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This review is from: The Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version (Bible Nrsv) (Hardcover)
There seems to be some confusion regarding the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha are the collection of books (usually between 7-15 depending how you count them and which canon you use), that the early Church used without controversy. They do not include Gnostic texts such as the Gospel of Mary. When St. Jerome came on the scene he began to question these books because they were missing from Jewish Bibles. But if you look back in history Justin Martyr says that the Jews removed them deliberately because they spoke so clearly of Jesus. Wisdom of Solomon ch.2 12-20 for example is one of the clearest Messianic prophecies in the whole of the OT. It was not until Luther that these books were removed (and then only from Protestant Bibles, and then only moved to the center between the Testaments until around 1890 when they were removed completely. And that only for economic reasons by the Bible societies).
Jesus and the Apostles quoted or at least alluded to these books numerous times. And the argument that the NT writers never mentions them wouldn't stand anyway since if that was the criteria of an inspired OT book, Esther would have to be excluded too. Also these books are included in the Septuagint (the Greek version of the OT which was translated about 300 or so years before Christ). And the Septuagint is the Bible most NT writers quote from, not the Masoretic which the KJV is based on. Hebrews 10:5 is THE example for this. Check the OT reference in your modern Protestant Bible for Psalm 40:6. Hebrews 10:5 does not say "A body thou hast prepared for me", it says "Mine ears thou hast opened". This verse is a direct quote from the Septuagint, and Bible translators leave it in because it is so central to the claims Christianty. Yet in spite of this the Septuagint is regarded as almost inconsequential, second rate and not worthy of much attention by specialist and layman alike. Why? You must also realize that the Septuagint and the Apocrypha are intimately tied up together, which is why it is hard to speak of one without the other coming in at some point.
I used to be fearful of the dreaded Apocrypha. That was until I realised that the Early Christians almost unanimously accepted it as part of their OT. It's true, in spite of what modern day scholars and apologists would have you believe. Just read the writings of Polycarp and Justin Martyr extremely early examples among many. They speak of the Apocrypha as Scripture, and Justin goes so far, as I've said before, as to accuse the Jews of taking these books out of their Bible because they speak of Christ (Wisdom 2:12-20).
Even if you never come to regard these books as inspired your spiritual life will be enriched by them. They've surely got to be better than the latest best seller by John Eldridge or Rick Warren? I mean Evangelicals avoid these books like the plague. Like they'll be damned to an eternal hell just by looking at one. Yet throughout most of Church history these books were regarded as Scripture - and at the very least were honoured as the highest among non-inspired texts. What has changed our modern views? I believe anyone reading these books with an open mind will be deeply blessed. The men who wrote these books were Godly Jews, who loved God. It is evident that this is the case almost as soon as you begin reading. You will meet a few surprises along the way, but consider that as part of the journey.
BTW there are many things the Early Christians believed that we modern Christians do not. It would surprise you to know what they are. Here's a link to a book that opened my eyes:
Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today's Evangelical Church in the Light of Early Christianity
And Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Feb 2016 11:29:52 GMT
Amazon Customer says:
Thank you for your thought and words on this. I really want to read it but those Evangelical knots were tied very young and my finger is hoovering over the buy it button it a state of nervous aggitation even though I left that kind of church behind 25 years ago...
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2016 12:04:00 GMT
Mystery Man says:
I completely understand, but please know these books are not demonic. They are at worst, a collection of Jewish writings that predate the Christian era. They are Jewish through and through. They are not from Satan. At best they are works that for various reasons should have been included in the Protestant canon, but for various reasons were not.
If you read them for nothing more than historical interest you will come away a more enlightened human being.
A good book on the period (the intertestamental period) these book were most likely written is The 400 Silent Years by H. A. Ironside.
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