We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What About the Apocrypha?

I have often been told (including very recently in the comment section of an article I wrote) that the Protestants “removed” the Apocrypha from the Bible; the claim being that the Apocrypha was part of Christian canon from the beginning.  However, when one reads a wee bit of history they will find the early church did not consider this material to be canon.  Even the Catholics didn’t canonize the Apocrypha until the Council of Trent in 1546, mainly in opposition to the Protestant movement, so as to provide support for some of their man-made doctrines.

John Bois, who was one of the New Testament translators of the KJV, was also part of the group which translated the Apocrypha.  He wrote the following:

The reasons assigned for not admitting the Apocryphal books into the canon, or list of inspired Scriptures are briefly the following:

1.  Not one of them is in the Hebrew language, which was alone used by the inspired historians and poets of the Old Testament.

2.  Not one of the writers lays any claim to inspiration.

3.  These books were never acknowledged as sacred Scriptures by the Jewish Church, and therefore were never sanctioned by our Lord.

4.  They were not allowed a place among the sacred books during the first four centuries of the Christian Church.

5. They contain fabulous statements [in the sense of being fables] and statements which contradict not ply the canonical Scripture but themselves; as when in the two books of Maccabees Antiochus Epiphanes is made to die three different deaths in as many different places.

6. It inculcates doctrines at variance with the Bible such as prayers for the dead and sinless perfection.

7.  It teaches immoral practices, such as lying, suicide, assassination and magical incantations.

For these and other reasons, the Apocryphal books which are all in Greek, except one which is extant only in Latin, are valuable only as ancient documents, illustrative of the manners, language, opinions and history of he East.

So don’t let the Roman Catholics intimidate you into thinking we don’t have important Scripture in our Bibles; what we have is all the the original Church considered Canon.


Neil said...

Excellent summary, thanks!

DebbieLynne said...

I learned a few things that will be extremely useful in my studies. Thank you for helping people understand why we must stand against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Debbie,

Take a look at my series on Roman Catholicism in June 2010. You should find the articles quite interesting!

Jesse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous George,


Anonymous said...

Glenn: "Not one of the apocryphal books is written in the Hebrew language, which was alone used by the inspired historians and poets of the Old Testament. All Apocryphal books are in Greek, except one which is extant only in Latin."

Answer: One only arrives at Hebrew being the only language used by excluding the books that were written in Greek. The Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures is predominantly what the apostles used, so they didn’t seem to think that Hebrew was a necessity.

Glenn: None of the apocryphal writers laid claim to inspiration.

Answer: Do all of the non-“apocryphal” claim inspiration? Hint: no.

Glenn: The apocryphal books were never acknowledged as sacred scriptures by the Jews, custodians of the Hebrew scriptures (the apocrypha was written prior to the New Testament). In fact, the Jewish people rejected and destroyed the apocrypha after the overthow of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
Maybe not by the Palestinian Jews, but by the Alexandrian (Greek-speaking) Jews, yes. And it is debated whether or not the Jews formally rejected the Greek Old Testament (which included the “apocrypha”). Part of the reason it was rejected, though not necessarily formally, was because there were differences of translation between the two. The Greek being the one used by Christians, the Jews then rejected it. Notice that Christians used the Greek scriptures. One needs to ask why Christians should be bound by the decision of the Jews, especially post-temple destruction.

The apocryphal books were not permitted among the sacred books during the first four centuries of the real Christian church (I’m certainly not talking about the Catholic religion which is not Christian).
The “Catholic religion” was the only one around at the time. And the “apocrypha” were accepted by the Church as scripture before such books as Revelation.

The Apocrypha contains fabulous statements which not only contradict the “canonical” scriptures but themselves. For example, in the two Books of Maccabees, Antiochus Epiphanes is made to die three different deaths in three different places.
Similar issues arise with books Protestants recognize, both Old and New Testament (e.g. How Saul dies in Kings vs. Chronicles; how Judas dies in Gospels vs. Acts).

The Apocrypha includes doctrines in variance with the Bible, such as prayers for the dead and sinless perfection.
Only if one a priori excludes the books in which those doctrines are contained. You can’t judge canonicity by what doctrines are contained in a book. You judge whether a doctrine is true by whether it is in the book.

-Anonymous George