Critics of Christianity and the Bible used by evangelicals love to mention that the Bible doesn’t include some of the sacred books that should be included. By this they mean that Bibles evangelicals use do not accept the apocryphal, or deuterocanonical books. They even point out that in the original edition of the King James Version, these books were included. However, they fail to note that when they used to be included in the KJV, they were separated from the true 66 books of the Bible and were not considered sacred but were included for some historical value.
We evangelicals reject the apocrypha for good reason and here’s a quick overview of why each book is excluded:
I Esdras: This book claims Zerubbabel (Zorobabel) was serving as a bodyguard for King Darius I of Persia. After writing an eloquent and wise statement to the king, Darius granted Zerubbabel’s wish to construct the temple in Jerusalem and was sent to Jerusalem from Persia with men to help him.
This is incorrect historically. The true historical record tells us that Zerubbabel led the first wave of Hebrew captives back to Jerusalem from Babylon to rebuild the city. The first wave of captives were sent back under the orders of the Persian king Cyrus, Darius I’s predecessor. When Darius came to power, Zerubbabel was already in Jerusalem serving as governor. He couldn’t have been Darius’s bodyguard.
II Esdras: Chapter 7 of this book says that when Christ returns from heaven with his bride, the church, “After these years shall my son Christ die, and all men that have life. And the world shall be turned into the old silence seven days, like as in the former judgments: so that no man shall remain. And after seven days the world, that yet awaketh not, shall be raised up, and that shall die that is corrupt.”
This is not in agreement with true scripture. Firstly, Jesus has risen never to die again. Secondly, since the dead in Christ shall rise and be caught up with him in the air along with those of us saints that are still alive at the rapture, when we return with Christ to reign with him for 1000 years, there will be men inhabiting the Earth and there will never be a period when “no man shall remain.”
2 Esdras also says in chapter 9, “And every one that shall be saved, and shall be able to escape by his works, and by faith, whereby ye have believed, Shall be preserved from the said perils, and shall see my salvation…” This is clearly a salvation-by-works doctrine which is a false doctrine according to Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Tobit: According to Tobit 12:9 “For alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin. Those that exercise alms and righteousness shall be filled with life.” This is contrary to sound doctrine because Galatians 2:16 says “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Tobit 6:6-7 also teaches false doctrine–“Then the young man said to the angel, Brother Azarias, to what use is the heart and the liver and the gal of the fish? And he said unto him, Touching the heart and the liver, if a devil or an evil spirit trouble any, we must make a smoke thereof before the man or the woman, and the party shall be no more vexed.” Using fish parts to chase off devils is the use of magic, which is clearly spoken against throughout the Bible.
Judith: This book starts off on the wrong foot by giving erroneous information in Judith 1:1–“In the twelfth year of the reign of Nabuchodonosor, who reigned in Nineve, the great city; in the days of Arphaxad, which reigned over the Medes in Ecbatane.” Nebuchadnezzar was a Chaldean and king of the Babylonian empire who reigned from the city of Babylon. Nineveh was the Assyrian empire’s capital. Nebuchadnezzar was not Assyrian.
Judith’s first chapter also says that Nebuchadnezzar conquered the Medes by taking the city of Ecbatane. This never happened. It was the Medes & Persians who eventually conquered Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson.
Additions to the book of Esther: This book is also filled with historical errors. In 2:4 of this book, Mordecai (Mardocheus) is said to have been taken captive from Jerusalem with king Jehoiachin by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Jehoiachin was taken captive in 591 B.C. The real book of Esther in the Bible takes place between 483 and 473 B.C. and tells us Mordecai lived during the reign of Ahasuerus (Xerxes), king of Medo Persia. The apocryphal Esther takes place in the second year of Artaxerxes I, which would be 466 B.C. If we do the math, the apocryphal Additions to Esther then would make Mordecai more than 125 years old (591 minus 466). This is highly unlikely that Mordecai lived to be over 125 years old, so the Additions to Esther obviously has the historical timeline messed up.
The Additions to Esther also gets Haman’s (Aman’s) heritage totally wrong. 7:10 of the book claims Haman (Aman) was Macedonian and had Persian blood. The real Esther in 3:1 tells us Haman is an Agagite, not Macedonian, and Agagites were Amalekites.
Wisdom of Solomon: 11:17 tells us “For thy Almighty hand, that made the world of matter without form,” whereas Hebrews 11:3 tells us God made the world out of nothing.
According to Wisdom of Solomon 3:16-19, “As for the children of adulterers, they shall not come to their perfection, and the seed of an unrighteous bed shall be rooted out. For though they live long, yet shall they be nothing regarded: and their last age shall be without honour. Or, if they die quickly, they have no hope, neither comfort in the day of trial. For horrible is the end of the unrighteous generation.” This claim that children of adulterers have no hope of salvation is contrary to Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach/Sirach/Ecclesiasticus: Sirach 1:22 says “A furious man cannot be justified; for the sway of his fury shall be his destruction.” The true Bible teaches us differently. Some fury can be justified. For instance, when Christ entered the temple and saw the money changers conducting business, he showed extreme anger and kicked them out of the temple because of his righteous zeal for the Lord’s house. The Lord also told us in Matthew 5:22 that he who is angry with his brother without a justifiable cause is in danger of judgment. Additionally, Paul said we can be angry and not sin in Ephesians 4:26.
Sirach also teaches our works atone for our sins. Sirach 3:3 says “Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his sins.” The true Bible says the Lord Jesus’ death on the cross atones for our sins.
This book also teaches that females originated sin when it says “Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die.” The true Bible tells us “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,” [Romans 5:12]
Baruch: This book begins with historical inaccuracies. It was supposedly written by Baruch, son of Neriah, who is mentioned in the book of Jeremiah several times as one of Jeremiah’s contemporaries. Baruch 1:8-9 claims that Baruch took the vessels that were taken from the temple by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon and returned them to Judah during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. The true Bible in Ezra 1 tells us these vessels were not returned until the reign of Cyrus 70 years after Judah’s captivity and long after Nebuchadnezzar died.
Letter of Jeremiah: This apocryphal book is also in Baruch 6. It has a glaring historical error–“So when ye be come unto Babylon, ye shall remain there many years, and for a long season, namely, seven generations: and after that I will bring you away peaceably from thence.” But the real Jeremiah clearly stated in Jeremiah 25:11 that Judah would be captive to Babylon only 70 years, and that’s exactly what happened.
Prayer of Azariah/Additions to Daniel: The account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace in this book contradicts the true account in the true book of Daniel. The Prayer of Azariah says “But the angel of the Lord came down into the oven together with Azarias and his fellows, and smote the flame of the fire out of the oven; And made the midst of the furnace as it had been a moist whistling wind, so that the fire touched them not at all, neither hurt nor troubled them,”[v. 26-27]. Daniel 3:24-27 says that the fire never went out and that Nebuchadnezzar, when he saw four men instead of just the three thrown into the furnace, approached the fiery furnace and called the three Hebrews to come out of the flames.
Susanna (another addition to Daniel): The error of this book was immediately discovered in the language it was written in–Greek. The Jews did not speak Greek until hundreds of years after Daniel’s death.
Bel and the Dragon (another addition to Daniel): Also rejected from true scripture like Susanna since it was written in Greek when it supposedly was written by Daniel, who didn’t speak Greek. The book tells an unbelievable story of how Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den for killing a dragon who the Babylonians worshiped. When the Babylonians found out Daniel killed their dragon, they went to Cyrus king of Persia and said “…Deliver us Daniel, or else we will destroy thee and thine house. Now when the king saw that they pressed him sore, being constrained, he delivered Daniel unto them.” [Bel, v. 29-30]
This story errs on two counts. Firstly, Daniel’s being thrown in the lion’s den in Bel and the dragon contradicts the circumstances of why he was really thrown in the lion’s den in the true Bible. Secondly, this Cyrus king of Persia is the same warrior that destroyed Babylon to conquer the Babylonian empire. No Babylonian would have approached him with threats of destroying him and his house.
I Maccabees: This book is mainly historical, but contradicts 2 Maccabees, which was written at the same time and supposedly by the same writer. In 1 Maccabees 13:31, the Greek general Tryphon is said to have killed Antiochus Epiphanes to reign as king in his place. In 2 Maccabees 1:13-16, Antiochus Epiphanes was killed by priests at the temple in Nanaea. But 2 Maccabees 9 says Antiochus Epiphanes died in the mountains of Ecbatane from an incurable disease of the bowels.
1 Maccabees 1:15 says that some of the male Jews reversed their circumcision. How was that even possible at that time? So obviously the writer couldn’t get his facts straight and this tells us that both 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees can’t be trusted.
II Maccabees: In 2 Maccabees 12:45, it states “And also in that he [Judas Maccabeus] perceived that there was great favour laid up for those that died godly, it was an holy and good thought. Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin.” From this text comes the false teaching of the existence of purgatory.
True scripture from God teaches that reconciliation with God and deliverance from sin can only be made when one is alive. “Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come, [John 8:21]. So if someone dies in their sin, they cannot go to be with Jesus. It is too late for their deliverance from sin. 2 Maccabees preaches a different gospel.
Adding to God’s word
There are several warnings throughout the Bible against false teachings and adding to what God has spoken through his chosen writers. All of the books that exist outside of the 66 books God wants in the Bible have shown how they fall far short of God’s truths and the historical accuracy of the Bible. God does not contradict himself like the apocrypha contradicts God’s doctrines and God’s historical records. So we come to the conclusions that are stated in God’s word about anything written that tries to pass itself off as being on the same level as the Bible–
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. [Proverbs 30:5-6, emphasis mine]
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. [Galatians 1:8-9]
So the apocrypha is truly anathema.
–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–