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Do we have the complete Bible?

The Bible is composed of 66 inspired books.
But some Bibles have 7 additional books, called "the Apocrypha."
Did God inspire these added books?
Are there so-called "lost books" of the Bible?


JESUS GAVE a promise, recorded three times: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but MY words shall NOT pass away" (Matt. 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).

Did Jesus keep this three-fold promise? Has the COMPLETE Bible been preserved for us today? Or has Jesus failed?

Peter was inspired to declare: "The word of the Lord endureth for ever" (I Peter 1:25).

Here are DIVINE, unbreakable promises! The God who cannot fail has promised that His Word should not perish. But how do we know which books compose His Word?

Who constitutes the FINAL AUTHORITY for determining which books are the inspired Word of God — and for preserving these books? Has God left it to each individual (or to some one church denomination) to determine for himself which books he thinks are the "Inspired Word of God"?


Additional Books?

One religious group claims in its literature that the Bible is "its book." They insist that they alone have authority to determine which books belong in both the Old and New Testaments — that they alone have been used in preserving it.

They openly acknowledge that it is solely by their authority that the Apocrypha — seven additional books and portions of two others — have been added to the Old Testament and have appeared in some other denominations' editions.

Is any professing Christian church Jesus' instrument for determining which books are inspired and which are not? Did God give men the authority to make this binding decision on the Christian world?

Are these additional books really inspired? Did Jesus and the apostles ever recognize them — quote from them? Did they ever approve them?

In some Bible translations you will find these seven books, entitled: "To-bit," "Judith," "Wisdom of Solomon," "Ecclesiasticus," "Baruch," "I Maccabees" and "II Maccabees." Besides these seven books, 107 additional verses are placed at the end of the book of Esther. Inserted in the middle of the third chapter of the book of Daniel is a "Song of the Three Holy Children," and at the end of the book of Daniel is a 13th chapter called "Susana and the Elders" and the 14th chapter called "Bel and the Dragon"!

In early editions of some Bibles even other apocryphal books make their appearance.

Is the Bible incomplete without these additions? Or are these unjustified human additions, placed there by men who have no divine authority?


Why Called "Apocrypha"?

Why are these additional books called "Apocryphal"? What does the word apocrypha mean? It comes from a Greek word meaning "hidden," "secret in origin." These books, in other words, had a hidden beginning, a secret origin — not openly given to the community at first. They were mystery books!

But these seven additional books and four other chapters or sections are actually only a few out of many hundreds of fabulous books which are commonly called "apocryphal writings." There were dozens of ancient, apocryphal or spurious "gospels," "acts," "epistles," "apocalypses." They include such titles as "Gospel According to the Egyptians" — "Gospel of the Birth of Mary" — "The Acts of Peter" —"The Apocalypse of the Virgin."

Between 200 B.C. and 100 A.D. numerous apocryphal works appeared also among the Essene Jews, such as "The Assumption of Moses" — "The Ascension of Isaiah" —"Third" and "Fourth Ezra" —"The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs" — "The Testament of Abraham" — "The Book of Enoch" and much later, another fraudulent work, "The Book of Jasher" appeared. (Write for our special letter about the spurious origins of the books of Jasher and Enoch)

Many of these works are so fantastic — so plainly a fraud — that they have never been accepted by either Jews, Catholics, or Protestants. Most are spurious, purposely written in the names of famous men in order to foist some mysterious, secret doctrine on the church. Notice that the seven additional books found in some versions are attributed to Solomon, Baruch, and Jeremiah — that the additional chapters are attributed to Esther and Daniel, to Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. Were these additions really composed by these individuals? Or are they frauds — spurious?


Spurious Writings Prophesied

Paul warned the Thessalonians: ". . . be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us. . . . Let no man deceive you by any means . . ." (II Thes. 2:2-3). Notice it! Within months after Paul had visited Thessalonica, false teachers were attempting to deceive the Christians by writing spurious letters in the name of the Apostle Paul. Is it any wonder that the whole world at that time became flooded with spurious, apocryphal, pseudo-Biblical works?

Now turn to Jeremiah 23 and see what was also prophesied to happen in the Old Testament times. Begin with verse 32: "Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies . . . yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord."

And notice verses 25 and 26: "I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart."

Understand it! There were prophesied to be torrents of false visions and dreams, and false prophecy to deceive the people. Though these spurious writings came "in the name of the Lord" they were not FROM the Lord. Most have passed away, have become lost. But a few still remain.

Amid this torrent of false, fraudulent writing, to whom had God given His authority to decide FOR ALL TIME which were the inspired books of the Bible and to preserve them? Was it left up to the individual, or to some one church denomination?


"To the Jew"

Notice Paul's inspired answer from Romans 3:1-2, "What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that UNTO THEM were committed the oracles of God."

To whom had the oracles — God's inspired Word, the Bible — been committed in the Old Testament times? Was it to any church denomination? Or was it left up to individuals? No! It was committed to the Jews. It was entrusted to their care!

Now consider Acts 7:37-38, "This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he [Moses], that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel [or Messenger — the Lord Jesus Christ] which spake to him [Moses] in the mount Sina [Sinai], and with our fathers: who received THE LIVELY ORACLES TO GIVE UNTO US." The Old Testament oracles were given to the Church in the wilderness — the Old Testament Church. It was not left up to the individual.

Though they were committed to the Church in Old Testament times, they were to be given — preserved — for us in the latter days. Peter was inspired to write that to the prophets "it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you . . ." (I Peter 1:12). God inspired His prophets to bear His message to the Old Testament Church. God placed His government in that Church. That Church became responsible — divinely appointed — to preserve His Word — for all time!

Here is Jesus' own testimony as to who was in authority in that Church: "Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in .doses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not" (Matt. 23:1-3). God instituted His government in His Church — the Old Testament Church — through Moses. In Jesus' day the Scribes and Pharisees were sitting in Moses' seat, possessing his authority.

And what was the duty of the Scribes? To preserve the Word of God, to transcribe it and reproduce it from generation to generation. The Pharisees were responsible for the constant oral reading of the Scriptures in the synagogues.

The hearts of these leaders may not have been right, but Jesus said they were in authority. They were used of God, despite themselves, to preserve His Word.

Jesus again absolutely recognized their authority when He said in Matthew 5:18, "For verily I say unto you, TILL heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in NO wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." He restated it in Luke 16:17, "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail." The Jews preserved every letter of God's Word. Not one was missing, said Jesus. And if not a single letter was missing, then certainly not a single book was missing!

But where was the center of authority in the Jewish world? Were the Jewish scribes in Egypt, or Babylon, or Rome the final authority? Where was headquarters to which the Old Testament Church looked?


Jerusalem Was Headquarters

Every Church has its headquarters. In the Old Testament Church, God authorized His government to be carried out from headquarters: "If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment . . . being matters of controversy within thy gates [this could include controversy over which books were the inspired books of the Bible]: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose; and thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall show thee the sentence of judgment: and thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the Lord shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee" (Deuteronomy 17:8-10).

Headquarters was the place that God chose. Where was it? Turn to Psalm 78:67-68: "Moreover he [the Lord] refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: but chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved."

Though God gave His revelation to the entire Old Testament Church — to all the tribes of Israel — yet He chose out of all those tribes the one tribe of Judah — the Jews! That is why Paul said in Romans 3 that it was to the Jews — the House of Judah — not to the other tribes — the House of Israel — that the revelation of God had been committed.

But where was headquarters for the tribe of Judah? Verse 68 of Psalm 78 declares: "Mount Zion" — where Jerusalem is. At the time the nation Israel split off from the tribe of Judah we read in I Kings 11:13, "Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son [Solomon's son] for David my servant's sake, and for JERUSALEM'S sake which I have chosen."

We now have the right Church —the Old Testament Church; the right tribe — Judah, the Jews; the right place — Jerusalem; the right leaders —the Scribes and Pharisees. Here is where we must look for the authority which determines what books belong to the "Old Testament." Here was the only place on earth where God governed the preservation of His Word — the Old Testament. Were the Apocrypha among the Scriptures preserved by those scribes at Jerusalem?


Which Books Preserved?

Jesus recognized the authority of the Scribes and Pharisees. In fact, Jesus, before He came to earth, had chosen the Scribes and Pharisees to sit in Moses' seat and to act as the preservers of His Word. Jesus is the "LORD" of the Old Testament whose government the Scribes and Pharisees were commanded to carry out. Notice now which Scriptures Jesus recognized as having the official approval of His Church. Turn to Luke 24:44-45:

"And he [Jesus] said unto them [the disciples], These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written IN THE LAW OF MOSES, AND IN THE PROPHETS, AND IN THE PSALMS, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures." The Scriptures, according to this testimony of Jesus, were properly divided by the Jews into "the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms." This three-fold division the Jews have preserved unaltered to this very day. The "Law" is composed of the first five books of the Bible, Genesis to Deuteronomy. The "Prophets" are composed of Joshua, Judges, I and II Samuel, I and II Kings (the former prophets) and Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 12 minor prophets (the latter prophets). And the third major division of the Hebrew Old Testament — called the "Psalms" because the book of Psalms composes the first part of this division — has the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, then the five small books — Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther — followed by Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and — as a final summary to all the Old Testament — I and II Chronicles!

Notice that these books preserved by the Jews are exactly the same as you can find in the King James Version and other versions today [the change in order of books of the Old Testament has been as a result of recent influence of the Latin Vulgate on English translators]. The Apocrypha were never a part of the inspired books of the Bible which compose our Old Testament.'

Here then is absolute proof that Jesus recognized the authority of exactly the same number of books we have in our Old Testament today. There are only 39 inspired books which compose the Old Testament. We have the Old Testament COMPLETE today.

The seven additional books of the Apocrypha are therefore proved spurious. They were never a part of the Old Testament which the Jews preserved. The Apocryphal writings — most of which are frauds — are absolutely uninspired. Some, such as I and II Maccabees, are relatively accurate history, though even they contradict each other in points.

In Jesus' day, these 39 separate books of the Old Testament were often gathered together on 22 different scrolls, as we read from Josephus: "For we [the Jews] have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing and contradicting one another, but only 22 books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine" (Flavius Josephus, Against Apion, Book I, Section VIII).