by Dr. David L. Brown
In the fall 2001 I received an American Bible Society catalog and to my surprise, there I saw Bible after Bible that contained the Apocrypha. Many non-Catholic Bible are now being published that contain the Apocrypha.
What Is The Apocrypha?
The word Apocrypha was coined by the 5th-century Catholic Bible scholar Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus, better known as Jerome, for the books received by the Roman Catholic Church of his time that were a part of the Greek version of the Old Testament, yet, were not included in the Hebrew Bible. The actual word apocrypha is derived from the Greek word “abscondita,” which historically identified writings which had an obscure origin or which were heretical. In the Talmud the Jewish rabbis used this word to describe works that were not canonical Scripture. The term has come to be applied particularly to the books added to the Roman Catholic Bible and Orthodox Bible but ordinarily rejected by non-Catholics. Most of the Apocryphal books are also called the deuterocanonical books. The word deuterocanonical means second list. “This name was first used in the sixteenth century by Sixtus Senensis and has since passed into common use in the Latin Church as a convenient label to cover the books Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, the two Maccabees, Baruch, and the Greek parts of Esther and Daniel. It was not intended to denote an inferior degree of authority, but only as a recognition of the fact that the canonicity of these writings had not always met with universal consent in the Church.” (The Cambridge History of The Bible – Vol. 2 edited by G.W.H. Lampe; Cambridge University Press; p.92).
The Roman Catholic Church, at the Council of Trent in 1546, decreed certain apocryphal
writings to be canonical (authoritative). The books of the Apocrypha included were…
1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith,
Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus or Sirach,
Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah, the Prayer of Manasseh,
1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees. Greek additions to Esther and
several additional sections of Daniel, including the Prayer of Azariah,
the Song of the Three Young Men, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon.
I should note that Orthodox “Christians” (Greek, Russian, Serbian, Orthodox, etc) usually
include 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, and Psalm 151. Because of its brevity, I have chosen to include an English translation of the Apocryphal Pslam 151 describing David’s triumph over Goliath.
1 I was small among my brothers, and youngest in my father’s house; I tended my father’s sheep.
2 My hands made a harp, my fingers fashioned a lyre.
3 And who will declare it to my Lord? The Lord himself; it is he who hears.
4 It was he who sent his messenger and took me from my father’s sheep, and anointed me with his anointing oil.
5 My brothers were handsome and tall, but the Lord was not pleased with them.
6 I went out to meet the Philistine, and he cursed me by his idols.
7 But I drew his own sword; I beheaded him, and removed reproach from the people of Israel.
Who Was The First Person To Begin Including The Apocryphal Books In The Bible?
It was Origen (circa 185-254) the heretic “who first included the Apocrypha with the Bible.”
(Forever Settled by Jack Moorman; Bible for Today; p.69). Origen was one of the greatest
corrupting influences upon the early church as well as upon the copies of the Bible. He is thought to be the first to teach purgatory. His influence is considered to have started the developed into the Arian heresy a century later, which denied the full deity of Jesus Christ. Further, he taught infants should be baptized for the forgiveness of sin and many other heresies. As one author put it, “Origen freely acknowledged volitional alterations and corrections of the New Testament manuscripts in Alexandria (ibid. p.69).
The English Bible and The Apocrypha
“The Apocrypha had been introduced into the English version of the Coverdale Bible in 1535, and was included in the King James version in 1611 between the Old and New Testaments. It began to be omitted from about 1629…” (The Apocrypha also called Deutero-Canonical Writings by Lloyd Thomas; http://ftp.iafrica.com/l/ll/ lloyd/Apocrypha.htm).
I turn your attention to the preface of the Geneva Bible of 1560 which includes this special
These bokes that follow in order after the Prophetes vnto the Newe testament, are called Apocrypha, that is bokes, which were not receiued by a comune consent to be red and expounded publikely in the Church, nether yet serued to proue any point of Christian religion, saue in asmuche as they had the consent of the other Scriptures called Canonical to confirme the same, or rather whereon they were grounded: but as bokes proceding from godlie men, were receiued to be red for the aduancement and furtherance of the knowledge of the historie, & for the instruction of godlie maners: which bokes declare that at all times God had an especial care of his Church and left them not vtterly destitute of teachers and meanes to confirme them in the hope of the promised Messiáh, and also witnesse that those calamities that God sent to his Church, were according to his prouidence, who had bothe so threatened by his Prophetes, and so broght it to passe for the destruction of their enemies, and for the tryal of his children.
In other words, the Geneva translators were putting a disclaimer on these books, in the
Reformation tradition of considering them (as Luther said) “useful and good for reading,” but not equal to Scripture.
The decree of The Roman Catholic Council of Trent in 1546 declares everyone anathema,
(cursed or condemned to destruction) who “does not accept as sacred and canonical the
aforesaid books (the Apocrypha) in their entirety and with all their parts.” So the question
naturally comes up, why were they included in virtually all the early English Bibles and yet they are not in our most non-Catholic Bibles today? The influence toward crediting these writings with Bible authority did not begin until the 4th Century in the North African church. In fact, as we have seen, the Jewish Canon centered on the so-called Masoretic Text, which is written in Hebrew. The apocryphal books were not included in the original Hebrew Old Testament preserved by the Jews. These books were written during the 200 years proceeding and the 100 years following the birth of Christ. Romans 3:2 tells us that God entrusted His Word to the care of the Jews. Hence, since the apocryphal books were only a part of the Greek Septuagint canon and not the Hebrew canon, it is easy to see why the Jewish scribes believe that God guided them in the rejection of the Apocryphal books from the canon of Scripture. “According to Torrey, the Jews not only rejected the Apocrypha, but after the overthrow of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., they went so far as to ‘destroy, systematically and thoroughly, the Semitic originals of all extra-canonical literature,’ including the Apocryphal. ‘The feeling of the leaders at that time,’ Torrey tells us, ‘is echoed in a later Palestinian writing (Midrash Qoheleth, 12,12): “Whosoever brings together in his house more than twenty-four books (the canonical scriptures) brings confusion.’” (The King James Version Defended by Dr. Edward F. Hills; Chapter 4). But there are those who maintain that these extra books were part of a so-called Alexandrian canon for it was in that city that the Septuagint translation was produced. But, the famous Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria (1st century), although quoting extensively from the Old Testament canon “never once quotes from any apocryphal books” (Archer 1974:73). In addition, the Jewish Aquila version of the Old Testament (early 2nd century), which supplanted the Septuagint, did not contain the Apocrypha.” (The Apocrypha also called Deutero-Canonical Writings by Lloyd Thomas;http://ftp.iafrica. com/ l/ll/lloyd/ Apocrypha.htm). Even, Josephus (AD 30-100), Jewish historian, explicitly excludes the Apocrypha, both by his count of the canonical books and his statement that from the time of Malachi no further canonical writings were composed, although records were kept – “because the exact succession of the prophets ceased” and “no one has dared to add anything to them, or take anything from them, or alter anything in them.” I also want to point out that the Jewish scholars of Jamnia (AD 70) did not recognize the apocrypha. No canon or council of the Church for the first four centuries recognized the Apocrypha as inspired. In fact, many, but not all, of the great church Fathers of the early church spoke out against the Apocrypha or confirm the exclusion of the Apocrypha by their count of the Old Testament books. Included are Athanasius, Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop Melito of Sardis (170 AD), Tertullian, and Hilary of Poitiers.
So, why was the Apocrypha included in the early English Bibles? One key reason is that it was because of pressure by the Roman Catholic Church. Yet, we need to go way back to Jerome, translator of the Latin Vulgate in 405 AD for the answer. He counseled that those books not available in Hebrew canon were to be reckoned among the apocryphal writings.Jerome at first refused even to translate the Apocryphal books into Latin, but later he made a hurried translation of a few of them. While he did include some them in his translation, he noted that they should not be used to establish doctrine. In an article titled, The Old Testament Canon the author says, “Jerome produced the standard Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate, and he felt that it was important for this purpose that he learn Hebrew. He discovered the opinion of the Jews in the matter of the canon, the falsity of the legend of the translation of the LXX (Septuagint), and as a result made many disparaging remarks about the disputed books, calling them apocrypha.” (The Old Testament Canon;http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/ sbrandt/canon.htm; section 3.2). In fact, “after his death, and literally ‘over his dead body,’ the Apocryphal books were brought into his Latin Vulgate translation directly from the Old Latin Version.” (Outlines on Church History:The Collection of the Old Testament Scriptures – The Canon; http:// thechristian.org/church_history/ot_history.html; p.2)
You should know another thing. The Way of Life Bible Encyclopedia says, “Some Apocryphalbooks, though written as history, are actually fiction. This is a form of deception not found in divinely inspired books of the Bible. ‘Ostensibly historical but actually quite imaginative are the books of Tobit, Judith, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon, which may be called moralistic novels’ (Oxford Annotated Apocrypha, p. xi). Noteworthy examples of ancient fiction they might be, but such books have absolutely no place among the seven-times purified Word of God (Psalm 12:6-7).
At this point I want to share with you some information from an interesting little book I recently purchased called The Scholastic History of The Canon of The Holy Scripture written in 1657 by Dr. John Cosin of Cambridge University. The focus of this book is to make it clear to the Christian Church that the Apocrypha was not and is not a part of Holy Scripture. In the introduction, he begins by listing the books that make up the 39 books of our Old Testament. Then he moves to the Apocryphal book next. He says, “…the other Books (as Jerome saith) the Church doth read for Example of Life, and Instruction of Manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish Doctrine. Dr. Cousin then lists fourteen Apocryphal books. Finally he says, “All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive and accept them CANONICAL.”
Next the good Doctor cites Rome’s so called “The New Canon of Scripture First set forth by The Councel of Trent, And after confirmed, and declared to be received with other Articles of Faith by BULLS of Pope PIUS the IV. Anno Dom. MDLX (1560). (Note: I have kept the capitalization, wording and spelling as it appears in the original).
Both the Trent and the Pope declared anyone who rejected the Apocrypha as a part of the Bible’s Canon “Anathema” or “Damno…Anathematizo.” That simply means permanently condemned and damned to Hell.
From this point on, in the interest of easier reading, I have largely conformed the spelling to our modern standard but have, for the most part I left the capitalization as it appears in the book.
In his address “To the Reader” Dr. Cosin explains his purpose in writing this 225 page book. He says, and I quote…
In this Scholastical History I give an account of the Canonical and undubitate (not to be doubted) Books of Holy Scripture, as they are numbered in the VI Article of Religion set forth by the Church of England, and have been received by the Catholic Church in all several Ages since the time of the Apostles, till the Church of Rome thought fit to compose and dress up a New Additional Canon thereof for themselves in their late Council of Trent where it was one of the first things they did, to lay this Foundation for all their New Religion which they built upon it; That the Apocryphal Writings and Traditions of Men were nothing inferior, nor less Canonical, than the Sovereign Dictates of God as well for the Confirmation of Doctrinal Points pertaining to the Faith, as the ordering of Life and Manners; by that both One and the Other ought to be embraced with the same Affection of Piety, and received with the like religious Reverence; not making any difference between them.
Those Writings of holy and learned men, who have been, next after the Prophets and Apostles, as the Shining Lights of the world in their Several Generations before us, we reverence and honor in their kind; and those Ecclesiastical Traditions, which have been in use among us, and tend to the better preservation of Order and Piety in that Religion only
which was once delivered to the Saints, we acknowledge and receive, as far as their own variable Nature and Condition requireth, with all due regard; but to make either of these Equal in Dignity or Authority with the Divine will and Word of God, as the Masters of the Assembly at Trent have done; and above all this, to Canonize a Tradition, which was not so much as a Tradition received in their own Church before, (as will appear by this present History,) nevertheless commanding it to be received as a necessary article of Faith, under the pain of their unhallowed Curse, and the Peril of damnation, this is so high and transcendent a presumption, as that God himself hath laid his Curse upon it; whereof it concerns them to take heed, least what they have vainly laid upon others, do not effectually reach to themselves, and fall on their own heads.
But, after this manner they began to set up their first doctrinal Tradition, in their last Council, at Trent; which they call an Oecumenical (Ecumenical) Council, as if all the Bishops in Christendom had been there present and voted in it; when it is well known, that the same time, wherein this their Additional Canon of Scripture was first made, (which was then done chiefly by the procurement of Catharin, and his Faction there, whose credit had otherwise been quite lost, having been much impaired already be his former and fierce opposition herein against the Writings of Cardinal Cajetan, the far more learned and Catholic Doctor of the two), it consisted not above fifty persons in all; among whom some of them were only Prelates Titular, and hired with pensions to serve the present turn.
And the rest of their Traditions that follow, (wherein now consisteth the very Life and Being of their particular and proper Religion, that differeth from Ours, and the true Catholic Religion of every Church, and every Age before them) having been confirmed by Pope Pius his Bull, and made so many New Articles of their Faith, (as the former was) are all alike.
As first (of these “New Doctrines” of Rome) –
1. That the Church of Rome is the MOTHER and Mistress of all other Churches; which
is not only said Against the Truth of all Ecclesiastical History, and the public
Declaration of an ancient General Council (the Second among the first four) received
and approved by all good Christians but likewise against the expressed words of the
Gospel it self (he notes Luke 24:47 in the footnotes), and against the common sense
and knowledge of all persons that can but read or hear it.
2. That the Pope of Rome is the Monarch or Head of the Universal Visible Church, the
Vicar of Deputy of Christ, and in that Sovereign Authority the true Successor of St.
Peter, as Prince of the Apostles; by virtue whereof his Papal Determinations and
Prescriptions are to be obeyed, in what matter so ever he shall be pleased to declare
himself. I will not now mention the infamous Power, (that otherwhiles he hath
assumed to himself), of deposing a just and lawful King of his rightful Inheritance; or
of freeing his natural and sworn Subjects of their Bond of Faith and Allegiance
towards him; (which are Dictates of Pope Hildebrand); But I note only at present the
Authority he assumed over the Scripture of God (the Subject of all our History),
which He and his Followers make to be greater than any those Scriptures have; for it
is another of the same Pope’s Dictates, confirmed by the Bull of Pius the IV in his
Profession of the Tridentine Faith, ‘That the Canonical Scriptures themselves shall be
no Canonical Scriptures, unless he gives them Authority and Allowance so to be.’
Which is to say, that when he pleaseth, he may take away all Authority from them.
3. Then, ‘That all Scripture are to be expounded according to the Sense of this Roman
Church; which must herein be held to be the only Judge; and to follow the unanimous
consent of the Ancient Fathers.’
4. Next, that there are truly and properly Seven Sacraments, neither more nor less,
instituted by Christ himself in the New Testament.
5. That in their Mass there is Real Transubstantiation of the Elements into the Body and
Blood of Christ, remaining after Communion is done; and likewise a proper and
propitiatory Sacrifice there offered up by the Priest for the Sinners of the Quick and
the Dead, [is] the same that Christ offered upon the Cross.
6. That when the Priest receiveth the Sacrament alone, and when he giveth to others but
under one kind only, (the bread only) yet it is lawful, and a complete Communion,
notwithstanding that our Savior otherwise appointed it.
7. That after this Life there is a penal Purgatory to be undone for the Expiation as well
of venial Sins, as the payment of temporal punishment due to mortal sins; as the
payment of temporal punishments due to mortal sins; and that dead men’s souls there
detained are helped by the Suffrages of the Living, and the saying of Masses.
8. That the Saints above heaven (or any whom shall be the Popes pleasure to Canonize)
ought to be religiously invocated (prayed to); and that they understand as well the
minds as the words of those that pray to them.
9. That Whosoever will not fall down before Relics and Images, to kiss and worship
them according to the present practice of the Church of Rome, and the Decrees of the
Second Council at Nice, are to be accursed and damned.
10. That the penalty power and present use of Indulgences, was ordained and left by
Christ in his Church, which anciently put the same into practice; and that the denial
hereof ought to be anathemized.
11. And lastly, That all Definitions, Decrees, Canons, and Declarations made in their
former Councils, and especially in this their Council of Trent, ought to be wholly and
inviolately, undoubtedly and devoutly professed, taught, preached, and received as
the true Catholic Faith, out of which non can be saved.
But, all these New Traditions, as they have no ground in the Scripture, so have they as little Testimony of Antiquity to be brought for them; out of both which we prescribe against them all.
The truth and strength of which their assertions, in one of their peculiar and prime Traditions, first set forth in their late Assembly at Trent, I examine in this History. Whereby I trust it will be made manifest to the Reader, That those Men, who do now so busily endeavor to seduce the Sons and Daughters of the Church of England for the Grounds of Truth of our Religion, which is no other than that we have received from Christ and his Universal Church, termed nevertheless by them a New Church, and a New Religion, that began in the days of King Henry VIII (which is as true, as if they should say, a sick person began then first to live, when he recovered from the disease and distemper that was before upon him; for we are the same Church still, [as he the same person] that we were before, though in a better estate and health of our souls, in greater soundness and purity of Religion, then indeed we were before when they had to do with it, and instructed us); Novelists, are in themselves the greatest Novelists of any in the world besides: And must be content (both in this peculiar Article of their Religion, which we now set forth and
examine through the several Ages of the Church, and likewise in others, which we may, by the Grace of God, examine in the like manner hereafter), to come behind in time, after divers of those Novelists, and disturbers of true Religion, that now bear vogue among us.
It is a matter of Fact this, that is here tried, which may be put to a Jury of Twelve Men, that have no lawful Exception to be taken against them; but I give them more, and put it to many such, one after another; that there may be no want which in such case, as this is, will be the fairest way of Trial to find out the Truth, and leave the Reader to judge of it, on whose side it standeth.
In gathering my Witnesses together, and Collecting this Scholastic History, I must acknowledge to owe somewhat unto those learned Men, that have heretofore taken pains in this behalf, as well at home in our own Church, as abroad in others. Yet (let it be said without derogation for any of them), this Book hath been judged, by Him that first requested me to make it a part of my employment, (though he was a person well able to have more perfectly done it himself), and by other Men of knowledge, (Professors of true Religion and Learning), who have read it after him, and many time moved him to commit it to the Press; that it would give more ample satisfaction, and clear the passages in Antiquity from the Objections that some late Authors on the Roman side bring against us, then those other Writings of Home and Foreign Divines have done, that are extant in this kind. For besides the whole frame and order of the Book, insisting upon the right and best way of inquiry into this matter by the Historical Disquisition of the Universal Tradition and Testimony of God’s Church herein unanimously delivered in all Ages form the Apostles Times (and before) to ours; My Observations as I passed along both through the Ancient and Latter Writers that I have said any thing of this subject, are many of them New; and where I have followed others, even there also I have added much of my own, to advance and manifest the Truth in them; having no other aim than herein to be serviceable to the Truth of God, set forth and professed by the Church of England; which Truth we endeavor, in these wavering and lapsing times, to preserve entire and upright among us.
My Discourse is continued, and not interrupted with quotations of Authors, which I have
diligently searched, and placed, all the way, in the margin. The language that I use, is familiar, clear, and inoffensive, (which I trust will make it the more acceptable), for I neither , nor approve any other.
But if I may unwittingly have said anything, that shall be found to disagree either with any passage in the Holy Scriptures, or with the consent of Antiquity in the sense and Interpretation of those Scriptures, (which yet, I hope will, will not be found), I do here beforehand revoke and unsay it already.
At my Retirement in Paris this 17 Feb. 1657”
The remainder of the book moves to prove that there is no credible early church support for the Apocrypha being a part of the canon of the Scripture.
I will share just several brief examples.
102 A.D. Clement the first – Rome called him Pope Clement. They quote him on “other matters” yet when he lists what is in the Canon of Scripture he does not include “Tobit and Judith, or any other of the books that are now in question.” In fact, “there is no mention at all,which is a sign, that in those days they were to be no Canonical Parts of the Scripture.”
157 A.D. Polcrates – “Before St John died, (who died the last of all the Apostles), the Canon of the Scriptures was made perfect and delivered over to the Christian Church. Diverse years before his death he had made chief abode about Ephesus, and Sardis, and the other Churches in Asia, to which he wrote when he was banished into the Isle of patmos by the Emperor Domitian. From this Banishment he was released by Nerva in the year of our Lord 97, and about three years after he quietly ended his days. It happened about 60 years from that time of his decease, there was some question made, by certain men that came and lived in those quarters, concerning the exact number of the Canonical Books of Scripture. For resolution herein Melito, who was then Bishop of Sardis (a man famous and venerable in his time, and of whom Polycrates the Metropolitan Bishop of Ephesus gave this honorable Testimony, that he was led and guided, in all things he did, by the Holy Ghost.” He then lists all the books of the Old Testament and NONE of the Apocryphal books.
164 A.D. Justin Martyr – “In all his works (he) citeth not so much as any one passage out of the Apocryphal Books, nor maketh the least mention of them all.”
222 A.D. Julius Africanus – Writes “eight several Arguments (where) he endeavoreth to prove it (the Apocryphal book of Susanna) a fable.
Is there any comment about the Apocrypha which was in the KJV 1611? Alexander McClure, who was a biographer of the KJV translators, writes: “…the Apocryphal books in those times were more read and accounted of than now, though by no means placed on a level with the canonical books of Scripture” (Translators Revived, Alexander McClure, p. 185). He then lists several reasons assigned by the KJV translators for rejecting the Apocrypha as inspired.
1. The Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England clearly states that the Apocrypha have no scriptural authority.
2. “…[the Church of England] doth not apply to them to establish any doctrine.”
3. The Westminster Confession says, “The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.”
4. Luther included a note on the Apocrypha which stated, “These are books not to be held in equal esteem with those of Holy Scripture…”
So, returning to the question posed earlier: Why was the Apocrypha included in the early
translations of the English Bible. First, the Roman Catholic influence played a major part.
Secondly, the Apocrypha was considered to be of some literary and historical value. Some of the books do fill in some of the 400-year gap between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New.
The King James Bible and the Apocrypha. It is true that early editions of the KJV (as well as many other Reformation Bibles, including the German Luther Bible) contained the Apocrypha, but these books were included for historical reference only, not as additions to the canon of Scripture. Alexander McClure, a biographer of the KJV translators, says: “…the Apocryphal books in those times were more read and accounted of than now, though by no means placed on a level with the canonical books of Scripture” (McClure, Translators Revived, p. 185). He then lists seven reasons assigned by the KJV translators for rejecting the Apocrypha as inspired. The Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England clearly states that the Apocrypha have no scriptural authority. “…[the Church of England] doth not apply to them to establish any doctrine.” The Westminster Confession says, “The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.” Luther included a note on the Apocrypha which stated, “These are books not to be held in equal esteem with those of Holy Scripture…”
It is important to note that in the early King James Bibles the Apocryphal books were placed between the Old and New Testaments rather than intermingled within the O.T. itself as is done in Catholic Bibles. In the Jerusalem Bible (a Catholic Bible), for example, Tobit, Judith, and the Maccabees follow Nehemiah; the Book of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus follow Ecclesiastes; Baruch follows Lamentations; etc.
Though some of the Apocryphal books perhaps do have historical value, giving information
regarding the inter-testament “quiet years” prior to the coming of Christ, there is no justification for giving these a place in the Holy Scripture. Their proper place is on the same level as (if not lower than) the writings of the historian Josephesus or of some other uninspired writer of that period.
The Apocrypha Is NOT Inspired Scripture!
Despite the Roman Catholic decree at Council of Trent in 1546 which declares everyone anathema, (cursed or condemned to destruction) who “does not accept as sacred and canonical the aforesaid books (the Apocrypha) in their entirety and with all their parts” there are solid biblical reasons for rejecting them. Here are just a few.
1. As I have already mentioned, they are not included in the original Hebrew Old Testament preserved by the Jews therefore, it is believed that God guided them in the rejection of the Apocryphal books from the canon of Scripture because, as we have seen, God had appointed the Jews as custodians of the Old Testament.
2. The New Testament churches did not receive them as inspired Scripture during the first four centuries after Christ. Here’s why that is important. The Bible says in John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth… The Holy Spirit did not guide the Apostolic and Early New Testament Church to regard the Apocrypha as the inspired Word of God because it was not!
3. The Apocrypha contain teachings wholly contrary to the other books of the Bible. II
Maccabees teaches praying to the dead and making offering to atone for the sins of the dead. Consider this quote from II Maccabees 12:43-45: He also took up a collection… and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering…For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen asleep would arise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead… Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.
The Roman Catholic Church uses the above passage as support for Purgatory. They teach that the faithful on earth can be of great help to persons who have died and are undergoing purgatory by offering for them the sacrifice of the Mass, prayers, almsgiving, and other religious deeds. STOP! That is not what the Bible teaches! Consider the following questions and answer them.
What is the only offering that God will receive for sin?
Hebrews 10:10-14 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
It is only through Christ Jesus that atonement is made! Romans 5:11 says, And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Where do the saved dead go when they die?
They do not go to purgatory, they go immediately to be with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 points this out! Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (See also Philippians 1:20-23). As I just noted, they do not go to purgatory; they do go to Hades (Hell). Luke 16:19-31 makes that very clear. There are no second chances after death. Those who do not believe on Christ are “condemned already” (John 3:18). John 3:36 adds, He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Sonshall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Neither praying for the dead, nor saying masses for the dead will change the state of the ones who have died, You can pray for departed loved ones till you are blue in the face and spend every last penny you possess to get a priest to say masses for the dead but that will not change the eternal state of those who are unsaved. It will not even get them a cup of cold water in Hell.
Macceabees is not the only book with problem. There are major problems with the book of
Tobiat as well. Here are some of the problems.
The angel Raphael teaches sorcery & magic which God forbids
Tobit 6:4,6-8 “Then the angel said to him, Cut open the fish and take the heart and liver and gall and put them away ……… Then the young man said to the angel, Brother Azatias, of what use is the liver and heart and gall of the fish? He replied, As for the heart and the liver, if a demon or evil spirit gives trouble to any one, you make a smoke from these before the man or woman, and that person will never be troubled again. And as for the gall, anoint with it a man who has white films in his eyes, and he will be cured.” What the angel suggests is nothing other than occult magic, which the Lord forbids! Deuteronomy 13:10-12 & Jeremiah 27:9 makes that clear.
Tobit teaches the false doctrine of salvation by works
Tobit 12:9 “For almsgiving delivers from death, and it will purge away every sin.” Tobit 14:11 “So now, my children, consider what almsgiving accomplishes and how righteousness delivers.”
Teaching that alleges that giving or any other works purges sin is inconsistent with the Bible. The Word of God says –1 Peter 1:13-19 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 17And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy hesaved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
I could go on, but I will just point out one last example. The book of Judith contains the account of how a so-called godly widow destroyed one of Nebuchadnezzar’s generals through deceit and sexual offers. It is also important to note that Judith’s counsel regarding resisting Nebuchadnezzar was contrary to that given by God’s prophet Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 38:14). God warned the Israelites to submit to Nebuchadnezzar rather than to resist, because the Babylonian captivity and destruction of Israel was a judgment from God upon the Jew’s rebellion and idolatry.
In conclusion, there is clear evidence that the Apocryphal books are not inspired of the Lord. Neither Christ nor the Apostles ever quoted from them though they did quote from every other part of the Old Testament Scriptures. While there may be some historical value in some of the Aprocryphal writings, they should not be considered inspired despite the decree of the Council of Trent and the inclusion of these books in almost all the early English versions of the Bible. Many of the Protestant Reformers warned that they were not on the level of the Bible and the Westminster Confession codified the Apocrypha’s diminished value when it says, as I mentioned earlier, “The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.”
Following Are The Reasons The Apocryphal Books Are Rejected By Bible Believers:
1. They are not included in the original Hebrew O.T. preserved by the Jews. Ro. 3:1-2 states that God used the Jews to preserve His Word; therefore, we know that He guided them in the rejection of the Apocryphal books from the canon of Scripture.
2. They were not received as inspired Scripture by the churches during the first four centuries after Christ.
3. They were not written in the Hebrew language, which was alone used by the inspired
historians and prophets of the O.T.
4. They do not claim to to be the inspired Word of God. Unlike the inspired Scriptures, the
Apocryphal books contain no statements such as “thus saith the Lord” or “these are the words of God.”
5. They contain teachings contrary to the biblical books. II Maccabees teaches praying to the dead and making offerings to atone for the sins of the dead. Consider this quote from II Maccabees 12:43-45: “He also took up a collection … and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. … For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen asleep would arise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead … Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.” The Bible, though, says there is only one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Ti. 2:5-6). Also He. 10:10-14 says believers have been perfected forever through Christ’s one sacrifice. Thus, the dead in Christ need no human, earthly prayers or offerings. At death the lost go immediately to a place of torment; thus there is no purpose in praying for them (Lk. 16:22-23).
II Maccabees also contains the heresy that deceased saints are interceding in heaven for those on earth (15:11-14). The Bible teaches that it is the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, who is interceding for us in Heaven–not deceased saints (He. 4:14-16; 8:1-2; 1 Jn. 2:1-2).
6. In quality and style, the Apocryphal books are not on the level of Bible writings. Even a hurried reading of the Apocryphal books reveals the fact that here we are touching the uninspired writings of men apart from divine inspiration. These writings are not “God breathed,” as 2 Ti. 3:16 says all Scripture is. There is not in the Apocryphal books the supernatural depth and bredth of thought, the rich complexity yet simplicity of language, which goes beyond mere writings of men.
7. The Apocryphal writings are not quoted by the Lord Jesus or the Apostles, while every part of the O.T. Scriptures are quoted. This is a very important point. Though some claim to find allusions to the Apocrypha in certain N.T. passages (Mt. 7:12; 27:43-54; Ro. 9:21; Ep. 6:13-17; He. 1:3; Jam. 1:6,19; 5:6), this is not a proven fact. While it is possible that the N.T. writers were familiar with the Apocrypha, it is plain that they did not directly quote from these books. The supposed allusions to the Apocrypha in the N.T. could just as easily be allusions to other O.T. histories or to facts given directly by revelation. We must remember that the N.T. Scriptures are not the product of man, but of God.
8. Some Apocryphal books, though written as history, are actually fiction. This is a form of deception not found in divinely inspired books of the Bible. “Ostensibly historical but actually quite imaginative are the books of Tobit, Judith, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon, which may be called moralistic novels” (Oxford Annotated Apocrypha, p. xi). Noteworthy examples of ancient fiction they might be, but such books have absolutely no place among the seven-times purified Word of God (Ps. 12:6-7).
9. The Apocryphal books were rejected from the canon of Scripture by the early church leaders.“It is a significant fact that the best of the early Fathers adopted the Hebrew canon as giving the authoritative Scriptures of the O.T.” (Analytical, p. 1083).
10. The book of Tobit contains many false things. First, there is the account of a supposed high and good angel of God who lies and teaches the use of magic! In Tobit 5:4 we are told that the angel’s name is “Raphael,” but later he lies to Tobit, claiming to be “Azarias the son of the great Ananias, one of your relatives” (Tobit 5:12). This angel professes to be “one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One” (Tobit 12:15). Yet he not only lies about his name, but teaches magic. “Then the angel said to him, `Cut open the fish and take the heart and liver and gall and put them away safely.’ …
Then the young man said to the angel, `Brother Azarias, of what use is the liver and heart and gall of the fish?’ He replied, `As for the heart and the liver, if a demon or evil spirit gives trouble to any one, you make a smoke from these before the man or woman, and that person will never be troubled again. And as for the gall, anoint with it a man who has white films in his eyes, and he will be cured'” (Tobit 6:4,6-8). The Bible clearly condemns magicical practices such as this (consider De. 18:10-12; Le. 19:26,31; Je. 27:9; Mal. 3:5).
Second, the false doctrine of salvation through works is taught in the book of Tobit. “For
almsgiving delivers from death, and it will purge away every sin” (Tobit 12:9). “So now, my children, consider what almsgiving accomplishes and how righteousness delivers” (Tobit 14:11). These false teachings must be contrasted with Le. 17:11, which says “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul,” and with Tit. 3:5 which says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
Third, Tobit taught that help is only to be given to the deserving. “Place your bread on the grave of the righteous, but give none to sinners” (Tobit 4:17). Contrariwise, in Ex. 23:4-5 God taught even in O.T. times that His people were to do good to their enemies and not only toward the righteous.
11. The book of Judith contains the account of how a supposedly godly widow destroyed one of Nebuchadnezzar’s generals through deceit and sexual offers. It is also important to note that Judith’s counsel regarding resisting Nebuchadnezzar was contrary to that given by God’s prophet Jeremiah (Je. 38:1-4). God warned the Israelites to submit to Nebuchadnezzar rather than to resist, because the Babylonian captivity and destruction of Israel was a judgment from God upon the Jew’s rebellion and idolatry.
An increasing number of the modern versions of the Bible have included the Apocrypha and
more will follow that perilous path in the future. BEWARE OF THE APOCRYPHA!