Fearing the Apocrypha
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz
A favorite objection to the King James Bible is its inclusion of the Apocrypha in its printings well into the 19th century. By the Apocrypha we mean 14 books which Protestants and Baptists often find historically interesting but by no means do they find them to be part of the canon of scripture. The Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox churches accept them as part of the bible itself.
Yes, the King James Bible did include the Apocrypha in its printing and the translators took great care to translate those 14 books. Knowing the fables and partially accurate histories of the Apocrypha were considered essential to a well rounded education in 1611 and well into the next two centuries. Because of the general shallowness of a bible college education today, ministers who seek to encourage the use of modern bibles often use the inclusion of the Apocrypha in the 1611 as an excuse to discourage people from using the King James Bible.
What does the word "apocrypha" mean? The very term "Apocrypha" is a slap in the face to the Roman Catholic Bible. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines the word Apocrypha as: Of unknown authorship; not authentic, spurious; uncanonical. To be apocryphal is defined as: Of doubtful authenticity; spurious, fictitious, false; fabulous, mythical. By labeling those 14 books as "The Apocrypha", the King James Translators defied the Council of Trent and the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.
At the Council of Trent (1546) the Roman Church labeled those books as "Deuterocanonical". In the OED Deuterocanonical means: Of, pertaining to, or constituting a second or secondary canon: opposed to protocanonical.
Applied historically to those books of the Scripture Canon as defined by the Council of Trent which are regarded by Roman Catholic divines as constituting a second Canon, accepted later than the first, but now of equal authority.
Bible publishers have a long history of including various helps between the covers of their bibles. We find timelines, dictionaries, concordances and for the first two centuries of the printing of the King James Bible we could often find the Apocrypha. It was labeled as "Apocrypha". Its very label instructed the reader that the books therein were "of unknown authorship; not authentic, spurious; uncanonical".
Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge, Proverbs 19:27. As the bible colleges and seminaries churn out an unceasing train of poorly educated twits and foist them on an unsuspecting public as preachers, it becomes more and more important for bible believers to find sources of history and bible which go deeper than the silliness which passes for education today.