Christus Victor

Making Christ Known

We are an Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) congregation growing in the likeness of Christ by:

Worshiping, praying, and studying God’s word;
Being together with other people; and
Acting in faith through words and deeds both inside and outside our church walls.

What is Apocrypha?

Apocrypha comes from the Greek meaning “concealed” or “hidden.” Generally, this means the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) apocrypha. It generally includes the following;

I.                      1 Esdras

II.                    2 Esdras

III.                   Tobit

IV.                  Judith

V.                    The rest of the chapters of the book of Esther

VI.                  The Wisdom of Solomon

VII.                 The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus

VIII.                Baruch

IX.                   The Song of the Three Holy Children

X.                    The History of Susanna

XI.                   The History of the destruction of Bel and the Dragon

XII.                 The Prayer of Manasseh king of Judah

XIII.                1 Maccabee

XIV.               2 Maccabee

These books were not part of the Jewish canon, in other words not considered inspired.  Yet all Christian translations had them in a separate section, including the original King James Version (1611) and Luther’s translation (not to be confused with the Gutenberg Bible).  Until the Westminster Confession (1646-48), which declared them secular and omitted them. There was a practical reason too--out of economics (shorter Bibles are less expensive to print).  The Eastern Orthodox tradition included not only these, but thought also 1 Esdras, the Prayer of Manasseh, 3 and 4 Maccabees, and Psalm 151 as canonical.

Luther considered the Apocrypha as “profitable reading” and readings from the Apocrypha are in both Anglican and Lutheran lectionaries.  In the Roman Catholic Church, the Apocrypha is “deuterocanonical,” which means part of the “second canon.” Perhaps that is the short answer: the apocrypha as a whole is not inspired Scripture, but portions of it are inspired Scripture. “All (Biblical) Scripture is inspired, but not all of inspired Scripture is in the (canonical) Bible.”—Dr. Ralph Klein, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago