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What are the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical books?

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Roman Catholic Bibles have several more books in the Old Testament than Protestant Bibles. These books are referred to as the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical books. The word apocrypha means “hidden,” while the word deuterocanonical means “second canon.” The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals were written primarily in the time between the Old and New Testaments. The books of the Apocrypha include 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, Prayer of Manasseh, 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees, as well as additions to the books of Esther and Daniel. Not all of these books are included in Catholic Bibles.

The nation of Israel treated the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books with respect, but never accepted them as true books of the Hebrew Bible. The early Christian church debated the status of the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals, but few early Christians believed they belonged in the canon of Scripture. The New Testament quotes from the Old Testament hundreds of times, but nowhere quotes or alludes to any of the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books. Further, there are many proven errors and contradictions in the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals. Here are a few websites that demonstrate these errors:

The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books teach many things that are not true and are not historically accurate. For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church had included the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals in various listings of canonical books, and the Council of Hippo in AD 393 and the Third Council of Carthage in AD 397 accepted the Apocrypha as inspired. Neither council was an ecumenical or general council, though, and the impact of those decisions was limited. Many within the Catholic Church still viewed the Apocrypha as useful but not inspired. Catholics officially declared the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals to be inspired, authoritative Scripture at the Council of Trent in the mid-1500s, primarily in response to the Protestant Reformation. The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals support some of the things that the Roman Catholic Church believes and practices that are not in agreement with the Bible. Examples are petitioning saints in heaven for their prayers and almsgiving to merit grace or atone for sins.

Some of what the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals say is true and correct. However, due to the historical and theological errors, the books must be viewed as fallible historical and religious documents, not as the inspired, authoritative Word of God.

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What are the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical books?
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This page last updated: January 5, 2024