THE APOCRYPHA BOOKS- Introduction
There are more books in the Catholic Bible than there are in the Protestant Bible. Why is that?
THE APOCRYPHA BOOKS- Why the Difference?
The Protestant Old Testament, which contains 39 books, comes from the Palestinian Canon — which (as the name would indicate) is the set of scriptures which originated from Palestine and which were recognized by the Jews. The Catholic Old Testament, however, derives its books from the Alexandrian Canon — the Greek listing of Old Testament books, which was supposedly drawn up in Alexandria, Egypt. Along with the 39 books of the Palestinian Canon, the Alexandrian Canon contains 14 or 15 additional books that are collectively known as the “apocrypha,” which simply means “hidden.”
THE APOCRYPHA BOOKS- Some Discrepancies
Of these 14 or 15 books, three are not included in the Catholic Bible. Also, some of these apocryphal books have been made into a single book, such as Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah. Still others were simply tagged onto the books of the Palestinian or Hebrew Canon. For example, the apocryphal book called Bel and the Dragon was made into the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Daniel. This explains why there are only seven additional books listed in the Catholic Old Testament.
THE APOCRYPHA BOOKS- Why Are They Excluded?
Now, there are many reasons why these apocryphal books are not part of our Bible. Let me mention just a few. First of all, they contain teachings that are clearly unbiblical — for example, they encourage prayers for the dead, teach salvation by works, and they even include an account where God is shown to be assisting someone in a lie. Second, there have been a number of authoritative testimonies against the acceptance of these books, including those from the Jewish scholars of Jamnia, as well as many of the church fathers and scholars, like Athanasius and Jerome. And, of course, these books were never directly quoted by Jesus or by any of the New Testament writers. Finally, it’s important to note that even the Catholic church itself didn’t canonize them until the Council of Trent, after the Reformation began.
THE APOCRYPHA BOOKS- Conclusion
In conclusion, while these apocryphal books do give us some insight about the events that occurred during the period between the Old and New Testaments, they are definitely not the Word of God. So, it is very important for all of us to recognize that there is a vast distinction between the apocrypha, or the “hidden books,” and the Canon of Scripture.On the apocrypha and the books of the apocrypha, that’s the CRI Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.