What Is Deuterocanonical Books
The deuterocanonical books(from the Greek meaning “belonging to the second canon“) are books and passages considered by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Assyrian Church of the East to be canonical books of the Old Testament but which are considered non-canonical by Protestant denominations.
canonical here means “inspired scripture”
The term “deuterocanonical”( belonging to the second canon) were adopted after the 16th century by the Eastern Orthodox Church to denote canonical books of the Septuagint not in the Hebrew Bible
Authorship of Deuterocanonical Books
While Catholic tradition, the eastern orthodox and some other churches considers these text or some 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.
Dueterocanonical books Were Not In The Original Hebrew Bible
At the time when Greek was the common spoken language in the Mediterranean region, the Old Testament—the Hebrew Bible—was incomprehensible to most of the population.
For this reason, Jewish scholars produced the Septuagint, a translation of the Old Testament books from various Hebrew texts, along with fragments in Aramaic, into Greek.
That version incorporated a number of works that later, non-Hellenistic Jewish scholarship at the Council of Jamnia (AD 90) identified as being outside the authentic Hebrew canon.
Deuterocanonical Books of the Old Testament are:
here is the list of the deuterocanonical 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.
Canonical by the Catholic Church
- 1 Maccabees
- 2 Maccabees
- Wisdom of Solomon
- Wisdom of Sirach(also called Ecclesiasticus)
- Baruchincluding the Letter of Jeremiah
- Additions to Esther
- Additions to Daniel:
- Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children(Septuagint Daniel 3:24–90)
- Susanna(Septuagint prologue, Vulgate Daniel 13)
- Bel and the Dragon(Septuagint epilogue, Vulgate Daniel 14)
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.”
Why does the Catholic Church defend/support deuterocanonical books?
I believe that the reason why the Catholic Church defends or supports the deuterocanonical(apocrypha)books is not because there are any evidence that proves it to be valid but because it supports their doctrines.
Read on to see reasons.
Catholic Doctrines Supported By Deuterocanonical Books
1.Praying and sacrificing for the dead.
The Catholic Church teaches the doctrine of praying for the dead and that sacrifices can be made for the dead.
That is, when a person is passed from this life and goes into torment or suffering, they believe that sacrifices, prayer could be made or money paid to actually affect the persons eternity and move the person from the place of suffering into a place of reward.
….wherefore he made the propitiation for them that had died, that they might be released from there sin. (2macabes 12:45)
Alms doth deliver from death and it shall purge away all sins. (Tobit 12:9)
Of course the inspired scriptures nowhere teach that. The bible teaches just the opposite that a man’s eternal destiny is sealed when he dies.
And as it is appointed for men to die once and after this judgment….( Hebrew 9:27)
Also see the account of the rich man and Lazarus. (Luke 16:25).
2.The Non-biblical Doctrine of Purgatory
The catholic church teaches The doctrine of purgatory – a place of purging between heaven and hell – is taught in the Apocrypha. It says.
So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; and they turned to supplication, praying that the sin that had been committed might be wholly blotted out.
The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened as the result of the sin of those who had fallen. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection.
For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin (Second Maccabees 12:41-45).
The Bible teaches that, upon death, one either goes to be with the Lord or is sent away from Him – there is no middle place. The writer to the Hebrews stated.
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27)
3.That God Hears The Prayers Of The Dead
We find the Book of Baruch teaching that God hears the prayers of those who have died.
O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, hear now the prayer of the dead of Israel, the children of those who sinned before you, who did not heed the voice of the Lord their God, so that calamities have clung to us (Baruch 3:4).
The dead do not pray for the living. Only the living upon the earth prays for the other living ones on the earth.
The books of deuterocanon should not be considered as Holy Scripture because they do not give any evidence as being authoritative. Protestants deny the canonical status of these books on the basis of both internal and external evidence.
Therefore we conclude that the present thirty-nine books of the Old Testament are the complete Scripture that God has given us. There are no other divinely authoritative books of Scripture that belong to the Old Testament.
The fact that deuterocanonical books is not considered to be Holy Scripture does not mean that it is entirely worthless, no”. The books do have some value For example, the Book of First Maccabees has some valuable historical references about the period between the testaments .However, any value these books do have are as historical works – not divinely inspired Scripture.
We should therefore approach the Apocrypha with a discerning mind and heart, 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.