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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary


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The name given to those Books which were attached to the MSS copies of the LXX, but which do not form a part of the canon of scripture. The term itself signifies, 'hidden,' 'secret,' 'occult;' and, as to any pretence of being a part of scripture, they must be described as 'spurious.' There are such writings connected with both the Old and the New Testament, but generally speaking the term 'Apocrypha' refers to the O.T. (for those connected with the N. Test.see APOSTOLIC FATHERS.The O.T. books are:

1 I. Esdras.

2 II. Esdras.

3 Tobit.

4 Judith.

5 Chapters of Esther, not found in the Hebrew nor Chaldee.

6 Wisdom of Solomon.

7 Jesus, son of Sirach; or Ecclesiasticus; quoted Ecclus.

8 Baruch, including the Epistle of Jeremiah.

9 Song of the Three Holy Children

10 The History of Susanna.

11 Bel and the Dragon.

12 Prayer of Manasseh.

13 I. Maccabees.

14 II. Maccabees.

The Council of Trent in A.D. 1546, professing to be guided by the Holy Spirit, declared the Apocrypha to be a part of the Holy Scripture. The above fourteen books formed part of the English Authorised Version of 1611, but are now seldom attached to the canonical books. Besides the above there are a few others, as the III., IV., and V. Maccabees, book of Enoch, etc., not regarded by any one as a part of scripture. It may be noticed

1. That the canonical books of the O.T. were written in Hebrew (except parts of Ezra and Daniel which were in Chaldee); whereas the Apocrypha has reached us only in Greek or Latin, though Jerome says some of it had been seen in Hebrew.

2. Though the Apocrypha is supposed to have been written not later than B.C. 30, the Lord never in any way alludes to any part of it; nor do any of the writers of the N.T., though both the Lord and the apostles constantly quote the canonical books.

3. The Jews did not receive the Apocrypha as any part of scripture, and to 'them were committed the oracles of God.'

4. As some of the spurious books were added to the LXX Version (the O.T. in the Greek) and to the Latin translation of the LXX, some of the early Christian writers were in doubt as to whether they should be received or not, and this uncertainty existed more or less until the before mentioned Council of Trent decided that the greater part of the Apocrypha was to be regarded as canonical. Happily at that time the Reformation had opened the eyes of many Christians to the extreme corruption of the church of Rome, and in rejecting the claims of that church they were also freed from its judgement as to the Apocryphal books.

5. The internal evidences of the human authorship of the Apocrypha ought to convince any Christian that it can form no part of holy scripture.

Expressions of the writers themselves show that they had no thought of their books being taken for scripture. There are also contradictions in them such as are common to human productions. Evil doctrines also are found therein: let one suffice: "Alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin." Tobit 12:9 . The value of holy scripture as the fountain of truth is such that anything that might in any way contaminate that spring should be refused with decision and scorn. Some parts of the Apocryphal books may be true as history, but in every other respect they should be refused as spurious. Nor can it be granted that we need the judgement of the church, could a universal judgement be arrived at, as to what is to be regarded as the canon of scripture. The Bible carries its own credentials to the hearts and consciences of the saints who are willing to let its power be felt.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Apocrypha'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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