Almost nobody talks about them. Very few people ever address the subject…maybe because they are still stuck talking about David or Joseph? (Sorry…insider joke from this post.) But seriously, did you know there are dozens and dozens of books not included in, but closely related to the Bible?
I don’t know why, but I was always given the impression that to read the Apocrypha or any of the other books not contained in the canon of scripture was wrong. Well, maybe not wrong, but I thought (for whatever reason) that they were all “bad” books to stay away from. I didn’t stop and realize they’re just old books – just like any other ancient writings. The fact that they have some connections with the Bible doesn’t change that.
I also didn’t know that, not only are many of these books alluded to in the word of God, but some are even directly quoted! The most major would be Jude’s quotation of Enoch in Jude 14-15. It is clear that Jude had read (at least part of) the book of Enoch. That is interesting. Secondly, Jude took what Enoch had said to be true. That, too, is something worth noting.
However, he only takes this particular fragment as true…that does not necessarily extrapolate to all the writings of Enoch. Just like when Paul quoted Epimenides in Titus 1:12, it doesn’t mean he was endorsing all his writings.
In the end, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to these books.
The extra-canonical books are not scripture.
They are not scripture…in fact, they directly contradict the Bible sometimes. Because of that we must remember that the word of God is the one that is always true. No matter what we might find, if it is falsified by the word of God, we must be careful not to take it as truth.
The extra-canonical books could be tampered with or complete frauds.
Guys, those books are old. How would we know whether or not they’re true, or if someone or multiple people changed them up along the way? Maybe some are completely made up.
When it comes to the Bible, that is the word of the Almighty God, preserved word for word and kept generation to generation. But the extra-canonical books don’t have that Devine intervention to boast, and they, along with all the works of man, are imperfect and faulty.
They still can give us insight.
Again, they are old writings, whether or not they’re completely accurate. They could give us some insight on some past history and people.
We should be cautious in reading these books, but I believe we should be both aware of their existence and realize that it’s not wrong to read them. I have read a bunch of them, including the books of Enoch, Wisdom of Solomon, the additions to Daniel & Esther, Ecclesiasticus, Esdras 1 & 2, and Tobit. I’m now halfway through Jasher. I think that they’re absolutely crazy. Are you kidding? Jasher says that the tower of babel was so tall it took a whole year to get from the bottom all the way to the top. Enoch says that the Nephilim (the children born when the angels transgressed with the daughters of men) were 300 cubits or about 450 feet tall. That’s insane. It seems these books have become tall tales, passed from generation to generation.
My thoughts is that, used properly, and taken with a grain of salt, the extra-canonical books of the Bible can be very interesting and insightful. However DO NOT let them change your doctrine. Watch out.
Did you find this interesting? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment!