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What Does the Bible Say About … THE BIBLE AND THE APOCRYPHA?

Are the deutero-canonical books or apocrypha (Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Macabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach) and Baruch) part of the Old Testament canon?

Some Christian denominations believe these books are part of the Old Testament canon (a book belonging to the canon means it is regarded as authentic, genuine, and of divine authority and inspiration) while others do not. Let us find out from God’s Word and from primary historical sources what the verdict is on this issue.

First of all according to God’s Word, who were entrusted with His Word?

Rom 3:1-2 “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.” NIV

The Jews were entrusted “with the very words of God” constituting the Old Testament. If God entrusts a group of people to take care of His Word, they must be very special and must know what constitutes His Word. Otherwise how can they take care of it if they are unsure what makes up the Old Testament?

The Jewish canon of Scripture consists of three sections:

The Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. The Law or Torah consists of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

The Prophets (Nebhim) includes Joshua, Judges, 1&2 Samuel (which are one book in the Jewish Scripture), 1&2 Kings (one book in the Jewish Scripture as well), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Hosea through Malachi are called “the Book of the Twelve” and are combined into one scroll.

The Writings (Kethubhim or Hafiographa) are made up of Psalms, Proverbs, Job (Poetical Books). Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Esther and Ecclesiastes (Five Rolls or Megilloth). Daniel, Ezra – Nehemiah and 1&2 Chronicles (one book in Jewish circles) (The Historical Books).

This may be today’s Jewish canon, but was it so in Jesus’ days as well?

Luke 24:44 “He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” NIV

Jesus refers to the Old Testament as consisting of the same three sections mentioned above. He refers to the Writings as “the Psalms”, probably because the Psalms constitutes the first and longest book of that section.

Luke 11:50-51 “Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.” NIV

Jesus confirms here what constitutes the Old Testament. Abel being the first martyr mentioned in Genesis 4:8, the first book of what constitutes the Jewish canon (the earliest book written). And Zechariah being the last martyr mentioned in 2 Chron. 23:21, the last book in the Jewish Canon (the last Old Testament book written).

It is true that sometimes the Old Testament was referred to as two collections, namely the law and the prophets. In John 10:34 Jesus said “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’?” Referring to Psalms 82:6. In other words the Old Testament canon could be referred to two collections as the sum for the whole, incorporating the writings (Kethubhim or Hafiographa) into the law (the Torah), like in Matt 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” NIV

The renowned Jewish historian from the first century, Flavius Jospehus boldly wrote: “For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, [as the Greeks have,] but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life. It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it is become natural to all Jews immediately, and from their very birth, to esteem these books to contain Divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be willingly to die for them.”

Flavius Jospehus, Against Apion, Book 1, 8. Flavius confirms the three sections of the Old Testament. According to Flavius, this constituted 22 books, each double book ( 1 and 2 Kings…) being counted as one, the twelve minor Prophets being considered as one, and Judges-Ruth, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Jeremiah-Lamentations being taken as one book.

He confirms the Jewish belief that no other sacred books were ever written after Artaxerxes, as no prophets were to be found in Israel since then. He considered these 22 books (as did all Jews) to “contain Divine doctrines” and worth dying for.

The prologue to Ecclesiasticus (about 130 B.C.) also refers to the three-fold division of the Old Testament: “the law, and the prophets, and other books of our fathers” Chapter 1:1.

Philo (about 40 A.D.) also testified of the three sections of the Old Testament: “studying in that place the laws and the sacred oracles of God enunciated by the holy prophets, and hymns, and psalms, and all kinds of other things by reason of which knowledge and piety are increased and brought to perfection.” Philo, On the Contemplative Life or Suppliants, III, 25.

The Talmud being a large collection of Jewish laws and traditions, preserves the oral tradition of the Jewish culture. One compilation made in Jerusalem (around 350-425 A.D.) is known as the Jerusalem Talmud. Another compilation made in Babylonia (around 500 A.D.) is referred to as the Babylonian Talmud. Some insights are being given in these writings about the canonicity of the Old Testament.

Tosefta Yadaim 3:5: “The Gospel and the books of the heretics do not make the hands unclean; the books of Ben Sira and whatever books have been written since his time are not canonical.”

The reference of books making “hands unclean” refers to books that were divinely inspired and thus were considered holy. Great respect was given to those books considered canonical. Those touching the pages of Scripture had to wash their hands after touching the holy document. This Talmudic text considers only the books assembled in the Hebrew canon to be divinely inspired.

Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 4, pages 827. It is not a manuscript of the Jewish Scripture but a quotation from baraitha in the Babylonian Talmud, tractate Baba Bathra 14b. “Our Rabbis taught: the order of the Prophets is Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the Twelve ……….; The order of the Ketuvim is Ruth, the Book of Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Lamentations, Daniel, the Scroll of Esther, Ezra and Chronicles.”

Seder Olam Rabba 30: “Up to this point (the time of Alexander the Great) the prophets prophesied through the Holy Spirit; from this time onward incline thine ear and listen to the sayings of the wise.”

Babylonian Talmud, Tractate “Sanhedrin” VII-VIII,24: “After the latter prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, the Holy Spirit departed from Israel.”

Even according the Talmud, no books written after the “prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi” were considered inspired by the Holy Spirit. No documents written during the Greek period and other periods after that were ever considered holy by those to whom “the very words of God” had “been entrusted”.

Melito, the Bishop of Sardis, wrote the list of books contained in the Old Testament canon (around 170 AD). His comments were found in a letter to Anesimus, his friend. Eusebius in Ecclesiastical History IV.26 quotes him: “Their names are these…five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy. Jesus Naue, Judges, Ruth. Four books of Kingdoms, two of Chronicles, the Psalms of David, Solomon’s Proverbs (also called Wisdom), Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Job. Of the Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, the Twelve in a single book, Daniel, Ezekiel, Ezra.”

Note that no other books besides the ones referred to earlier on are mentioned as being part of the Old Testament canon. There may be some variances in where the books are listed, but the same books are always referred to as the ones inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Matt 4:1-4 “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” NIV (see also Matthew 4: 7,10)

Three times Jesus replies to the devil with the words: “It is written”, referring to the Old Testament canon. The devil never asked, “written in what?” The Old Testament canon was clearly fixed before Jesus ministry. Satan knew about the books included in the Old Testament.

The following New Testament texts will confirm this as well:

Matt 21:42 “Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” NIV M

att 22:29-30 “Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” NIV

Matt 26:54 “But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” NIV

Matt 26:56 “But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” NIV

Luke 24:25 “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” NIV

Luke 24:44 “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” NIV

Luke 24:46-47 “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” NIV

John 5:39-40 “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” NIV

John 10:35 “If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came-and the Scripture cannot be broken” NIV

Acts 17:2 “As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” NIV

Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” NIV

Acts 18:28 “For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” NIV

Rom 1:2 “The gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures” NIV

Rom 4:3 “What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” NIV

Rom 9:17 “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” NIV

Rom 10:11 “As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” NIV

Rom 11:2 “God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah-how he appealed to God against Israel…” NIV

Rom 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” NIV

Rom 16:26 “But now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him…” NIV

1 Cor 15:3-4 “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” NIV

Gal 3:8 “The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” NIV

Gal 3:22 “But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.” NIV

Gal 4:30 “But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” NIV

1 Tim 5:18 “For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain” NIV

2 Tim 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” NIV

2 Peter 1:20-21 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” NIV

It is clear that Jesus’ disciples, as well as all of the Jews, and even the devil himself, knew what the Scriptures consisted of. It’s even more interesting that Jesus constantly quote from the Old Testament canon, but never quote from the deutero-canonical books. The canon had been set long before and books written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit were considered holy as soon as they were written. No council or church had any say about that. God made sure that His people knew what was written under His inspiration.

But didn’t the council of Jamnia determine which books made part of the Old Testament in 90 AD?

Jewish life changed drastically after the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The temple, the center of Jewish ceremonial life was destroyed and Judaism was heavily discussed among rabbis. In the year 90 A.D., in the ancient town of Jamnia, located close to the coast of Palestine south of Jaffa (It is still inhabited today and called Yabneh or Jabneh), Rabbi Jonathan Ben-Zakkai led several discussions on a number of things pertaining Jewish life.

It’s interesting to note that some religious groups proclaim that the Old Testament canon was determined by the Jews at that time and excluded any Greek writings from their canon as a protection from the growing new sect called Christianity, which had their writings in Greek. However no evidence can be found about that. If such decisions were reached, wouldn’t it have been propagated in writing all over the Jewish world?

Also, we determined that the Old Testament was already determined by the time Jesus led His ministry. Why would Jews need to meet to decide which books met the criteria to be part of the Old Testament, if the Old Testament canon already existed?
Many topics were discussed in Jamnia, including discussions about Old Testament books. None of these were treated as possibly being admitted to the canon, and no other new books were even mentioned for consideration. The discussions were generally about possible internal problems, such as theology, apparent contradictions, or possibly unsuitable content. Rabbinical discussions were found about the book of Ecclesiastes especially and Song of Songs. The following other Old Testament books were also discussed in a single passage: Ruth, Esther, Proverbs, and Ezekiel. The only non-canonical books mentioned in these contexts are the “books of Hamiram” (Homer?), but were never even considered for canonization.

An excellent paper entitled “The Council of Jamnia and the Old Testament Canon” about this can be found at . This document is a reprint of an article, which was published in the Westminster Theological Journal 38 (Spring, 1976). Using primary and secondary sources it proves that there is “no real evidence for such a council nor for any binding canonical decisions at that time”.

But where were the deutero-canonical books first found?

Around 250 B.C., Jewish scholars in Alexandria, Egypt, translated the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek. The Jews in that area had started to loose their Hebrew language in favour of Greek. This translation was called the LXX or the Septuagint, as a legend alleges that 70 Hebrew scholars completed their translation in 70 days. Among the books found in the Septuagint are the deutero-canonical books (Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Macabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach) and Baruch) and some other apocryphal books (the Prayer of Manasseh and 1 and 2 Esdras).

No evidence can be found however that Jews (either Hebrew or Greek speaking) ever accepted these books as being part of the Old Testament canon. It is also remarkable that other translation of the Old Testament did not include these books. The Targums (an Aramaic translation of the Old Testament) the Peshitta (earliest versions of the Syriac translations) and qathe Aquila’s Greek translation adopted by the Alexandrian Jews (about 128 A.D.) did not include them. Only one Jewish translation, the Septuagint, and those translations later derived from it, included these books.

It is also worth mentioning that the renowned Greek Jewish scholar Philo of Alexandria never quoted from these books. Wouldn’t it be logical that if Greek Jews had accepted these additional books as being part of their canon, they would mention them in their writings as being inspired? None can be found! Even the Jewish historian from the first century, Josephus, who was literate in the Septuagint and made references to 1 Esdras and 1 Macabees, wrote that the Old Testament canon was closed at the time of Artaxerxes I who reigned in 423 B.C. (see quote above from Flavius Jospehus, Against Apion, Book 1, 8)

It is also interesting to note that none of these books were ever written in the language the Old Testament was written: Hebrew.

Didn’t all the church Fathers accept the deutero-canonical books as being part of the Old Testament canon?

We will discover that the Church Fathers were far from being unanimous in accepting these books. It is worth mentioning that the three oldest copies of the Greek Septuagint include different additional books:

The Codex Sinaiticus (4 A.D.) does not include Baruch, but incorporates 4 Macabees which has never been accepted as possibly being canonical by any religious denomination.

The Codex Vaticanus (4 A.D.) leaves out 1 and 2 Macabees, and includes 1 Esdras, another book never considered canonical by anyone.

The Codex Alexandrinus (5 A.D.) includes 1 Esdras and 3 and 4 Macabees, non-canonical books according any religious affiliation.

Let us look now at the early Church Fathers’ position concerning these books. First in the Eastern Church, the home of the Septuagint.

Justin Martyr clearly rejected the Hebrew Old Testament. He believed they were attempting to hide references to Jesus Christ.

Melito Sardis, bishop of Sardis in 170 AD wrote the list of books contained in the Old Testament canon. His comments were found in a letter to Anesimus, his friend. Eusebius in Ecclesiastical History IV.26 quotes him: “Their names are these…five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy. Jesus Naue, Judges, Ruth. Four books of Kingdoms, two of Chronicles, the Psalms of David, Solomon’s Proverbs (also called Wisdom), Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Job. Of the Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, the Twelve in a single book, Daniel, Ezekiel, Ezra.”

He gives no mention at all concerning the deutero-canonical books!

Origen (185-254 A.D.), the greatest Bible scholar among the Greek Fathers provides a list of Old Testament books:

“It should be stated that the canonical books, as the Hebrews have handed them down, are twenty-two; corresponding with the number of their letters.” Further on he says: The twenty-two books of the Hebrews are the following: That which is called by us Genesis, but by the Hebrews, from the beginning of the book, Bresith, which means, `In the beginning’; Exodus, Welesmoth, that is, `These are the names’; Leviticus, Wikra, `And he called`; Numbers, Ammesphekodeim; Deuteronomy, Eleaddebareim, `These are the words’; Jesus, the son of Nave, Josoue ben Noun; Judges and Ruth, among them in one book, Saphateim; the First and Second of Kings, among them one, Samouel, that is, `The called of God’; the Third and Fourth of Kings in one, Wammelch David, that is, `The kingdom of David’; of the Chronicles, the First and Second in one, Dabreïamein, that is, `Records of days’; Esdras, First and Second in one, Ezra, that is, `An assistant’; the book of Psalms, Spharthelleim; the Proverbs of Solomon, Meloth; Ecclesiastes, Koelth; the Song of Songs (not, as some suppose, Songs of Songs), Sir Hassirim; Isaiah, Jessia; Jeremiah, with Lamentations and the epistle in one, Jeremia; Daniel, Daniel; Ezekiel, Jezekiel; Job, Job; Esther, Esther.” As quoted by Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book VI, Chapter 25

Although he defended the use of books like “The History of Susanna”, he refused their canonicity.

Cyril of Jerusalem (about A.D. 350), bishop of Jerusalem

He accepted the same books as the Hebrew canon as part of the Old Testament and considered all other books from the LXX as being apocryphal and unworthy to be read.

“Learn also diligently, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testament, and what those of the New. And read none of the apocryphal writings; for why do you, who know not those which are acknowledged among all, trouble yourself in vain about those which are disputed? Read the divine Scriptures, these twenty-two books of the Old Testament that were translated by the seventy-two translators(a) . . . For the translation of the divine Scriptures that were spoken in the Holy Spirit was accomplished through the Holy Spirit. Read their twenty-two books but have nothing to do with the apocryphal writings. Study diligently only these that we also read with confident authority in the church. For much wiser and holier than you were the apostles and ancient bishops who led the church and handed down these books. Being therefore a child of the Church, do not transgress its statutes. And of the Old Testament, as we have said, study the two and twenty books, which, if you desire to have learning, strive to remember by name, as I recite them. For of the Law the books of Moses are the first five, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. And next, Joshua the son of Nun, and the book of Judges, including Ruth, counted as seventh. And of the other historical books, the first and second books of the Kings(b) are among the Hebrews one book; also the third and fourth(c) one book. And in like manner, the first and second of Chronicles are with them one book; and the first and second of Esdras(d) are counted one. Esther is the twelfth book; and these are the historical writings. But those which are written in verse are five, Job, and the book of Psalms, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, which is the seventeenth book. And after these come the five prophetic books; of the Twelve Prophets one book, of Isaiah one, of Jeremiah one, including Baruch and Lamentations and the Epistle; then Ezekiel, and the book of Daniel, the twenty-second of the Old Testament.” Cyril of Jerusalem Catechetical Lectures, iv. 33
Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria (3-4 A.D.)

Athanasius gave the same list as Origen but included Baruch and omitted Esther. He believed other extra books from Septuagint as having an inferior grade.

“There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews; their respective order and names being as follows. The first is Genesis, then Exodus, next Leviticus, after that Numbers, and then Deuteronomy. Following these there is Joshua the son of Nun, then Judges, then Ruth. And again, after these four books of Kings, the first and second(a) being reckoned as one book, and so likewise the third and fourth(b) as one book. And again, the first and second of the Chronicles are reckoned as one book. Again Ezra, the first and second (c) are similarly one book. After these there is the book of Psalms, then the Proverbs, next Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Job follows, then the Prophets, the Twelve [minor prophets] being reckoned as one book. Then Isaiah, one book, then Jeremiah with Baruch, Lamentations and the Epistle, one book; afterwards Ezekiel and Daniel, each one book. Thus far constitutes the Old Testament.”

“There are other books besides these, indeed not received as canonical but having been appointed by our fathers to be read to those just approaching and wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness: Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd.” Athanasius, Thirty-ninth Festal Epistle, paragraphs 4 and 7.

Gregory of Nazianzus, bishop of Constantinople from 378 to 382.

He lists the books of the Old Testament in metrical verse. It includes only the books of the Hebrew canon, and makes no mention of any other books. (See Carmina 1.12.5; 2.2.8. No translation in English found.)

Amphilocius of Iconium (around 380 A.D.), bishop of Iconium in Galatia.

He lists the same books as Gregory of Nazianzus, but concludes with “some add Esther”. (See Iambics for Seleucus, sometimes found among the poems of Gregory of Nazianzus. Unavailable in English)

Now the Western church:

Tertullian (around 160-230 A.D.) Tertullian accepted every book in the Septuaginta as being canonical and was eager to open the list even wider. According to him 1 Enoch should have been included in the canon, as Jude quotes from it. He also believed the Sibylline Oracles should have been accepted as divine.

Jerome (around 340-420 A.D.)

Jerome was well versed in both Greek and Hebrew languages. He was the most learned churchman in his time period. The bishop of Rome commissioned him to generate an authoritative Latin version of the Bible, which later was called the Vulgate. He abandoned the Septuagint and started translating from the original Hebrew. In his Preface to the Old Testament historical books he gives a list of which Old Testament books belong to the canon, which included only the Hebrew books, and all of the other books of the Septuagint he labelled them as the “Apocrypha.” These books are to be read, he says, “for the edification of the people, but not as authority for the confirmation of doctrine.”

“…As, then, there are twenty-two elementary characters by means of which we write in Hebrew all we say, and the compass of the human voice is contained within their limits, so we reckon twenty-two books, by which, as by the alphabet of the doctrine of God, a righteous man is instructed in tender infancy, and, as it were, while still in the breast. The first of these books is called Bresith, to which we give the name Genesis. The second, Elle Smoth, which bears the name Exodus; the third, Vaiecra, that is Leviticus; the fourth, Vaiedabber, which we call Numbers; the fifth, Elle Addabarim, which is entitled Deuteronomy.

These are the five books of Moses, which they properly call Thorath, that is, ‘Law.’

The second class is composed of the Prophets, and they begin with Jesus the son of Nun, who among them is called Joshua the son of Nun. Next in the series is Sophtim, that is, the book of Judges; and in the same book they include Ruth, because the events narrated occurred in the days of the Judges. Then comes Samuel, which we call first and second Kings. The fourth is Malachim, that is, Kings, which is contained in the third and fourth volumes of Kings. And it is far better to say Malachim, Kings, than Malachoth, Kingdoms. For the author does not describe the kingdoms of many nations, but that of one people, the people of Israel, which is comprised in the twelve tribes. The fifth is Isaiah, the sixth Jeremiah, the seventh, Ezekiel, the eighth is the book of the Twelve Prophets, which is called among the Jews Thare Asra.

To the third class belong the Hagiographa, of which the first book begins with Job, the second with David, whose writings they divide into five parts and comprise in one volume of Psalms; the third is Solomon, in three books, Proverbs, which they call Parables, that is Masaloth, Ecclesiastes, that is Coeleth, the Song of Songs, which they denote by the title Sir Assirim; the sixth is Daniel; the seventh, Dabre Aiamim, that is, ‘Words of Days,’ which we may more expressively call a chronicle of the whole of the sacred history, the book that amongst us is called first and second Chronicles; the eighth, Ezra, which itself is likewise divided amongst Greeks and Latins into two books; the ninth is Esther. And so there are twenty-two books of the Old Testament; that is, five of Moses, eight of the Prophets, nine of the Hagiographa, though some include Ruth and Kinoth [Lamentations] amongst the Hagiographa, and think that these books ought to be reckoned separately; we should thus have twenty-four books of the old law.

And these the Apocalypse of John represents by the twenty-four elders who adore the Lamb and with downcast looks offer their crowns, while in their presence stand the four living creatures with eyes before and behind, that is, looking to the past and the future, and with unwearied voice crying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, who wast, and art, and art to come. This preface to the Scriptures may serve as a “helmeted” introduction to all the books which we turn from Hebrew into Latin, so that we may be assured that what is not found in our list must be placed amongst the Apocryphal writings. Wisdom, therefore, which generally bears the name of Solomon, and the book of Jesus son of Sirach, and Judith, and Tobias, and the Shepherd, are not in the canon. The first book of Maccabees I have found to be Hebrew, the second is Greek, as can be proved from the very style.” Jerome, Preface to the Books of the Kings (391).

Augustine (around 354-430 AD)

He believed that all the books of the Septuagint were part of the Old Testament canon.

As you can see the early church Fathers were far from being unanimous in their support for the inspiration of the deutero-canonical books.

Only in 1546 A.D. at the Council of Trent did the Roman Catholic Church officially and globally accept the deutero-canonical books as part of the Old Testament.

Interestingly enough is that Cardinal Cajetan, who had opposed Martin Luther at Augsburg in 1518, wrote a book called Commentary on All the Authentic Historical Books of the Old Testament in 1521, in which he did not even include the deutero-canonical books.


Clear evidence has been found that the Old Testament canon was already established by the time Jesus dwelled on our planet. The deutero-canonical books were never accepted in the Jewish canon of the Old Testament. Jesus and the writers of the New Testament hardly referred to them. The early church fathers were far from being unanimous in their support for the inspiration of these deutero-canonical books. However two facts are clear:

1. These books were found in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament

2. The early Christian church read these books, some considering them inspired, others believing them as being apocryphal.
Two extreme positions are found in religious circles today:

1. Proclaiming that the early church professed these books to be canonical

2. Proclaiming these books never played any role in the early church

The fact is that these books were read in the early church and by Jews as well. We should not just throw out the baby with the bath water! These books are part of a fascinating past and although not divinely inspired, shed a lot of light about customs during the 400 silent years. We just cannot ignore that material.

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Rob Chaffart


My Answer- NO!!!! They were added several centuries later and only confuse. Even though some denominations use them, MOST use what God wants us to read in many versions consisting of 66 books with amazing facts as to how they are put together, and centered and so on Sincerely and by His Grace.



I am not sure about this question, I do not understand it but in the Old Testament primarily pertains to God’s covenant with the people of Israel from the time of Abraham. The Jews did not have a closed canon of Scripture in the first century AD. Now Solomon, or the wisdom of Solomon is of the old testament so is Ecclesiastes, as far as the rest of the question I am not understanding it very clearly. The Apocrypha itself never claims to be the Word of God. Rob I do not see where these books you speaking of is part of the Bible. Not the Bible I read. So my answer would be No. 



These books were left out during the canonization of the bible but were canonized later the Roman Catholics refer to them even in their churches. The catholic bible has them as part of the Old Testament

Evelyn Mbithi


The answer is no… because it never quote by our Lord Jesus Christ and other books in the Bible. It was written after The prophet Ezra collect the old testament. Some of the books is not correct in geography. And the story in it contradict with the biblical doctrine.

Parlin Michael