[bibletalk] What About the Apocrypha?

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From: Steve Preston <fpccpreston@...>
Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2008 03:40:22 -0800 (PST)
What About the Apocrypha?

2 Timothy 3:16 states “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…” Inspiration 
literally means “God breathed” meaning God gave man the ability to write without 
error those things the Father wanted made known. If indeed we are to believe in God 
and serve Him acceptably, then we must be able to know that the things written 
within the pages of the Bible are true and inspired of God. It is for this very reason 
that Christians everywhere should reject the books of the Apocrypha as having any 
Biblical authority.

First there ought to be a defining of what is being considered the “Apocrypha”. In this 
lesson, Apocrypha is considered the group of 9 to 14 books written during the four 
hundred years between Malachi and Matthew. Those four hundred years were a time 
when God chose not to communicate with man through prophets. In 1546, at the Council 
of Trent, the Roman Catholic religion declared the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, 
Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, First and Second Maccabees, and additions to Esther and 
Daniel, to be received along, along with their traditions, as the Word of God. The books 
of First and Second Esdras, the Prayer of Manasses, and Susanna were rejected.

We must now consider why the books of the Apocrypha should not be a part of the 
Bible and rejected as scripture. Possibly the best reason to reject the Apocrypha is 
that none of the books claim to be inspired. In fact, they promote the knowledge that 
there were no prophets during the time they were written. In 1 Maccabees 9:27 the 
writer says that “There was great tribulation in Israel, such as was not since the time 
that no prophet appeared unto them.” In 14:41 of the same book it is written that “Simon 
should be their leader…forever, until there should arise a faithful prophet.” Secondly, 
none of the apocryphal books is written in Hebrew which was the sole language used by 
writers of the Old Testament. Thirdly, the apocryphal admits that Jewish teaching 
excludes the Apocrypha. The Son of Sirach, in the Prologue of Ecclesiasticus, states 
that "my grandfather Jesus, having much given himself to the reading of the law, and 
the prophets and the other books of our fathers and having gained great familiarity 
therein ... but the law itself, and the prophecies, and the rest of the books, have no 
small difference, when they are spoken in their original language.” Notice from that 
statement that the Jews already had written doctrine in place that the writers of the 
Apocrypha studied from.

Lastly, the books of the Apocrypha should not be considered as scripture because 
they include doctrine, such as prayers for the dead and sinless perfection. Following 
are several verses from the Apocrypha. Notice particularly how their teaching conflicts 
with the Bible:

1) 2 Maccabees 12: 43-45 ? “…two thousand drachms of silver, he sent it to Jerusalem 
to offer a sin offering, doing therein very well and honestly, in that he was mindful of the 
resurrection: For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should have risen again, it 
had been superfluous and vain to pray for the dead. And also in that he perceived that there 
was great favour laid up for those that died godly, it was an holy and good thought. 
Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin.” Note 
the doctrine of purgatory and prayer for the dead promoted here.

2) Ecclesiasticus 3:30 ? “Water will quench a flaming fire, and alms maketh atonement for sin.” 
Tobit 12:8-9, 17 ? “Prayer is good with fasting and alms and righteousness. A little with 
righteousness is better than much with unrighteousness. It is better to give alms than to lay 
up gold: For alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin. Those that exercise 
alms and righteousness shall be filled with life.” These verses teach salvation by works.

3)  Wisdom 8:19-20 ? “For I was a witty child, and had a good spirit. Yea rather, 
being good, I came into a body undefiled.” It is evident that the writer here believes that 
their body is sinless. 

Until Jesus came to the earth, the Jews rightly followed the law and the prophets for that 
was what God required. This loyalty to the Old Testament kept many people from believing 
that Jesus was and is the Son of God. Even the apostles had trouble believing that the words 
of Jesus were to be heeded. Is this not why the Father spoke from a cloud saying “This is 
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Mat. 17:5). Jesus has the words 
of life (John 6:68). Those words, along with the Old Testament are how we remain faithful to 
God. The Apocrypha cannot be believed as part of the Old or New Testaments. They conflict 
with what the rest of the Bible teaches. We must choose to believe truth and be able to “Prove 
all things” holding on to “that which is good” (I Thess. 5:21).  

In Christ, Steve Preston

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