Section 2.. Reasons To Believe/The Bible/
Apocrypha, Lost Books, Gnostic Gospels

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 The Canon of Scripture and The Apocrypha

Carol Brooks

Part II

Part I: Defining The Terms, Introduction, The Canon In Different Traditions, Divine Providence and The Canon, The Formation of the Canon... The Old Testament, The Miracle of Unanimity, Jesus and The Apostles' View of the Old Testament Scriptures, Limits of The Hebrew Canon... Order, and Number of Books, Why Consider the Hebrew Canon?, Jesus and The Canon of the Old Testament


Part II

The Councils and The Canon

The Apocrypha
Was The Apocrypha Added to, or Deleted, from the Canon?
The Apocryphal Books Were Not "God-breathed"
The Apocryphal Books Were Never Authoritatively Quoted in The New Testament

Historical Errors in the Apocrypha.
Judith and Tobit

The Book of Baruch

Bel and the Dragon

Doctrinal Errors
The Book of Tobit
The Book of Wisdom
The Book of Sirach
The Book of 2 Maccabees

The New Testament Canon
The New Testament Was Guided and Preserved by The Holy Spirit..
The First Century Formation of the Canon.
How Jesus' Apostles Viewed Their Own Teaching
Additional Claims of The Apostles
Jesus' Apostles Also Recognized Teachings by Others

Gathered In One Place By Man
The Muratorian Canon

The Reliability of the New Testament

The Canon... Complete or Incomplete?



As said on the previous page, the Council of Trent, the 19th ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic church, held at Trent in northern Italy between 1545 and 1563, showed absolutely no regard for Jesus' clear indication of the limits of the canon, but made their own determination as to which books were to be accepted as God's Word.

The Councils and The Canon
Roman Catholic apologists often assert that the canon was determined very early on at the Council of Hippo in 393 A.D., which was one of several synods held at Hippo in North Africa, some of which were attended by Augustine, who was bishop of Hippo for thirty-four years from 396 A.D. and, therefore, not exactly without influence in the area. As said by the Catholic Encyclopedia

    "...the episcopal house of Hippo became a veritable nursery which supplied the founders of the monasteries that were soon spread all over Africa and the bishops who occupied the neighbouring sees. Possidius (Vita S. August., xxii) enumerates ten of the saint's friends and disciples who were promoted to the episcopacy. Thus it was that Augustine earned the title of patriarch of the religious, and renovator of the clerical, life in Africa... he impressed his spirit upon divers African councils at which he assisted, for instance, those of Carthage in 398, 401, 407, 419 and of Mileve in 416 and 418; [11]

Augustine was a clear advocate of the deuterocanonical books, explicitly listing them as being canonical in his writing, City of God. (He may have been influenced by the fact that he believed in the legend of the seventy translators of the Septuagint. See The Septuagint

See The Sins of Augustine
What I will never ever understand is how someone who was so deeply and obviously Catholic in his beliefs and even considered a saint in the Catholic church, has become such as icon in the Protestantism.

Participants at Hippo listed, and approved, a canon of Sacred Scripture that corresponds to the modern Roman Catholic canon, a list which was then endorsed by the council of Carthage in 397 A.D. However, according to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, since the councils that convened in Africa were not general councils, but localized assemblies of bishops representing the North African Church, this list was not binding on the whole church, but pended approval by Rome...

    At the Synod of Hippo (393), and again at the Synod of 397 at Carthage, a list of the books of Holy Scripture was drawn up. It is the Catholic canon (i.e. including the books classed by Protestants as "Apocrypha"). The latter synod, at the end of the enumeration, added, "But let Church beyond sea (Rome) be consulted about confirming this canon". St. Augustine was one among the forty-four bishops who signed the proceedings. [12]

In other words, the Councils of Carthage and Hippo were provincial councils which did not have ecumenical authority and, therefore, did not establish the canon for the Church as a whole. An official, definitive, list of inspired writings did not exist in the Catholic Church until the Council of Trent which, in answer to Protestant disputes,  issued numerous reform decrees and defined Catholic doctrine in various areas, including Scripture and Tradition, Original Sin, Justification, Sacraments, the Eucharist, and the veneration of saints. In the fourth session, the council of Trent passed a decree that confirmed that the deuterocanonical books were on a par with the other books of the canon.

    "According to Catholic doctrine, the proximate criterion of the biblical canon is the infallible decision of the Church. This decision was not given until rather late in the history of the Church at the Council of Trent...The Council of Trent definitively settled the matter of the Old Testament Canon.That this had not been done previously is apparent from the uncertainty that persisted up to the time of Trent" [12]. [Copy and paste the following URl into your browser to read the Decrees http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct04.html]

However, it is a matter of some consideration that 1) no Greek manuscript has the exact list of Apocryphal books accepted by the Council of Trent, and 2) the Council of Trent contradicted the councils of Hippo and Carthage, since both agreed that 1 Esdras and 2 Esdras (as listed by the Septuagint) was canonical, but the Council of Trent omitted 1 Esdras. (In the Septuagint 1 Esdras is the Apocryphal addition to Ezra, while 2 Esdras is Ezra-Nehemiah which was one book in the Hebrew canon).

    Note: Esdras is the Greco-Latin variation of the name of the scribe Ezra. However the listing and names of the books associated with Ezra can get very confusing. A total of four books, sometimes referred to as 1, 2, 3, and 4 Esdras, have been associated with Ezra, the first two of which (1 and 2 Esdras) were included in our Bibles as Ezra and Nehemiah. The second two (3 and 4 Esdras) which became known as 1 and 2 Esdras, are not generally recognized as being canonical.

Also significant is the fact that Hippo and Carthage both state that Solomon wrote 5 books of the Old Testament [14], when he wrote only three... Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.

Rufinus of Aquileia
, born after both synods (340/345 – 410), was a monk, historian, and theologian who engaged in a war of words with Jerome. His comments on the canon were...

    Hence it seems proper here to set forth in their order, as we have received them from the records of the Fathers, the books of the Old and New Testaments, which, according to the tradition of our forefathers, are believed to have been inspired by the Holy Ghost, and delivered to the Churches of Christ.

    And so of the Old Testament, first of all, there have been handed down the five Books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; then Joshua, the son of Nun, and the Book of Judges together with Ruth; then four Books of Kings, which the Hebrews count as two; the Book of Omissions, which is called the Book of Days, and two Books of Ezra, which the Hebrews reckon as one, and Esther.

    Of the Prophets there are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, and also one book of the Twelve Prophets. Job and the Psalms of David are each one book. Solomon has given three books to the Churches, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles.  With these last the number of the books of the Old Testament is completed.

    In the New Testament there are four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John; the Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke; fourteen Epistles of the apostle Paul, two of the Apostle Peter, one of James, brother of the Lord and Apostle, one of Jude, three of John, the Apocalypse of John. These are the books which the Fathers have included within the Canon, and from which they would have us would have us confirm the declaration of our faith.

    But it should be known that there are also other books which our fathers call not 'Canonical' but 'Ecclesiastical:' namely, Wisdom, which is called the Wisdom of Solomon, and another Wisdom, called the Wisdom of the Son of Sirach, among the Latins is  called by called by the general title Ecclesiasticus, by which name not the author of the book but the character of the writing is designated. To the same class belong the Book of Tobit, the Book of Judith, and the Books of the Maccabees.  In the New Testament there is the little book which is called the Pastor or Hermes, and that which is called the Two Ways, or the Judgement of Peter.  All these they desire should be read in the Churches, but not cited as authority for matters of faith. The other writings they have named "Apocrypha" and will not have them read in the Churches. [15]

The Apocrypha

Was The Apocrypha Added to, or Deleted from the Canon?
It is often claimed that primarily for doctrinal reasons, Protestants "removed" seven books from the Old Testament. However the sheer weight of evidence indicates that the apocrypha was never part of the canon, irrespective of what any council decreed. In fact the boot seems to be squarely on the other foot, with the church of Rome adding in books that were never part of the Hebrew canon, and which were obviously ignored by Jesus and the apostles.

The Catholic church teaches that since the Scriptures came from the church, the teachings and traditions of the church have authority over the Scriptures. However this argument is specious, simply because 1) Because the Scriptures pre-existed the church, the church never has been without the Scriptures. The Old Testament was the 'Bible' of the early church, and 2) The church was being founded at the same the time the New Testament was being written.

So one has to wonder why, in the 16th century, the Catholic church officially declared many of the apocryphal books as canonical.

One reason that springs to mind is that "Sola-Scriptura" (Scripture alone) was the rallying cry of the Protestant Reformation. The term simply means that the Scriptures alone are the final source of truth, and all other sources must submit to what the Bible says. One has to wonder whether the Apocryphal books were canonized in order to provide Scriptural "proof" for some un-Scriptural teaching. Two of the main doctrines in dispute during the Reformation were salvation by works, and prayers for the dead, both of which are supported by the Apocrypha...

    Salvation by Almsgiving - Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 3:30, and Tobit 12:9

    Praying for the Dead - 2 Maccabees 12:38-46

These passages undergird the Catholic doctrines of indulgences, and prayers for dead people in purgatory. In the Maccabees passage, Judas Maccabee collected two thousand silver drachmas from his soldiers,which he sent to Jerusalem to provide a "sin offering" for the Jewish soldiers who were slain because they had on their person things consecrated to the idols of the Jamnites.

However, this is not all. Some of the many reasons the apocrypha was not included in the canon is because they contain absurd stories, clearly heretical doctrines, as well as historical and geographical errors.

The Apocryphal Books Were Not "God-breathed"
Although they do contain some useful information, especially about the time period between Malachi and Matthew, both the Jews, and the Protestant Church, consider the apocrypha non-inspired, and do not include these books in the canon of Scripture, for several reasons... Without prophets and prophecy there can be no inspired writings, yet the apocryphal books give no internal evidence of being inspired or "God-breathed".

That the prophets of the Hebrew canon were Divinely appointed is seen in the fact that many of the prophetic books start with words "The word of the Lord that came unto..." or something similar. [See Footnote II]. A search on the phrase "Thus saith the Lord" in the King James version of the Old Testament brings up 415 matches. Unlike the canonical books of the Old Testament, the apocryphal books make no claims to be being inspired of God, or written by a prophet. There is not a single instance of a "thus says the Lord,” or "the word of the Lord came unto me...”. (Remember what even Josephus said about there being no direct revelation from God during the inter-testamental period).

    The prologue to the book of Sirach (also known as Ecclesiasticus), and 2 Maccabees 2:24-32 and 15:38-39 clearly indicate that the books were not inspired, but written by the effort of the individual authors. [See Footnote III For Complete Quotes]

      “Ye are intreated therefore to read with favour and attention, and to pardon us, if in any parts of what we have laboured to interpret, we may seem to fail in some of the phrases [See Footnote III For Complete Quote]

    Three verses in 1 Maccabees make it clear that, at the time of writing, there hadn't been a prophet in Israel for a while...

      So was there a great affliction in Israel, the like whereof was not since the time that a prophet was not seen among them. [1 Maccabees 9:27]

      And laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, until there should come a prophet to shew what should be done with them. [1 Maccabees 4:46]

      Also that the Jews and priests were well pleased that Simon should be their governor and high priest for ever, until there should arise a faithful prophet; [1 Maccabees 14:41]

Additionally, the test of a true prophet was that anything they foretold had to come true, otherwise the prophet was put to death. However, there is no predictive prophecy in the Apocrypha by which to test their words.

The Apocryphal Books Were Never Authoritatively Quoted in The New Testament
Additionally, except for Esther, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon, all the books of the Hebrew canon were authoritatively quoted some 250 times by Jesus, and the New Testament authors. However, none of them ever authoritatively (used in the sense of being an accepted source of Divine truth) cited any of the Apocryphal books. If Jesus and the apostles considered the Apocrypha as having divine authority, it is impossible to believe that they did not, even once, quote any of the Apocryphal books .

Additionally, when the Old Testament was quoted by the New Testament authors, their use of designations such as “The Scripture”, “The Sacred Writings”, and " The Word of God", tells us what they thought of the Hebrew canon.

Cults will often try to justify the existence of other books by appealing to the fact that the Bible occasionally references other books [See Footnote IV], which are not part of the canon, many of which have been forever lost. However, the very fact that these books no longer exist is evidence that they were not inspired, and therefore, never meant to be preserved as part of the Scriptures. Besides which, there can be a large differences in how one person quotes another. For example, when Paul said...

    Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals. [1 Corinthians 15:33]

...he was quoting Menander, a Greek poet, obviously on an occasion when something Menander said, fit in perfectly with the context of what Paul was saying to the Corinthians. And, since it was a sentiment expressed by one of their own writers (Corinth was a city near Athens, in Greece), it probably would have carried weight with the Greeks. However just because Menander's statement was true, does not mean that Paul ascribed Divine authority to it, nor does it mean that he endorsed everything the Greek author wrote. [See Footnote IV... Non-canonical Books Mentioned in the Bible]

Similarly, a modern Christian author can quote the Bible and, in the same sentence, quote another Christian. However this does not mean that he considers the words of the other Christian inspired, or inerrant.

A second factor to be taken into consideration is that there were often ...

    Historical Errors in the Apocrypha... Ex. Judith and Tobit

    The primary reason for which the books of the Bible were written was to provide us with all the knowledge necessary to practice true religion, and walk in God's paths. However they were written against a background of history as it really happened, which largely factors in the argument for the truth of the Scriptures. While historical accuracy does not "prove" the Bible's spiritual authority, it does enhance its credibility in non-historic areas, thus helping to substantiate its reliability.  

    However, the books of the Apocrypha are often way off base on both counts (doctrinal and historical). As said by M. R. James provost of King's College, Cambridge (1905–1918) and Eton College (1918–1936).

      "There is no question of any one's having excluded them from the New Testament: They have done that for themselves. [17]

    In the Introduction to Tobit, Judith, and Esther, even the Catholic New Jerusalem Bible [1] says

      "The books all belong to the same type of literature. These stories treat history and geography with a good deal of freedom. (Pg. 622)

    If the Apocrypha is accepted as Scripture, it then proves the Word of God can be errant and fallible. Thus, accepting the apocryphal books thoroughly undermines the biblical doctrine of inerrancy.

    The Book of Judith
    is a story in two parts. Chapters 1-7 tell the story of the war of the Assyrians against the Jews, during which the legendary city of Bethulia stood in the way of Assyrian conquest. Rather than using his armies to crush the city, General Holofernes decided to bring the people of this tiny community to their knees, by cutting off the water supply.

    The second part (Chs. 8-16) tells of the deliverance by Judith, a widow as attractive as she is brave, who is upset with her Jewish countrymen for not trusting God to deliver them from their foreign would-be conquerors. She, and a loyal maid, go to General Holofernes' camp, who is struck with her beauty. She tells Holofernes that, because the Israelites were under siege, they were getting desperate and were determined to eat those things that were forbidden by God's law, and that she had therefore fled from their presence. She added that she would pray every night until God revealed to her when they had committed their sin, upon which Holofernes could take his army into the town, and there would be none to resist him. (Chapter 11). Gaining his trust, she was allowed access to his tent one night as he lies in a drunken stupor. She decapitates him, then takes his head back to her fearful countrymen in Bethulia. The Assyrians, having lost their leader, disperse, and Israel is saved.

    However, the book of Judith mistakenly identifies Nebuchadnezzar as king of the Assyrians, when he was, in reality, the King of Babylon, who never ruled from Nineveh.

      In the twelfth year of the reign of Nabuchodonosor, who reigned in Nineve, the great city; in the days of Arphaxad, which reigned over the Medes in Ecbatane...Then Nabuchodonosor king of the Assyrians sent unto all that dwelt in Persia, and to all that dwelt westward, and to those that dwelt in Cilicia, and Damascus, and Libanus, and Antilibanus, and to all that dwelt upon the sea coast, [Judith 1:1,7]

    The New Jerusalem Bible elaborates on this point, and adds a couple more.

      "The book of Judith in particular shows a bland indifference to history and geography. The scene is set in the time of "Nebuchadnezzar who reigned over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh" (Judity 1:1), but Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylonia and Nineveh had been destroyed by Nabopolassar, his father. Despite this the return from exile under Cyrus is regarded as already having taken place (Judith 4:3, 5:19).

      Whereas Holofernes and Bagoas have Persian names, there are also obvious allusions to Greek customs (3:7-8. 15:13).

      We may add that the itinerary of Holofernes (Judith 2:21-28) is a geographical impossibility. Even when Holofernes reaches Samaria where we are on more familiar ground, the place names, though increasing in number, are largely unknown and have an unusual ring. Bethulia itself, the town around which the drama revolves, defies identification despite the apparent concern for details that should help us locate it.

      The only explanation for this surprising indifference is that the authors are not trying to write history. No doubt they build on actual events, but we have no means of knowing what these were since the superstructure conceals them. But it is precisely this superstructure that is the real work of the author and conveys his message. The important thing is to discover the exact purpose of each book and to extract the teaching contained in it. [2]

    Jacob himself condemns the murder of the men of Shechem by two of his sons... Symeon and Levi, an incident related in Genesis 34.

      Let not my soul come into their counsel, and let not mine inward parts contend in their conspiracy, for in their wrath they slew men, and in their passion they houghed a bull. Cursed be their wrath, for it was willful, and their anger, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

     Yet Judith 9:2 describes the murder as God's vengeance

      O Lord God of my father Simeon, to whom thou gavest a sword to take vengeance of the strangers, who loosened the girdle of a maid to defile her, and discovered the thigh to her shame, and polluted her virginity to her reproach; for thou saidst, It shall not be so; and yet they did so:

    The Book of Tobit
    is the story a pious man of the tribe of Naphtali, who remained faithful to Jerusalem when his tribe followed Jeroboam, who set up two golden calves for people to worship, so that they would not go to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices (He felt that if they did their loyalties would once again switch to Rehoboam, king of Judah)  (1 Kings 25-33). Tobit was taken captive and deported to Nineveh in the time of Enemessar (Shalmaneser), King of Assyria. There, in spite of his good works and habit of keeping himself from the food of the Gentiles, he went blind, but eventually found favour with the king, and so prospered.

    Although there is very little in the book of Tobit that can be considered genuine history, defenders of Tobit have ascribed every historical error to either scribal error, or the condition of the texts we have.

    Tobit claims to have been alive when Jeroboam revolted (931 B.C.) (Jeroboam, who reigned from about 931 to 910 BC was the first king of the northern Kingdom of Israel after the revolt). However the deportation to Nineveh occurred around 740 BC, some 200 odd years after Jeroboam's apostasy.

      I Tobit have walked all the days of my life in the ways of truth and justice, and I did many alms deeds to my brethren, and my nation, who came with me to Nineveh, into the land of the Assyrians. And when I was in mine own country, in the land of Israel being but young, all the tribe of Nephthali my father fell from the house of Jerusalem, which was chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, that all the tribes should sacrifice there, where the temple of the habitation of the most High was consecrated and built for all ages. Now all the tribes which together revolted, and the house of my father Nephthali, sacrificed unto the heifer Baal. [Tobit 1:3-5. Emphasis Added]

    Yet, Tobit only lived for about 158 years

      Wherefore now, my son, consider what alms doeth, and how righteousness doth deliver. When he had said these things, he gave up the ghost in the bed, being an hundred and eight and fifty years old; and he buried him honourably. [Tobit 14:11]

    Again, the Catholic New Jerusalem Bible acknowledges various problems,

      According to the Book of Tobit, Tobit was a young man when the kingdom was divided at the death of Solomon (931), Tobit 1:4; he was deported with the tribe of Naphtali (734). Tobit 1:5, 10. His son did not die until after the fall of Nineveh (612), Tobit 14:5.

      Similarly, Rhages is said to be in the hill country, only two days journey from Ecbatana in the plain (Tobit 5:6); in fact the altitude of Ecbatana (over 6000 feet) was much greater than that of Rhages which, moreover, was nearly two hundred miles away. (Pg. 622)

    Also acknowledged by the new Jerusalem Bible is the fact that Tobit 5 says Sennacherib was the immediate successor of Shalmanseser. However, Sennacherib was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria.

    Comment on The Historical Inaccuracies
    The New Jerusalem Bible says this of the historical errors in the books of Judith and Tobit.

      Judith: The author seems deliberately to have defied history to distract the reader's attention from the historical context and focus it exclusively on the religious and outcome. The narrative is neatly put together and has a close affinity with apocalyptic writing. Holofernes, the henchman of Nebuchadnezzar, in the incarnation of the powers of evil. Judith (her name means the Jewess) represents the cause of God, that is to say, of Jewry... this book has clear points of contact with Daniel, Ezekiel And Joel. the action takes place on the plain of Esdraelon near the plain of Armageddon, where the great eschatological battle of Revelation (16:16) also takes place (Pg. 623)

      Tobit: Tobit is an edifying story, in which the emphasis falls on alms-giving and duties towards the dead; true family life is shown at its best; the ideal of marriage anticipates Christian teaching. The divine benevolence is at once revealed and hidden in the angel Raphael, the agent of God. That this providence is with us, day by day, is the lesson of this book. (Pg. 623)

    However, all books of the inspired Bible that claimed to be based on historical fact, were. If the whole purpose of the book was an "edifying" message, then why base it on fictitious historical details. Incidentally, the book of Jonah never claims to be merely a "morally instructive parable". Jonah writes history, whether our modern sensibilities can handle a large fish or not

    Critics claim that the book of Daniel also suffers from "similar glaring historical inaccuracies", and point to Daniel 1:1 as an example.

      Critics using this argument see a conflict between this verse and Jeremiah 25:1, where he refers to "the fourth year of Jehoiakim," whereas Daniel 1:1 refers to the same event occurring in the "third year of the reign of Jehoiakim." This apparent error is actually a cultural difference of dating systems. Jeremiah, a Palestinian, naturally uses the Palestinian dating system, which would place Jehoiakim's fourth year in 605 BC Daniel, using the Babylonian system, places Jehoiakim's third year in 605 BC (Harrison, pg. 1112). [16]

    Much has also been made of the fact that Belshazzar was not the ruler as the book of Daniel claims [See Daniel 5:1-2], and he was certainly never the king. But it has been clear since 1924 that though Nabonidus was the last king of Babylon, Belshazzar was effectively ruling. In ancient documents ‘son’ does not always mean ‘biological child’ [More on Daniel]


    The Book of Baruch
    is an apocryphal book which claims to be the work of Baruch, written during the Babylonian exile, shortly after the fall of Jerusalem, but was it? 

    Baruch is depicted as writing a two part book, then reading it to King Jehoiachin and the exiles in Babylon [1:1-4].

    In the first part the people weep, fast, and pray. Then they make a collection of money, which they send to Jerusalem to be used for the Temple service, and bids them to pray for the life of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and that of Belshazzar, his son, and that the people may find favour in their sight (1: 1-14). This is followed by a confession of the sins of the nation, recognition of the justness of their punishment, and a prayer for mercy (1: 15-3:8).

    The second part of the book is an exhortation to Israel to learn wisdom, which is described as the source of all happiness. Finally, the book ends with a lament over the suffering of Israel, followed by an exhortation to Jerusalem, depicted as a widow mourning over the distress of her children, to take heart and be comforted, because her children will eventually come home.

    Baruch 6:2 says the Jews would remain captive in Babylon for 7 generations, whereas Jeremiah specifically says 70 years.. [All Emphasis Added]

      Because of the sins which ye have committed before God, ye shall be led away captives into Babylon by Nabuchodonosor king of the Babylonians. So when ye be come unto Babylon, ye shall remain there many years, and for a long season, namely, seven generations: and after that I will bring you away peaceably from thence. [Baruch 6:2-3]

      And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith Jehovah, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it desolate for ever. [Jeremiah 25:11-12]

      For thus saith Jehovah, After seventy years are accomplished for Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. [Jeremiah 29:10]

    In fact, it was his reading of Jeremiah's prophecy of 70 years that caused Daniel to realize that the time was almost up, which led to his prayer recorded in Daniel 9. The influence of Daniel 9:4-19 on Baruch's penitential prayer (1:15-3:8) is impossible to miss. In fact the Baruch's prayer can be considered an expanded version of Daniel's prayer following, as it does, the same format and, in many cases, using exactly the same, or very similar, words.  Note the following four examples.

      Daniel: neither have we hearkened to the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by the hands of his servants the prophets. [Daniel 9:10]
      Baruch: Nevertheless we have not hearkened unto the voice of the Lord our God, according unto all the words of the prophets, whom he sent unto us: [Baruch 1: 21]

      Daniel: And he has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us, and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us great evils, such as have not happened under the whole heaven, according to what has happened in Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all these evils have come upon us: [Daniel 9:12]
      Baruch: Therefore the Lord hath made good his word, which he pronounced against us, and against our judges that judged Israel, and against our kings, and against our princes, and against the men of Israel and Juda,  To bring upon us great plagues, such as never happened under the whole heaven, as it came to pass in Jerusalem, according to the things that were written in the law of Moses; [Baruch 2:1-2]

      Daniel: To thee, O Lord, belongs righteousness, and to us confusion of face, as at this day; to the men of Juda, and to the dwellers in Jerusalem, and to all Israel, to them that are near, and to them that are far off in all the earth, wherever thou has scattered them, for the sin which they committed. [Daniel 9: 7] 
      Baruch: And ye shall say, To the Lord our God belongeth righteousness, but unto us the confusion of faces, as it is come to pass this day, unto them of Juda, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, [Baruch 1:15]

      Daniel: And now, O Lord our God, who broughtest thy people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and madest to thyself a name, as at this day; we have sinned, we have transgressed. [Daniel 9: 15] 
      Baruch: And now, O Lord God of Israel, that hast brought thy people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and high arm, and with signs, and with wonders, and with great power, and hast gotten thyself a name, as appeareth this day: [Baruch 2:11]

    Dating of Baruch
    Also note the following. Baruch 1:1-2 says

      And these are the words of the book, which Baruch the son of Nerias, the son of Maasias, the son of Sedecias, the son of Asadias, the son of Chelcias, wrote in Babylon, In the fifth year, and in the seventh day of the month, what time as the Chaldeans took Jerusalem, and burnt it with fire.

    Jeremiah was called to ministry about 628 BC, in the thirteenth of the reign of Josiah, king of Judah (641–609 BC), and continued in God's calling for about forty plus years.

    The First Temple was totally destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC when they sacked the city. The fifth year (about about 581 B.C) is when the book of Baruch was supposed to have been written.

    However, Daniel and his friends were among the young Jewish nobility carried off to Babylon in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, in 606 BC, The book of Daniel was authored much later in Babylon, towards the end of the 70 year exile, which was probably long after Jeremiah and Baruch had died.

    Considering that Revelation is filled with imagery largely from the book of Daniel, and the Savior Himself referred to the book of Daniel, are we really prepared to believe that it was the prophet Daniel who copied from the book of Baruch?

    And, if not, when was Baruch really written? One clue is to be found in  Baruch 2: 26, which states that at the time of writing the Temple was in ruins

      And the house which is called by thy name hast thou laid waste, as it is to be seen this day, for the wickedness of the house of Israel and the house of Juda. [Baruch 2:26]

    As the Jewish encyclopedia says.. Baruch's statement fits in with only two periods...

      the Babylonian conquest which took place around 600 BC, and the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus about 70 AD. As the former period is out of the question, certain scholars, such as Kneucker, for example, assign this part of the book to a time later than the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/2565-baruch-book-of]

    Bel and the Dragon
    The narrative of Bel and the Dragon, which are included in the apocrypha as chapters 13 and 14 of the book of Daniel, consists of two separate stories: the first relating to Bel, the second, to the Dragon. These stories, which are fanciful and come across as pure fiction, exist only in the Septuagint.

    In the first story, Daniel, cleverly exposes the lie, propagated by the priests of Bel, that the idol actually consumed the food and drink set before it. After the priests leave, Daniel, in the presence of the king, scatters ashes over the floor of the temple. The temple's door is then sealed with the king's own signet. The next morning, Daniel calls attention to the footprints in the ashes, thereby proving that the sacred meal of Bel is actually eaten during the night by the priests and their families, who enter through a secret door. The king's reaction was to slay all the priests, and turn Bel over to Daniel, who destroyed him and his temple." [Daniel 14:22].

    In the second story, Daniel slays the Dragon-god by feeding it cakes made of pitch, fat, and hair, which causes it to burst asunder. As Daniel is supposed to have said " Lo, these are the gods ye worship". [Daniel 14:27]. As a result, the Babylonians indignantly say "The king has become a Jew; he has destroyed Bel, and killed the dragon, and slaughtered the priests," and demand that Daniel be handed over to them [Daniel 14:28]. Daniel is thereupon cast into a den of lions, but is not only unharmed by the beasts, but fed by the prophet Habakkuk, who is miraculously transported from Judea for that purpose.

    Doctrinal Errors
    However, the historical errors are not the only difficulties with the Apocrypha. In several instances, they flatly contradict the Scriptures which we know are inspired.

    Book of Tobit
    The book of Tobit contains doctrinal errors, and encourages rank superstition

    Sins Of The Fathers

      Remember me, and look on me, punish me not for my sins and ignorances, and the sins of my fathers, who have sinned before thee: [Tobit 3:3]

      And now thy judgments are many and true: deal with me according to my sins and my fathers': because we have not kept thy commandments, neither have walked in truth before thee. [Tobit 3:5]

    Apparently Tobit, in spite of his Godly ways was not familiar with the book of Ezekiel, in which the Lord very clearly, and very explicitly, tells the Israelites that righteous children were not unjustly punished for the sins of their fathers, but each person pays for their own sins...

       “Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity?’ When the son has practiced justice and righteousness, and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live. The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:19,20)

    Use of A Talisman
    Besides which, Tobit endorses the superstitious use of fish heart and liver to ward off demons. Tobias, who is Tobit's son, meets a widow who had been married seven times, but had never consummated any of these marriages, because an evil spirit had killed each husband on their wedding night. Tobias marries this widow, and by burning the fish's heart and liver, drives off the evil spirit called Asmodeus. He then uses the gall from that fish to cure his father's blindness

      Then the young man went down to wash his feet in the Tigris river. Suddenly a large fish leapt up from the water and tried to swallow the young man’s foot, and he cried out. But the angel said to the young man, 'Catch hold of the fish and hang on to it!’ So the young man grasped the fish and drew it up on the land. Then the angel said to him, 'Cut open the fish and take out its gall, heart, and liver. Keep them with you, but throw away the intestines. For its gall, heart, and liver are useful as medicine.’ So after cutting open the fish the young man gathered together the gall, heart, and liver; then he roasted and ate some of the fish, and kept some to be salted. The two continued on their way together until they were near Media.* Then the young man questioned the angel and said to him, ‘Brother Azariah, what medicinal value is there in the fish's heart and liver, and in the gall?’ He replied, 'As for the fish's heart and liver, you must burn them to make a smoke in the presence of a man or woman afflicted by a demon or evil spirit, and every affliction will flee away and never remain with that person any longer. And as for the gall, anoint a person's eyes where white films have appeared on them; blow upon them, upon the white films, and the eyes* will be healed [Tobit 6: 3-9]

    Almsgiving Delivers From Death
    Tobit also says

      For alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin. Those that exercise alms and righteousness shall be filled with life: [Tobit 12:9]

    The Book of Wisdom (or the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon)
    teaches the pre-existence of souls,

      For I was a witty child, and had a good spirit. Yea rather, being good, I came into a body undefiled. [Wisdom 8:19-20]

    and that God made the world out of formless matter, which is not what the book of Hebrews teaches

      For thy Almighty hand, that made the world of matter without form, wanted not means to send among them a multitude of bears or fierce lions, [Wisdom 11:17]

      By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear. [Hebrews 11:3]

    The Book of Sirach

    makes some very interesting, even bizarre statements, which, in some cases, contradict the inspired books of the Old Testament. For example...

    The body weighs down the soul.

      For the corruptible body presseth down the soul, and the earthy tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth upon many things. [Wisdom 9:15]

    Wickedness comes from women, and the churlishness of man is better than the courtesy of women.

      For from garments cometh a moth, and from women wickedness. Better is the churlishness of a man than a courteous woman, a woman, I say, which bringeth shame and reproach. [Sirach 42:13-14]

    Pamper a child, and he will terrorize you; play with him, and he will grieve you.  [Sirach 30:9] Whatever that means

    God has not given anyone power to declare His works.

      To whom hath he given power to declare his works? and who shall find out his noble acts? [Sirach 18:4]

    Divorce your wife if she does not obey you

      If she go not as thou wouldest have her, cut her off from thy flesh, and give her a bill of divorce, and let her go. [Sirach 25:26]

    Sirach also says honoring ones father and almsgiving make atonement for sin...

      Water will quench a flaming fire; and alms maketh an atonement for sins. [Sirach 3:30]

      Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his sins: [Sirach 3:3]

    Sirach 38:21-23 says not to remember the dead

      Forget it not, for there is no turning again: thou shalt not do him good, but hurt thyself. Remember my judgment: for thine also shall be so; yesterday for me, and to day for thee. When the dead is at rest, let his remembrance rest; and be comforted for him, when his Spirit is departed from him. [Sirach 38:21-23]


    2 Maccabees
    endorses prayers for the dead, and can be seen as providing some support to the doctrine of purgatory.

      And when he had made a gathering throughout the company to the sum of 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. [2 Maccabees 12:43-45]

    But the Bible says..

      "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" [Hebrews 9:27]

      But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness. [Romans 4:5]

      Now that no man is justified by the law before God, is evident: for, the righteous shall live by faith; [Galatians 3:11]

    The Canon of The New Testament

    The New Testament Was Guided and Preserved by The Holy Spirit..
    Although the Jews had closed their canon, Christianity brought in a whole new addition in the form of the 27 books of the New Testament. Jesus' disciples, and the early apostles had learned that Jesus was the Messiah, who had been long foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures so, to them, the canon was not complete... God had not yet finished speaking.

    It is important to to realize that, when Paul said the Scriptures were inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17), the words translated "inspired" is the Greek theopneustos or 'divinely breathed'. In other words, the books were canonical the moment they were written, not when any individual or council decided whether they were. The people and church church councils, did not create, but discerned the canon by recognizing, and acknowledging, that which was 'God breathed'. As so well said by Dennis Rupert...

      "...a book did not become inspired by being included in the canon. Rather inclusion in the canon was merely recognition of the authority that the book already possessed from God. It is a little bit like an purple elephant walking into the room and us deciding that "Yes, indeed! That's a purple elephant and he is in the room." We did not make him a purple elephant and we did not put him in the room -- we merely recognize what is obvious.

      The canon of Scripture was NOT formed by the declaration of a church council any more than Isaac Newton created the law of gravity. Rather, as written revelation came from God through God's chosen writers, the people of God recognized God's voice and affirmed that the writing was indeed the word of God.

      Jesus said, "His sheep follow Him because they know his voice" (John 10:4). The people of God knew the Word of God when they heard it and read it and, as a result, the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament were recognized and collected into the canon". [18]

    Although most of the New Testament books were not written by any of the twelve disciples, either the author was directly chosen or commissioned by God, or was closely associated with someone who was. Paul, Peter, and John, were examples of the first category, while Mark was closely associated with Peter. Luke was not one of the disciples hand picked by the Lord, but was closely associated with Paul. He accompanied Paul on his second and third missionary journeys, as well as to Rome. In Colossians 4:14, Paul calls Luke "the beloved physician", tells Timothy that "only Luke is with me" (2 Timothy 4:11), and describes Luke as his "fellow worker" in Philemon 24.

    Additionally, Luke was very clear that his Gospel was based on "eyewitnesses".

      Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us, even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus; that thou mightest know the certainty concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed. [Luke 1:1-4]

    Just as He did with the Old Testament, God made ample provision to ensure that the New Testament was written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and, once written, it would be properly preserved, with no non-inspired book included. Before Jesus ascended back into Heaven, He told them that the Holy Spirit would

    a) Give them perfect recall of Jesus' words

      But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you. [John 14:26]

    b) Guide them into all truth

      I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come. [John 16:12-13]

    c) Keep an open line of communication between them and the risen Lord.

      He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he taketh of mine, and shall declare it unto you. [John 16:14-15]

    There was nothing else needed for the apostles to write an authoritative, inspired, and inerrant, New Testament.

    The First Century Formation of the Canon.
    There are many that believe that the canon of Scripture was decided by the Council of Nicea, which took place in 325 A.D. by the order of the Roman Emperor Caesar Flavius Constantine, who supposedly converted to Christianity. However, the issue of the canon was not the order of business at Nicea, which was held to settle a bitter dispute within the church regarding the Divinity of Christ.

    In fact, there are approximately 32,000 quotations from the New Testament found in writings from before the council of in 325 A.D. In fact, the New Testament was so widely quoted that, except for eleven verses, it could be reproduced in it's entirety just from the second and third century writings of the early church fathers, much before the council of Nicea.

    As said before, inspired Scripture was canon the moment pen was put to parchment, and was recognized as such

    How Jesus' Apostles Viewed Their Own Teaching
    The process of recognizing which books were of God began with the apostles themselves.

    John, in referring to the book of Revelation which he himself wrote, warned against adding, or taking away, from the "words of the book of this prophecy", which tells us that, even as it was being written, the New Testament canon was already being set in stone.

    Paul, who was considered an apostle, described himself thus..

      circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; [Philippians 3:5]

    He claimed to be, not a proselyte grafted into the covenant race, but preeminently "a Hebrew of Hebrews", circumcised in exact compliance with the law, able to trace his genealogy back as far as any Jew could. One that not only received the law and the prophets as coming from God; but belonged to that sect which, of all others, were distinguished for their rigid adherence to the letter of the law. Yet, he said his epistles were to be read to the brethren in the churches, which also tells us that these letters were circulated among the churches, and widely read as God's authoritative revelation.

      I adjure you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the brethren. [1 Thessalonians 5:27]

      And when this epistle hath been read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye also read the epistle from Laodicea. [Colossians 4:16]

    Paul, in defending his writings, claimed that what he wrote was God's Word, ignored at the reader's peril.

      "Did the Word of God originate with you?... If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored" (1 Corinthians 14:36-38).

    Additional Claims of The Apostles
    The apostles, claimed that they were God's holy apostles and prophets" to whom the God's word was revealed

      which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to wit, that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of that grace of God which was given me according to the working of his power. [Ephesians 3:5-7]

    They claimed that the words they spoke were God's Word...

      What? was it from you that the word of God went forth? or came it unto you alone? If any man thinketh himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the things which I write unto you, that they are the commandment of the Lord. But if any man is ignorant, let him be ignorant. [1 Corinthians 14:36-38]

      seeing that ye seek a proof of Christ that speaketh in me; who to you-ward is not weak, but is powerful in you: [2 Corinthians 13:3]

      And for this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when ye received from us the word of the message, even the word of God, ye accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also worketh in you that believe. [1 Thessalonians 2:13]

      But the word of the Lord abideth for ever. And this is the word of good tidings which was preached unto you. [1 Peter 1:25]

      that ye should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandments of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles: [2 Peter 3:2]

    ...received by revelation from Jesus

      For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ. [Galatians 1:11-12]

    And that they had "the mind of Christ"

      But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him? even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God. But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words. Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, and he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. [1 Corinthians 2:10-16]

    They also claimed that they could see into the future.

      But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, [1 Timothy 4:1]

      But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof: from these also turn away. [2 Timothy 3:1-5]

    Jesus' Apostles Also Recognized Teachings by Others
    The process of recognizing which books were of God began with the apostles themselves, who not only realized that their own writings were Spirit led, but also recognized that other writings of the New Testament were on a par with the Old Testament Scriptures. (Remember that the books were already canonical and part of God's Word the moment they were written. The church simply attested to this fact).

    Peter: Peter, who was not only Jesus' disciple, but a Jew from birth, spoke of Paul's writing as being equal to the Divinely inspired Old Testament (which were also misused, to the destruction of those who did so. See for example Matthew 19:3-9). This would have been complete irreverence for any Jew who considered the Hebrew Scriptures the exalted Word of God. In fact Peter's words, which very obviously put Paul's Epistles on the same plane as the Old Testament, would have been nothing short of profane, and blasphemous.

      And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. [2 Peter 3:15-16]

    In 1 Timothy 5:18, Paul said

      For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his hire.

    He was quoting both Deuteronomy and Luke, calling them "the Scripture"

      Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn. [Deuteronomy 25:4]

      And in that same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. [Luke 10:7]

    Gathered In One Place By Man
    However because the New Testament was guided by the Holy Spirit does mean that the books miraculously came together in one place.

    The books of the New Testament, which are not in chronological order in our Bibles, were initially circulated separately, and preserved by the churches, or people, to whom they were sent. The collection of all twenty seven books in one place, and their full acknowledgement by the church, was a gradual process, which took about 350 years. This is not surprising considering that

      1) the early church was so persecuted, that the people were soon scattered all over the place, which meant that the books of the New Testament were written by various people in various places. It would have taken some period of time just for letters to individual churches to find their way  to other churches.

      2) letters written to individuals (Philemon, 2 and 3 John) would not have been circulated as widely as those sent to churches.

      3) there was no central authority that made an official decision regarding which books were canonical, and which books were not.

    And then, there was the problem of the additional literature written by Christians, which the early church was well aware of. Since some of these books could be considered quite good, it would have been reasonable to expect early Christians to have been hopelessly divided over the issue of which of them were inspired, and which were not. However, this was not the case. As said by Allan MacRae, President of Biblical Theological Seminary...

      Since Jesus did not state any way in which the books that were free from error could be distinguished from the others, it would be natural to expect that soon there would be great disagreement about this question. Those churches that knew the author of a particular book or group of books would be strongly inclined to accept his books, while other churches where he was less known might question whether his writings were inspired. It would be natural to expect there would be different views in different places and even considerable differences of opinion within certain groups as to which were the books God wanted accepted as part of His infallible Word. [19]

    Just as in the case of the Old Testament, it is very unlikely that there could have been any unanimity of decision unless the Holy Spirit guided the church in the formation of the New Testament canon. Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth (John 16:12-130, and "all truth" had to include recognition of the canon, even under some very trying circumstances. Any lists drawn up were merely affirmed what was already widely believed

    Although several attacks were made on some of the genuine writings, there was virtually no serious, nor widespread, question raised about the canonical authority of the majority of the New Testament, including the four Gospels, Acts, the thirteen epistles of Paul, 1 John, 1 Peter and Revelation. Only seven books, that are now included in our New Testament (Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, Jude, Philemon, and the second and third epistles of John) were ever under question. However, there is evidence that the canon was close to being established very early on. The earliest list in our possession is what is known as ...

    The Muratorian Canon,
    is an ancient list of canonical books was written in poor Latin, although internal clues suggest that the list was translated from Greek. This codex came from the library of a monastery in northern Italy, and is dated to between 170 and 200 AD. It provides important testimony to the books which were recognized as canonical at a very early point in the history of the church, including, as it does, all the New Testament books except Hebrews, James, and one epistle of John.

      …soon all groups of Orthodox Christians came to a complete agreement, accepting the twenty-seven books that are contained in our present New Testament and no others. The attainment of such a unanimity, within a few centuries after the writing of the last book, among people so widely scattered as the early Christians, is almost miraculous, particularly when we consider the great arguments and strong divisions of opinion that were found among them on varied doctrinal questions. That the unanimous conclusion reached in such a way could be correct could hardly be assumed aside from the providential activity of the Holy Spirit. [20]

    By 397. A.D the Council of Carthage had certified all 27 books of the New Testament, although the books of the apocrypha were included in the Old Testament.

    It is often claimed that Martin Luther rejected the book of James. However, his preface to the New Testament makes it clear that he was not opining on canonical validity, but had a decided, although not necessarily correct, opinion on the relative doctrinal value of the books of the New Testament. The book of James featured very low down on his list. 

      "From all this you can now judge all the books and decide among them which are the best. John’s Gospel and St. Paul’s Epistles, especially that to the Romans, and St. Peter’s first Epistle are the true kernel and marrow of all the books. They ought rightly be the first books and it would be advisable for every Christian to read them first and most. ...John’s Gospel is the one, tender, true chief Gospel, far, far to be preferred to the other three and placed high above them. So, too, the Epistles of St. Paul and St. Peter far surpass the other three Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

      In a word, St. John’s Gospel and his first Epistle, St. Paul’s Epistles—especially Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians—and St. Peter’s first Epistle are the books that show you Christ and teach you all that it is necessary and good for you to know—even though you were never to see or hear any other book or doctrine. Therefore St. James’ Epistle is really an epistle of straw, compared to them. For it has nothing of the nature of the Gospel about it.”

    The Reliability of the New Testament
    Just how reliable are the New Testament documents? The Bible: As said by J. Hampton Keathley, in a study entitled The Holy Canon of Scripture

      There are now more than 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Add over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9,300 other early versions (MSS) and we have more than 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament. This means that no other document of antiquity even begins to approach such numbers and attestation. In comparison, the Iliad by Homer is second with only 643 manuscripts that still survive. The first complete preserved text of Homer dates from the 13th century.

      This contrast is startling and tremendously significant. Perhaps we can appreciate how wealthy the New Testament is in manuscript attestation if we compare the textual material for other ancient historical works.

         For Caesar’s Gallic War (composed between 58 and 50 B.C) there are several extant MSS, but only nine or ten are good, and the oldest is some 900 years later than Caesar’s day.

         Of the 142 books of the Roman history of Livy (59 B.C-A.D 17), only 35 survive; these are known to us from not more than twenty MSS of any consequence, only one of which, and that containing fragments of Books III-VI, is as old as the fourth century.

         Of the fourteen books of Histories of Tacitus (c. A.D. 100) only four and a half survive; of the sixteen books of his Annals, ten survive in full and two in part. The text of these extant portions of his two great historical works depends entirely on two MSS, one of the ninth century and one of the eleventh.…

         The History of Thucydides (c. 460-400 B.C.) is known to us from eight MSS, the earliest belonging to about the beginning of the Christian era.

         The same is true of the History of Herodotus (c. 480-425 B.C.).

       Yet no classical scholar would listen to an argument that the authenticity of Herodotus or Thucydides is in doubt because the earliest MSS of their works which are of any use are over 1,300 years later than the originals.

      The fact of the many documents, plus the fact that many of the New Testament documents are very early (hundreds of parchment copies from the 4th and 5th centuries with some seventy-five papyri fragments dating from A.D. 135 to the 8th century) assures us we have a very accurate and reliable text in the New Testament. [21]

    Careful comparison of these hundreds of copies assures us that we have an accurate and trustworthy New Testament

    The Canon... Complete or Incomplete?
    The question is often asked as to whether more books can be added to the New Testament. If further books are to be added to the Bible, it would mean the Bible we have today is incomplete, and does not tell us everything we need to know. However, Paul was very clear in his letter to Timothy when he said that the Scriptures can completely furnish the man of God.

      Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work. [2 Timothy 3:16-17]

    Another key verse is Jude 1:3, which says [Emphasis Added]

      Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.

    In essence, Jude was saying that Scripture was given once and for all, from which one can make the obvious deduction that nothing would be added to it. There are no secret, or lost, manuscripts waiting to be discovered, and no people who have a special revelation that can enlighten the rest of us. The Scriptures are all we need.

    When the New Testament is put together with the Hebrew Canon, the narrative begins with the creation of this world in the book of Genesis, and concludes with the end of this world as we know it. Everything in between these two books is for our benefit. Designed to save us from the wrath of God, and eternal death, by allowing us to choose whether we wish to live in His kingdom for all eternity and, if we make that choice, to teach us how to do so.

    Should we endeavor to manipulate the canon to reflect our beliefs, ignoring the fact that the Jews, Jesus, and the New Testament apostles, rejected the apocrypha, we risk believing in some erroneous doctrine that could very well jeopardize our salvation


    Perhaps the last word should go to the author of the truthortradition website

      Before addressing the issue of whether or not any God-breathed books were left out of the Bible, I would like to make a personal observation. In my years in the ministry I have had the opportunity to personally speak with perhaps twenty people who subscribe to the theory that there are lost books of the Bible, and I have noticed something interesting: those who criticize the Bible by claiming it is incomplete do not conduct their lives according to the books that are included in the Bible. This is hypocritical because if the Bible is missing books, then the parts we do have become even more valuable. If pirates have most of a treasure map, they do not throw it out because it is missing a piece. Instead, the part they have becomes even more valuable, and they study it with great intensity. Critics of the canon do not live by the books that are included in Scripture. Almost without exception they use the theory of the “missing books” to ignore the Bible altogether. It is clear to me they are not trying to restore a faulty document. Instead, they are looking for an excuse to ignore the Bible, and they find that excuse by questioning the canon [22]

    Footnote II.. The Inspiration of the Biblical Prophets
    There is a school of thought that believes that a writer might not know he was inspired. However, it is very apparent that the Biblical prophets were fully aware that God was speaking through them.

      Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. [Ezekiel 1:1]

      Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this selfsame day: the king of Babylon drew close unto Jerusalem this selfsame day. [Ezekiel 24:2]

      And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it. [Habakkuk 2:2]

      The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. [Hosea 1:1]

      The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. [Joel 1:1]

      Yet even now, saith the Lord, turn ye unto me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: [Joel 2:12]

      Thus saith the Lord: For three transgressions of Damascus, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron: [Amos 1:3]

      The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord concerning Edom: We have heard tidings from the Lord, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, saying, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. [Obadiah 1:1]

      The word of the Lord that came to Micah the Morashtite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Inspiration of The Biblical Prophets [Micah 1:1]

      Thus saith the Lord: Though they be in full strength, and likewise many, even so shall they be cut down, and he shall pass away. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more. [Nahum 1:12]

      The word of the Lord which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. [Zephaniah 1:1]

      In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, [Haggai 1:1]

      In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying... [Zechariah 1:1]

      The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. [Malachi 1:1] [PLACE IN TEXT]

    Footnote III... Sirach and 2 Maccabees
    Both books indicate that they were written by the effort of the individual authors.

      Whereas many and great things have been delivered unto us by the law and the prophets, and by others that have followed their steps, for the which things Israel ought to be commended for learning and wisdom; and whereof not only the readers must needs become skilful themselves, but also they that desire to learn be able to profit them which are without, both by speaking and writing: my grandfather Jesus, when he had much given himself to the reading of the law, and the prophets, and other books of our fathers, and had gotten therein good judgment, was drawn on also himself to write something pertaining to learning and wisdom; to the intent that those which are desirous to learn, and are addicted to these things, might profit much more in living according to the law.

      Wherefore let me intreat you to read it with favour and attention, and to pardon us, wherein we may seem to come short of some words, which we have laboured to interpret. For the same things uttered in Hebrew, and translated into another tongue, have not the same force in them: and not only these things, but the law itself, and the prophets, and the rest of the books, have no small difference, when they are spoken in their own language. For in the eight and thirtieth year coming into Egypt, when Euergetes was king, and continuing there some time, I found a book of no small learning: therefore I thought it most necessary for me to bestow some diligence and travail to interpret it; using great watchfulness and skill in that space to bring the book to an end, and set it forth for them also, which in a strange country are willing to learn, being prepared before in manners to live after the law. All wisdom cometh from the Lord, and is with him for ever. [Sirach 1:1]

      2 Maccabees
      For considering the infinite number, and the difficulty which they find that desire to look into the narrations of the story, for the variety of the matter, We have been careful, that they that will read may have delight, and that they that are desirous to commit to memory might have ease, and that all into whose hands it comes might have profit. Therefore to us, that have taken upon us this painful labour of abridging, it was not easy, but a matter of sweat and watching; Even as it is no ease unto him that prepareth a banquet, and seeketh the benefit of others: yet for the pleasuring of many we will undertake gladly this great pains; Leaving to the author the exact handling of every particular, and labouring to follow the rules of an abridgement. For as the master builder of a new house must care for the whole building; but he that undertaketh to set it out, and paint it, must seek out fit things for the adorning thereof: even so I think it is with us. To stand upon every point, and go over things at large, and to be curious in particulars, belongeth to the first author of the story: But to use brevity, and avoid much labouring of the work, is to be granted to him that will make an abridgment. Here then will we begin the story: only adding thus much to that which hath been said, that it is a foolish thing to make a long prologue, and to be short in the story itself. [2 Maccabees 2:24-32]

      And if I have done well, and as is fitting the story, it is that which I desired: but if slenderly and meanly, it is that which I could attain unto. For as it is hurtful to drink wine or water alone; and as wine mingled with water is pleasant, and delighteth the taste: even so speech finely framed delighteth the ears of them that read the story. And here shall be an end. [2 Maccabees 15:38-39]

    Footnote IV...Non-Canonical Books Mentioned in the Bible

    The Book of Wars -

      Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the LORD, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon, [Numbers 21:14]

    The Book of Jasher -

      And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. [Joshua 10:13]

    The Chronicles of David -

      Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number, but he finished not, because there fell wrath for it against Israel; neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of king David. [1 Chronicles 27:24]

    The Book of Samuel the Seer, Nathan the Prophet, and Gad the Seer -

      1 Chronicles 29:29 Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,

    The Story of the Prophet Iddo -

      And the rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his sayings, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo. [2 Chronicles 13:22]

    The Book of Shemaiah the Prophet -

      Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually. [2 Chronicles 12:15]

    The Book of Jehu -

      Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Jehu the son of Hanani, who is mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel. [2 Chronicles 20:34]

    The Record book of Ahasuerus -

      And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king. [Esther 2:23]

      On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king. [Esther 6:1] [PLACE IN TEXT]

    [11] The Catholic Encyclopedia, St. Augustine of Hippo. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02084a.htm

    [12] The Catholic Encyclopedia, African Synods. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01199a.htm

    [13] New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. II, Bible, III (Canon), p. 390; Canon, Biblical, p. 29; Bible, III (Canon), p.390

    [14] Catholic Answers. The Old Testament Canon. http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-old-testament-canon

    [15] A commentary on the Apostles' Creed. Translated by Ernest F. Morison (1916)

    [16] Jeramy Townsley. Historical Dating of the Book of Daniel. http://www.jeramyt.org/papers/daniel.html

    [17] The New Testament Apocrypha edited by M. R. James. Apocryphile Press (November 1, 2004) Pg. 12

    [18] Dennis Rupert, Who Decided What Books Got Into The Bible?

    [19] Allan MacRae, "The Canon of Scripture: Can We Be Sure Which Books Are Inspired by God?" in John Warwick Montgomery (ed.), Evidence for Faith: Deciding the God Question (Dallas: Probe, 1991), Pgs.  225-226. As quoted in The Apocrypha and the Biblical Canon - Part 4, by Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon. http://www.ankerberg.com/Articles/apologetics/AP0604W3.htm

    [20] Allan MacRae, "The Canon of Scripture: Can We Be Sure Which Books Are Inspired by God?" in John Warwick Montgomery (ed.), Evidence for Faith: Deciding the God Question (Dallas: Probe, 1991), Pgs. 226-227. Quoted in Divine Providence and the Canon. Part 4 of The Apocrypha and the Biblical Canon, by Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon

    [21] The Bible: The Holy Canon of Scripture. Study By: J. Hampton Keathley, III. http://bible.org/seriespage/bible-holy-canon-scripture

    [22] TruthOrTradition.com.


    Apocrypha...Part I