Bible Question:

What are the additional books of the Bible in the Catholic religion? And why are they not in the Bible?

Bible Answer:

There are three types or categories of sacred books for Christians. The first set of books is accepted by all of Christianity as being written by God and they are included in the Bible. The others are called the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. Both the Old and New Testament have an Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.

Old Testament – Apocrypha

The Greek meaning of Apocrypha is “hidden” or “esoteric.” The Apocrypha is a set of fourteen books that the Roman Catholic Church accepts as being inspired by God. However, the rest of Christianity and the Jewish rabbis do not accept these as sacred books. It is interesting to note that they were included in the original King James Version Bible published in 1611 and in Martin Luther’s German version, due to their antiquity and background information. They were part of the Septuagint Greek version of the Old Testament but not the Hebrew version.

These books were written after 200 B.C. (long after Malachi) or during the intertestemental period and before A.D. 100. There are two major reasons for not accepting these books as being the Word of God. The first and most important one is that neither Jesus nor the apostles ever directly quoted from them or treated them as the Word of God. The second reason is that Josephus, the noted Jewish historian, excluded the Apocrypha from the Old Testament books. His ancient testimony tells us the prophets did not accept these books as inspired either. Jesus and the apostles referred to and directly quoted from only the Old Testament. None of the early church fathers and none of the ancient church councils accepted the Apocrypha as inspired by God.

Old Testament – Pseudepigrapha

The Pseudepigrapha is a group of books that are rejected by all as uninspired. These books usually include dreams, visions, magic, and some fanciful ideas. Here is a list of the books in the Old Testament Apocrypha and a partial list of the Pseudepigrapha.

Old Testament ApocryphaOld Testament Pseudepigrapha (partial list)
1st EsdrasApocalypse of Abraham
2nd EsdrasApocalypse of Adam
TobitApocalypse of Elijah
JudithAssumption of Moses
Additions to Esther2,3 and 4 Baruch
The Wisdom of Solomon1, 2 and 3 Enoch
EcclesiasticusEsdras
BaruchFragment of Zadokite Work
The Song of the Three Holy ChildrenBook of Jubilees
The History of SuzannaLetter of Aristeas
Bel and the DragonLife of Adam and Eve
The Prayer of Manasseh3 and 4 Maccabees
1 MaccabeesMartyrdom of Isaiah
2 MaccabeesPirke Aboth
Psalm of Solomon
Psalm 51
Sibylline Oracle
Story of Ahikar
Testament of Adam
Testament of Twelve Patriarchs

New Testament – Apocrypha

Here is a list of the books in the New Testament Apocrypha and a partial list of the Pseudepigrapha.

New Testament ApocryphaNew Testament Pseudepigrapha (partial list)
Acts of Paul and TheclaActs of Andrew
Apocalypse of PeterActs of John
Epistle of Pseudo-BarnabasActs of Paul
Epistle to Polycarp to the PhilippiansActs of Peter
Epistle to the CorinthiansActs of Thomas
Epistle to the LaodiceansApocalypse of Peter
Didache, Teaching of the TwelveApocalypse of Paul
Gospel According to the HebrewsApocalypse of Stephen
Second Epistle of ClementAssumption of Thomas
Seven Epistles of IgnatiusGospel of the Egyptians
Shepherd of HermasGospel of the Nicodemus
Gospel of Peter
Gospel of Thomas
Gospel of the Twelve
Gospel of the Childhood
Gospel of the Nativity of Mary
Gospel of the Psuedo-Matthew
Gospel of Joseph the Carpenter
Epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans
Letter Attributed to Our Lord
Letter of Paul to Seneca
Lost Epistle to the Corinthians
History of Joseph the Carpenter
The Passing of Mary

Apocrypha

The New Testament Apocrypha is a group of books, just like the Old Testament Apocrypha, that some in Christianity accept as inspired but most do not. The Shepherd of Hermas and the Didache are among the most popular. The Didache claims to be the teaching of the twelve apostles.

Pseudepigrapha

Just like the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, the New Testament Pseudepigrapha is a group of books that are rejected by all. Among the most interesting are the Gospel of the Childhood, Gospel of the Nativity of Mary, Gospel of the Psuedo-Matthew, History of Joseph the Carpenter, Acts of Thomas, and the Letter Attributed to Our Lord. These books were written by Gnostics and other religious/cultic writers.

Conclusion:

The apocryphas are valuable to us as historical information. The Maccabees and the Didache are great examples of this. But the apocryphas should not be considered equal to the God of Word. The pseudepigraphas are interesting reading, but they are rejected by all as inspired by God.