Why Should Christians Study the Apocrypha?

Martin Luther on the Apocrypha
Martin Luther described the Apocrypha as “books which are not considered equal to the Holy Scriptures, while at the same time . . . are profitable and good to read.” Luther translated these books and included them between the Old and New Testaments in his German Bible, even though he didn’t include them in the canon. Why would a Protestant like Luther be interested in the Apocrypha if he didn’t believe it was on the same footing as the Old and New Testaments?

In BI291 The Apocrypha: Witness Between the Testaments, Dr. David A. deSilva discusses how the early church “found the books of the Apocrypha to be helpful resources to them, whether in their struggles in the face of persecution across the Roman Empire, or in their attempts to come to grips with their emerging faith in Jesus.” The Apocrypha impacted the early church’s growth and provides insight into the cultural background of the New Testament.

Save on the Between the Testaments bundle

In addition to Dr. deSilva’s course, the Between the Testaments Bundle includes Dr. Joel Willitts’ NT202 A Survey of Jewish History and Literature from the Second Temple Period. NT202 guides you through key historical moments and literary works of the Second-Temple period, surveying a vast array of literature, from the Old Testament Apocrypha to the writings of Philo and Josephus.

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Comments

  1. Luther considered Paul's writings as canonical and everything else suspect at best!

    Also, what evidence is there that the writers of the NT were familiar with the Hebrew scriptures? They wrote in Koine and always appealed to the Greek scriptures, not the Hebrew, even when the Greek deviated from the Hebrew. Luther put the OT books he disputed at the end of the "OT" and before the "NT" and thus they are called "intertestamental". But in the extant scriptures they were scattered throughout the "OT" and considered scripture, on par with the others. Jerome counted them equal. So the Protestants significantly modified the "canon" in the 16th Century. This demonstrates clearly that the concept of "The Bible" as a static thing is far from the case. The first "canon" was a latin text called "the vulgate" and included a Greek OT (with the "apocryphal" books) and the NT plus another letter of Paul, all in latin. It is not pious to ignore the history and promote a myth about the scriptures.

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