What are the Apocryphal Books?
by Bobby Bruno
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The term “apocryphal” means hidden or concealed. These books were not included in the bible because they did not meet the three standards that dictate what belonged in the Bible and what did not. The apocryphal books are 1 & 2 Esdras, 1 & 2 Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, additions to the book of Esther, The Song of the Three Young Men (an addition to Daniel), Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, The Wisdom of Solomon, The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach, Baruch, The Letter of Jeremiah, and The Prayer of Manasseh. When reading these books you will find a lot of history of some of the Israelites the books are concerned with, even though God’s presence was not mentioned. None of these books speak of the coming Christ, and were barely quoted by the New Testament writers or Jesus (in the Book of Jude, for instance). They are books that deal with certain aspects of the continuing history of the Jews. They share nothing prophetic; they do not point to Jesus (though God is mentioned as a deliverer and the source of wisdom in some cases), and were all written in Greek, not Hebrew, making them later writings, as they were mostly written during the years between the Testaments (200B.C. – 100A.D.), far removed from the time the deeds actually happened. They do not meet the standards because they were not written by a prophet from God; they were not inspired by the Holy Spirit and did not give any new revelation; and their content was written strictly to tell of the deeds of certain individuals and pertain only to the generation of which these deeds were done.
Arnold, B., Beyer, B. (1999, 2008). Encountering the old testament: a christian survey. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Butler, T. (1991). Holman bible dictionary – apocrypha . Holman Bible Publishers. Database:WORDsearch Corp.
Easton, M. (2008). Illustrated bible dictionary: and treasury of biblical history, biography,geography, doctrine, and literature – apocrypha. Database:WORDsearch Corp.
Comment: "Why is it that the Roman Catholic Church accept them as canonical and biblical Christians and churches reject them?"
Author Response: There is a website that explains your question above. It is http://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/ stewart.cfm?id=394. It gives reasons that are man-centered, I think. But the funniest reason that the Catholic Church accepts these books is, and I quote this from the article, "The main reason as to why Roman Catholics receive the apocryphal books as Scripture is because the Roman Catholic Church says so. Since they believe that the church is the final authority on all matters of faith and practice whatever it says is final. Therefore the matter is not up for debate." Boy, if that's not man-centered, I don't know what is. Whatever happened to the Holy Spirit's role in the final decision about what is scriptural and what is not? Did they forget about Him? What do you think?
Comment: "What an honor to be entrusted with God's word."
Author Response: I once found out just how some people honor the word of God. I went to a different church one week and sat on the front row. When it was time to worship I placed by Bible on the floor under my seat like I always do. A woman behind me tapped me on the shoulder and told me, yes, told me, to pick up my Bible and that I should treat the word of God better than that. She believed that even the cover on my Bible should be revered because the word of God is between the covers. To me, she was honoring the Bible instead of the words in it because she made sure she told me to treat my Bible better when I left the row.
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