New Testament Bible Class

Writings not included in the Bible

In the past few weeks several people have asked me about “other books” like the recent “Judas Gospel” and “Book of Enoch”.

SOME books are recognized as apocryphal.  That means they have SOME worthwhile content but are not consider the inspired Word of God and so worthy of inclusion in our Bible. 

Other books are works of fiction written to support someone’s ideas that are contrary to Scripture or to attack the truth.  For example, this morning I read in Eusebius, The Church History as translated by Paul L Maier who has spoken at our church and whom some of you have met, that about 300 AD several memoirs were forged to attack the Christian church and support persecution.  Eusebius, who was an eye witness to these events, wrote “…they (civic leader and pagan priests trying to please the emperor) forged memoirs of Pilate and of our Savior, full of all sorts of blasphemy against Christ, and sent them, with the approval of their superior, all over his realm with edicts that they were to be posted everywhere, both town and country, and assigned to children by their teachers to study and memorize instead of lessons.”  (Note how they sought to control the minds of children.)

One can imagine how those who hate or fear Christ today would react if these forgeries are discovered!  Might they jump on them as fact and evidence against the one, true faith as was the motivation of those who first forged them?  So, it is good for us to know that forgeries have been made in the distant past (as described by Eusebius and others), the recent past (e.g. Book of Mormon among others), and we can expect them in the future. 

From www.lcms.org:  In his recent book reviewing Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, New Testament scholar Ben Witherington has made the insightful observation that we are now living in a time where curiosity mixed with biblical illiteracy has led to a situation where, for example, “almost anything can pass for knowledge of Jesus and early Christianity” (The Gospel Code [InterVarsity Press, 2004], Preface).

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