Errors in the Apocrypha

The apocrypha (απόκρυφα means "hidden") is a set of books written between approximately 400 B.C. and the time of Christ that is rejected by the Protestants and officially accepted by the Roman Catholic Church in 1546 as being inspired.  These books are Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (also known as Ecclesiasticus), and Baruch.

But if the Apocrypha is a Scripture, then it should not have any errors.  But since it does have errors, as will be demonstrated below, this puts into question whether or not the Roman Catholic Church has properly used its self-proclaimed position as the teaching authority of the Christian Church.  If it can error in such an important manner as what is Scripture, can it be trusted to properly teach the Christian Church?  The following references can be verified at http://www.newadvent.org/bible.

Problems in the Apocrypha

When we look into the apocrypha itself, we find numerous problems.  For example, we see it advocating magic where the smoke of a fish heart on a fire drives away devils. 

Condones the use of magic

Tobit 6:5-7, "Then the angel said to him: Take out the entrails of this fish, and lay up his heart, and his gall, and his liver for thee: for these are necessary for useful medicines. 6 And when he had done so, he roasted the flesh thereof, and they took it with them in the way: the rest they salted as much as might serve them, till they came to Rages the city of the Medes. 7 Then Tobias asked the angel, and said to him: I beseech thee, brother Azarias, tell me what remedies are these things good for, which thou hast bid me keep of the fish? 8 And the angel, answering, said to him: If thou put a little piece of its heart upon coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kind of devils, either from man or from woman, so that they come no more to them."

Is it true that the smoke from a fish's heart, when burned, drives away evil spirits?  Of course not.  Such a superstitious teaching has no place in the word of God.

Teaches that forgiveness of sins is by human effort.

Salvation by works:
  • Tobit 4:11, "For alms deliver from all sin, and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness."  
  • Tobit 12:9, "For alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sins, and maketh to find mercy and life everlasting."

We know from Scripture that alms (money or food given to the poor or needy as charity) does not purge our sins.  The blood of Christ is what cleanses us--not money or food given to poor people.  "but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7).

Money as an offering for the sins of the dead:
2 Maccabbees 12:43, "And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection."

Can anyone truly accept that money isn't offering for the sins of dead people?  Such a superstitious and unbiblical concept has no place in Scripture.

Historical Errors

Wrong historical facts:
  • Judith 1:5, "Now in the twelfth year of his reign, Nabuchodonosor, king of the Assyrians, who reigned in Ninive the great city, fought against Arphaxad and overcame him."
  • Baruch 6:2, "And when you are come into Babylon, you shall be there many years, and for a long time, even to seven generations: and after that I will bring you away from thence with peace."

The book of Judith incorrectly says that Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Assyrians when he was the king of the Babylonians.1

Baruch 6:2 says the Jews would serve in Babylon for seven generations where Jer. 25:11 says it was for 70 years.  "And this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years."

Conclusion

Obviously the apocrypha has serious problems.  From magic, to salvation by works, to money as an offering for the sins of the dead, and blatant incorrect historical facts--it is full of false and unbiblical teachings.  It isn't inspired of God.  Likewise, neither is the Roman Catholic Church, which has stated the Apocrypha is inspired.  This shows the Roman Catholic Church is not the means by which God is communicating his truth to his people, that the Magisterium has erred greatly, and that it is infested with man's false tradition rather than God's absolute truth.

 

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  • 1. "Nebuchadnezzar II was the most powerful and longest reigning king of the Neo-Babylonian (625-539 b.c.)."  Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper’s Bible Dictionary, San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985.

 

 

 

 
 
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