by Nolan Guilbeau – Published in The (Opelousas, Louisiana) Daily World
℅ Shawn Brasseaux
The word apocrypha from the Bible is from the Greek apokrupha and is defined as meaning “hidden things.” It was used by ecclesiastical writers for matters secret or mysterious. Further definitions are: unknown origin, forged or spurious in nature, and being unrecognized or uncanonical. It is the name generally given to many books or scrolls of the Old Testament.
These very books were not permitted or accepted among the sacred books during the first four centuries of the genuine Christian church. Many respected theologians of that era didn’t accept these writings either, as they were not considered to be the inspired Word of God (“God-breathed”). The canon of Scripture was closed and sealed in the first century.
However, at the Council of Trent on April 15, 1546, the Roman church, added and adopted at least 11 of these uninspired books and declared them as new canons of their church and introduced some of these books in their Bibles for the first time in their church history. Strange it would take many, many centuries of well over 1000 years for Rome to suddenly include these books as part of the inspired Word of God in their canons and Bibles. Were these books of spurious origin added to enable Rome to enforce teachings of purgatory, salvation by works, praying for the dead, etc? (For instance, II Maccabees 12:43-45 and Ecclesiasticus 3:30) In the older Douay Version of a few years ago, more of these Apocryphal books were added.
Apocrypha historical facts:
- The Jewish religion never accepted these Apocryphal writings as inspired—they rejected them. Orthodox Jews, custodians of the Hebrew religion, would have forfeited their lives rather than falsify Old Testament Scripture. They viewed the Apocrypha as the mere thoughts and works of man.
- Some of the very writers of these spurious books themselves disclaimed any inspiration. The prologue to Ecclesiasticus, II Maccabees 2:24-33 and 15:38-39 did not claim any inspiration.
- Apocryphal writings contradict God-inspired writings—cf. Baruch 1:2 & Jeremiah 23:6-7
- The Church of Rome didn’t introduce the Apocrypha until 1546; therefore they cannot claim apostolic authority for them.
- These writings were rejected by Jerome (340-420), who the Roman Church calls “the great Doctor” because of his knowledge of the Scriptures. (Proof—See Volume I, pg. 601 of the Catholic Encyclopedia and Leo XIII’s encyclical letter.) You will find that many of the “doctors” of the church—Augustine (354-430), Cardinal Ximenes, Cardinal Cajetan, and Pope Gregory (540-604)—rejected these Apocryphal writings as inspired.
- Finally, none of these books were ever quoted or taught by either the Lord Jesus or the apostles. It’s obvious the Apocrypha is unreliable for doctrine.
Those who add to or subtract from the word of God are subject to His judgments. Proverbs 30:6: “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” According to Scripture, judgment is certain for those who “add” to God’s word, the Bible. Christians need to discern matters of the past and the present which affects our worship; who and why we worship and not get stuck on indifference. For every knee shall someday bow before Jesus Christ of the Scriptures, acknowledging Him as Lord (Philippians 2:10).