NEW DOCTRINE OF SOLA SCRIPTURA
THE REMOVAL OF BOOKS FROM SCRIPTURE
Martin Luther introduced a new doctrine, Sola Scriptura, which said that Scripture Alone could be used to define Christian doctrine. The ancient teachings and 1500 years of Church Tradition were discarded as of no value whatsoever.
Luther wanted a bible that agreed totally with his teachings. Luther disliked books in both the Old and New Testaments that disagreed with his teachings, especially the New Testament Book of James, which condemned his teaching on Salvation by Faith Alone, and the Old Testament Book of Maccabees, which advocated Prayer for the Dead. Luther called the Book of James the “Epistle of Straw.”
Concerning the Book of James Luther said, “I will not have him in my Bible in the number of truly principal works.” Luther didn’t dare remove books from the Bible entirely – that was too big a step even for him to take. What he did was to take them out of their accepted places in the Bible, and put them in a separate section, which he termed the Apocrypha. These books, he said, were not inspired by God.
From the Old Testament, Luther removed the Books of Judith, Tobit, 1 Maccabees 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus and Baruch, as well as Esther and part of the Book of Daniel.
From the New Testament, Luther removed the Books of Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation.
Did Luther have the authority to do this?
No Council was held. His fellow Protestants balked at removing books from the New Testament, particularly since there was no other reason for their removal than that they contradicted Luther’s views. The four New Testament Books that Luther had placed in the Apocrypha, were reinserted in future Protestant Bibles, along with most of Esther. If Luther’s views had persisted, Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation would not be in Protestant Bibles.
The seven Old Testament Books, however, remained excluded from Protestant Bibles. Initially the seven Books continued to be placed in a section called the Apocrypha, but since it was cheaper to print bibles without them, the seven books were slowly dropped altogether.
The “apocrypha” is in most early bibles
The original KJV of the Bible includes all “apocryphal” writings. Most early Bibles contain the Apocrypha:
• 1534 Luther’s German translation of the Bible
• 1534 The Coverdale Bible
• 1537 Thomas Matthew Bible
• 1539 The Taverner Bible
• 1541 The “Great” or “Cromwell’s” Bible
• 1551 The “Tyndale/ Matthews” Bible
• 1560 The Geneva Bible
• 1568 The Bishops’ Bible
• 1610 Catholic Old Testament
• 1611 King James Bible
• 1615 King James Version Robert Barker at London, England
• 1625 A King James Version
• 1717 King George 1st, AKA, The “Vinegar Bible”
• 1782 The Aitken Bible
• 1791 The Family Bible
• 1846 The Illuminated Bible
The Apocrypha are also contained in the following:
• The Septuagint (LXX) – Except II Esdras.
• Codex Alexandrinus (A) – Also contains III & IV Maccabees
• Codex Vaticanus – Except I & II Maccabees and The defaulter of Manassah
• Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph)
• Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus – Includes Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus
• Chester Beatty Papyri – Fragments of Ecclesiasticus
• The Dead Sea Scrolls – Some apocryphal writing was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls – interestingly written in Greek.
• Several writings of Church Fathers
Bibles are still available with Apocrypha:
• The Bible: Authorized King James Version with Apocrypha: Published by Oxford University Press
• KJV Standard Reference Edition With Apocrypha: Published by Cambridge Univ Pr (Bibles)
• 1611 Edition: a reprint of the 1611 KJV With Apocrypha, Published by Nelson Bible
• King James Version Lectern Edition: Published by Cambridge Univ Pr (Bibles)
• The Dake Annotated Reference Bible, Standard Edition: King James Version With Apocrypha
The best, oldest, and most complete version of the Jewish Old Testament is The Septuagint, and this includes the so-called “apocryphal” books that Luther deleted.
The Septuagint was translated between 300 and 200 BC for the growing community of Greek speaking Jews who lived in Egypt, Palestine, and around the Mediterranean. The “original” Hebrew text no longer exists. When Bibles claim to be translated from the “Original Hebrew”, they are being somewhat misleading, since the oldest existing Hebrew texts of the Old Testament date back only to around 1000 AD. These are the Masoretic texts used by the Jews of the Diaspora.
The ancient Hebrew manuscripts found at Qumran (The Dead Sea Scrolls), generally agreed more closely with the Septuagint than they do with the current Masoretic Hebrew texts. The Septuagint is thus witness to an older Hebrew manuscript tradition.
The “Apocrypha” Quoted in the New Testament
“Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might find a better resurrection.” This passage in Hebrews is quoting occurrences from the Old Testament, but the only place this is referenced is in 2nd Maccabees 7:1-29. Hebrews 11:35a is found in 1 Kings 17:23 and 2 Kings 4:36.
“They wandered in deserts and mountains.” This is found in 1st Maccabees 2:28-30 and 2nd Maccabees 5:27.
“Now there took place at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication.” The inauguration of this feast is found in 1st Maccabees 4:36 & 52-59 and Jesus participates in this feast.
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.” This is in Sirach 2:18. Jesus is quoting the Apocrypha.
“Is not the potter master of his clay.” Found in The Wisdom of Solomon 15:7.
1 Pet 1:6-7
“Gold which is tried by fire.” See The Wisdom of Solomon 3:5-6.
“For since the creation of the world.” Found in The Wisdom of Solomon 13:1-7.
Matthew 7:12 & Luke 6:31
“All that you wish men to do to you, even so do you also to them.” Extension of Tobias 4:15.
Luke 25 35-36
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I needed clothes and you clothed me.” Based on Tobias 4:16.
“And the material of its wall was jasper; but the city itself was pure gold, like pure glass.” See Tobias 13.
“Then the just will shine forth.” Found in The Wisdom of Solomon 3:7.
“If He is the King of Israel, let Him come down now from the cross.” The Wisdom of Solomon 2:18-20.
“Two men stood by them in dazzling raiment.” Found in 2nd Maccabees 3:26.
“How inscrutable are His judgments and how unsearchable are His ways.” Found in Judith 8:14.
1st Corinthians 10:20
“They sacrifice to demons, not to God.” Found in Baruch 4:7.
“Behold, the Lord came with many of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” Found in Enoch 1:9.
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