Question: Should the Apocrypha be held in the same
regard as the Old and New Testaments?
Answer: The short answer is No. The Apocrypha is not inspired.
The following quotation is taken from the Westminster Dictionary of
the Bible, page 33, article Apocrypha.
- "The [Greek word apokrypha means hidden or secret things, used by
ecclesiastical writers for: 1) matters secret or mysterious. 2) of
unknown origin, forged, spurious. 3) unrecognised, uncanonical.] The
name generally given to the following 16 books: 1 and 11 Esdras,
Tobit, Judith, the Rest of Esther, The Wisdom of Solomon,
Ecclesiasticus, Baruch with The Epistle of Jeremy, The Song of the
Three Holy Children, The History of Susanna, Bel and the dragon, The
Prayer of Manasses, 1, 11, 111 and 1V Maccabees being omitted."
- "Unlike the books of the Old Testament, which are in Hebrew, with
some portions in Aramaic, the apocryphal productions are in Greek ...
The Jewish Church considered them uninspired, and some of their
writers disclaim inspiration, (prologue to Ecclesiasticus; 11
Macc.2:23; 15:38). The Apocrypha and Pseudopigrapha were produced
between about 250 B.C. and somewhere in the early Christian centuries.
They are not found in the Hebrew canon: they are never quoted by
Jesus; and it cannot with certainty be affirmed that the apostles ever
directly allude to them ..."
- "The Church of England in the 6th of the Thirty-nine Articles
published in 1562 calls the apocryphal teatises books which the
'Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners: but
yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine.' The Westminster
Confession of 1643 declares, as a matter of creed, that 'the books,
commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no
part of the canon of Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in
the Church of God, or to be any otherwise approved or made use of than
other human writings.'"
- "The Council of Trent at its sitting on April 8th,
1546, ... pronounced an anathema against anyone who ventured to differ
from it in opinion. This has since regulated the belief of the Roman
Catholic Church ..."
- "A controversy on the subject was carried on between the years 1821
and 1826, which resulted in the exclusion of the Apocrypha from all
Bibles issued by the British and Foreign Bible Society."
We can see from the above that:
All reckoned the Apocrypha to be uninspired; and that is why it is not included in the canon of Scripture. The main group which holds to the Apocrypha is the Roman Catholic Church.
- The Saviour,
- The Early Apostles,
- The Jewish Nation,
- And the Protestant Reformers,
In view of the above, Stewarton Bible School's advice is that you treat
the Apocrypha as the writings of uninspired men and
certainly not of any use whatsoever when deciding Christian doctrine.
For further information you may consider writing to:
Bible For Today (BFT) Publishers,
900 Park Avenue,
N.J. 08108, USA. Phone 609-854-4452 for their book entitled:
Why Apocrypha Should Be Rejected ... by Dr D A Waite. Catalogue number BFT C01.
When writing to BFT ask for their catalogue of publications; especially the section dealing with the critical issue concerning Bible Versions. Believe me, the more you study this subject, the more amazed you will become.
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Elder: David B Loughran