Ask Your Preacher
Should the 151st psalm have been included in our Bible?
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.
The Bible says in the old times men had two or three wives. How can that be true because of the Ten Commandments?
Dear Two Many,
The Ten Commandments, which are found in Ex. 20:1-17, never address the issue of polygamy and polygamy was part of life in the Old Testament. The New Testament teaches that Christians should honor God through monogamy (1 Cor 7:1-2, 1 Tim 3:2). There are scores of examples of monogamy being God’s preference for man:
- Adam & Eve were designed monogamously (Gen. 2:24).
- No polygamy existed until 7 generations after Adam (Gen 4:19).
- Noah, the last righteous man of his day, had only one wife (Gen 7:13).
- Qualification for an elder (Tit 1:6)
- Qualification for a deacon (1 Tim 3:12)
- Qualification for a worthy widow (1 Tim 5:9)
- Every New Testament command for a husband or wife assumes monogamy in the commandments (Mk 10:12, 1 Cor 7:3, Eph 5:33, etc.).
- The comparison of Christ and the church to a husband and wife relies on a monogamous design for marriage (Eph 5:22-23).
In the Old Testament, what did they believe would happen when they died? Did they go to heaven, or was there some other view?
What About Them?
Dear What About Them?,
The faithful of the Old Testament believed in heaven just as much as the faithful in the New Testament do. In Job 14:14, Job stated that when he died, he would change. King David, had a son die in infancy, and David said that he would see his son again on the other side of death (2 Sam 12:23). Heb 11:16 says that the faithful of the Old Testament sought a heavenly country. The Old Testament doesn’t talk a lot about heaven, but it says enough to show us that they believed in it and anxiously awaited it.
In Isaiah 40:18, 40:25, and 46:5, when God says, “To whom will you compare Me? Or who is My equal?”, is He referring to idols or humans themselves who think they are or have the likeness of God?
Dear Without Comparison,
Isaiah 40 and Isaiah 46 are both dealing with idolatry, a rampant problem in Isaiah’s time. If you look at the surrounding verses (such as Isa 46:6 and Isa 40:20), God mocks the man who makes an idol out of gold or wood and then worships what he has created with his own hands. God is not made with hands and doesn’t need us to build Him or create Him (Acts 19:26). Isaiah is ridiculing the idols and showing how foolish it is to worship them.
Isaiah 43:27, Romans 5:12, 14, and 19 all say that sin started with Adam. But 1 Timothy 2:14 seems to say that Eve started it first. So who is to blame?
Is It Her Fault?
Dear Is It Her Fault,
Well, if you asked Adam and Eve, it was the other one (Gen 3:11-13). Though Eve was the first to eat of the fruit (Gen 3:6), Adam was the patriarch and the first created human. Rom 5:12-19 is simply saying that from the generation of Adam until the days of Christ, sin reigned. The sins of Adam and Eve were so tied together that you might as well say that they sinned at the same time. Like two robbers in the same heist – their sins are intertwined.