The group of Books, which numbered about 14, and referred to as the “Apocrypha” is believed to be spurious, or at least non-Canonical. Eleven of these Apocryphal Books have been accepted by the Catholic Church, included in the Roman Catholic Canon and placed in the “Douay Version” of the Bible.
Why were these Books not considered inspired or Canonical by the rest of the Church? Some of the reasons relate specifically to the Old Testament, some to the New Testament.
• As far as the Old Testament was concerned, these particular Books were not included in the Hebrew Canon of Scripture.
• The Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, nor any other writer in the New Testament ever quoted from these writings. Yet they quoted frequently in the New Testament from the Books that were included in the Hebrew Canon of Scripture.
• Josephus, the Hebrew historian, expressly excluded these as “false writings.”
• None of the Apocryphal books claimed Divine Inspiration.
• The Apocryphal have historical, geographical, and chronological errors.
• As literature, they are considered to be myth and legend.
• Their spiritual and even moral stance is generally far below both the Old and the New Testaments.
• Most of these books were written much later than the Books that were considered to be authoritative and inspired.
Satan has done everything within his power to hinder, destroy, dilute, and outright do away with the Word of Almighty God. But through the Power of God, the Bible as we have it today — all 66 Books, both Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation — is the Word of God. Nothing else can be added to it.
When any person or any Church claims that other writings, other books, other so-called inspirations should be included in the Canon of Scripture, we can be sure that the Evil One has been at work. Paul put it aptly when he said,
“Though we, or an Angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9).
Some so-called scholars have said that the Bible is filled with historical, chronological, and doctrinal contradictions. But a close examination of their objections reveals that the problem lies, not with the Bible, but with our limited perspective.
CONTRADICTORY PASSAGES EXPLAINED
For instance, there are several seemingly contradictory Passages about what happens when men gaze upon the Face of God, etc. St. John 1:18 says, “No man has seen God at any time” and Exodus 33:20 says, “And God said, You cannot see My Face: for there shall no man see Me, and live.” Yet, in Genesis 32:30 it says, “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face.” Further, Exodus 33:11 says, “And the LORD spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaks unto his friend.” Which is correct?
What most of us fail to realize is that the word “seen” or “see” also means “to comprehend” or “to understand.” So, the Verse in St. John does not contradict the Verses in Genesis and Exodus at all. What John was saying was that no man has ever comprehended or understood everything about God — not at any time. We use the same kind of terminology in our conversations today. For instance, we will explain something to someone and then say, “Do you see?” But we don’t really mean “see,” as to look with the natural eye. We simply mean, “Do you understand? Do you comprehend?” So there is clearly no contradiction here.
Another quote of inconsistency, so-called, along this line appears in Exodus 3:20 where God says “No man can see My Face and live.” Yet Genesis 32:30 says that Jacob saw God face-to-face. Again what must be understood is that God was not talking about appearance only. He was not talking about Moses looking upon His Face, as we would look upon someone’s face. The word, “see” in Exodus 3:20 pertains to more than outward features. Here God was talking about His Glory, because He said in Exodus 33:22, “And it shall come to pass while My Glory passes by, that I . . . will cover you with My Hand.” Moses wanted not just to see God’s Face, but to see it in His usual Glory — in the Light in which He dwelt — which no man has seen or can see (I Tim. 6:16). Actually, God has appeared a number of times, according to the Word of God, and they did look upon His Face. They did not, however, behold His Glory.
ANOTHER WORD EXPLAINED
Another apparent contradiction that scholars wrestle over concerns Jesus’ warning against calling anyone a fool. In Matthew 5:22, Jesus said that if a person called another a fool, he would be in danger of Hellfire. Yet, Jesus Himself repeatedly called people fools in Matthew and in Luke. In Matthew, Chapter 5, where Jesus forbade the use of that kind of accusation, the Greek word translated fool is “moros,” which means a wicked reprobate, destitute of all spirituality. This, in effect, consigned a person to Hell. No one but God has the right to pass that kind of judgment. But, in Luke, Chapter 11, as well as in Matthew, Chapter 23, the word “fool” in the Greek is a totally different word — “aphron” — which means “senseless ones without reason; foolish; stupid; acting without intelligence,” so I think it’s fairly obvious that Jesus was not saying the same in Matthew, Chapter 5 as He was in Matthew, Chapter 23 and Luke, Chapter 11.
Our English word “fool” was used in each instance, but it meant two different things altogether in the Greek. The problem then comes with the translation from one language to another. Often the only way to resolve these complex difficulties is to study the Text of Scripture in the original Greek and Hebrew languages. We may have trouble understanding the context of a Passage or a translator may have been imperfect in his choice of words, but the Bible itself is error-free.
THREE SUCCESSIVE STEPS AS IT REGARDS PROPERLY UNDERSTANDING THE WORD OF GOD
2. Inspiration; and,
We’ll look at “revelation” first of all!
“But as it is written (Isa. 64:4), Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them who love Him” (I Cor. 2:9).
The first step in the transmission of Truth from the Heart of God to the heart of the Believer is “Revelation,” the Act of God the Holy Spirit uncovering the things in the Heart of God to the Bible writers, thus imparting the Truth of Scripture to them.
Paul explains that the Bible did not come by way of scientific investigation and human reason, because it could not come that way, but that it came in another way, by Revelation. He further said,
“But God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (I Cor. 2:10).
The word “revealed” is the translation of a Greek word which means “to uncover, to lay open what has been veiled or covered up.”
The word “us” in Verse 10 pertains to both the writers of Holy Scripture, and, as well, to whom they were writing.
The Apostle continues by saying, “For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God” (I Cor. 2:11).
Paul is actually saying in his explanation that while it may be possible for us as human beings to know and understand some things about our fellowman, and even that is very limited, by that same means we cannot know nor understand God in any manner. What we are to know about God and His Word can only be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. In fact, it can come no other way, even as the Holy Spirit here through Paul tells us. So, to attempt to understand God by natural means, simply cannot be done; however, when we come to “illumination” the Holy Spirit will then inform us through the Word as to how the Lord actually does reveal Himself to us.
The Apostle now says, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (I Cor. 2:13).
Paul now tells us exactly as to how the Word of God was given by God to man, how it was received, and how it was written down.
The Apostle tells us that the Word of God, as it was given to the writers who served as instruments, was what they were given and what they wrote down and not words taught by human wisdom. That is, the words which the Bible writers used were not dictated by their human reason or wisdom. In other words, none of the Bible writers embellished at all what God gave them to give to the world.
Paul plainly tells us that the way the Word of God was given was “but in words taught by the Spirit.” He says that the words which the Bible writers used were taught them by the Holy Spirit.
It means that the Holy Spirit searched through the vocabulary of the writer, choosing the correct word, which content of meaning will give to the Believer the exact Truth God desires us to have. This, however, does not imply mechanical dictation or something different from the writer’s own personality. The idea is, the Holy Spirit took the writers as He found them and used them infallibly.
That’s the reason that every single Word of God is important, meaning as we have related in this article, that a word-for-word translation of the Bible is an absolute necessity. These books that claim to be Bibles, which give a thought for thought translation, which fill the land presently, are not Bibles at all, but only religious books and, in fact, will do no one any good whatsoever, but rather great harm.
When Paul used the phrase, “comparing spiritual things with spiritual,” this tells us as to exactly how the Holy Spirit gave the Divine Text, and how it was inspired. The word “comparing” means “to judge,” or better yet, “to judge with.” It speaks of the action of judging something with something else.
In other words, somewhat like a computer that would search for the word, the Holy Spirit would search for the right word to be used in every sentence, which came from the writer’s vocabulary. Thus, the Holy Spirit allowed the writers the free play of their personalities, vocabulary, and training, while at the same time guiding them to make an infallible record of truth infallibly revealed.
We now come to this part, which is also very important, namely the Act of God, the Holy Spirit, enabling the Believer to understand the Truth written down given by “Revelation” and by “Inspiration.” Paul says, “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14).
The word “natural” as the Holy Spirit used it through Paul, describes the unregenerate man at his best, meaning very educated. No matter, as to how educated he might be, he simply by that means cannot understand the Word of God. So, the natural man here spoken of is the educated man at the height of his intellectual powers, but devoid of the Spirit of God. Actually, the things of the Lord are but “foolishness” unto such a man, Paul says!
“But he who is Spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man” (I Cor. 2:15).
The word “judgeth” is the translation of a Greek word rendered “discerns.”
Continuing with our explanation of “Illumination,” we understand from the Word of God that it was to Paul that the Revelation, i.e., the meaning of the New Covenant was given. In fact, the entirety of the New Covenant is wrapped up in the Cross of Christ (I Cor. 1:17-18, 23; 2:2). If we study Paul at all, we have to come to the conclusion that the Jew from Tarsus preached the Cross. Understanding this, we must come to the conclusion that unless one properly understands the Cross of Christ as it regards both Salvation and Sanctification, then one cannot truly understand the Word of God as one should. Considering that the Cross of Christ is the foundation of all that we know and understand as it regards the Plan of God, then we find that this is the key that unlocks the door.
THE CROSS OF CHRIST
I think one could probably say, and without fear of Scriptural contradiction, that all error, all false doctrine, stems from an improper understanding, or an ignoring, or an outright denial of the Message of the Cross.
MATURITY AND THE CROSS OF CHRIST
Maturity in the Lord, in His Word, is dependent solely on a proper understanding of the Cross of Christ. That’s the reason that Paul further said:
“And I, Brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom (means that he depended not on oratorical abilities, nor did he delve into philosophy, which was all the rage of that particular day), declaring unto you the Testimony of God (which is Christ and Him Crucified).
“For I determined not to know any thing among you (with purpose and design, Paul did not resort to the knowledge or philosophy of the world regarding the Preaching of the Gospel), save Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified (that and that alone is the Message which will save the sinner, set the captive free, and give the Believer perpetual victory)” (I Cor. 2:1-2).
We must understand that the Lord desires, and does so strongly, that we understand His Word. He hasn’t made it hard or difficult; however, if we ignore His Way, which is the Way of the Cross, our understanding will be most unfruitful, or even harmful!
“For the preaching (Word) of the Cross is to them who perish foolishness; but unto us who are Saved it is the Power of God” (I Cor. 1:18).
“Your Word is a Lamp unto my feet, and a Light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105).
The only “Lamp” in the world that produces “true Spiritual Light” is the Bible. It is the road map for life, and the blueprint for eternity, and it is the only road map for life and the only blueprint for eternity.
(This message was derived from the book, “Brother Swaggart, How Can I Understand The Bible?”)