Thursday, March 31, 2011

Against the Apocrypha as Scripture

As a sort of addendum to posts on the Apocrypha, I notice a few points made against the Apocrypha as inspired scripture:

  • The Apocrypha contains several false teachings. While I agree with this statement, it is lacking as a matter of proof since it is based on the prior assumption that the Apocrypha are not scripture.
  • There are no direct quotations from the Apocrypha in the New Testament, by either Jesus or his disciples. Though some claim there are similarities between the New Testament and some apocryphal writings, point of origin cannot be proven in mere references to common themes.
  • Among the strongest points is that of Jesus’s references to a complete Old Testament canon. For example, Luke 24:44 records, “And he said unto them, 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.” This reference covers the three-fold division of the Old Testament, and excludes the so-called Apocrypha. Again in Luke 11:51 Jesus said, “From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.” In his illustration and condemnation, Jesus draws from the entire range of the accepted Jewish Canon of Scripture from one end to the other – “From the blood of Abel” recorded in the first book in order of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 4:8) “unto the blood of Zecharias” recorded in the last book in order of the Hebrew Bible (2 Chronicles 24:18-21). Unlike the order in our English Bibles, in the Hebrew Canon the first book was Genesis and the last book was Chronicles. Jesus effectually rejects the Apocrypha as Scripture by addressing a “list” or order of the books of the Bible that accepts the recognized canon and does not include the secondary additions.

Notes on the Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew contained 24 books – all of the same books as our 39 books, but arranged differently, both in order and by combination. In some cases what appear as two or more books in the English canon are combined in one book in the Hebrew canon. All of the 12 Minor Prophets (Hosea through Malachi) were considered one book. 1 & 2 Samuel are considered one book, as are 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles.

The Hebrew Bible was organized into three main sections – the law (Torah, or Teaching or Pentateuch), the prophets (Nebiʾim), and the psalms (Ketubim, or Writings or Hagiographa). The complete canon is referred to as the Tanakh (a word combining the first letter of the names of the three main sections). The sections or subdivisions are: Law/Torah (5 books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), Prophets/Neviʾim (8 books: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets) and Psalms/Ketuvim (11 books: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


"Scripturalism is that system of belief in which the Word of God is foundational in the entirety of one’s philosophical and theological dealings. This system of thought avers that Christians should never try to combine secular and Christian notions. Rather, all thoughts are to be brought into captivity to the Word of God (2 Corinthians 10:5), which is (a part of) the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)." -- "Scripturalism: A Christian Worldview" by W. Gary Crampton in The Trinity Review, March-April 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Elijah's example

ELIJAH fed by ravens.
1Ki 17:6

Elijah's example declares,
Whatever distress may betide;
The saints may commit all their cares
To him who will surely provide:
When rain long withheld from the earth
Occasioned a famine of bread;
The prophet, secure from the dearth,
By ravens was constantly fed.

More likely to rob than to feed,
Were ravens who live upon prey;
But when the Lord's people have need,
His goodness will find out a way:
This instance to those may seem strange,
Who know not how faith can prevail;
But sooner all nature shall change,
Than one of God's promises fail.

Nor is it a singular case,
The wonder is often renewed;
And many can say, to his praise,
He sends them by ravens their food:
Thus worldlings, though ravens indeed,
Though greedy and selfish their mind,
If God has a servant to feed,
Against their own wills can be kind.

Thus Satan, that raven unclean,
Who croaks in the ears of the saints;
Compelled by a power unseen,
Administers oft to their wants:
God teaches them how to find food
From all the temptations they feel;
This raven, who thirsts for my blood,
Has helped me to many a meal.

How safe and how happy are they
Who on the good Shepherd rely!
He gives them out strength for their day,
Their wants he will surely supply:
He ravens and lions can tame,
All creatures obey his command;
Then let me rejoice in his name,
And leave all my cares in his hand.

John Newton (1725-1807)
Olney Hymns, 1779

Friday, March 04, 2011

The vanity of man

PSALM 144 PART 2 v.3-6
C. M.

The vanity of man and condescension of God.

Lord, what is man, poor feeble man,
Born of the earth at first?
His life a shadow, light and vain,
Still hasting to the dust.

O what is feeble, dying man,
Or any of his race,
That God should make it his concern
To visit him with grace?

That God who darts his lightnings down,
Who shakes the worlds above,
And mountains tremble at his frown,
How wondrous is his love!

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
The Psalms of David, 1719