Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Too Much Poetry”

Categories: DOCTRINE, EASTERN ORTHODOX, OLD TESTAMENT, RELIGIONS
     Should the 151st psalm have been included in our Bible?

Sincerely,
Plus On

Dear Plus One,

Psalm “151” is a title given to a psalm that is accepted by the Eastern Orthodox Church as part of the Bible, but that is about it.  Even the Jews consider it to be apocryphal.  An apocryphal book (‘apocrypha’ means ‘hidden’) is a book that was rejected from the Bible because it was considered inauthentic. These books are not written by God and never were accepted by God’s people as divinely inspired.  Some apocryphal books (such as the aforementioned Psalm) were included in the Septuagint, which confuses people at times, but even though some apocryphal books were included in the Septuagint, they were never considered God-breathed Scripture.  Printed Bibles include maps, commentaries, and footnotes… and yet, we don’t consider those things to be Scripture; in the same way, the Septuagint included apocryphal books that were never viewed as the Word of God.

It is well documented that Jews didn’t consider the apocryphal books to be authored by God.  Josephus, a venerated Jewish historian, specifically stated that the apocryphal books weren’t from God in his writing Against Apion.  The Manual of Discipline in the Dead Sea Scrolls stated that the Apocrypha wasn’t inspired.  To further prove the point, the Apocrypha itself says that it isn’t Scripture!  The apocryphal book, 2 Maccabees, specifically says that it isn’t inspired by God in 15:38-39, and the author apologizes for any inaccurate information he might have provided.  Though the apocryphal books are unique historical accounts, they are never quoted in the New Testament, and they were never accepted by the church or the Jewish community as divinely inspired text.  That is exactly why it isn’t necessary that they be included in modern translations of the Bible – they aren’t Bible, just secular history.