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It is written:
2 Timothy 2:15-Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Between the Old and New Testaments, there is a span of about four hundred years. During that time, there were no inspired Prophets in the land of Israel. The Jews acknowledge that their canon of Scripture ended with the last Old Testament Book, Malachi, in roughly 408 B.C. However, there were Jewish books written during that four hundred year period which are known as “the Apocrypha.”
“The Jewish teachers acknowledged that their prophetic line ended in the fourth century B.C. Yet, as even Catholics acknowledge, all apocryphal books were written after this time. Josephus wrote: “From Artaxerxes until our time everything has been recorded, but has not been deemed worthy of like credit with what preceded, because the exact succession of the prophets ceased” (Josephus). Additional rabbinical statements on the cessation of prophecy support this (see Beckwith, 370). Seder Olam Rabbah 30 declares “Until then [the coming of Alexander the Great] the prophets prophesied through the Holy Spirit. From then on, ‘Incline thine ear and hear the words of the wise.’” Baba Bathra 12b declares: “Since the day when the Temple was destroyed, prophecy has been taken from the prophets and given to the wise.” Rabbi Samuel bar Inia said, “The Second Temple lacked five things which the First Temple possessed, namely, the fire, the ark, the Urim and Thummin, the oil of anointing and the Holy Spirit [of prophecy].” Thus, the Jewish fathers (rabbis) acknowledged that the time period during which their Apocrypha was written was not a time when God was giving inspired writings.” (Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia Of Christian Apologetics, 33 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books)
The Apocrypha consists of First Esdras, Second Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom Of Solomon, Wisdom of Jesus Son Of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, Epistle of Jeremiah, Song Of The Three Holy Children, History of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer Of Manasseh, First and Second Maccabees.
The Jews did not accept these books as inspired, yet they obviously recognized them as valuable historical books. We can see this especially when we realize that the New Testament alludes to these books. Here are some examples.
(All Apocrypha references from Gary Michuta, Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger, 37-54 (Kindle Edition); El Cajon, California; Catholic Answers)
Matthew 6:7-And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Sirach 7:14-Do not prattle in the assembly of the elders, nor repeat yourself in your prayer.
Matthew 27:39-43-And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads. 40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, 42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ “
Wisdom 2:17–22 “Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.
Luke 6:31-And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
Tobit 4:15-And what you hate, do not do to anyone.
Luke 14:13-But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.
Tobit 4:7-Give alms from your possessions to all who live uprightly, and do not let your eye begrudge the gift when you make it. Do not turn your face away from any poor man, and the face of God will not be turned away from you.
John 10:22-Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.
1 Maccabees 4:59-Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with gladness and joy for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev.
Romans 9:20-22-But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
Wisdom 15:7-For when a potter kneads the soft earth and laboriously molds each vessel for our service, he fashions out of the same clay both the vessels that serve clean uses and those for contrary uses, making all in like manner; but which shall be the use of each of these the worker in clay decides.
Romans 11:34-FOR WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD? OR WHO HAS BECOME HIS COUNSELOR?”
Wisdom 9:13-For what man can learn the counsel of God? Or who can discern what the Lord wills?
2 Corinthians 9:7-So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Sirach 35:9-With every gift show a cheerful face, and dedicate your tithe with gladness.
Hebrews 1:3-who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Wisdom 7:26-For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness.
Hebrews 11:35-Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
2 Maccabees 7:, 13-14- It happened also that seven brothers and their mother were arrested and were being compelled by the king, under torture with whips and cords, to partake of unlawful swine’s flesh . . . When he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. And when he was near death, he said, “One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life”
2 Corinthians 5:1-9-For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
Wisdom 9:10-18-Send her forth from the holy heavens, and from the throne of your glory send her, that she may be with me and toil, and that I may learn what is pleasing to you. For she knows and understands all things, and she will guide me wisely in my actions and guard me with her glory. Then my works will be acceptable, and I shall judge your people justly, and shall be worthy of the throne of my father. For what man can learn the counsel of God? Or who can discern what the Lord wills? For the reasoning of mortals is worthless, and our designs are likely to fail, for a perishable body weighs down [Greek, barynei] the soul, and this earthy tent [Greek, geõdes skénos] burdens the thoughtful mind. We can hardly guess at what is on earth, and what is at hand we find with labor; but who has traced out what is in the heavens? Who has learned your counsel, unless you have given wisdom and sent your Holy Spirit from on high?
James 1:13-Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
Sirach 15:11-13-Say not: “It was God’s doing that I fell away”; for what he hates he does not do. Say not: “It was he who set me astray”; for he has no need of wicked man. Abominable wickedness the Lord hates, he does not let it befall those who fear him.
James 1:19-So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
Sirach 5:11-Be quick to hear, and be deliberate in answering.
James 3:5-Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
Sirach 28:12-If you blow on a spark, it will glow; if you spit on it, it will be put out; and both come out of your mouth
James 3:6, 10-And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.…Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
Sirach 5:13-Glory and dishonor come from speaking, and a man’s tongue is his downfall.
James 5:3-Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.
Sirach 12:11-Even if he humbles himself and goes about cringing, watch yourself, and be on your guard against him; and you will be to him like one who has polished a mirror, and you will know that it was not hopelessly tarnished.
Sirach 29:9-10-Help a poor man for the commandment’s sake, and because of his need do not send him away empty. Lose your silver for the sake of a brother or a friend, and do not let it rust under a stone and be lost (Sir. 29:9–10).
James 1:13–Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
Sirach 15:11–13-Say not thou, It is through the Lord that I fell away: for thou oughtest not to do the things that he hateth. 12 Say not thou, He hath caused me to err: for he hath no need of the sinful man. 13 The Lord hateth all abomination; and they that fear God love it not.
James 3:5–Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
Sirach 28:12-If thou blow the spark, it shall burn: if thou spit upon it, it shall be quenched: and both these come out of thy mouth.
James 3:6–And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
Sirach 5:13-Honour and shame is in talk: and the tongue of man is his fall.
James 3:10–Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
Sirach 5:13-Honour and shame is in talk: and the tongue of man is his fall.
James 5:3–Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.
Sirach 12:11-Though he humble himself, and go crouching, yet take good heed and beware of him, and thou shalt be unto him as if thou hadst wiped a lookingglass, and thou shalt know that his rust hath not been altogether wiped away.
John 6:35-And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
Sirach 24:19-21-Come to me, you who desire me, and eat your fill of my produce. For my teaching is sweeter than honey, and my inheritance sweeter than the honeycomb, and my remembrance lasts throughout all generations. Those who eat me will hunger for more, and those who drink me will thirst for more
Revelation 8:2-And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.
Tobit 12:15-I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Lord (Tob. 12:15).
Ephesians 6:13-17-Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Wisdom 5:17-20-The Lord will take his zeal as his whole armor, and will arm all Creation to repel his enemies; he will put on righteousness as a breastplate, and wear impartial justice as a helmet; he will take holiness as an invincible shield, and sharpen stern wrath for a sword, and Creation will join with him to fight against the madmen.
Some of these New Testament passages are also quotations from the Old Testament, but there are definite references also to the Apocrypha.
The Bible encourages us to study outside the Bible to better understand what is in the Bible. These books from the Apocrypha contain valuable lessons for us, if we will take time and read and study. As with everything, we use the Bible as the ultimate standard (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.