Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why there are truly no "lost books of the Bible"

Matthew 5:18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

I remember when I first became a Christian I had a relative who had also gotten converted at about the same time as myself.  One day my family and I went to his home for a visit, and I noticed a curiously titled book in his collection called "The Lost Books of the Bible".  As I began to thumb through that volume, I ran into "The Book of Adam and Eve" and the "Book of Abraham" and other books supposedly written by famous biblical characters.

Not One Inspired Book of the Bible has ever been lost
Some people today are saying that there are other books other than the 66 books that should had made it into our Bibles.  Has all the books that God the Holy Spirit inspired made it into the Bible?  Are there "lost books" of the Bible?  It will be the contention of this blog that due to the nature of these "so-called" lost books, the dates of their composition and their corrupt theology, that we can confidently say that not one inspired book of the Bible has ever been lost. 

What are these "so-called" Lost Books of the Bible
We saw yesterday that in the time period between the Old and New Testaments, the Jewish people began to write non-inspired devotional and historical works that collectively are called "The Apocrypha".  As one digs more into what the Jewish people were thinking during that time, many curious questions were being asked.  Many folks speculated about details not spoken of in the Bible.  Thus between 200 B.C to almost 200 A.D the Jews composed a collection of Books under the assumed names of Biblical people.  

In the scholarly community the "Lost Books" of the Bible are known by the weird name "Pseudo-pigrapha" (soo-da-pi-grafa), meaning "false-writings".  Much like the Apocrypha, this collection of writings were immedately rejected as non-inspired.  The number of these books number in the dozens, and below some of their names are mentioned for reference:
1. The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs (supposed writings by Jacob's Twelve Sons)
2. The Books of Adam, Eve and Noah (Alleged records written by Adam, Eve and Noah)
3. The Book of Enoch (A long book recording the supposed revelations of the pre-flood prophet Enoch)
4. The Book of Abraham (you guessed it, supposedly written by Abraham)

These books were in a sense, the fiction of their day
Though this may be a poor analogy, it serves to illustrate how the Jewish people may had regarded these works.   People were speculating about things in the Bible that they did not understand.  What these Pseudo-pigrapha did was to fill in a curiosity gap and an entertainment gap.  But even more-so, the people of God had not heard a fresh revelation for 400 years.  Thus they began to write these books in an attempt to deal with the pain of God's silence.  Unfortunately, by assuming the names of Biblical characters, the Pseudo-pigrapha were written under false pretense. 

Though popular in their day, these books were never regarded as inspired by God
By the days of Jesus, the Jews would had been well aware of the existence of these books (much like today's New York Times Best Sellers or popular Christian Authors).  However the doctrines being communicated by these books was even more radical than that of the Apocrypha.  The extreme figurative language and at times non-sensical nature of these books made it easy to see their counterfeit nature. Furthermore, these books as a collection taught for instance that angels were not just merely created beings, but in some cases could do similar things to God.  Also too, claiming to be written by biblical characters, when it was clear in many cases that they were not, demonstrates a lack of regard for the scriptures.

Why there are no "Lost Books of the Bible", just more books of men
As Jesus said in the verse above, not one word of God will ever pass away.  Not only did God the Holy Spirit work with the 40 human authors of scripture to produce each and every Bible book, He also guaranteed that not one would be lost.  If we were to unearth an alleged book today written by The Apostle Paul, Peter or the Prophet Isaiah, we could say with utmost confidence that the book would be non-inspired.  Why?  Because God had fixed the number of books He chose to inspire, as well as the  time periods in which they were written (Hebrews 1:1-2)  God has even guaranteed His people that with the sending of the Holy Spirit, they would have the guidance they need to discern what is the truth of God versus the words of men. (John 16:13)  Psalm 119:89 tells us plainly: "Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven."