Christians Should Consider the Entire Bible
Many streams of Christianity include the books of the Apocrypha as part of their canon of scripture
The book of Revelation ends with a severe threat to anyone who would add to it, that God will afflict that person with the plagues mentioned therein.
Though the warning clearly applies to the book of Revelation—“the words of the prophecy of this scroll”—some people, even preachers who should know better, wrongly apply this omen to the words of the entire Bible instead of just Revelation.
Adding to their error, they proceed to criticize the Roman Catholic Church (as well as other streams of Christianity) for “adding to the Bible.” Shame on these preachers; they don’t know their history. It was Protestants who removed content from the Bible, but this didn’t happen five hundred years ago during the beginning of the Protestant Reformation but more recently: about two centuries ago. Until then the books of the Apocrypha were part of the King James Version, the venerable KJV.
Yes, you may be shocked to know the original King James Version of the Bible (1611) included the Apocrypha. About two hundred years later the books of the Apocrypha were removed from the KJV. (This officially started in 1796 but took until the mid-1800s to effectively occur). This news stunned me and angered me that people had removed part of the Bible, lessening my ability to more fully comprehend God in the process.
Fundamentalists call the four hundred year gap in their Bible, between the Old and New Testaments, “the silent years” because they believe God had nothing to say or do. In reality, the Apocrypha clearly shows God at work during this time, but these fundamentalists don’t know this truth because they’re unwilling to consider what God had to say.
I’ve read and appreciate the seven books, along with additional text for two others, that Catholics have in their Bible and Protestants don’t. I wish I had encountered these amazing words much sooner.The books of the Apocrypha were part of the original KJV Bible. Click To Tweet
I recently received a copy of the text removed from the KJV Bible (Apocrypha, Authorized King James Version). I expected it to include seven books. Instead there were fourteen. Now I’m twice as mad about what was taken away from today’s Protestant Bible and its sixty-six books.
But that’s not all. The canon of the Ethiopia Bible (The Apocrypha: Including Books from the Ethiopic Bible) contains even more. This Bible has eighty-one books in all, fifteen more than the Protestant’s sixty-six. I’m currently reading these books of the greater Bible. This will help me better understand God, just as other parts of the greater church of Jesus are able to do.
(There are also other historical writings, contemporary to the contents of the Bible, but since no stream of Christianity has included them in their canon of scripture, I’m content to follow their lead. Though I’m a bit curious about what these nonbiblical texts have to say, I’ll ignore them and hide only God’s word in my heart, Psalm 119:11.)
The Bible provides the foundation of my faith. As a Christian, part of the universal church of Jesus, I contend we should consider all of the words any part of Christianity includes in their canon of scripture. As I do this, I don’t expect my core theology to change, but I do expect it to expand into a more holistic comprehension of God.
Don’t dismiss the words of the Apocrypha. If you’re a serious student of the Bible, then you need to consider the whole Bible.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.