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"What About the Apocrypha?" Print E-mail

The Catholic institution claims the apocrypha is inspired. Protestants don't. Therefore, within the Body, there are two different lists of supposedly God-inspired authoritative Scripture.

So... How can we claim the Bible is authoritative when there are two differing lists of supposed Scriptures within Christianity...Two different Bibles? My next question is akin to the first: How do we know with certainty which list is THE list?" Both of these questions center on authority. Who do we trust as our God approved authority able to testify for us on behalf of Scriptures?

It is no wonder that the other religions of the world do not take true Christianity seriously when such fundamental divisions exist within the Body.

The Apocrypha is not included as part of the inspired text because it does not meet the criteria of the inspired canon. Here are just a few examples.

The Apocrypha contains historical errors. In Judith 1:1 Nebuchadnezzar is reigning in Ninevah instead of Babylon.

The Apocrypha contains unbiblical teaching. 2 Maccabees 12 teaches to pray for the dead. Tobit 12:9 teaches faith by works, a clear contradiction to the Bible (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Jesus and the Apostles do not quote the Apocrypha. We do not see it directly quoted in the New Testament.

Finally Jesus tells us where the inspired canon ends in Luke 11:51. He says the prophets extend from Abel (Genesis 4) to Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:20-21). So the line of prophets ends with the Jewish Old Testament, the Masoretic text that Jesus used as authoritative.

The history of the Apocrypha is interesting. It was not part of the Catholic Church's inspired canon until 1545 AD. No council recognized it in the first four centuries. The historical evidence goes against the Apocrypha. It was incorporated by the Catholic Church in response to the Protestant challenge to several unbiblical teachings such as praying for the dead and penance. Hope this helps.

Patrick Zukeran
Probe Ministries

See Also:
The Old Testament Apocrypha Controversy
"Did the Early Church Fathers Accept the Apocrypha?"

About the Author

Patrick ZukeranPatrick Zukeran served on the staff of Probe Ministries for 22 years, having received graduate degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M) and Southern Evangelical Seminary (D.Min). He presently serves on the faculty of the Bible Institute of Hawaii ( and is the Director of the Pacific Apologetics Center ( based in Hawaii. He serves on the faculty of several Christian colleges around the world. He has a national and international speaking and teaching ministry, and also hosts a national and international radio show “Evidence and Answers” ( Pat has authored several books including The Apologetics of Jesus, co-authored with Norman Geisler, Unless I See, and served as editor of God, Eternity, and Spirituality. Pat can be reached at

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075
(972) 941-4565
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