The Bible - the Books That Belong to It
THE question sometimes arises, What are the books that belong to the Bible? We define the Bible as being God's inspired revelation (which excludes His uninspired revelation as contained in nature), given by Him through His specially inspired agents. Therefore our answer to this question is: Every Divinely inspired book is a book of the Bible.
In ecclesiastical language from the second century onward the term canon (Greek for rule) is used synonymously with the Bible as the source and rule of faith and practice given as such by God to His people. Accordingly, in various Christian authors, the sense of the question (What are the books that belong to the Bible?) is put as follows: What are the books that belong to the canon? So they speak of the canon of the Jewish church, thereby meaning the Old Testament, and of the canon of the Christian church, thereby meaning the Old and New Testaments.
What books did the Jewish church accept as having been given by God as His inspired revelation to the Jewish church, through His specially inspired agents? Or to put the question in another form, What books did God give as His inspired revelation to the Jewish church, through His specially inspired agents? As a matter of fact, God could have made an inspired revelation through His specially inspired agents, regardless of whether the Jewish or Christian church had accepted it or not (Rom. 3:3), though as a matter of fact the Jewish church accepted what He offered them as such (Rom. 3:2); so, too, the Christian church accepted what He offered to them as such, yet their accepting it as such did not make it a Divinely inspired revelation. Its being such depended on His making it, not on their accepting it as such, because He is the Revealer.
THE TESTIMONY OF JOSEPHUS
It is not disputed that in the day of Christ and the Apostles the Jews received as their Bible or canon the same (24 or 39) books—no more and no less—than are printed in all editions of the Hebrew Bible. We will offer some testimonies on this: The first of these is from the pen of Josephus, who was born 37 A.D. and died about 100 A.D. Writing against Apion, an Alexandrian grammarian and an enemy of the Jews, in Book I, chap. 8, he says:
"We have not tens of thousands of books discordant and conflicting, but only 22 [he thus counted Ruth a part of Judges and Lamentations a part of Jeremiah, while the usual practice of the Jews was to count them as separate books, thus making the total 24, which is one of the ways the Bible counts the number of the Old Testament books], containing the records of all time, which have been justly believed to be Divine. And of these five are the books of Moses [the Pentateuch], which embrace the laws and traditions from the creation of man until his [Moses'] death. This period is a little short of 3,000 years.
"From the death of Moses to the reign of Artaxerxes, the successor of Xerxes, king of Persia, the Prophets who succeeded Moses wrote what was done in thirteen books. The remaining four books embrace hymns to God and counsels for men for the conduct of life. From Artaxerxes until our time everything has been recorded, but has not been deemed worthy of like credit with what preceded, because the exact succession of the Prophets ceased [thus Josephus shows that the Jewish church, recognizing the existence of the Apocrypha and other Jewish books, did not recognize them as a part of the canon or Bible].
"But what faith we place in our own Scriptures is evident by our conduct; for though so long a time has now passed, no one has dared either to add anything to them, or to take anything from them, or to alter anything in them. But it is instinctive in all Jews at once from their birth to regard them as commands of God, and to abide by them, and, if need be, willingly to die for them." Such was their devotion!
According to this passage the Bible of the Jews was begun in the days of Moses and finished in the days of Artaxerxes I of Persia, who reigned from 474 to 425 B.C. He was Esther's husband (Esth. 2:16, 17), who in the seventh year of his reign sent Ezra to Jerusalem to further the worship of Jehovah there (Ezra 7:7, 11-28), and in his twentieth year sent Nehemiah there to rebuild the walls and the city of Jerusalem (Neh. 2:1-8), and again in his thirty-second year sent him there to continue his work of advancing the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea (Neh. 13:6, 7).
Josephus was a highly educated Jew of priestly lineage and the historian of his nation, who was therefore well qualified to state truly what books the Jews regarded as canonical. He wrote these words in a controversy with a learned enemy of the Jews and of their Bible; hence he took special care to be exact in his statements. He stated, in harmony with the testimonies of other Jewish authorities before and after him, that the spirit of prophecy—inspiration—ceased with Malachi, whose book was written between 443 and 425 B.C., i.e., toward the end of Artaxerxes' reign and after Nehemiah's second trip to Jerusalem from Persia.
THE TESTIMONY OF SOME OTHERS
The Old Testament was expressly said to have been studied in its threefold division by Jesus, the son of Sirach, the author of the Apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus, who lived about 200 B.C. In the times of Judas Maccabees, about 167 B.C., he and others lamented that the spirit of prophecy—inspiration—no more existed in Israel since Malachi's death. Accordingly, the substance of Josephus' statements quoted above was authoritatively accepted in Israel hundreds of years before Josephus in 93 A. D. wrote the above-quoted statement.
About 75 years later than Josephus, the Talmudic tract, Baba Bathra, written by Judah Hakkodosh, set forth a catalog of the sacred books. They are there classified as in our Hebrew Bibles (such as Leeser's)—five books of the Law, eight of the Prophets and eleven of the Kethubim (the Holy Writings), totaling 24. In this catalog the two Samuels are counted as one, as are the two Kings, and also the two Chronicles. The twelve Minor Prophets are counted as one, as are Ezra and Nehemiah. Thus the 39 books in the King James Version Old Testament are classified as 24 in the Hebrew Bible.
From Josephus' description of his third division of four books, we infer that it consisted of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Canticles. Hence his second division of thirteen books must have been the following: (1) Joshua, (2) Judges (including Ruth); (3) 1, 2 Samuel; (4) 1, 2 Kings; (5) 1, 2 Chronicles; (6) Ezra and Nehemiah; (7) Esther; (8) Job; (9) Isaiah; (10) Jeremiah (including Lamentations); (11) Ezekiel; (12) Daniel; (13) the Minor Prophets. Josephus in his histories quotes from every Old Testament book except Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles (which, of course, furnish no historical data, and so were not available for his use) and Job, which lay outside the scope of his subject. While he quotes from 1 Maccabees, which treats historically of one of the periods treated by him, he does so with the distinct statement that it was not Divinely authoritative, because coming after inspiration ceased in Israel. He shows no acquaintance with the rest of the Apocrypha, though Judith and 2 Maccabees would certainly have been used by him, had he known of them and considered them trustworthy.
PHILO OF ALEXANDRIA'S TESTIMONY
From another Jewish source we can see what the Jewish Bible in the time of Jesus and the Apostles was, that is, from Philo, the learned Jewish scholar of Alexandria, of priestly descent, who was born about 20 B.C. and died about 42 A.D. He wrote a commentary on the Pentateuch. Of the Pentateuch he says:
"After a lapse of more than 2,000 years [the Jews] have not changed a single word of what had been written by [Moses], but would sooner endure to die a thousand times than consent to violate his laws and customs." While stressing the Pentateuch above the other Old Testament books, he quotes from the other two divisions of the Old Testament as of Divine authority.
Thus Philo quotes, as of the Former Prophets, from Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings, as being of "the sacred word," "the Divine oracle." As of the Later Prophets he quotes from Isaiah and Jeremiah, as of "the greater prophets," and from Hosea and Zechariah, as of "the lesser prophets," ascribing Divine inspiration to all of them. As of the third division of the Hebrew Bible he quotes from its historical books, Chronicles and Ezra, and from its poetical books, Psalms, Proverbs and Job.
Philo never quotes from the Apocrypha, though he undoubtedly was acquainted with them. In speaking of the Therapeutae, an order of Jewish ascetics, he alludes to the threefold division of the Hebrew Bible in the words, "In each house of these ascetics there is a temple … in which they perform the rites of a holy life, introducing nothing … which is needed for … the body, but laws [of Moses] and oracles delivered by prophets, and hymns [Psalms, the first book of the third division of the Hebrew Bible] … by which knowledge and piety are mutually increased and perfected."
TESTIMONY FROM THE SAMARITANS, ETC.
The parts of the Old Testament accepted and rejected by the Samaritans have a strong bearing here. The Samaritans were a people composed of parts of the ten tribes left in Palestine when the Assyrian conqueror, Sargon, according to his claim, carried away only 27,290 members of the ten tribes and of various mixed races. Their religion was a mixture of Mosaism and of heathenisms (2 Kings 17:24-41).
Claiming to be Jews, Jehovah's people, the Samaritans tried in the times of Zerubbabel to join with the Jews in rebuilding the temple; but their co-operation was refused (Ezra 4). Thereupon enmity that endures to this day set in. These Samaritans received the Pentateuch from the apostate priest sent among them to teach them "the manner of the God of the land" (2 Kings 17:27, 28). But please note that while they received the Pentateuch (a very old copy of it is now in their possession), they received no more of the Old Testament.
Why did the Samaritans not receive the Prophets and the Writings, the other two parts of the Hebrew Bible? Because both parts condemned them as non-Israelitish, despite their claims to be Israelites, some by blood, others by alleged adoption of their religion (Ezra 4:2, 9, 10; John 4:12). Of course, they would not accept the Prophets, since some of these books (2 Kings) condemned them as non-Israelitish. Nor would they accept the Holy Writings, since some of these books condemned them as non-Israelitish (2 Chron., Ezra, Nehemiah). Accordingly, the fact of their accepting the Pentateuch and rejecting the Prophets and the Writings (Kethubim) proves that these three parts of the Hebrew Bible were not only the Bible of the Jews in the time of Christ, but very much earlier.
We could also refer to some statements in the Babylonian Talmud that show the same lines of thought on the books and threefold division of the Hebrew Bible; but these were first written out about 450 A.D., though like other parts of that Talmud they were held for centuries before as parts of the oral tradition; hence we will lay no stress on them. They are found in the part of the Babylonian Gamara (commentary part of the Talmud) called Baba Bathra (another tract than that of the same name written by Judah Hakkodosh), which enumerates the books and divisions of the Hebrew Bible.
The testimonies that we have given from Jewish sources prove that the Jews of Christ's time and centuries earlier received as Divine oracles the 39 books that we now have in our English Bibles, which were classified as 24 in the Hebrew Bible. What results from this fact? This, that the 39 books of the Old Testament are a part of the Divinely inspired Scriptures, because God made the Jews the custodians of His Old Testament revelation, and therefore what they had and regarded as that revelation was the revelation of which they were the custodians, and so what the Christian church received from them as the Divine oracles was deposited by God with them as a part of the Bible of the Christian church.
These two facts—(1) that the Jews in the time of Christ had and regarded the 39 (or 24) books of the Hebrew Scriptures as the Divinely inspired oracles committed to their care, and (2) that these Hebrew Scriptures received from the Jews by the Christian church are a part of the Divine oracles deposited by God with them as a part of the Bible of the Christian church—are also proved by the testimonies of Christ and the writers of the New Testament.
It is on all hands admitted that the Christian church received from the Jews the 39 (or 24) Old Testament books or oracles. Hence the following parts of the two foregoing propositions are all that we will have to prove: (1) that the New Testament teaches that the 39 (or 24) books of the Old Testament Scriptures are the Divinely inspired oracles committed to the Jewish church's custodianship; and (2) that the New Testament teaches that these Old Testament Scriptures are a part of the Divinely inspired oracles of the Christian church.
THE NEW TESTAMENT ON THE CANON
In proof of the first proposition we offer a variety of Scriptures which in various ways demonstrate it. One of the ways that this is proved is by the name oracles that is given to parts and to the whole of the Old Testament: "Unto them [the Jews] were committed the oracles of God" (Rom. 3:2). Acts 7:38; Heb. 5:12; 1 Pet. 4:11 are other passages that refer to the Old Testament as God's oracles.
It will be more convincing on the point now under discussion for us to divide the New Testament writings into their three natural groups and then show how each of these three groups refers to the Torah (Law), Nebiim (Prophets) and Kethubim (Writings), the three divisions of the Hebrew Bible. The first group of the New Testament writings consists of the first three (the Synoptic, i.e., common view) Gospels, Acts and the Epistles of James, Peter and Jude; the second group, the Epistles of Paul; and the third group, the writings of John. With these three groups in mind we desire to show how each of these three groups quotes from, and deals with each one of the three Old Testament's divisions as parts of the oracles of God. This point is very convincing.
Apart from the name oracles, the plainest designation of the Old Testament as God's oracles in the New Testament is the name Scriptures or Scripture. This name as applicable to the Hebrew Bible is found in each of the three groups of New Testament writings (Matt. 22:29; Acts 17:11; 1 Cor. 15:3; John 5:39). And that to which these passages apply this name is in these passages implied to be the Divine revelation (Matt. 26:54; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4), and it is appealed to as the authoritative source and rule of faith and practice (Luke 24:27; Acts 18:28).
Not only is the Old Testament called in these three groups of New Testament writings the Scriptures, or the Scripture, but it is also called in them the Law and the Prophets, or Moses and the Prophets (the term Prophets here is used in its wide sense, i.e., to include also the inspired writings of those men who did not belong to the order of Prophets—men like David, Daniel, Ezra, etc.; in other words, it includes all the books of the second and third divisions of the Old Testament; this is seen in the following passages: Matt. 7:12; Luke 16:29, 31; John 1:45; Rom. 3:21).
In harmony with the Jewish custom of calling a scroll of the entire Old Testament the Torah, the Law, the New Testament calls the entire Old Testament the Law (John 12:34); for this reason Jesus speaks of quotations that He made from the Psalms (the first book of the Old Testament's third division) as made from the Law (John 10:34; 15:25) and Paul speaks similarly of a passage quoted from the Prophets (1 Cor. 14:21).
The threefold division of the Old Testament is clearly recognized in the words of Jesus, "All things must be fulfilled which were written in  the law of Moses, and in  the prophets, and in  the psalms [the first book of the third division of the Old Testament is here made to stand for that third division by metonymy]" (Luke 24:44).
Dr. B.F. Westcott, one of the ablest students of the New Testament Scriptures in the 19th century, speaking of the way the New Testament uses and refers to the Old Testament, says: "The existence of these collective titles [that the New Testament uses as names of the Old Testament], the universal assumption of their intelligibility, the absence of all trace of doubt as to their application in the districts over which the evidence extends, the unhesitating appeal to the writings described by them, the absolute equality of the different parts which are recognized in the whole collection, have an important bearing both positively and negatively upon the special testimonies to separate books. They extend the testimony from one book to a group of books; and they exclude the inference that a possible use of other books places them on the same footing with those which belong to the recognized collection. … There is not the slightest evidence to show that the Hebrew Bible ever included any more books than are now contained in it."
N.T. NEVER QUOTES FROM APOCRYPHA
Never does the New Testament quote from the Apocrypha, which in the 16th century the Roman Catholic Church declared to be a part of the Old Testament. While the Apocryphal books were previous to the 16th century used for edification, as any good book may be used, it was not regarded as a part of the canon in the early or medieval church. The catalog of Old Testament books that Athanasius, Augustine, Jerome, etc., drew up did not contain the Apocrypha. Jerome would not translate them in his Vulgate as a part of the Bible, but acceded to Pope Galasius' request to translate them as a sort of an appendix, to be used for edifying reading, but not for authoritative Scripture, even as some editions of Protestant translations so treat them. But while the New Testament never quotes from the Apocrypha, its writers, as shown above, quote from every division of the Old Testament, and, what is more, from almost every one of its books.
Our Lord Jesus quotes passages from Gen., Ex., Num., Deut., 1 Sam., Psa., Isa., Dan., Hos., Jonah and Mal., stressing them as Divinely authoritative. Additionally, in their own, not in Jesus' words, Matthew and Luke quote from Lev., Jer., Mic. and Zech. The book of Acts quotes passages from Gen., Ex., Deut., Psa., Isa., Joel, Amos and Hab. James, Peter and Jude quote from Gen., Isa. and Prov. The wide extent of these quotations, considering the smallness of the books that do the quoting, makes this remarkable indeed.
In Rom., 1 and 2 Cor. and Gal., Paul quotes from Gen., Ex., Lev., Deut., 2 Sam., 1 Kings, Job, Psa., Isa., Jer., Hos., Hab. and Mal. Hebrews quotes from the Old Testament more than the other Epistles of Paul, and thus quotes from Gen., Ex., Deut., 2 Sam., Psa., Prov., Isa., Jer. and Hag. John's Gospel quotes from Ex., Psa., Isa. and Zech., while Revelation is very largely constructed by piecing together disjointed parts of the Old Testament into a connected whole.
Besides the express quotations, which are the only ones referred to above, the New Testament writings are literally saturated with the adoption of shorter expressions taken from the Old Testament. Very few verses of the New Testament do not contain some word or phrase taken from the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint).
But apart from such shorter parts taken from the Old Testament, the express quotations taken from the Old Testament in the New Testament are from every one of the former's books, except Josh., Judg., Chron., Cant., Eccl., Ezra, Neh., Esth., Obad., Zeph. and Nah. These Old Testament books not quoted from in the New Testament refer exclusively to the Parousia, or to the Epiphany stages of Jesus' Second Advent, or to both, and, therefore, do not contain matters appropriate for proof texts pertinent to earlier times; and so their not being quoted in the New Testament is just what should be expected of them. If we should take into account coincidences of thought or expression, the quotations in the New Testament from the Old must be at least 700.
The following table of Dr. Westcott shows the number of express quotations in the three New Testament groups of books from the threefold division of the Old Testament, these being, of course, sentence quotations, not simply quotations of a few words or of a phrase:
NEW TESTAMENT ON INSPIRATION OF OLD
The second proposition, i.e., that the New Testament teaches that the 39 (or 24) books of the Old Testament are God's inspired revelation, and as such are a part of the Divinely inspired oracles of the Christian church, is easy of proof. Not only does Rom. 3:2, already quoted in another connection, prove this point, but Christ and the Apostles directly teach it in many places, and presuppose it everywhere when referring to the Old Testament.
The classic passage on this subject is 2 Tim. 3:15-17. Here St. Paul tells Timothy that from childhood he had been studying the Holy Scriptures, the Old Testament (since none of the New Testament had yet been written while Timothy was a child). He then calls the whole Old Testament Divinely inspired Scripture, which as such is profitable for doctrine, reproof (refutation), correction and instruction in righteousness, sufficient to equip the Lord's servants fully for their work. Opposers of the inspiration of the Bible, particularly of its Old Testament part, find this passage an insuperable obstacle to their theories. Sophistrize on it as much as they will, its testimony overwhelmingly foils their attacks. But this is not the only passage to the point.
The following lines of thought corroborate this teaching. Jesus shows that God in the bush account made a revelation to Israel, "unto you," in proof of the resurrection (Matt. 22:31, 32). Zacharias tells of God's having promised a Savior by the mouth, writings, of His Prophets from the outstart of the Jewish Age (so the Greek; Luke 1:70). St. Paul told the Roman Jews that the holy Spirit spoke by Isaiah the Prophet to the fathers (Acts 28:25). He tells us that God spoke at various times and different manners to the fathers by the Prophets (Heb. 1:1). Quoting from the Psalms he says that what he quoted was a saying of the holy Spirit (Heb. 3:7). Peter says that the Prophets searched the writings that the holy Spirit was by them testifying (1 Pet. 1:11). He assures us also that the Old Testament Scriptures came not by the will of man, but that their writers were moved, inspired, by the holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21). Accordingly, the various lines of reasoning given above prove that in the days of Christ and the Apostles the Hebrew Old Testament was the Divinely inspired revelation given by God to the Jewish church.
The following is involved in our second proposition: that the New Testament teaches that the 39 (or 24) books of the Old Testament are a part of the Divinely inspired oracles of the Christian church is evident from the fact that Christ and the New Testament writers quote from the Old Testament as an authority for the faith and practice of the Christian church. It is on account of this course of Christ and the New Testament writers that the Christian church has always accepted the 39 (or 24) books of the Old Testament as a part of its Divinely inspired oracles. Indeed, this was the church's only Bible before the New Testament was written, which is self-evident.
OLD TESTAMENT CANON'S FORMATION
The Old Testament testifies to its formation as the canon. That which, according to the Bible, gives canonicity to a book is that it was produced by a Divinely inspired man. The first part of its canon is the Pentateuch, the product of Moses, which was set aside or deposited solemnly beside the Ark of the Covenant as an evidence of its Divine origin and authority (Deut. 31:24-26); it was required to be read in its entirety to the people at least once in seven years (Deut. 31:10-13); the future king was commanded to have a copy of it made and to study it continually (Deut. 17:18, 19); Joshua (and this implied all other Judges of Israel, as quasi-kings, were included in the same command, etc.) was commanded to have a copy of it, read it, meditate on it, speak of it and practice it (Josh. 1:8). Saul forfeited his kingdom for failing to obey one of its requirements (1 Sam. 15).
David charged Solomon to obey the law of Moses (1 Kings 2:3), as David was frequently commended for keeping it (1 Kings 9:4; 11:6, 34, 38; 14:8). Israel's kings were praised or censured accordingly as they obeyed or disobeyed it. The Pentateuch, through long neglect by wicked kings' apostasies and the consequences of these on the people, was for a while lost from sight, but was found again in Josiah's days (2 Kings 22:8-20).
Joshua made an addition to the Old Testament after the Pentateuch was completed (Josh. 24:26). So did Samuel (1 Sam. 10:25). These two transactions show us how the post-Pentateuchal Old Testament books found their way into the Bible: Whenever in the Jewish Age a book was written by a Divinely inspired man, it became by that very fact a part of the Old Testament; and in this way the Old Testament grew. There never was a council called which, as higher critics claim, canonized the Old Testament books. Rather, whenever a duly accredited Divinely inspired man produced a book, the people of Israel received it as a part of the canon, the Bible.
Thus did the canon grow, until in the days of Ezra, Nehemiah and Malachi it attained its full growth in its Old Testament part. Not only the facts so far given prove this to be the way the canon grew, but the fact that Isa. 34:16 refers to the book of Jehovah, in which prophecies previous to Isaiah's were written by Prophets proves it; and the further fact that Daniel refers to "books" in which a prophecy of Jeremiah about to be fulfilled was given (Dan. 9:2) likewise proves it. Thus the books of the Old Testament were progressively collected into one book, as each inspired book was written.
THE APOCRYPHA PROVEN UNCANONICAL
The Apocrypha (meaning hidden, or secret), which books the custodians of God's Old Testament oracles never acknowledged as a part of the canon, and which therefore cannot be a part of that canon, but which Rome sought to canonize, are by their own contents proven to be unworthy of a place in the canon. The test of the Apocrypha, as well as of other scriptures, is the seven negative axioms of Scriptural authority and Scriptural teaching: a book or a teaching cannot be inspired of God if it be self-contradictory or contradictory of Scriptural passages, doctrines, God's character, the Sin-offering, facts and the purposes of the Divine Revelation.
The Apocrypha subjected to this test and that of Biblical Numerics break down as uninspired: Tobit and Judith contain many geographical, chronological and historical mistakes; they promote superstition and deception, and make justification depend on external formal works. The Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus, while containing some excellent things, inculcate a morality based mainly on expediency, and are at variance with the holiness of God. Their wisdom is not Solomonic, but Alexandrine. The pre-existence of souls, with their destiny fixed by conduct prior to their human birth, is taught (Wis. 8:19, 20). The material body is taught to be a weight and clog to the soul (9:15). It teaches prodigies instead of miracles (16:20, 21). It adds unbelievable details to the Egyptian plagues (16:17). The symbolic meanings attached to the high priest's dress are false (18:24, 25). Cain's murder of Abel is falsely given as the cause of the flood (10:4)! Solomon could not have been its author: for it teaches that Israel was then subject to its enemies; and it was written in Greek!
Ecclesiasticus, amid many good things, teaches the following errors: that almsdeeds atone for sin; that generosity should not be shown the wicked; that cruelty may be exercised toward slaves; that the Samaritans should be hated; that expediency is substituted for right (3:30; 12:4-7; 33:26, 28; 43:5; 50:25, 26; 38:17).
Baruch, allegedly written by the companion of Jeremiah, quotes from Daniel and Nehemiah, who wrote, the one 70, the other nearly 200 years later! Again, it is written in Greek! Baruch is said to have been taken to Babylon; the Bible says he went with Jeremiah to Egypt (Jer. 43:6). The temple is said to be existing and offerings made there; the Bible teaching is that it was destroyed with the city in 607 B.C. The vessels of the temple are said to have been returned to Jerusalem in Jeremiah's day: the Bible teaching is that this occurred in the days of Zerubbabel and Ezra. God is said to hear the prayers of the dead; Jeremiah while dead is said to have prayed for Israel (this is one reason Rome canonized the Apocrypha). It contradicts Jeremiah by the claim that the Babylonian captivity lasted at least seven generations.
1 and 2 Maccabees contain many errors; the latter abounds in legends, fables, and gives the extraordinary prodigy of the preservation of the sacred fire; Jeremiah is said to have hid the tabernacle (then non-existent), the ark and golden altar on Mt. Nebo. It justifies suicide; it also sanctions prayers and sacrifices for the dead (hence canonized by Rome). The author does not claim inspiration, but only to have written according to ability.
The additions to Esther contradict the Biblical book of that name, and introduce confusion into its narratives. The additions to Daniel, i.e., the alleged prayer of the three youths in the fiery furnace, is not a prayer but a meditation, unsuitable to the occasion, and gives some particulars inharmonious with the true narrative (vs. 23-27). The story of Susannah contains a play on words proving that it was written in Greek. The legend of Bel and the Dragon is foolish imagination.
Thus the Apocrypha violate all seven axioms of Scripture and Scriptural interpretation; hence they cannot be a part of the Bible. If they were, the Jews who were God's accredited custodians of His Old Testament revelation would have accepted and preserved them as such; for the fact that God appointed the Jews to be the custodians of His Old Testament revelation implies this, since He would not have selected unfit custodians, which they would have been, if they failed to receive and preserve all of it alone as God's revelation.
The genuine Old Testament is in its books and in their teachings in harmony with these seven axioms; therefore from their standpoint nothing can be said against their inspiration. They come to us well guaranteed and accredited. Therefore with confidence we may say of them: "This is the Finger of God." "All Scripture is Divinely inspired." Therefore we may confidently accept them as a Divinely inspired Revelation. (For much more on which books belong to the Bible, see our book The Bible, pp. 72-102)
The Bible - the Books That Belong to It:
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