I remember when I found out there were other books of the Bible – like the book of Judas that got excluded. I asked my non-denominational church leaders why this was – why they were considered invalid in our Bibles. We used ESV version, which you can search via textbooks.org, by the way. And I never really got an explanation that I could remember – so I decided to look it up again. Here is what Gracethrufaith has to say about the question:

Why are some works of the Bible excluded from others? (photo by Sean MacEntee)

Why are some works of the Bible excluded from others? (photo by Sean MacEntee)

“The extra books in the Catholic Bible are called The Apocrypha. They were written after the Canon of the Hebrew Bible was complete – about 425 B.C. The word apocrypha means “hidden, or secret”. Due to their doubtful authenticity the word has come to mean “fraudulent, or forged” by some scholars.

Although some feel there are many more, The Apocrypha is normally made up of fourteen books which are found in Greek and Latin translations but never in the Hebrew Old Testament. When Jerome translated the Old Testament into Latin he refused to include them within the body of the book and established a separate section he named “The Apocrypha”. Only 11 of these are included in the Catholic Bible Today but all 14 can still be found in the Orthodox Bible.”

It makes sense – Orthodoxy came before Catholicism, which came before Protestantism.

The reasons for the discrepancy are vast, but here are the reasonings given, as quoted once more by Gracethrufaith:

“1. The Apocrypha was never in the Hebrew Canon.

2. Neither Jesus Christ, nor any of the New Testament writers, ever quoted from the Apocrypha. (Jude mentioned Enoch, but Enoch was not the author of the books that bear his name.)

3. Josephus(a well-known historian from the Biblical era) excluded them from his list of sacred scripture. He felt they were lacking authenticity or validity in essence or origin.

4. During the first four centuries there was no mention made of the Apocrypha in any catalogue or canonical book. They were believed to be slipped in during the fifth century. There are reputed to be 263 quotations and 370 allusions to the Old Testament in the New Testament and not one of them refers to the Apocryphal writings.

5. The books of the Apocrypha were never asserted to be divinely inspired or to possess divine authority in their contents.

6. No prophets were connected with these writings. Each book of the Old Testament was written by a man who was a prophet.

7. These books are replete with historical, geographical and chronological errors. In order to accept the Apocrypha one would have to reject the Old Testament narratives.

8. The Apocryphal doctrines and practices are contrary to the Canon of Scripture.”

The article then goes on to say that although it shouldn’t be taken as valid just from the start, it does give some good information – as it was written between the time of the New and Old Testaments.