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#17 - The Apocrypha: included in some Bibles, excluded from others?
by Robert Nguyen Cramer
This BibleTexts website administrator has very much enjoyed questions and insights that have been emailed to him ever since this site was launched in September of 1996. On this page I share with BibleTexts browsers a few of the questions, insights, and responses, so that we all can further learn from and with each other.
Question/insight #17: "[Someone in a scholarly biblical forum] referred to the collection of books included in the canon by the RCC [Roman Catholic Church], but excluded by Protestantism, known as the Apocrypha. These books were purportedly written for the Jews, during the time before Christ between the Testaments, but were never accepted by the Jews as Scripture. They are included in the Septuagint but have no Hebrew original behind them. Why are they not cited in the New Testament?"
The fact is that the Apocrypha was not excluded by the Protestantism represented by the 1611 King James Version Bible, the English language standard Bible for Protestant Christians for many years. The Apocrypha was included in the original 1611 edition of the KJV. There are even marginal references in that 1611 KJV's Aprocrypha that refer to corresponding verses in the New Testament, and marginal references next to 1611 KJV's New Testament verses that refer to corresponding verses in the Apocrypha.
I recall from years ago that one Protestant biblical scholar who lectured on the Apocrypha and on the inter-testamental period said the one of the primary reasons that the Apocrypha was removed from the KJV was that there was a paper shortage!
Charles Fritsch (Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, Volume 1, New York: Abingdon, 1962, pages 163-164) writes:
Although there are no direct quotations from the Apoc. in the NT, the influence of these books is felt in every part of the Christian scriptures. In fact, they serve as a kind of bridge between the OT and the NT... The NT writers, as well as their readers, were well acquainted with the Jewish 'outside books.' Direct quotations from the Pseudep., as well as references to unknown works, are scattered throughout the NT writings, and there are definite allusions and reminiscences which recall the phraseology of the Apoc. and the events described therein. Several sayings of Jesus are strikingly similar to certain passages from Ecclesiasticus (e.g., Matt. 11:28-30 and Ecclus. 51:23 ff; Matt. 9:16-17 and Ecclus. 9:10), and the parable of the rich fool, spoken by our Lord (Luke 12:16-20), is reminiscent of the description of the rich man in Ecclus. 11:18-19. The influence of the Wisdom of Solomon upon Paul has long been recognized in several of his letters, especially in his Letter to the Romans. Some of the significant expressions used in the sublime description of Christ found in Heb. 1:1-3 are drawn directly from Wisd. Sol. 7:25-27...
It is also worth noting that the Septuagint, including the Apocrypha, was the primary "Scriptures" of first century Christians, as is obvious from the many New Testament references to the Septuagint, as contrasted to few from the Hebrew text. (The United Bible Societies' Novum Testamentum Graece has an appendix with six pages of cross-references between the Apocrypha and the New Testament.)
For a detailed listing of the books of the Apocrypha listed differently in the 1611 KJV, Greek Septuagint, Slavonic Bible, and the Latin Bible, browse:
For a Bible dictionary description of the Apocrypha, browse:
Copyright 1996-2002 Robert Nguyen Cramer