The Apocrypha and the Canon

What is their relationship?

By Alonzo J. Wearner, Bible Department, Southwestern Junior College, Texas

The origin of the term "Apocrypha" is some­' what obscure. The word itself means "hidden" or "concealed." It comes to us through the Greek from a Hebrew phrase mean­ing "hidden books" or "books of outsiders." As now commonly understood, it is a Protestant term. The Roman Catholic Church includes the Apocryphal books in its accepted Scripture cannon, except 2 Esdras and Manasses, to which are added a long list of "lost" books, called by Protestants the pseudepigrapha. The Jews like­wise include many more and different books in their list of Apocryphal writings. Thus the term "Apocrypha" has come to be applied to the fourteen books which have been rejected from within, or following-, the Old Testament canon, first by the Hebrews, and for some time by Protestants. The pseudepigrapha stands in the same relation to the New Testament.

 

The appearance of the Apocrypha, bound in the same volume with the canonical books of the Bible which have stood through the centuries, is unfortunate. The clear lines of truth become obscure, and the honest inquirer and thought­ful layman become confused in their effort to find harmony between them. The labor of the evangelist is increased, and the Scripture ex­ponent further burdened by the necessity for explanations.

Content and Time of Publication

First Esdras is a superfluous historical ac­count made up, for the most part, from Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Chronicles. It was written between 300 B. C. and 100 A. D.

Second Esdras is the only Apocryphal book not found in the Septuagint (LXX). The ear­liest manuscripts known are in the Latin only.

Tobit was written perhaps in the second cen­tury B. c. Luther was the first one to question its historicity, although it had long been known to contain a number of historical errors.

Judith was perhaps written in 79 or 78 B. e., and is considered historically impossible.

The so-called book of Esther contains letters, prayers, and visions purporting to elucidate the times, but in fact contradicting the original and genuine story in some parts.

Wisdom of Solomon, written between 150 B. C. and 40 A. a, teaches the pre-existence of souls, and immortality as the reward of wisdom, at the same time being entirely silent on the res­urrection.

Ecclesiasticus, appearing around 190 to 170 a. c., is considered by some as the most impor­tant for its information on conditions prevail­ing in the period between the Old and New Testaments. Any hope of a future life is un­known, and it is said by one to be a "monu­ment to primitive Sadducism."

Baruch, 250 B. C. to 118 A. D., is thought to be of no particular value. It offers no hope for a better future state, but dwells exclusively on temporal promises. The closing chapter pur­ports to be an epistle of Jeremy.

The Song of the Three Holy Children pur­ports to supplement Daniel 3. It contains a prayer of Azarias in the flames of the Baby­lonian furnace and his hymn of thanksgiving for deliverance.

The History of Susanna, being a narrative prefixed to Daniel in the LXX, is an evident immoral fiction difficult to account for.

Bel and the Dragon is clearly legendary and mythological, of no worth, and contains many gross absurdities.

The Prayer of Manasses is a short peniten­tial utterance of some refinement supposed to be that of a captive in prison.

First Maccabees contains a history of the times between 175 and 135 B. c., being the prod­uct of some writer between 105 and 64 B. c. This book is generally regarded as a trust­worthy historical account of the times.

Second Maccabees contains the account of the Maccabean period through the years 176 to 161 B. c., and is thought to have been written some­time before 70 A. D.

Advertisement - Digital Discipleship (300x250)

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

By Alonzo J. Wearner, Bible Department, Southwestern Junior College, Texas

January 1944

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Build Up Your Reserves

If It is perilous to launch an offensive without reserves, then we need to do our part and build up our reserves.

Interchange of Holiday Gifts

Vital Testimony Counsels.

The Landmarks Defined

And Their Relation to the Receiving and Disseminating of Advanced Light

Persuasion the Preacher's Work

Efficient Evangelistic Methods and Pastoral Technique.

The Evangelistic Appeal

Bending the human will to repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Signboards and Lantern Slides

The use of pictures during evangelistic efforts.

Writing for the Press

It is one thing to write an article for the press, but it is quite another thing to pre­pare an article that will get a response.

Bible Work in an Effort

Should the Bible instructor carry on regu­lar Bible studies during the evangelistic effort, or will her work mainly consist of mak­ing contacts with the people and keeping them attending the meetings?

Who Is a Bible Instructor?

The calling of the Bible instructor should be a distinctive office, as much so as that of the minister or the evangelist.

Declaration of Church Union on Peace

A look at religious world trends.

Catholicism or Chaos Threatened

A great deal of concern is being felt by many leaders of Protestant churches in the United States concerning demands being made in certain quarters that the Pope be given a prominent place at the peace table.

Tying Radio to the Campaign

Plans, Methods, and Objectives

Editorial Keynotes

Why the Heavy Losses Among Converts?

Are They Reading for Strength?

It is generally agreed that such church members as read their way into an acceptance of the message constitute its soundest members.

Human Failure and the Divine Remedy

Health has always been a valued treasure, but today its value is going up.

School of Health Evangelism

A report from the Pacific Union.

Spiritual Aspects of Nursing

How nursing can be used of God.

What Our Theological Seminary Offers

Here is a candid statement of plans, objectives, and limitations.

Pointer's to Progress

From the Ministry back page.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Digital Discipleship (160x600)