Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Should the Apocrypha be in the Bible?

Evangelicals believe that the Bible is made up of sixty six books. (If you want to read about how the church discovered the Books that God decided were to be included in the Bible, I would encourage you to purchase a copy of Norman Geisler’s book From God to Us, How We Got the Bible). The Catholic Church, in 1546, at an event known as the Council of Trent, added eleven Jewish writings to the Bible known as the “Apocrypha” to Protestants and the “Deuterocanonical books” (lit. “second canon”) to the Catholics.

What is the Apocrypha? The Apocrypha is a collection of fourteen Jewish writings that were written down between 200 B.C. and A.D. 100. Eleven of those fourteen books were accepted by the Catholic Church as God-inspired Scriptures and were placed in the Catholic Bible. If you were to open up a Catholic Bible today you would see books in there with titles like Tobit, Judith, First and Second Maccabees and Baruch. Could these books be God inspired Scripture? Not a chance. There are numerous reasons why the early church and believers down through the centuries have rejected the apocryphal books as authoritative or divinely inspired.

1. Neither Jesus nor the New Testament writers ever quoted from the Apocrypha as Scripture.
2. The Apocrypha contains numerous historical, geographical and chronological errors.
3. The Jews themselves never accepted the Apocrypha as inspired.
4. The Apocrypha contains no predictive prophecy to help substantiate it’s claims.
5. The Apocrypha never claims to be the inspired Word of God.
6. The Apocrypha was rejected by many of the leading early church fathers.
7. Jerome rejected the Apocrypha and left them out of His Latin translation of the Bible (the Vulgate).
8. The Apocrypha contains numerous non-biblical and heretical doctrines.
9. The Apocrypha was not formally declared to be authoritative and inspired by the Catholic Church until 1546.

For more explanation on each of the nine reasons above see my study on Roman Catholicism here.