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What is the Apocrypha in the Bible?

Question: What is the Apocrypha?

Answer: The word Apocrypha isn’t in the Bible. The Apocrypha is a group of Old Testament books that are not in all versions of the Bible, such as the current Protestant and Hebrew Bibles.

They are, however, part of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox versions of the Bible. Since much of Christianity deems these writings as holy and inspired, it’s important to consider them. These books are:

Roman Catholic Cannon

The Roman Catholic Bible (see the New American Bible, as well as the New Jerusalem Bible, Douay-Rheims, and Good News Translation) includes the following books of the Apocrypha:

Eastern Orthodox Cannon

Interestingly, the Apocrypha books were part of the original King James translation of the Bible but were later removed.

Furthermore, the Apocrypha was part of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, which was in use during Jesus’ time.

What happened to them? Why were these books removed? The justification is they aren’t in the Hebrew Bible and there are no versions of them written in Hebrew. Hence their removal.

I think that was a bad call. These books contain some epic stories and can add flavor to our understanding of God. We should embrace them rather than reject them.

To read a version that includes the Apocrypha books, consider Common English Version (CEB).

[See more Bible FAQs for answers to other frequently asked questions.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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