NO. 2 – THE APOCRYPHA
The question of the canon has been decided differently in different parts of Christendom. Most agree on the 27 books of the New Testament but the Roman Catholic Bible contains several additional books in its Old Testament section. These books are referred to as the Apocrypha.
This word means hidden, secretive or concealed but would also be used in reference to a book whose origin was doubtful or unknown.
These books have been described by non-Catholics as non-canonical or by Catholics as “deuterocanonical” meaning a secondary canon (Greek deuteros meaning “second”).
This word used by Roman Catholics acknowledges that they were not originally part of the canon.
There are 15 books but three of these are not accepted by even the Catholic Church (1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh). As some of the remaining 12 books are attached to other OT books there are an additional 7 books bringing OT books from 39 to 46.
So should they be accepted as divinely inspired or not?
Here are 5 reasons why I feel they can never be considered as inspired:
1) These books were never included in the Hebrew canon of the OT. Josephus limited Hebrew canon to twenty-two books (our modern 39). Never received by the Jews anywhere as God-given scripture.
2) These books were never accepted by Jesus and his apostles. Jesus described the start and end of OT when discussing the blood of the martyrs.
This reference was in Matthew 23:35 where Jesus refers to the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah. Abel being described in Genesis and Zechariah’s death being described in 2 Chronicles 24. Genesis was the first book of the Hebrew Bible with Chronicles being the last chronologically (different order from our modern Bibles).
Apostles referred to many OT events but never mentioned any from Apocrypha. NT writers quote from practically all of the OT but nowhere quote from Apocrypha.
3) These books not accepted as scripture by Jewish writers (Philo, Josephus) or by Jewish council of Jamnia (AD90) by Origen or Jerome (Latin Vulgate). In about AD400 Jerome strongly maintained these books were not to be included in the canon of scripture.
4) Lack intrinsic qualities of inspiration.
Great portions of these books are obviously legendary and fictitious. Often contain historical, chronological or geographical errors. In Judith, Holofernes was described as general of Nebuchadnezzar when in fact he was a Persian general. Judith herself uses flattery, lies and even praying that God would use the deceit of her lips. Historical inaccuracies spread throughout other books of the Apocrypha.
5) Always shrouded with uncertainty with even Roman Catholic officials speaking out against them over the years.
The apocryphal books have been rightfully rejected from our bibles.
This does not mean that there is nothing useful in them or that they should not be read but only that they cannot be considered as divinely inspired.