Darkness to Light Home Page
Books and eBooks by the Director
Apocrypha not in Protestant Bible?
In the following email exchange, the emailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
I would like to know why Apocrypha is not part of the Protestant Bible?
Not an easy question to answer in a short email. But there are several main reasons. First, the Jewish canon does not include the Apocrypha. This is significant as it was to the Jews that the OT was entrusted (Rom 3:1,2).
Second, some of the Apocrypha books were written in Greek, not Hebrew. So they are distinguished from the Hebrew Scriptures. This would relate back to point one.
Third, Jesus seems to exclude the Apocrypha in his statement in Luke 11:51 - "from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation" (NKJV).
The death of Abel is recorded in Genesis, the first book in the Hebrew canon. The death of Zechariah is included in 2Chronicles, the last book in the Hebrew canon (the order of books is different from the order they are in today). So this seems to confirm the Jewish canon as being the correct one.
The order of books as they appear today is taken from the Septuagint (second century BC Greek translation of the OT), which included the Apocrypha. But Jesus is following the Hebrew canon in His statement.
Fourth, no direct quotations from any Apocryphal books appear in the NT. Now there are allusions to Apocryphal events and statements, such 1Maccabees being alluded to in Hebrews 11:37. But none of these allusions rise to the apostles using the Apocrypha as an authoritative source. In other words, there are no Apocrypha quotes in the NT introduced in a way which shows the apostles considered the books to be authoritative, i.e. by using: "It has been written," "spoken by the prophet," "the Holy Spirit spoke," etc.
So with the lack of authoritative quotes from the Apocrypha in the NT, it appears the NT writers, and Jesus Himself, did not accept the Apocrypha as Scripture.
Now, not every book of the Hebrew canon is quoted in the NT (such as the Song of Solomon, or Canticles as it is named in Catholic Bibles). But every section of the OT as Jews divided it is quoted from (i.e. the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings).
The absent of any quotes from any of the Apocryphal books is rather striking. This is especially so given that many of the OT quotes in the NT were actually taken from the Septuagint and not from the Hebrew text (It is for this reason that if you compare OT quotes in the NT with their OT counterparts they don't match up exactly). In any case, what this means is, the Bible text the NT authors had before them had the Apocrypha in it; but they seem to have completely ignored the Apocrypha when they were looking to support a statement with an authoritative source.
So the evidence of the NT strongly suggest the writers of the NT did not accept the Apocryphal books as canon.
Moreover, the Catholic church itself did not officially canonize the Apocrypha until the council of Trent in the 1500's. Before that, there was always debate as to their inspiration. Some of the Church Fathers, for instance, quoted from the Apocrypha as Scripture but others didn't.
But Augustine (c. 400 AD) did accept the Apocrypha. So it was mainly from his influence that the Apocrypha eventually became accepted. But however it is looked at, the official acceptance of the Apocrypha occurred well after the NT was written and the final canonization of the Hebrew Scriptures by the Jews.
To sum up, Jews, apparently the NT writers and Jesus, some Church Fathers, and Protestants do not accept the Apocrypha. While, some Church Fathers and the Catholic church accept it. To me, and Protestants in general, all of this is strong evidence against the inclusion of the Apocrypha.
I hope the above helps.
Thanks for your answer on Apocrypha. I appreciate that...
Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light
Catholicism: The Scriptures
Text Search Alphabetical List of
Pages Subject Index
General Information on Articles Contact Information
to Light Home Page
Click Here for Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla