Can’t Touch This – Final Post

Deutsch: Lutherbibel von 1534 English: Luther ...

Deutsch: Lutherbibel von 1534 English: Luther Bible, 1534 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apocrypha

There is one set of books that Catholics consider to be part of the Bible, but Protestants (Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc.) do not. These books are referred to collectively as the Apocrypha. They contain ancient Jewish history and teachings. Some believe disagreement over these books’ canonicity brings the entire Bible into question. Shouldn’t Catholics and Protestants be in complete agreement on what books are included in the Bible? They should, but that is outside the scope of this blog series. Instead, it’s worth defending the Protestant stance of not including the Apocrypha as part of scripture, since I’m Protestant.

There is a simple reason that Protestants do not believe the Apocrypha (ancient Jewish historical writings and teachings) are scripture: ancient Jews did not consider the Apocrypha to be scripture. The Apocryphal writings were all written after Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, and before any of the New Testament writings. They were written in the approximately 400 year gap between the Old and New Testaments. No Jewish historian or teacher considered anything written in that time gap to be scripture. Jesus, who argued extensively with the religious elite of His day, never argued about what books should be considered part of the Old Testament (the extent of scripture during His lifetime). He and the Pharisees were in complete agreement on what was and was not scripture; neither party ever quoted apocryphal writings as scripture. This belief continued for the first 1,500 years of Christianity.[1]

The Apocrypha was added to the Catholic Bible in 1546 at the Council of Trent. This Council was held as a response to Martin Luther, who was challenging some of the Catholic Church’s teachings. This period of history is now called the Protestant Reformation. Some Catholic teachings that Luther disagreed with included: justification by faith plus works – instead of by faith alone, and praying for people to be saved after they have died. The Bible does not teach these doctrines, but the Apocrypha does, so the Catholic Church included the Apocrypha as scripture to justify what they had already been teaching.[2] Books that are included as scripture 1,500 years after the advent of Christianity in order to justify teachings should not be considered scripture.

Conclusion

God was faithful when He inspired men to write all 66 books of the Bible, and He was faithful enough to preserve it over thousands of years. You can trust, that when you read the Bible, you’re reading what God inspired. This blog series has only a brief explanation of why the Bible has not been changed. Many books have been written to confirm and expand what has been written here. The Bible has not been tampered with, it has not been changed, it has remained the same. As Sir Frederic Kenyon said, “the Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear or hesitation that he holds in it the true Word of God, handed down without essential loss from generation to generation throughout the centuries.”[3]


[1] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, 1994), 56-59.

[2] Grudem, 59.

[3] Josh McDowell, Evidence that demands a verdict (San Bernardino, 1972), 56.

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2 Comments

Filed under Apologetics

2 responses to “Can’t Touch This – Final Post

  1. Pingback: What if there is A God « Tracy's Post

  2. Pingback: What If There Is A God | Tracy's Post

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