Bible critics have long accused the Bible of being a book developed through politics and through selfish agendas of men. Are these claims true? Critics also charge that early Christians were aggressive in making sure certain writings were included in the Bible and that other writings, which they did not personally like, were excluded. Are there some teachings that were omitted? Are there books that have been lost? Join Denny Petrillo (Ph.D.) as he discusses various Bible references in light of these claims.
Are there lost books of the Bible?
Bible critics have long accused the Bible of being a book developed through politics
and through selfish agendas of men.
They charge that the early Christians were aggressive in making sure
that certain writings were included in the Bible and that other writings
which they did not personally like, were excluded.
Even the Book of Mormon claims that portions of the Bible were maliciously omitted.
In the writing called 1 Nephi 13:28 it says,
“Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through
the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things
taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.”
Are there some teachings that were omitted?
Are there books that have been lost or purposely omitted?
It is a fact that the Bible refers to various writings.
Consider these examples:
In Numbers 21:14 it says: “Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the LORD…”
Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18 both make reference to the Book of Jasher.
Joshua 10:13: “So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
till the people had revenge, upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher?”
Second Samuel 1:18: “And he told them to teach the children of Judah the Song of the Bow;
indeed it is written in the Book of Jasher.”
First Kings 11:41 mentions the book of the acts of Solomon:
“Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, all that he did, and his wisdom,
are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?”
There are other examples. There’s a reference to the book
of Samuel the Seer, the book of Gad the Seer in 1 Chronicles 29:29.
The book of Nathan the Prophet and the prophecy of Ahija in 2 Chronicles 9:29.
We’ve got the visions if Iddo the Seer
and the book of Shemaiah the prophet in 2 Chronicles 12:15 and 13:22;
and the Book of Jehu in 2 Chronicles 20:34;
and the sayings of the seers in 2 Chronicles 33:19.
Some jump to conclusions regarding these books, claiming that they should be a part of the Bible.
They’ll argue that if the Bible makes reference to them, then they must have been inspired.
But consider these points:
First, it is possible that these passages
are referring to books that we already have in our Bible.
It certainly is conceivable that some of them are in reference to existing books,
like Chronicles and Kings.
Second, it’s possible that these were smaller books that later were added to the present
books that we have in the Bible.
In such a case they were not lost at all.
Third, it’s important to remember that the people of God collected the inspired writings
of recognized prophets of God.
The books that became a part of the Old Testament were the very books God’s people collected.
The New Testament also makes reference to books and writings that can sometimes be confusing.
First, we have the apostle Paul making reference to the
Egyptian magicians that confronted Moses in 2 Timothy 3:8.
The book of Exodus nowhere names these two magicians.
However, we know that they are named in two Jewish writings–the Targum of Jonathan 7:2–
which is commenting on Exodus 7:11– and the Babylonian Talmud–Menahoth 85a.
And then there’s one pagan writing, that work of Pliny in his Natural History 30.1.1.
The fact that these works recorded accurate history
does not automatically make them inspired writings.
Instead, this shows that there were some extra-biblical writings
that actually got some facts right.
Second, Paul quotes from Epimenides–
a Cretan poet of the 6th century B.C. –in Titus 1:12.
Epimenides said of his own people, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”
Eipmenides was accurate in his assessment of the Cretans.
However, this doesn’t make what he said inspired.
One might say, “But Paul calls him a prophet!”
It’s important to remember that the word prophet can simply refer to a spokesman.
In this case Epimenides made a prediction that proved to be accurate.
That does not mean that he was a prophet inspired of God,
as we learn in Deuteronomy 18:20.
And then third, in Jude 14-15, Paul quotes from an intertestamental writing
by the name of 1 Enoch–1 Enoch 1:9.
As with Epimenides, Paul says that he prophesied.
The United Bible Society Handbook says: “The word prophesied here means predicted,
or foretold, or said beforehand that something would happen.”
The language does not require that Paul considered this writer to be inspired,
but that he did accurately predict something that would come true.
Fourth, in all of these various books, the word ‘graphe’ is never applied to them.
This is the Greek word that is translated ‘scripture’ in 2 Timothy 3:16.
It is a specialized word that refers specifically to Holy writings.
The fact that none of these writings, either those books from the Old Testament,
nor any of these in the New Testament are regarded as ‘Scripture’ shows that the early Christians
saw them as important, and even saw them as valuable in both history and teaching.
However, they did not see them as inspired.
I specifically did not address the Apocrypha or the Deuterocanonical books
that are found in Catholic Bibles.
For a thorough study of those books, I would encourage you to watch a video
produced by Don Blackwell entitled:
“The Truth About the Apocrypha and the Lost Books of the Bible.”
It is available to watch for free at the website www.WVBS.org.
Despite the claims of Bible critics, we should have complete confidence
that there are no lost books.
What we have in the Bible is exactly what God wanted us to have.
Plus, what we have in the Bible provides all that we need to know to be pleasing to God
and to prepare ourselves for the Day of Judgment.
Second Peter 1:3 says,
“As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.”
We have in the 66 books of the Bible all we need.
Now it is up to us to study and apply these inspired teachings.