What Is Apocrypha Books
Apocrypha books From the Greek adjective ἀπόκρυφος(apokryphos), “obscure”, and from the verb ἀποκρύπτειν (apokryptein),
“To hide away” or things hidden”.
In biblical literature, apocrypha means works outside an accepted canon of scripture.
In its broadest sense apocrypha has come to mean any writings of dubious authority.
Apocrypha is not considered divinely inspired though, as with other writings they may sometimes be referenced for support.
While Catholic tradition considers some of these texts to be deuterocanonical(belonging in the second canon),Protestants consider them apocryphal.
Thus, Protestant bibles do not include the books within the Old Testament but have sometimes included them in a separate section, usually called the Apocrypha.
Other non-canonical apocryphal texts are generally called pseudepigrapha, a term that means “false attribution (canon means inspired scripture or belonging in the bible).
List of the Old Testament Apocrypha Books.
- 1&2 Esdras
- the rest of Esther
- The Wisdom of Solomon
- The epistle of Jeremiah
- the Song of the Three Children,
- The History of Susana(added to Daniel)
- Bell and the Dragon(added to Daniel)
- prayer of Manasseh
- 1&2 Macabees
Preview Of "Apocrypha Books"
Decline And Fall Of Judah From The Time Of Josiah. Overthrow Of Jerusalem And The Babylonian Exile. The Return Under Ezra — Reorganization Of The Jewish State. Persian Kings Rebuild The Temple. Ezra’s War On Mixed Marriages.
The Lord’s anger against Israel – the end of the age. Ezra’s seven visions of judgment and retribution, including the vision of women. Prophecies of war and calamity. Rule of the Messiah for 400 years.
The blind Tobit, a captive in Nineveh, sends his son Tobias to collect a debt in Media. Tobias marries the seven times widowed virgin, and by fish gall dispatches the demon that had killed her husbands. Collects the debt, returns, and the father’s sight is restored. Tobias left Nineveh before it was destroyed.
Holophernes, an Assyrian general, acting for Nebuchadnezzar, besieged Bethulia. Judith, a pious Jewish widow, enters his camp, and while he is in a drunken stupor, beheads him, taking his head back to the Jewish camp. the Assyrian army is dispersed.
ADDITIONS TO ESTHER
Has to do with Esther at the court of Artaxerxes and Mardocheus’ dream. Discussion of Mordecai’s dream. The king’s edict in favor of the Jews.
THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON
Contrasts the righteous and the ungodly. The rewards of pleasure and salvation. The attainments of wisdom–the gift of God. Heroes of wisdom from Adam to Moses–contrasted with the wicked. Israelites contrasted with Egyptians.
ECCLESIASTICUS (Wisdom of Jesus the Son of SIRACH)
one of the best of the Old Testament Apocrypha–compares with Proverbs and Ecclesiastics. Resignation and humility. How to get wisdom. Kindness and self-control. The wise and the foolish. Sins of the rich. Training children. Dreams and travel. Higher education. Despite misery, poverty is best. Fathers worry about daughters. Olden fathers from Adam to Nehemiah. Denunciation of the gentiles. Giving thanks to the Lord. Good and bad wives. Table manners. Mourning. Doxology.
secretary to Jeremiah; Repentance of Jews after destruction of Jerusalem. Praise of wisdom. Promise of return from Babylonian exile.
THE EPISTLE OF JEREMY
A sarcastic denunciation of the folly of idolatry.
SONG OF THE THREE HOLY CHILDREN (The Prayer of Azariah)
Inserted in the Third Chapter of Daniel. The song of the three youths in the fiery furnace.
Susanna, wife of wealthy Jewish exile, repulses advances of two Jewish elders. They accuse her of adultery and she is condemned to death. Daniel convicted the elders of false testimony–she was vindicated and they were executed.
BEL AND THE DRAGON
Daniel traps the priests of Bel by ashes on temple floor–showing they ate the food, not Bel. Daniel poisons the Dragon and is cast into the lion’s den. Habakkuk was flown from Judea by angels to bring him his dinner. Eventually Daniel was delivered.
THE PRAYER OF MANASSEH
A penitential psalm composed to go along with 2 Chron. 33:11-13.
FIRST AND SECOND BOOKS OF MACCABEES;
First and Second Maccabees present reliable history. The Maccabees are in reality the Hasmonaean family. They won independence for the Jews from 166 to 63 BC.
- Judas Maccabeus was one of five sons of the priest Mattathais.
- He rebelled against Antiochus Epiphanes (IV), King of Syria.
- Antiochus defiled the temple at Jerusalem. (See Dan. 11:31).
- After killing a would-be Syrian priest, Mattathias and his five sons fled to the hills.
- Judas, by guerrilla warfare, defeated the Syrians, entered Jerusalem and re-established the temple service. (The Feast of Dedication — see John 10:22)
- Fighting on for political independence, Judas died in battle. His younger brother took over, but was later killed by a Syrian general.
- Then Simon, the last son, took charge. He made a treaty of peace with Syria.
- In 134 BC Simon and two sons were murdered by his son-in-law.
- The third son, John Hyrcanus, took over. He brought the Jews to the height of their power.
- John was succeeded by his son, Aristobulus, who murdered his mother and a brother, and imprisoned three other brothers.
- Alexandra–the widow– married one of the brothers. Wars went on, and the struggle between the Pharisees and the Sadducees began.
- Next, Alexandra takes the throne, and was succeeded by her son, Aristobulus II.
- Internal troubles brought Rome into the picture. In 63 BC the dynasty ended. Rome took over.
- Herod the Great marries Marianne, granddaughter of Hyrcanus II. She was a beautiful woman. Herod murdered her and her sons.
- First Maccabees covers 40 years, from the beginning of Antiochus to the death of Simon. Second Maccabees covers the remainder of the dynasty. Herod ruled under Rome
Approaching Apocrypha Books
Since neither Jesus nor the apostles make any reference to the apocryphal books, most Christians have regarded their authority as secondary to that of the 39 books of the Old Testament.
Yet within these apocryphal books are passages of great piety and historical information.
We should therefore approach the Apocrypha with a discernment and carefully discriminate between that which is in harmony with the essentials of the Christian faith and that which deviates from what is taught in the 66 books of the canon.
Churches That Accept Apocrypha Books as Canon (inspired scripture)
The Roman Catholic Church
accepts 12 of the apocryphal books as canonical (omitting I & II Esdras and the Prayer of Manassah from the above list.)
The Eastern Orthodox Church
also accepted the Apocrypha (Deuterocanon) as divinely inspired texts and canonical with the Old Testament. The Orthodox tradition includes the same list of books as the Catholic Church along with these below, which are considered canonical only by the Orthodox Church:
- Prayer of Manasseh
- Psalm 151
The Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church
The 39 Articles, which is used by both the Anglican and Episcopalian Churches, expresses rejection of the apocryphal books as divinely inspired but however, view the books as useful to the church
The United Methodist Church
like most other Protestant denominations, do not recognize the Apocrypha as authoritative Scripture. But they do allow apocryphal books to be read aloud during lectionaries in church services.
The Lutheran Church
The Apocrypha was included in Luther’s 1534 Bible, which printed between the Old and New Testaments with this explanatory note:
“Apocrypha: These books are not held equal to the Sacred Scriptures, and yet are useful and good for reading.”
Does Apocrypha Books Belong In The Bible?
From the documents themselves we find no claim of authority. This is in contrast to the books of the Old Testament that claim to record the words that God spoke and the deeds that He performed among the people.
Therefore it is not logical to attribute God’s authority to the books of the Apocrypha when they themselves make no claim to divine authority.
As the evidence is examined it becomes clear that the books of the Apocrypha should not be accepted with the same divine authority as the books found in the Hebrew Old Testament.
There is no evidence whatsoever that they belong in Holy Scripture. To the contrary, all the evidence speaks to their exclusion because they are not Scripture. it is wrong to have them bound in a single volume with Holy Scripture. Doing so will only mislead believers.
- The New Testament nowhere validates the Old Testament apocrypha books.
- While Jesus and his apostles often quoted from the Septuagint, they never quoted from the Apocrypha.
- there is no one reference to something in the apocrypha in the sense that it validates it or says that it is inspired.
- There may be some allusions to the apocryphal books by the New Testament writers but there is no direct quote from them. Allusion is not a direct quote.
Jesus did not recognize the apocrypha as being scripture.
The Jews did not recognize the apocrypha as part of the Hebrew canon.