books which were accepted in the Roman Catholic canon in 1546 at the Council Of Trent. The word Apocrypha means “hidden” and deuterocanonical means “second canon”. Roman Catholics believe these books to be inspired by God while protestants reject them all together.
The Apocrypha books were accepted in the Roman Catholic canon in 1546 at the Council Of Trent.
There are great reasons why protestant Christians reject these ancient books. The dispute is over mainly seven uninspired books which are Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), wisdom (wisdom of Solomon), 1 and 2 Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Baruch. Several of these apocryphal books were written during the intertestamental period also know as the 400 years of silence between the old and new testament. Books like 1 and 2 Maccabees can be read more or less as historical accounts. Others are just false writings and looked down upon by Jewish scholars.
1.) Israel was entrusted with the oracles (word) of God
The first reason we see these books as uninspired is the bible states that the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God in (Romans 3:2). All this basically means is they were entrusted with the Word of God. The nation of Israel respected these books but never accepted them in the Hebrew canon nor treated then as scripture. Many ancient Jews rejected the Apocrypha as scripture. Josephus without a doubt rejected the Apocrypha as scripture and listed the Hebrew canon as 22 books.
2.) Historical and biblical errors
Secondly, we can look at errors in these books historically and biblically. Historically we find that Judith 5:1 says “Now in the twelfth year of his reign, Nabuchodonosor, king of the Assyrians, who reigned in Ninive the great city, fought against Arphaxad and overcame him.” This is a historical error because Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t the king of the Assyrians, he was the king of the Babylonians. We also find that in Baruch 6:2 it states “And when you are come into Babylon, you shall be there many years, and for a long time, even to seven generations: and after that, I will bring you away from thence with peace.” A generation in the bible is approximately 40 years. The prophet Jeremiah, on the other hand, stated that it would be 70 years in (25:11).
3.) Salvation by works
Thirdly, the book of Tobit 12:9 says “For alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sins, and maketh to find mercy and life everlasting.” Chapter 4 verse 11 also states “For alms deliver from all sin, and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness.” As you can see this is an acceptance of salvation by works which contradicts Romans 3:28-30, Romans 4:5, Ephesians 2:8-9.
4.) Jesus by implication rejected
Fourthly, we can conclude that Jesus indirectly rejected the Apocrypha as scripture when he said in Luke 11:51 and Matthew 23:35 “from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah” including the full Hebrew canon of the old testament when speaking the crowds during his ministry. The crowds knew exactly what he was saying to them. They knew the old testament books very well and nothing was up for debate. In the Hebrew bible, books are arranged differently than our modern English bibles. Able is a character found in Genesis chapter 4 and Zechariah is named in Chronicles 24:20. Genesis is the first book and Chronicles is the last book in the Hebrew canon.
5.) Church fathers rejected them
Fifthly, many of the church fathers historically speaking rejected these books. Jerome, Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Athanasius all rejected these books as scripture. One of the main reasons the Catholic Church doesn’t reject the Apocrypha books is because many of their beliefs are supported by them. Some examples are praying for the dead, worshipping angles and giving alms to atone for sins.
6.) Dead sea scrolls (1946)
The Apocrypha books were discovered along with many other writings at the caves of Qumran. These scrolls include biblical and non-biblical writings. They date from the third century BC to 68-70 AD. Most scholars agree that the Essenes responsible for these writings. In one sense they were rivals of Judaism. Many people will argue that because you can find these books mixed in with other biblical text, they are inspired. Sadly, this argument doesn’t hold as other text like the Sectarian Manuscripts were also discovered and no one holds them as scripture.
Didn’t the earliest Bibles include the Apocrypha?
The Vulgate (405 ad)
Yes, they did. The vulgate which was the work of St. Jerome (405) was a translation in Latin that swept the world in the middle ages. Jerome clearly identified some books and non-canonical these included the Apocrypha.
Gutenberg Bible (1455 ad)
Johannes Gutenberg the inventor of the printing press decided to print the Latin version of the bible (The Vulgate) in mass production. The Apocrypha lacked a specific area in the bible during this time. Later Clement VIII moved these non-canonical books to the end.
Luther Bible (1543 ad)
Martin Luther the man that was responsible for the Protestant reformation translated the Latin bible into German. He moved the Apocrypha in between the old and new testament as these books were known as the “intertestmenal books”.
Geneva Bible (1560 ad)
The Geneva bible is a very significant translation of the bible into English. It precedes the King James Version of the bible by 51 years. It set the Apocrypha books in between the old and new testament. The Reformers would say these are good books to read but not for confirming doctrine.
King James Version (1611 ad)
The king James Version of the bible also included the Apocrypha as good and beneficial books to read but not for doctrine.
The Apocrypha books seemed to cause more harm than good and were later removed from all protestant bibles today. You will find them still in Catholic bibles.
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