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The Apocrypha are books in the Old Testament period.  They are also called deuterocanonical books which means "second canon".  They are: 1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon), Baruch, Tobit, Judith, and additions to Daniel and Esther.  They are found in official Roman Catholic printed Bibles but not in Jewish or protestant bibles. The question is are they Holy Scripture and should they be with Holy Scripture?

The Jewish Council at Jamnia of 90AD did not recognize the Apocrypha.  But Augustine advocated for the Apocrypha acceptance at the Council of Carthage in 397 AD.  The Roman Catholic Council of Trent in the 16th century made them officially included in their approved Bible printings (but left out 3 Apocrypha books).  The question becomes, why did the Roman Catholic church find it necessary to add these to the bible and the Jewish authorities did not? 

First we need to look at what the Apocrypha teaches that the Roman Catholic church support.
  • Prayer to dead saints and for the dead ( Tobias 6:18; Sirach 7:37; 2 Machabees 12:40-46)
  • Almsgiving makes atonement for sin (Sirach 3:3, 30; Tobit 12:9).  Thus Almsgiving is a work that justifies the sinner.
The Apocrypha were translated and included in the Septuagint and the early church used it.  Through the writings of the early church teachers we see that they did not fully accept the Apocrypha as Holy Scripture either, such as: Ambrose, Amphilochus, Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory Nanzianzus, Jerome, Melito of Sardis, and Origen. The Jews Josephus and Philo also rejected it. Many others, such as Justin Martyr, wrote volumes yet never once cited it. Ambrose was contradictory. Even many for it, like Augustine, believed it inspired in a lesser way.

What about the other 3 books left out by the Council of Trent?

If Trent was correct in declaring previous tradition wrong on the three extra books (because traditionally the 3 were included), tradition can be wrong on the others too; as they demonstrated in admitting the error of the previous tradition. 

The next question is why were these books not accepted by Jewish authorities and protestants?
  • Leviticus 17:11 contradicts Sirach 3:3, 30 in what is necessary for atonement.  The protestant proof is that Sirach also contradicts Galatians 2:16-21.
  • Tobit 12:9 is in direct contradiction of 1 John 1:7 and Hebrews 9:14
  • Wisdom 8:19,20 is contradictory to Romans 3:10, 5:18 
  • Sirach 12:4-7 advocates for favoritism and comes in direct contradiction of Luke 6:27,30; Romans 12:20, and Proverbs 25:21
  • Baruch not really in Babylon 1:1,2 contradicts Jer.43:5-7
  • Baruch 6:2 says the Jews would serve Babylon for 7 generations. Jeremiah 25:11 & 29:11 says 70 years.
  • The historical errors in the Apocrypha are apparent as well:  
    • Tobit 1:3-5; 14:11 claims to have seen two events which in fact were over 200 years apart.  The Jeroboam revolted happened at 931 B.C. and when Assyria conquered Israel was in 722 B.C.  Yet the life span of Tobit was 100-150 years. 
    • Judith 1:1, 7 mistakes the Assyrian king as Nebuchadnezzar but he was actually the King of Babylon (2 Kings 24:1)
    • 2 Macc 8:10 Nicanor wanted to pay 2,000 talents to the Romans; the Seleucids were not under the Romans.
    • The Catholic New Jerusalem Bible even says in Intro "The book of Judith in particular shows a bland indifference to history and geography."
  •  The Apocrypha even contradict themselves 
    • Do not remember the dead (Sirach 38:21-23) vs. pray for the dead (2 Macc 12:44)
    • Never use deceit (Sirach 25:26) vs. Deceive people for God (Judith)
    • There are historical discrepancies between 1 & 2 Mac.
    • The writers of Sirach (prologue) and 2 Mac (2:24-43; 15:38-40) indicate they were not inspired. 
Did Jesus and the Apostles quote from any Apocrypha writings? 

No.  None.  Zip.  Nada.  Of the over 260 Old Testament quotes in the New Testament; Jesus quoted from the Apocrypha zero times.  There are however references to other non-canon writings like in Jude but again, they are not quoted AS scripture but used to make a point.  Just like if I quoted a line from a movie to illustrate a point; I am not validating or arguing for its divine inspiration but making a literary illustration to help the reader understand based on what is known by that culture of that time.

Jesus lays out the accepted Jewish canon in this statement: " “From the blood of Abel [Gen. 4:8] to the blood of Zechariah [2 Chron. 24:20], who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation (Lk. 11:51, cf. Mt. 23:35).” Abel was the first martyr in the Old Testament from the Book of Genesis while Zechariah was the last martyr in the Book of Chronicles. In the Hebrew Canon, the first book was Genesis and the last book was Chronicles. They contained all of the same books as the standard 39 books accepted by Protestants today, but they were just arranged differently.

The Apocrypha teach things that are not supported in the First Canon
  • An angel named Uriel (2 Esdras)
  • The body weighs down the soul. Wisdom 9:15
  • Whoever honors his father atones for sins. Sirach 3:3
  • God is unaware the origin of some is evil. Wisd. 12:10
  • Divorce if your wife does not obey you-Sirach 25:26
  • My son, do not lead the life of a beggar; it is better to die than to beg." Sirach 40:28-30.
  • Jeremiah, though dead, prays for Jews 2 Mac5:12-16
  • We should pray for the dead 2 Macc 12:44
  • The command to use magic (Tobit 6:5-7).
  • Offering of money for the sins of the dead (2 Maccabees 12:43-45).
In the Apocrypha writings we see humanistic ideals like the ability to do good works and justify ones self through works.  We see the belittlement of God and the increased sovereignty of man.  A lot of focuses on worldly solutions and values that do not address the deeper spiritual issues.


Due to the vast amount of clear errors and biblical contradictions it is impossible to view the Apocrypha as Holy Scripture, they themselves make it clear they are not.  Given their historical inaccuracies and extra non-bibical teachings they are also not beneficial to be included with the truly inspired holy scriptures.  But due to their use by the Roman Catholic Church and eastern Orthodox churches we see the contradictory and nonbiblical teachings influence those churches doctrines to this day.

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