More on Why the Apocrypha should not be considered canonical.

Some object to the idea that using the Hebrew text for the Old Testament is trusting Jews, who persecuted and killed Christ. However, it is not men we must trust, but God. It was both Romans and Jews who killed and crucified Jesus. Jesus died for my sins as well as theirs, so we all are responsible for His death (Romans 5:8; Romans 6:10; 1 Peter 3:18).

While it might be nice to say that Christians should not trust what the Jews acclaimed as scripture, since they rejected Christ, Paul said that the Jews were “entrusted with the very words of God” (Romans 3:1-2). So it behooves us to pay attention to what the Jews had considered canonical. So let us look once again at the apocryphal works.

First, we have to realize that quote from both the Hebrew and the Greek texts were made. Jerome wrote in his Lives of Illustrious Men, chapter 3, (

“Matthew, also called Levi, apostle and aforetimes publican, composed a gospel of Christ at first published in Judea in Hebrew for the sake of those of the circumcision who believed, but this was afterwards translated into Greek though by what author is uncertain. The Hebrew itself has been preserved until the present day in the library at Caesarea which Pamphilus so diligently gathered. I have also had the opportunity of having the volume described to me by the Nazarenes of Beroea, a city of Syria, who use it. In this it is to be noted that wherever the Evangelist, whether on his own account or in the person of our Lord the Saviour quotes the testimony of the Old Testament he does not follow the authority of the translators of the Septuagint but the Hebrew. Wherefore these two forms exist “Out of Egypt have I called my son,” and “for he shall be called a Nazarene.” ” (see Mt 2:15 and 2:23, verses where Matthew quotes Hosea 11:1 and Judges 13:7).

Note, Matthew does quote the Hebrew text, but elsewhere appears to quote the Septuagint (Mt 1:23 quotes Isaiah 7:14) (

So both versions of the Old Testament text (Hebrew and Greek) were used by the apostles. But this does not indicate the apocryphal books were considered scripture.

Here is a list of books and their order, as found in the Hebrew, Septuagint, Latin, and King James

This is site provides a good table of which books of the apocrypha where accepted, rejected, not mentioned, or thought to be good reading by which writers in history:

Besides what was already stated in my previous entry on this matter (, other problems with the Septuagint include the fact that different copies of it contain different books.

“[E]ven the Christian era copies of the Greek Septuagint differ in their selection of included books. The three oldest complete copies we have of the Greek OT include different additional books. Codex Vaticanus (4th century) omits 1 and 2 Maccabees, which is canonical according to the Roman Catholic Church, and includes 1 Esdras, which they reject. Codex Sinaiticus (4th century) leaves out Baruch. which is supposed to be canonical, but includes 4 Maccabees, which they reject. Codex Alexandrinus (5th century) includes three non-canonical Apocryphal books, 1 Esdras and 3 and 4 Maccabees. All of this points to the fact that although these books were included in these early Bibles, this alone does not guarantee their status as canon.” (

In fact, “even Cardinal Cajetan, who opposed Luther at Augsburg in 1518, published a Commentary on All the Authentic Historical Books of the Old Testament (1532) in which he did not include the Apocrypha” (

Besides the fact that many biblical scholars and church historians throughout history have not believed the apocryphal works were canon, there is also the issue that various regional synods or councils have held different books to be part of the canon, and there have been at least one forgery in an attempt to provide support for the septuagint apocrypha.

The Council of Laodicea (343-381AD) canonized only one book of the apocrypha. (,

There are no records of the Council of Rome (382AD) that exist. It had been thought that there was a decree of Damasus that listed the canonical books, but in fact, this was proven to be a forgery, a “pseudonymous literary production of the first half of the sixth century, written between 519 and 553. In reviewing Dobschütz’ 1912 publication, F. C. Burkitt concluded ‘The really decisive point is that in I.3, in the part most directly associated with Damasus, there is a quotation of some length from Augustine in Joh. ix 7 (Migne, xxxv 146l).1. As Augustine was writing about 416, it is evident that the Title Incipit Concilium Vrbis Romae sub Damaso Papa de Explanatione Fidei is of no historical value.’ ” (,

We know Augustine pushed hard for his list of books to be canonized, and was successful in a couple of local synods. However, there were still people who did not agree.

Rufinus of Aquileia, a friend of Jerome, wrote “Exposition of the Creed” about 400AD, after the synods of Hippo and  Carthage. In it, he named the canon as we have it today in the protestant Bible.

“37. Of the Old Testament, therefore, first of all there have been handed down five books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Then Jesus Nave, (Joshua the son of Nun), The Book of Judges together with Ruth; then four books of Kings (Reigns), which the Hebrews reckon two; the Book of Omissions, which is entitled the Book of Days (Chronicles), and two books of Ezra (Ezra and Nehemiah), which the Hebrews reckon one, and Esther; of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; moreover of the twelve (minor) Prophets, one book; Job also and the Psalms of David, each one book. Solomon gave three books to the Churches, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles. These comprise the books of the Old Testament.

Of the New there are four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John; the Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke; fourteen Epistles of the Apostle Paul, two of the Apostle Peter, one of James, brother of the Lord and Apostle, one of Jude, three of John, the Revelation of John. These are the books which the Fathers have comprised within the Canon, and from which they would have us deduce the proofs of our faith.” ( ,

Remember that it was not until 1870 that the pope and the ecumenical councils were declared infallible, even though it could be suicide to disagree with the church before then (literally in some cases)m there were Catholic scholars who disagreed with considering the apocrypha as canon. “Even a few Catholic scholars of the Renaissance type, notably Erasmus and Cajetan, had thrown some doubts on the canonicity of the above-mentioned Antilegomena” (  It is also interesting to note that Augustine and the second Council of Carthage did not mention the book of Baruch as canonical (, even though it existed at his time. However, the council of Trent (1545-1563AD) DID include it in its list of canon (

Besides the history of not having agreement on what books should be considered canon, there are also doctrinal problems with the apocryphal books:

Basis for the doctrine of purgatory:

2 Maccabees 12:40-46,

But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. So it was clear to all that this was why these men had been slain. They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge who brings to light the things that are hidden.  Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen.  He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

Augustine wrote

“We read in the books of the Maccabees [2 Macc. 12:43] that sacrifice was offered for the dead. But even if it were found nowhere in the Old Testament writings, the authority of the Catholic Church which is clear on this point is of no small weight, where in the prayers of the priest poured forth to the Lord God at his altar the commendation of the dead has its place” (The Care to be Had for the Dead 1:3 [A.D. 421]). ” (

First, the people for which the offering was supposedly made were obviously idol worshippers. Scripture is quite clear how God feels about idol worship and what happens to idol worshippers.

Exodus 20:4-6

4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments

Deuteronomy 27:15

“Cursed is the man who carves an image or casts an idol—a thing detestable to the LORD, the work of the craftsman’s hands—and sets it up in secret.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!

1 Samuel 15:23

For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.

Even those who speak up for idol worshippers are blind, ignorant, and shameful.

Isaiah 44:9

All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame.

Jeremiah 8:19

Listen to the cry of my people from a land far away: “Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King no longer there?” “Why have they provoked me to anger with their images, with their worthless foreign idols?”

God will cut off anyone who goes to an idol.

Ezekiel 14:6-8

6 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices! 7 ” ‘When any Israelite or any alien living in Israel separates himself from me and sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet to inquire of me, I the LORD will answer him myself. 8 I will set my face against that man and make him an example and a byword. I will cut him off from my people. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Indeed, idol worshippers will not get into heaven.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

So it is clear that no Jew would speak up for people who had been idol worshippers.

Second, it is clear that the author of 2 Maccabbee was trying to provide evidence for the resurrection of the dead, or at least life after death. But this passage has been used to try to show that people go to an indeterimate place (purgatory) when they die and can be prayed into heaven.

The ideas of purgatory and that prayers to God can change the position of the dead go against what Jesus said, where you are in one place or the other and there is no crossing over.

Luke 23:43

Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 16:19-31

19 There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.  22 The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’  25 But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ 27 He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’

Paul tells us that to be away from the body is to be at home with the Lord (for believers) and that when we appear before the judgment seat, each will receive what is due him, good or bad.

2 Cor 5:6-10

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 We live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Philippians 1:21-24

21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

What Jesus and Paul said concerning the matter is directly against what 2 Maccabbees said.

Salvation by works:

Ecclesiasticus 3:33, Water will quench a flaming fire, and alms maketh atonement for sin.

Tobit 12:8-9, It is better to give alms than to lay up gold; for alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin.

But this goes against what the apostles wrote. Jesus takes away the sin of world, through faith, not works:

John 1:29

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Eph 2:8-9

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Hebrews 9:28

so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

1 John 3:5

But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.


Tobit 6:5-8, If the Devil, or an evil spirit troubles anyone, they can be driven away by making a smoke of the heart, liver, and gall of a fish…and the Devil will smell it, and flee away, and never come again anymore.

Scripture is clear about not doing magic.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12

10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.

Revelation 21:8

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Revelation 22:15

Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

And if it is not talking about magic, listen to what Scripture had to say about getting rid of demons:

Matthew 17:18

Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.

Mark 9:25-29

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”  26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.  28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”  29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

Matthew 12:43-45

43 “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

No where does scripture talk about medicine that will get rid of a demon, let alone for ever.

Wrong historical facts:

Judith 1:5, “Now in the twelfth year of his reign, Nabuchodonosor king of the Assyrians, who reigned in Ninive the great city, fought against Arphaxad and overcame him.”

Baruch 6:2, “And when you are come into Babylon, you shall be there many years, and for a long time, even to seven generations: and after that I will bring you away from thence with peace.”

“The book of Judith incorrectly says that Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Assyrians when he was the king of the Babylonians. Baruch 6:2 says the Jews would serve in Babylon for seven generations where Jer. 25:11 says it was for 70 years.  “And this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years””(

We have seen that Tobit, 2 Maccabee, Ecclesiasticus have errors. In addition the above errors, the apocryphal books have other errors. This site lists a summary of them: This site effectively presents some of the errors:

“[N]either Jesus nor the apostles ever quoted from the Apocrypha. There are over 260 quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament, and not one of them is from these books.  Nevertheless, a Roman Catholic might respond by saying that there are several Old Testament books that are not quoted in the New Testament, i.e., S. Joshua, Judges, Esther, etc.  Does this mean that they aren’t inspired either?  But, these books had already been accepted into the canon by the Jews, where the Apocrypha had not.  The Jews recognized the Old Testament canon and they did not include the apocrypha in it.  This is significant because of what Paul says (

Romans 3:1-2

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

There are many reasons to not trust the apocrypha. doctrinal errors, historical errors, the fact that the Jewish text do not have them, and the fact that they are not quoted in the New Testament writings. To add them to the doctrinal books is irresponsible at best, and might be considered teaching heresy at worst.

To see more on the apocrypha, see my previous entry:


2 Responses

  1. […] do not have the original Hebrew version of Matthew (see… for more on this), but we DO have Matthew in Greek. The word translated as Peter is petros, […]

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