Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

The Apocrypha

The Apocrypha is the name given to 14 books which were written between the close of the Old Testament canon, and the writing of the New Testament. The books have been called by some “the lost books of the Bible”, and some claim that they should be included in our Bibles.

The Catholic church declared that 11 of the 14 apocryphal books should be considered part of the canon, this being done by the Council of Trent in 1546. However, the arbitrary determination of an apostate body does not in any way have any bearing on the actual legitimacy of the books.

The church does not determine what books are canonical. God does. The church simply accepts what God has determined to be inspired scripture. A study of history reveals that the 14 apocryphal books were never included in the canon of the Hebrew scriptures, and there is no evidence that they were ever recognized as scripture by Jesus, the writers of the New Testament, or any of the Jews who lived in Jesus’ time. Additionally, the external and internal evidence, when observed without bias, establishes that these works are inferior to the inspired text of the Bible, and deserve no place in the scripture canon.

Many scholars are impressed with 1 Maccabees as an accurate historical account of the patriotic uprisings of the Jews against Antiochus Epiphanes and his successors from 167 B.C. to 134 B.C. Also mentioned as a book with value is Ecclesiasticus, written by Jesus the son of Sirach of Jerusalem in about 175 B.C. The book is well written, typical of the “wisdom literature” of the Old Testament canon, and was a popular book even among Christians in early times. This, of course, in no way indicates it as being inspired. The other books have little merit.

Another set of writings, called the Pseudepigrapha, or “false writings” are writings in which the author falsely claims to be someone he is not, and were all written between 200 B.C. and A.D. 200. Again, these writings have never been associated with the canon, and such claims should not be taken seriously.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

In the canon of the Bible, the 66 books which comprise the Old and New Testaments, we have everything we need to be acceptable to God. With the words from Genesis to Revelation we have been “equipped for every good work.” There is no need for the Christian to look to spurious books, penned by men, as God has supplied us with every necessary word in His scriptures. The canon has been clearly established, and we can be confident in its completeness and accuracy.