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The Apocrypha – Canonical or Not? — 7 Comments

  1. This commentary has been particularly useful, especially since as a layman, I recently had a query from a church member on the matter of the reliability of the Bible translations such as the KJV and the NKJV which are in common use in my church. I look forward to other commentaries.

  2. Thank you for such an explicit exposition of the apocryphal writings; a topic which - as you said - many of us have rejected based on secondhand research and writings of others.

    To be honest, there is so much precious gold to be mined from the (Protestant) Bible that there is scarcely time and/or interest to be delving into the Apocrypha for spiritual guidance.

    You mentioned that it does not mean they are wrong. Perhaps you could elaborate because clearly some of doctrines you mentioned are not just a matter of emphasis but clearly opposite to what is taught in scripture.

    Finally a question on the book of Enoch. Is it considered Apocryphal? If not why?

    • The fact that some of the books of the Apocrypha mention what we consider to be incorrect doctrines is a good reason to exclude them from the canon. However, they still offer some beautiful spiritual literature. For example, I happen to appreciate the literature of CS Lewis. His, "Mere Christianity" is one of the best works on Christian apologetics that I know, but I do not even consider that they should be treated as canonical. His work is informative and encouraging, even if he does not interpret everything it the Bible in the same way as we do. Likewise, the books of the Apocrypha and be spiritually encouraging. It needs to be understood too that not every book of the Apocrypha contain "wrong doctrine".

      The book of Jude is interesting because it has not been considered canonical or even deuterocanonical by either the Hebrews or the early Christian Church. There are fragments, written in Aramaic among the Dead Sea Scroll literature and some koine Greek and Latin fragments from the first century AD. The oldest complete manuscripts we have are written in Ge'ez, an ancient Ethiopian language. The book of Enoch is considered canonical by the Ethiopian Coptic group of churches, which explains its retention in the Ge'ez language.

      It is also interesting to note that Luther considered the book of Jude (along with Revelation) to be apocryphal mainly because Jude quotes from the book of Enoch.

      The passage in Jude reads:

      And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convict all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. Jude 1:15-15

      Here is the corresponding verse from Enoch 1:9:

      And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His Saints To execute judgment upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.

      Some scholars consider Enoch to be a "midrash" a sort of commentary/ explanation/explanation of other scripture. They propose that Enoch 1:9 is a misrash of Deut 33:2 which reads:

      The Lord came from Sinai and dawned from Seir upon us; he shone forth from Mount Paran; he came from the ten thousands of Saints, with flaming fire at his right hand.

      In summary, the Book of Enoch has never been considered canonical except by the Ethiopian Coptic Churches.

  3. Thank you, Maurice, for this excellent intro to the Apocrypha.
    Readers might like also to know that the Apocrypha was quoted and believed in and used by many early Adventists, including James and Ellen White. She believed that new light was to come from the Apocrypha, "the hidden book". But, as it was gradually dropped from American Bibles in the 19th century, its use declined in Adventist thinking and worship also. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls--coming from a similar period as many Apocryphal books--has stimulated great interest in the Apocrypha, as many of the writings were contained in the discoveries.

    There is a new interest in the Apocryphal writings among Adventist historians.

    Readers can join a Facebook study group for Adventists interested in the Apocrypha here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/163051517746167/

  4. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.

    The bible that I got from the older gentleman was a RC bible. It had all of those Apocrypha incorporated into it as part of their bible. He gave me it and said he denounced both the church and the bible. If he was from generations of RC and he took that stance, then I have to safeguard myself until I am given other information. I was told as a child never to use, read nor even have the Machabees book in our house because it was/is used for magic. So I refrained from reading it. But what I realized anything people can use to create/produce magic even the Holy bible. I found many of the Apocrypha can be use for history sake, to inform the mind. I personally am not interesting in the Apocrypha.

    Acts 19:18-19 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of then also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.


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