The lost books of the Bible… what are they and where do they come from? Is our Old and New Testament intact as we know it, or are there books missing? These are questions theologians have debated for centuries.
The issue revolves around several ancient books collectively called the Apocrypha that were sometimes included (erroneously) in some early versions of the Old Testament. However they are largely rejected by both Christianity and Judaism today.
They supposedly include: the books of Esdras, Tobit. Judith and Maccabees – obscure names to most Christians who have never heard of them. Written around the same time as the original Bible scrolls, they are historical, however they are not considered to be the inspired Word of God.
The late Bible Teacher, Chuck Missler had a catchy description of the Bible in his 66/40 Series … “It is sixty-six books written by forty authors, written between 1446 BC and 90 AD, an integrated message system from outside our time and space domain.”
Each book of the Bible is linked to and dependent on each other and each book can be used to authenticate another. Together they make up the the full canon of scripture that cannot be altered. It’s not hard therefore to reject supposedly lost books that bring a different message or emphasis not found throughout.
Just one example of an error that is taught in the Apocrypha is the concept that one can pray for the dead. In comparison, our Bible teaches that our eternal destiny is determined at point of death and cannot be changed by any amount of prayer or financial gifts to the Church.
We can’t change God’s Word
The New Testament carries a strong warning about adding or subtracting to the Scriptures so it’s important we respect the complete authenticity of the Bible. In Revelation 22: 18-19 we read: “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”
This may be written specifically about the Book of Revelation, however the principle is the same for the entire Bible. We can’t change God’s Word.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
However, we must understand what qualifies as God-breathed Scripture and what isn’t. Watch this video from Got Questions a website that helps believers find solid answers to challenging theological questions.