Read your Apocrypha, Bucko!

I was born and raised Catholic, the idea that some books are considered Apocrypha and are included out of order and only sometimes in other versions of the Bible blew my mind the first time I heard it. I want to encourage my Protestant and Southern brothers and sisters to read these books. I’ll be doing a series of articles about the Apocrypha – what the books are about, how they relate to you and the modern world and what can be learned from them. I won’t have the same perspective as many of you, as these books varies depending on your faith.

I’ll start by discussing why these books aren’t in many Protestant bibles, what the books are and the general information of what they cover. The deuterocanonical books (second canon) are not typically included in most Protestant bibles -specifically, within the Old Testament. If they are present, they will be in an appendix and labelled as “Apocrypha.” Some denominations have different books in these sections (some books may be cut entirely, others may include part of the Vulgates for various books, but not all the additions.)

The reason for this goes back to Pope Clement VIII and prior to that a debate from the 4th and 5th centuries. The texts are considered apocryphal for the specific reason that the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, does not include them. It wouldn’t be possible though, as the Tanakh was completed before many of these books were written. The Clementine Vulgate, which was completed in the early 17th century, placed the books into the appendix for this reason. The argument of the 4th and 5th centuries was over these books being part of the Greek translations, but not the Tanakh.

In the 400 odd years between the birth of Christ and the last books of the Tanakh, there were quite a few of these books written. They are mostly found in Aramaic and Greek for their earliest discoveries. The reason these are not used in most Protestant bibles is these bibles use the Masoretic Texts. These were copied and completed in the 7th and 8th centuries. The oldest complete work was the Aleppo Codex but it is now missing the Torah and was completed in the 10th Century.

On to the books. The Deuterocanonical Books of the Catholic Bible are the following:
● Tobit
● Judith
● Wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon)
● Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)
● Baruch (additions to Jeremiah with the Letter of Jeremiah)
● 1st and 2nd Maccabees
● Additions to Esther
● Additions to Daniel

The Sunday Services of the Methodists, the first Methodist liturgical work, includes some verses from the Apocrypha for the Eucharistic Liturgy. The Apocrypha also influenced the Book of Common Prayer, but in the way of offering guidance and wisdom but not doctrine. As can be seen, the Apocrypha already has influence on many of you in ways you may not have realized.

I’ll close out here with a section from Wisdom, the first of the books I’ll touch on. Stay safe God Bless.

Wisdom 3:7-13:
3:7. The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds.

3:8. They shall judge nations, and rule over people, and their Lord shall reign for ever.

3:9. They that trust in him shall understand the truth: and they that are faithful in love, shall rest in him: for grace and peace are to his elect.

3:10. But the wicked shall be punished according to their own devices: who have neglected the just, and have revolted from the Lord.

3:11. For he that rejecteth wisdom, and discipline, is unhappy: and their hope is vain, and their labours without fruit, and their works unprofitable.

3:12. Their wives are foolish, and their children wicked.

3:13. Their offspring is cursed, for happy is the barren: and the undefiled, that hath not known bed in sin, she shall have fruit in the visitation of holy souls.

-By Nathaniel