Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Why I left out the Apocrypha

I was recently asked why I did not include the 7 books of the Apocrypha in the study of Hebrew Letters as they relate to the books in the Bible. 

Here's my answer:
Those 7 books, generally called the Apocrypha, were added by the Roman Catholic Church at the Council of Trent (1545–1563). The fact that they were added at such a relatively recent date when Scripture clearly says not to add to it (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32, Proverbs 30: 5,6, Revelation 22:18) is troubling. But now including the 7 books has become a tradition in the Catholic Churcha tradition of men, to which Jesus said in Mark 7: “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men. …Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” (New International Version)

The New Testament writers may allude to the Apocrypha, but they never quote from it as Holy Scripture or give the slightest hint that any of the books are inspired. If the Septuagint in the first century contained these books, which is not a proven fact, Jesus and His disciples completely ignored them. If an argument to include them refers to certain Church fathers as proof of the inspiration of the books, well, that argument doesn’t work either since just as many in the early church, notably Origen, Jerome, and others, denied their alleged inspiration. There are other reasons that these seven books are not in the Protestant Bible which is what I used to study the correlation of the Hebrew letters to each book (CROSSING THE SCRIPTURES). One of these deals with the unbiblical teaching of these books, such as praying for the dead which can be found in II Maccabees 12:45–46, and is in direct opposition to Luke 16:25, 26 and Hebrews 9:27, among others. The Apocrypha also contains the episode which has God assisting Judith in a lie (Judith 9:10, 13).

The Apocrypha contains other errors as well. Historical facts are incorrectly recorded in Judith and Baruch and Tobit. For example, Tobit was supposedly alive when Jeroboam staged his revolt in 931 B.C. and was still living at the time of the Assyrian captivity (722 B.C.), yet the Book of Tobit says he lived only 158 years (Tobit 1:3-5; 14:11). Also in this book (Tobit 6: 5-7) there is the approval of magic (burning a fish’s heart to drive away evil spirits), which is certainly not biblical. Tobit 4: 11 and 12:9 advocate the forgiveness of sin by the giving of alms which is clearly a false teaching of forgiveness by works since we know that salvation comes through Christ alone as a gift (1 John: 1:7).

Finally, there is no claim in any of these apocryphal books as to divine inspiration. They do not coordinate with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet which is what completely convinced me that they should not be included. Nor should any of the four books of the Mormon faith, which echo the Holy Scriptures in style and theme, but deviate sharply from the Word and include false doctrine. I rely on the 66 books as the divinely inspired word of God. 

I encourage you to study the Bible and to look to all other writings as an attempt to understand, praise, worship, and glorify Him.

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