We are going to explore some biblical writings that are not considered to be Canonical, those books which are declared by the canons of the church to be of divine inspiration; – called collectively the canon. The Roman Catholic Church holds as canonical several books which Protestants reject as apocryphal. Believers consider these books to be inspired by God or an accurate history of the relationship between God and his people. Here is the best explanation of Apocrypha, the other book on the shelf in today’s blog.
“Apocrypha” was also applied to writings that were hidden not because of their divinity but because of their questionable value to the church. Many in Protestant traditions cite Revelation 22:18–19 as a potential curse for those who attach any canonical authority to extra-biblical writings such as the Apocrypha. (wikipedia)
This week we expand our View From The Pew, leave the familiar and travel on new ground for many of us. This week we go to some writings that are of a biblical nature but not accepted by bible scholars. Apocrypha are works, that were written having at least two points of contention, that of unknown authorship or of doubtful origin. Biblical apocrypha are a set of texts included in the Septuagint and Latin Vulgate but not in the Hebrew Bible. The Septuagint is a Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament), including the Apocrypha, made for Greek-speaking Jews in Egypt in the 3rd and 2nd centuries bc and adopted by the early Christian Churches. The Old Testament Apocrypha, was simply known as “the Apocrypha,” a collection of Jewish books that were included in the Old Testament canons of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians, but not of Protestants. There is much more here to be learned but to keep it simple at this time, they are a collection of books composed in Hebrew and never were accepted by the Jews as part of the Hebrew canon. They were bounced around and used by Christians as early as the first century a.d. They made it into Christian copies of the Greek Old Testament and, later, the Latin Vulgate. Protestant Reformers viewed these books as having a unique authority within the Hebrew canon and agreed they were useful reading, however after a period of time they fell into disuse among Protestants. Psalm 151 is a short psalm found in most copies of the Septuagint but not in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible. The title given to this psalm in the Septuagint indicates that it is supernumerary, and no number is affixed to it: “This Psalm is ascribed to David and is outside the number.” (Wikipedia) The word supernumerary refers to a normal or requisite numbering not wanted or needed. The traditional Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible contain only 150 psalms.
We should take a moment to read this Psalm 151…….
Psalm 151 [Greek]
This additional psalm is said to have been written by David when he fought Goliath in single combat.
I was small among my brothers,
and the youngest of my father’s sons.
I was shepherd of my father’s sheep.
My hands made a musical instrument;
my fingers strung a lap harp.
Who will tell my Lord?
The Lord himself, the Lord hears me.
The Lord himself sent his messenger,
and took me away
from my father’s sheep.
He put special oil on my forehead
to anoint me.
My brothers were good-looking and tall,
but the Lord didn’t take
special pleasure in them.
I went out to meet the Philistine,
who cursed me by his idols.
But I took his own sword out of its sheath
and cut off his head.
So I removed the shame
from the Israelites.
I love the simplicity of the words, imagine sitting on a hill overlooking the gentle rolling pastures dotted by sheep and David telling you what had happen that day. It happened quite naturally, this look at the Psalm 151 led me to the books of the Apocrypha. One of the comments in reference to the books was that they were a bridge between the Old and New Testaments. There are 14 books of the Apocrypha and each adds to our knowledge around the history and culture of God’s people. They are often referred to as “the hidden or secret books of the Bible. I encourage you to explore these hidden books that are so rich in complementing the bible as we know it. You can google Apocrypha and start your journey there. One good book about this subject can be found at this URL listed below. Funny how one road can take you to another but all roads lead to God…He is ever present…yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Life is Good