Why Were Some Books Excluded From The Bible?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Why do some Bibles have extra-biblical books in them? Why were some books excluded from the Bible?

The Cannon

The Bible as we have it today, which consists of 66 books, took a very long, thoughtful process to come together. The church was able to discern which of the books were indeed inspired by God, and which did not belong in the Bible, so how did they know which ones belonged and which ones didn’t? Apparently, it was the early Church fathers who heavily influenced what books would be in the Bible and what books would be rejected. Trusted men of God like Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius, Athanasius, Jerome, Augustine, and others, all led the slow and careful acceptance of the books in the New Testament as we know it today. It was very early in the church’s history that the vast majority of books were accepted by the church as Scripture, mainly because the church leadership and membership had both accepted them as being from God. The New Testament books also fit the context of what was in the Old Testament, especially since many of the quotes from the New Testament authors were quotes taken directly from the Old Testament. This may explain why the early church, predominantly Jewish, was able to accept the New Testament books so easily.

Lost Books

Some alleged “lost books” of the Bible that had somehow been lost, have recently surfaced with the claim that these too are Scripture, and some even have other gospels that they believe should be in the Bible, but the vast majority of Bible scholars reject them, and for very good reason. One example is the Gospel of Judas, which completely contradicts the four gospels we have, like when Judas was said to have betrayed Christ because he was commanded to do so by the Lord, but other flagrant falsehoods in this book include Jesus supposedly marrying Mary Magdalene, and even claiming to have had children by her, but there is no biblical or historical evidence to support this, so it was an easy decision to reject the Gospel of Judas today. Other fake gospels or books of the Bible include, the Secrets of Enoch, the Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan, Psalms of Solomon 4, the Gospel of Philip, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the Gospel of Mary, and you don’t have to be a Bible scholar to see that these books are not consistent with the 66 books of the Bible. They clearly don’t fit contextually and doctrinally with the Scriptures. Many other books such as 1 Maccabees, the Wisdom of Solomon, and other such books are what we call the Apocrypha, and these books have never been accepted as inspired by God, and all of these books were flatly rejected by the Jews. They have some interesting historical facts, but they also have glaring errors, and Jesus and the apostles never once quoted from these books, and the Jews rejected them as Scripture, and have to this day, refused to believe them as being part of the Old Testament. Maybe this is why the Apostle Paul said, “even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8), and these books preach another gospel; a gospel not from God.

Examples of False Scriptures

Today, and for thousands of years, the Apocrypha was not considered part of the holy cannon, and for good reason. These books contain a large number of doctrinal errors, like in Tobit there is the command to use magic (Tobit 6:5-7), that forgiveness of sins comes from alms giving (Tobit 4:11; 12:9), and that we are to make offerings of money for the sins of the dead (2 Maccabees 12:43-45). All of these clearly contradict the biblical doctrine that our sins are forgiven only through Christ and His shed blood, and putting our trust in Him. Not only do these books contain serious doctrinal errors, they contain historical errors too. For example, the Book of Judith states that Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Assyrians when he was actually the king of the Babylonians, and the Baruch states that the Jews would serve in Babylon for seven generations (Baruch 6:2), but Jeremiah 25;11 clearly states it will only be 70 years, so these are not just minor issues…they are serious doctrinal issues with dozens of historical errors, so they are not trustworthy at all, and should not be considered part of the inspired Word of God, which is perfect and without error. The 66 books of the Bible are not a product of man, but the inspired Word of God (1 Tim 3:16).

Tested by Time

We can know that the 66 books in the Bible that we currently have are the inspired Word of God because the dozens of prophecies that were written hundreds, and sometimes, thousands of years before the events happened, and they took place exactly as prophesied. The Old Testament was widely accepted as inspired by God and has long since been considered to be the very Word of God. By the year AD 180, all of the New Testament books in the Bible, (with the only single exception, being 2 Peter) were directly quoted by church leaders, so the early church was clear on what was considered Scripture and what was not, and even though some churches hesitated over the books of James, Jude, 2 and 3 John, 2 Peter, Hebrews, and Revelation, all other books in the Bible were universally accepted by the church, and it wouldn’t be long before all 27 books of the New Testament would be accepted as God’s Word. It’s also important to note that the early church leaders never once used non-canonical or apocrypha books in their writings or teachings, and they never treated these other books with the same kind of reverence and authority that they did the New Testament books. The early church was not that far removed from studying the teachings of Jesus, which at that time called, “the apostle’s doctrine” (Acts 2:42), so even in the first century church, they stressed the teachings of Jesus, and they were of such supreme importance, that the gospel authors were inspired by God to record Jesus’ earthly ministry.

Conclusion

I believe we can trust the Bible that we have today…the Bible which contains 66 books, written by approximately 40 authors, because it has been shown to be the living, active Word of God that can even penetrate our thoughts, intentions, and motives of the heart (Heb 4:13). The many fulfilled prophecies, the thousands of archaeological discoveries, and the endurable Word of God provides more than enough for us to know that when we pick up the Bible, it is God speaking to us; it is His inspired Word; and it is all that we need to know how to be saved. With anything other than these 66 books, you’re taking chances…chances I’m not willing to take. I want the truth. How about you?

Related reading for you here: What Are the Apocrypha Books?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible : English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne January 21, 2018 at 12:08 am

1-21-18
Dear sir Wellman,
Hello, I’m Anne from Philippines. I come from a generation of Catholic families but lately I’ve been starting to wonder if certain beliefs of said religion is even from God (like worshipping statues of saints)?. Even though the Ten Commandments clearly states that “You shall not have no other gods before me.” What I’m worried about the most is that I’m already a commited member to a local community of the church. What if the gospel we actually preach is wrong? I’m not worried for my sake but for the sake of other lost sheeps that might end up believing in a false religion. A part of Corinthians tell me that the Catholics are the ones called to be saints but what if the lost sheeps brought to us are given other gift/s that does not correspond to the community or ministry I’m part of? Does that mean he/she should be part of another community or ministry? Or should those lost sheeps first start a relationship with God by reading the Scriptures first then discern which church or community he/she will want join?. I have a lot of questions nowadays all because I’ve been told that I’m now a servant-leader Christian as well. Serving others is fine with me but leading others I just don’t see myself to be one, I’ve always been the weak one in my family mentally & physically. I won’t lie though, my earthly grandfather never treated me fairly back when he was still alive. If anything it was always my other 3 siblings (2 being older and one younger than me) he favored over me the worst thing is that a part of me is scared of trusting others because my own cousin managed to sexually assault me yet I could never tell my own siblings nor tell my father the actual truth even though my churchmates know about it because surely it would really prove their thought of me to be worthless as a fact, even at the former three schools I attended I was oftenly the silent and bullied by the classmates most of the times it was verbal, and twice it was physical. Long exposure to such abuse like that would give me silent nightmares yet not one of my relatives even knew i suffer from it. Only Christ is able to see through my facade and manages to give me peaceful slumber by ensuring I’d always be in a peaceful garden in my dreams and reveals himself in the form of a lion at my side. Though sometimes my dreams would be I’d be given a warning such as the symbol of satan (a star with the image of a bull or cow) which is he’s telling me to stay away from. But how am I suppose to stay away from it when my current friend at school was a former Satanist who’s currently a Realist nowadays? Satan and Lucifer are definitely mad at me big time for befriending and spending time with her, I know that because once my entire left hand was injured yet there was no possible explanations why it kept trembling at school however when Christ saw my physical injury, He spoke to me and told me to hold out my right hand to my left wrist and I was healed from it. The two evil beings even nearly cursed the older and younger generation of my family out of their desire for revenge for every transgressions they did to me but by Christ’s grace and sacrifice my family was saved from the devil’s devious hands something which I’m very thankful of. And I’m sure it must be the devil’s voice telling me that it would have been better if I died years ago from the asthma attacks I suffered from as a 6-10 years old child in the past, died with my childhood friend who was the first man I fell in love with or got killed by my younger verbally or physically abusive brother in a fit of his anger in my current life. Do you know how can i break free from the last three parts aside from forgiving the last part? I’d be thankful for it. Thank you
Gratefully Yours,
-Anne

Reply

Jack Wellman January 21, 2018 at 1:03 pm

Hello Anne. First of all, Satan and Lucifer are the same person and not two different persons. Also, we are all saints so the Bible calls us, and has nothing to do with the Catholic Church and the Corinthians verses you cited have nothing to do with Catholics but all believers, Protestant included. I don’t believe we should be praying to dead people in front of idols like Mary or Joseph. The Bible says we must confess our sins to God and not a priest. The Devil will lie to you to end your life but that is a trick that he uses to end people’s earthly ministry. The Devil figures if he can get a Christian to commit suicide, that’s one less witness for Christ. How do you break free from Satan? Is that your question? We are no longer under Satan’s domain like we used to be (2 Cor 4:3-4). Talk to your pastor about this and not a priest. No believer in Jesus Christ can be cursed, ever~ Read this: https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/can-a-christian-have-a-spell-put-on-them-are-generational-curses-biblical/

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Ebrown March 23, 2018 at 10:17 am

Dear Jack,
“Though some churches hesitated over the books of James, Jude, 2 and 3 John, 2 Peter, Hebrews, and Revelation”
What could be the reason for their hesitation.?
Do you think they still have reservations as to the potency and acceptance of those books…?
Why are the Catholics still using the apocrypha?

Reply

Jack Wellman March 23, 2018 at 10:27 am

I don’t know why the Catholic church uses these non-inspired books, so it’s a mystery to me why they use them as the Apocrypha contain both doctrinal and historical errors. Why did some hesitate to include some books in the Bible? They wanted to be 100% sure. That was the reason any of them hesitated…they wanted to be completely sure that they were God’s inspired Word, and they were.

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