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WORD OF GOD
Victor M. Eskew
A. The Septuagint Version was translated from the mid-third century B.C. to 132 B.C.
B. During this time period, there were other religious books that were being published also.
1. These books were not inspired, but some were included in the Septuagint.
a. Some believe the Alexandrian Jews believed them to be inspired. Thus, included them.
b. Others say they were included because they important to the spiritual life of the Jews.
2. These books are referred to as The Apocrypha.
C. Today, the Catholic Church accepts some of the Apocryphal books as part of the canon of Scripture. Almost all other religious groups reject the Apocrypha as being authoritative.
D. In this lesson, we want to examine the Apocrypha.
I. THE APOCRYPHRAL BOOKS
A. The Apocrypha can be thought of in many different ways.
1. Today, most refer to the Apocrypha as those books included in the Catholic Bible along with the 39 that are accepted as the Canon.
2. There are a few other works that were not accepted by the Catholic Church, but that are viewed as spiritually important that are also called the Apocrypha.
3. Another group of books among the Apocrypha are the Pseudepigrapha. These books are considered to be false and heretical in nature.
4. There is another set of books that are referred to as the New Testament Apocrypha. They have books that are books of importance and books that are considered to be pseudepigrapha as well.
B. Charts of the Books (See next 2 pages)
II. DEFINITION OF APOCRYPHA
A. The word “apocrypha” is a Greek word.
1. It means “hidden things” or “secret things.”
2. “The word meant etymologically ‘hidden,’ and may primarily have referred to a story in 2 Esdras 14, when Ezra by divine inspiration dictates 94 books, 24 of which are to be published (the books of the Hebrew canon), while the remaining 70 are to be kept secret (a reference probably to the apocryphal books)” (Books and Parchments, Bruce, 172).
B. Other meanings:
1. Obscure in origin
2. Of dubious veracity or authority: folklore, factoid, urban legend
3. False, spurious, bad, or heretical
III. FACTS ABOUT THE APOCRYPHA
A. There is no evidence that the Apocrypha was ever considered to be canonical by the Jews.
B. “The books of the Apocrypha were first given canonical status by Greek-speaking Christians, quite possibly through a mistaken belief that they already formed part of the Alexandrian canon” (Books and Parchments, Bruce, 164).
C. Some refer to the Apocrypha as Deuterocanonical.
1. The word means “secondary canon.”
2. In some early versions of the English Bible, the Apocrypha was included but was separated from the canonical books.
a. Coverdale (1535)
b. Matthew’s Bible (1537)
c. Taverner’s Bible (1539)
d. The Great Bible (1539)
e. Becke’s Bible (1549-51)
f. Geneva Bible (1560)
g. Bishop’s Bible (1568)
D. Some of the Apocryphal books are books written by the “Church Fathers”: Epistle of Barnabas, Didache, and the Shepherd of Hermas.
E. The Apocryphal books are divided into four categories: Historical, Religious Fiction, Wisdom and Ethical Life, and Apocalyptic.
F. The Apocrypha was formally canonize by the Roman Catholic Church on April 8, 1546 A.D. at the Council of Trent
G. The Apocrypha teaches several Catholic Doctrines.
1. Purgatory (II Mac. 12:39-45)
2. Almsgiving expiates sin (Ecclesiasticus 3:30).
3. NOTE: It is interesting that the Catholic Church did not include 2 Esdras because it condemns prayers for the dead in 2 Edras 7:105.
THE APOCRYPHA AND PSEUDEPIGRAPHA
Catholic OT Apocrypha Other OT Apocryphal Books
THE APOCRYPHA AND PSEUDEPIGRAPHA