Did Jesus or The New Testament Authors Quote from The Apocryphal Books?

TLDR Video Short Summary

Did Jesus or the NT Authors Quote from the Apocrypha Video Link

Update: This article was not intended to be a full-throated defense of the canonization of the apocryphal books because I do not personally believe that the entire collection should be canonized. However, due to the content of this post and the reason why most people are reading this, I will be addressing canonicity in the conclusion of this article.

I also want to address the fact that I have spent the bulk of my education (and post-education) focusing on the Old Testament (OT). I am no expert on 2nd temple literature or rabbinic Judaism. However, both topics will eventually be touched on in this article. Moreover, the reader needs to know that some parts of this revised post will be addressing points that were generously raised by Dr. deSilva, who is a premier scholar in this field. I admit that someone in my position is drastically under-studied in comparison. Nevertheless, I hope to bring to the discussion some points that are rarely considered.

It’s often said that the the Apocryphal books are non-canonical because they are not recognized by or quoted by the New Testament (NT) authors or by Jesus. The problem with this claim is that it’s based on ignorance. When I say ignorance I do not mean that the person ignorant but that the statement is founded on a lack of information. The New Testament makes repeated use of the apocryphal books and the theology therein. However, it must be noted that the word “quote” is used here loosely.

Normally, we think of a quotation as being somewhat lengthy or at least a few full sentences. Normally I would agree with this sentiment. However, I think the NT authors have set the precedent much lower. For example, would anyone not say that Jesus quoted from Psalm 22 while on the cross (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)? It’s a mere single phrase yet no one would deny that Jesus quoted the Psalm. If I said “four score and seven years ago” or “I have a dream“, would one not recognize that I am quoting something that is known? Is it necesary to quote the whole portion? I will expand on this notion in the conclusion of this article. I only bring this up here because I do not believe that length is a necessary parameter for qualification of a quote being a quote.

Most people probably won’t recognize quotes from the Apocrypha so it’s easy to make the claim that the NT does not quote from it. But the NT and Jesus both quote the Apocryphal books; even if they are short or glancing quotes. I will list the quotes below. I also want to list places where NT theology is completely dependent on ideas from the Apocryphal writings, due to the fact that the OT is silent on them. I have written on this matter recently in an article called “Influence of The Apocrypha on New Testament Theology“. One example is the giving of Alms which developed during the exilic period.

The second claim for non-canonicity is that the Apocryphal works contain errors and contradictions. Judith clearly has a problem with historicity, although, I contend that it was not actually attempting to be completely historical. Nevertheless, this really isn’t a barrier for educated Christians or for academics since even a light reading of the OT will supply the reader with any number of historical and scientific falsehoods. Moreover, the OT often tells the same story twice (in the historical books) but with contradictory information. I won’t be addressing this matter in any length during this post but I invite the reader to explore this matter more by reading a previous post, Is The Bible Inerrant?.

Finally, it should also be noted that the NT authors leaned heavily on the Greek Septuagint which contained the apocryphal books (as far as we are aware). The NT authors more often than note quote the OT from the Greek and not the Hebrew. The Septuagint, often had drastically different passages than what was in the original Hebrew. Job had nearly a 3rd of the book condensed in the Greek version which was used by the early church. Job was also given an additional ending. It must be recognized that the OT canon was still in flux during the time of the Apostles and the early church. More on this will be addressed at the end of this article.

With that brief (but growing) introduction out of the way. Read below for a demonstration of how the apocryphal books were used by the NT writers. Some more convincing that others. Not all are apparently connected but I wanted to include them for the sake of not missing anything. The list below is not ordered by best/worst but by NT book order. You have to read the whole list to understand the points being made. Just reading the first few won’t give a full picture.

Apocryphal Quotes and References in the New Testament

Matthew 6:19-20 – “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
James 5:3 – Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.
Sirach 29:10-11 – Lose your silver for the sake of a brother or a friend, and do not let it rust under a stone and be lost. Lay up your treasure according to the commandments of the Most High, and it will profit you more than gold.
(There is no known OT passage that comes close to Sirach. This is partly due to the fact that there is no concept of heaven in the OT. The Christian concepts of heaven and hell come during the intertestamental period and are found in the Apocrypha, Enoch, and many similar books like the Testament of Levi.)

Matthew 7:16,20 – “you will know them by their fruits”
Sirach 27:6 – Its fruit discloses the cultivation of a tree.
(This is a glancing reference but nothing like it appears in the OT.)

Matthew 16:18 – “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”
Wisdom 16:13 – For you have power over life and death; you lead mortals down to the gates of Hades and back again.
(It should be mentioned that the Hebrew references to the gates of Sheol in Job 38:17 and Isaiah 38:10 is translated to “gates of Hades” in the Septuagint. The Hebrew OT nowhere uses the phrase “gates of Hades” because it’s a Greek. Hades and Sheol were not the same thing.)

Matthew 27:43 – if He is God’s Son, let God deliver him from His adversaries.
Wisdom 2:18 – if the righteous man is God’s child, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.
(This passage speaks for itself. Where did Jesus’ crucifiers get such an idea if it does not show up in the OT? The Greek wording between Matthew and Wisdom is strikingly similar.)

Luke 1:52 – He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
Sirach 10:14 – The Lord overthrows the thrones of rulers, and enthrones the lowly in their place.
(This one has no exact match in the OT but is certainly a common idea.)

John 6:35-59 – Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Sirach 24:21 – Those who eat of me (wisdom) will hunger for more, and those who drink of me will thirst for more.
(This is not a quote but an intentional play on ideas. The only OT passage that comes close is Isaiah 55:1-3 and 49:10. It is possible that Jesus was referencing a common idea that coincidentally shows up in Sirach too.)

John 10:22 – At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter …. (festival not in OT)
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 dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev.
(This festival does not appear in the OT at all. It is called Hanukkah today but it did not exist before the period of the Maccabees. The oldest known text documenting this feast is from the Apocrypha.)

Acts 1:7 – He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.
1 Thessalonians 5:1 – Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you.
Wisdom 8:8 – she (wisdom) has foreknowledge of signs and wonders and of the outcome of seasons and times.
(There is little doubt that “times and seasons” is a generic phrase that shows up Daniel 2:21. Daniel was the only book of the OT to contain similar eschatology to that of the Apocrypha because they were written in a similar time period. In fact, the apocrypha contains additions to Daniel that are not in the Masoretic Text because the book was still being expanded during the Aramaic period of the post-exile. This accounts for the use of Aramaic in roughly half of Daniel. Moreover, the “times and seasons” of Daniel is referring to literal times and seasons in the calendar sense, whereas the other passages referenced are speaking metaphorically about prophetic happenings.)

Romans 9:21
Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use?
Wisdom 15:7
A potter kneads the soft earth
and laboriously molds each vessel for our service,
fashioning out of the same clay
both the vessels that serve clean uses
and those for contrary uses, making all alike;
but which shall be the use of each of them
the worker in clay decides.
(There simply is not an OT counterpart for Romans 9:21. This is clearly a reference to Wisdom)

Ephesians 6:13-17
Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 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 his frenzied foes.
(While it would be a stretch to say Paul was quoting from Wisdom, there is little doubt that Paul is using a shared imagery that, in it’s combined format, only appears in the Apocrypha. As rightly pointed out in the comments, Isaiah does used some similar phrases, but only in Wisdom do we see the imagery of a completed set of armor and it’s elements.)

Hebrews 11:5 – For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.”
Wisdom 4:10 – There were some who pleased God and were loved by him, and while living among sinners were taken up.
Sirach 44:16 – Enoch pleased the Lord and was taken up, an example of repentance to all generations.
(Enoch was an enormous figure to the messianic movement. The fact that he appears in the Apocrypha numerous times and the book in his name is quoted by James (the brother of Jesus) means that we have to account for his popularity in some way. His mention in the OT is so brief that one could hardly believe that Hebrew 11:5 is referencing any OT passage concerning Enoch. Furthermore, the Greek wording in all 3 passages is identical. The phrase “please the Lord” is never spoken about Enoch in the OT. Moreover, the author of Hebrews indicates that something was written and “attesting” to Enoch pleasing God. If not the OT what else could it be?)

Hebrews 11:35 – Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection.
2 Maccabees 7:13-14 – After he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. 14 When he was near death, he said, “One cannot but choose to die at the hands of mortals and to cherish the hope God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!”
(The “Hall of Faith” discourse in Hebrews clearly references the martyrdom of the 7 brothers in 2 Maccabees. A full reading of chapter 7 in 1 Maccabees is recommended.)

Revelation 1:4 – Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne.
Tobit 12:15 – “I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand ready and enter before the glory of the Lord.”
(It is incredibly important to understand that angelology was not a feature in the OT. Named angels only show up the book of Daniel, which I will reiterate, was written contemporaneously with the Apocrypha and therefore they share some ideas. However, the name of the many angels and “angelology” was something that was highly detailed in the Apocrypha and similar works and is a main feature in the NT. For sure the NT  authors got these ideas from somewhere and it was not the OT.)

Revelation 8:3-4 – And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.
Tobit 12:12,15 – So now when you and Sarah prayed, it was I (the angel Raphael) who brought and read the record of your prayer before the glory of the Lord, and likewise whenever you would bury the dead.
(The idea that angels carried the prayers to God does not appear in the OT. Nothing even close. In the OT prayers are said to have risen up to God so that he can hear them.)

Themes, Allusions, and Theology Found in the Apocrypha and the NT but Not the OT

Matthew 23:37 – Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
2 Esdras 1:30 – I gathered you as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But now, what shall I do to you? I will cast you out from my presence.

Matthew 22:25; Mark 12:20; Luke 20:29 – Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; ……..
Tobit 3:8 – For she had been married to seven husbands, and the wicked demon Asmodeus had killed each of them …
Tobit 7:11 – I have given her to seven men of our kinsmen, and all died on the night when they went in to her ….

Mark 4:5,16-17 – Jesus’ description of seeds falling on rocky ground and having no root follows.
Sirach 40:15 – The children of the ungodly put out few branches; they are unhealthy roots on sheer rock.

Revelation 8:7 – The first angel blew his trumpet, and there came hail and fire
Wisdom 16:22 – Snow and ice withstood fire without melting, so that they might know that the crops of their enemies were being destroyed…
Sirach 39:29 – Fire and hail and famine and pestilence, all these have been created for vengeance;

Revelation 21:19 – The wall is built of jasper, while the city is pure gold, clear as glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, each of the gates is a single pearl, and the street of the city is pure gold, transparent as glass.
Tobit 13:18 – The gates of Jerusalem will be built with sapphire and emerald, and all your walls with precious stones. The towers of Jerusalem will be built with gold, and their battlements with pure gold. The streets of Jerusalem will be paved with ruby and with stones of Ophir.

Revelation 19:11 – Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
2 Maccabees 11:8 – while they were still near Jerusalem, a horseman appeared at their head, clothed in white and brandishing weapons of gold.

Hebrews 1:3 – He (Jesus/Logos) is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being
Wisdom 7:26 – For she (Wisdom/Logos) is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness.

The theme of prayers rising up to the throne room of God, by the hands of the angels
Revelation 8:3-4 – Another angel with a golden censer came and stood at the altar; he was given a great quantity of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar that is before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.

Tobit 12:12-15 – So now when you and Sarah prayed, it was I who brought and read[a] the record of your prayer before the glory of the Lord, and likewise whenever you would bury the dead. 13 And that time when you did not hesitate to get up and leave your dinner to go and bury the dead, 14 I was sent to you to test you. And at the same time God sent me to heal you and Sarah your daughter-in-law. 15 I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand ready and enter before the glory of the Lord.”


This particular subject is completely absent from the OT but is featured in a number of NT texts. Almsgiving was an act of righteousness that consisted of giving to the poor. The reason why giving to the poor was such a righteous deed was because there was no reward for the giver. During the exilic period the Jews sought ways to regain their righteous standing. Since they had no temple to make sacrifices in, almsgiving became a form of sacrifice. It should also be mentioned that the exilic prophets, like Isaiah, chastised the Jewish people for not taking care of the poor among them. Thus, almsgiving was also a response to the accusations brought by the prophets. Moreover, the idea that giving Alms as righteousness was bolstered by the fact that the care of the poor was often described by the prophets in terms of righteousness and justice (Tzedakah). Lastly, because of the exile, the poor among Israel could no longer glean from the fields for survival. Their survival was dependent on those with means. Almsgiving as a form of righteousness or justice is not foreign to the OT; however, its importance and role in salvation was drastically elevated in the apocryphal literature.

Almsgiving in the NT

Acts 10:2-4
He was a devout man who feared God with all his household; he gave alms generously to the people and prayed constantly to God. One afternoon at about three o’clock he had a vision in which he clearly saw an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius.” He stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” He answered, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.

Acts 10:31
He said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.

Acts 9:36
Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas.[a] She was devoted to good works and acts of charity.

Acts 24:17
Now after some years I (Paul) came to bring alms to my nation and to offer sacrifices.

1 John 3:17
How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

Acts 3:3
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms.

Almsgiving in the Apocrypha

Tobit 1:16
And in the time of Enemessar I gave many alms to my brethren, and gave my bread to the hungry,

Tobit 2:14
But she replied upon me, It was given for a gift more than the wages. Howbeit I did not believe her, but bade her render it to the owners: and I was abashed at her. But she replied upon me, Where are thine alms and thy righteous deeds? behold, thou and all thy works are known.

Tobit 4:7
give alms from your possessions, and do not let your eye begrudge the gift when you make it. Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor, and the face of God will not be turned away from you.

Tobit 4:8
If you have many possessions, make your gift from them in proportion; if few, do not be afraid to give according to the little you have.

Tobit 4:10
For almsgiving delivers from death and keeps you from going into the Darkness.

Tobit 4:11
Indeed, almsgiving, for all who practice it, is an excellent offering in the presence of the Most High.

Tobit 4:16
Give some of your food to the hungry, and some of your clothing to the naked. Give all your surplus as alms, and do not let your eye begrudge your giving of alms.

Tobit 12:8
Prayer is good with fasting and alms and righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than much with unrighteousness. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold:

Tobit 12:9
For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life

Tobit 14:2
And he was eight and fifty years old when he lost his sight, which was restored to him after eight years: and he gave alms, and he increased in the fear of the Lord God, and praised him.

Tobit 14:10b
For God repaid him to his face for this shameful treatment. Ahikar came out into the light, but Nadab went into the eternal darkness, because he tried to kill Ahikar. Because he gave alms, Ahikar escaped the fatal trap that Nadab had set for him, but Nadab fell into it himself, and was destroyed.

Tobit 14:11
So now, my children, see what almsgiving accomplishes, and what injustice does—it brings death! But now my breath fails me.”

Sirach 3:30
Water will quench a flaming fire; and alms makes an atonement for sins.

Sirach 7:10
Be not fainthearted when you pray, and neglect not to give alms.

Sirach 12:3
No good comes to him that is always occupied in evil, nor to him that does not give alms.

Sirach 17:22
The alms of a man is as a signet with him, and he will keep the good deeds of man as the apple of the eye, and give repentance to his sons and daughters.

Sirach 29:12
Shut up alms in thy storehouses: and it shall deliver thee from all affliction.

Sirach 31:11
His goods shall be established, and the congregation shall declare his alms.

Sirach 35:2
He that requires a good turn offers fine flour; and he that gives alms sacrifices praise.

Sirach 40:24
Brethren and help are against time of trouble: but alms shall deliver more than them both.

Works-Salvation & the Resurrection

Before going to seminary I struggled to understand where the idea came from that the Jews had to “earn” their salvation. I simply could not find this in the OT. In fact, the whole idea of a resurrection and an afterlife seemed to be missing also. On the question of whether or not the OT teaches resurrection of the dead, I can answer no better than what was uttered by Dr. Peter Enns;

No. Not really. Well, sort of. O.K., yes, but it depends on how you look at it. (Peter Enns on the resurrection on the OT)

Where did such ideas come from? The answer all lies in the Apocryphal works, as well as 2 or 3 verses in Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. All of these verses being very late passages, about the same time that the Apocryphal books were being written. Other works that are in the Pseudepigrapha contain even more theology of the afterlife that most Christians would recognize from the NT. However, these books are not in the scope of discussion for this article.

The notion of personal salvation arose through Jewish thought on Enoch and Elijah, who were so righteous that they Lord took them to be with him. Their “salvation” became the hope for the Jewish people who had yet to see the promises of God’s redemption and salvation fulfilled in their nation. Rather, they were continually being made captives by the surrounding nations. Leaders like Ezra and the priestly class blamed the nations lack of adherence to the law. This only reinforced the theology around the need to be righteous and the hope that salvation would come for them if they could only obey the commands of the Lord.

The NT idea that faith can be substituted for righteousness came from the story of Abraham and the apocryphal works. More on this matter is can be read in the already mentioned article, “Influence of the Apocrypha on New Testament Theology“.

Soteriology in the Old Testament

Daniel 12:2
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt

Ezekiel 37:11-14
Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

Isaiah 26:19 alluded to a resurrection but it’s not actually talking about a resurrection , like in the end times, but of the nation of Israel. If verse 19 is read without verse 18 it sounds like a Christian style resurrection.

Isaiah 26:18-20
“We (Israel) were pregnant, writhing in pain,
but we gave birth only to wind.
We have not won your victory on earth,
nor have the inhabitants of the world been born.”

“But your dead will live; their bodies will rise.
Those who live in the dust will wake up and shout for joy!
For your dew is like the dew of dawn,
and the earth will give birth to the dead.”

Come, my people, enter your rooms
and shut your doors behind you.
Hide yourselves for a little while
until the fury has passed by.

Any other references to any kind of salvation or resurrection comes from the Apocryphal works and other non-canonical works, like the books of Enoch.

Soteriology in the Apocrypha

2 Esdras 2:23
When you find any who are dead, commit them to the grave and mark it, and I will give you the first place in my resurrection.

2 Maccabees 7:9
And when he was at his last breath, he said, “You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws.

2 Maccabees 7:14
When he was near death, he said, “One cannot but choose to die at the hands of mortals and to cherish the hope God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!”

2 Maccabees 12:43-44
He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead.

2 Esdras 6:25
It shall be that whoever remains after all that I have foretold to you shall be saved and shall see my salvation and the end of my world.

2 Esdras 7:61
I will not grieve over the great number of those who perish; for it is they who are now like a mist, and are similar to a flame and smoke—they are set on fire and burn hotly, and are extinguished.

2 Esdras 8:39
but I will rejoice over the creation of the righteous, over their pilgrimage also, and their salvation, and their receiving their reward.

Wisdom 5:15
But the righteous live forever,
and their reward is with the Lord;

Wisdom 3:1
But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
and no torment will ever touch them.

Concluding thoughts (updated Oct 19, 2019)

The Nature of NT quotations

The listings above are by no means exhaustive yet they clearly demonstrate that the apocrypha is not just edifying but necessary for understanding the theology of the NT. Moreover, some ideas that are central to Christianity are only found in the Apocryphal books. On the matter of the length and quality of the apocryphal quotes, I will would like to do a comparison of the apocryphal quotes with canonical OT quotes that are found in the NT. Keep in mind that in all of the examples, no one would insist that the quotes are disqualified due to length or accuracy. I will list a number of OT quotes below but I would first like to use Mark 9:44 as an example to explain this point. Mark 9:44 quotes Isaiah 66:24, a late passage from 3rd Isaiah. This passage is also referenced by the apocryphal works. Yet, the same people who consider it to a valid OT quote will not allow it to be a relevant apocryphal quote.

Mark 9:48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Isaiah 66:24b for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched; and they shall be a spectacle to all flesh.
Judith 16:17 he will send fire and worms into their flesh; they shall weep in pain forever.

It seems hardly consistent to say that Mark 9:48 quotes from Isaiah 66 but that it does not also qualify as a quote from Judith 16:17. I personally believe that Jesus had Isaiah 66:24 in mind but that is besides the point. The point is that we must be consistent in what we qualify as a quotation. If we allow OT quotes to be short or glancing then certainly we should allow the same for the Apocrypha. The quotations below are a mere few words to a full sentence yet most NT readers are quick to assign them the status of an OT quote.

Psalm 22 by Jesus
As mentioned in the introduction of this article, Jesus’ quote of Psalm 22 while on the cross is short yet no one would dare claim that it’s not a direct quotation from Psalm 22.

Out of Egypt
Matthew 2:15 Out of Egypt have I called my son.
Hosea 11:1 (Masoretic text [MT]) and out of Egypt have I called his children.
Hosea 11:1 (Septuagint [LXX]) and called my son out of Egypt.

Sacrifice or Obedience
Matthew 9:13 I will have mercy, and not sacrifice
Hosea 6:7 For I will have mercy rather than sacrifice
Hosea 6:6 (Septuagint [LXX]) For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice

Isaiah 53 allusion
Matthew 8:17 Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses
Isaiah 53:4 (Masoretic text [MT]) He bears our sins, and is pained for us: yet we accounted him to be in trouble, and in suffering, and in affliction.
Isaiah 53:4 (Septuagint [LXX]) Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows

Matthew 13:35 I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
Psalms 77:2 (Masoretic text [MT]) I will open my mouth in parables: I will utter dark sayings which have been from the beginning.
Psalms 78:2 (Septuagint [LXX]) I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old

Father and Mother
Matthew 15:4 He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
Exodus 21:16 (Masoretic text [MT]) He that reviles his father or his mother shall surely die.
Exodus 21:17 (Septuagint [LXX]) And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

The Rejected Stone
Matthew 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Psalms 117:22,23 (Masoretic text [MT]) The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner. This has been done of the Lord; and it is wonderful in our eyes.
Psalms 118:22,23 (Septuagint [LXX]) The stone [which] the builders refused is become the head [stone] of the corner. This is the LORD’S doing; it [is] marvelous in our eyes.

Scattering the Sheep
Mark 14:27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.
Zechariah 13:7 (Masoretic text [MT]) Awake, O sword, against my shepherds, and against the man who is my citizen, saith the Lord Almighty: smite the shepherds, and draw out the sheep: and I will bring mine hand upon the little ones.
Zechariah 13:7 (Septuagint [LXX]) Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man [that is] my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

Garment Parting
Matthew 27:35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots
Psalms 21:18 (Masoretic text [MT]) They parted my garments among themselves, and cast lots upon my raiment.
Psalms 22:18 (Septuagint [LXX]) They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

The Mountains
Luke 23:30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.
Hosea 10:8 (Masoretic text [MT]) And the altars of On, the sins of Israel, shall be taken away: thorns and thistles shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.
Hosea 10:8 (Septuagint [LXX]) The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.

I could go on but I think the point is adequately made. Brevity should not be an exclusion for granting a quotation. Moreover, many OT quotes in the NT match the Septuagint but not the Hebrew text. In theory this should not be an issue except that the Hebrew and Greek texts do not always agree.

NT Use of the Septuagint

Here I would like to address the fact that the NT authors leaned heavily on the Septuagint, even when it disagreed with the Hebrew texts. Matthew 2:15 serves as a good example of this propensity to quote from the Septuagint.

Matthew 2:15 Out of Egypt have I called my son.
Hosea 11:1 (Masoretic text [MT]) and out of Egypt have I called his children.
Hosea 11:1 (Septuagint [LXX]) and called my son out of Egypt.

I am no scholar of the Septuagint but many websites and books have produced charts of the NT quotes of the OT and indicated where they agree with either the Greek or the Hebrew. For a brief introduction to the matter I suggest merely reading the many cross-references where the MT and the LXX have been compared to their NT quotations. One such chart, by Joel Kalvesmaki, can be found online at his website –> here <–.

The point I am trying to make here is that the NT authors relied heavily on the Septuagint and this Septuagint almost invariably contained the apocryphal books. The earliest Jewish Christians and many second-temple Jews viewed the Apocryphal books as canonical.


On the issue of canonicity, I believe that David deSilva (in the comments) raised some very serious and accurate points. Overall I actually agree with his points but I think I further discussion is needed. For the sake of orderliness, I will comment on a few points that were raised.

“as it is written”
Of the many arguments against the canonicity of the Apocrypha, think this is the strongest. However, I would point out that a great majority of the OT references in the NT also lack this feature. If this phrase is indicative of canonicity then most of the canonical OT books fail the test. However, I would certainly agree that the use of “as it is written” would qualify the quotation as being part of the canon of scripture. I would also agree that “as it is written” also qualifies the passage as being an uncontested quotation.

Quotations from Aratus, Euripides, and Menander
Dr deSilva’s point that the NT authors also quote from other sources that are universally agreed upon as non-canonical, is well received. Indeed, the NT does make use of the well-known play by Euripides. I believe the difference between the use of the philosophers versus the apocrypha is that the references to the poets and philosophers is that Paul did not appear to grant authority to those works. They were used as a point of reference for Paul so he could connect with people that were of a Greek culture who idealized these poets and philosophers. Paul was taking something that was sacred to the Greeks but not to himself. In this way, the knowledge of these people and their ideals were useful to Paul but certainly not canonical.

The apocryphal books, as used by the NT, point to a different function. They were indeed useful to the audience of the NT but they were useful because they were thought to be authoritative. I would argue that, unlike the Greek poets and philosophers, NT references to the apocrypha are done because both the author and the audience found them to be authoritative.

Canonicity by Community

The topics of canonicity and authority are difficult. I think that deSilva’s point that canonicity is determined by community is a good point. However, I would ask: which community? It is clear that the early church was somewhat divided on the matter. The decision against canonicity in the early church seems to stem from the fact that they were not authoritative to rabbinic Judaism. This was one reason why Jerome counted them as non-canonical. But I find this argument difficult to agree with because the Jewish community that gave us the apocrypha also seems to be the foundation for NT theology. Judaism in the 2nd temple period was not cohesive. For example, the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection because it did not appear in the Torah. The Essenes were altogether different because of their vigorous focus on righteousness and apocalypse. The Zealots believed in armed revolts and violence against Rome. So one has to wonder which of these communities best represents the fodder for the early Christian movement.

By all accounts that I am aware of, Jesus and his followers were marginal Jews and not part of rabbinic Judaism. Their particular beliefs are hard to pin down but it appears as if they are an apocalyptic group. Many of the teachings in the gospels have parallels in the Dead Sea scrolls. The whole Son of Man title is strictly an apocalyptical title which is found in Enochic literature and in various Dead Sea texts. These sectarian Jews appear to have been the conduit through which an apocalyptical Jew like Jesus could be welcomed as the savior. Rabbinic Judaism rejected Jesus, his followers, and eventually the Septuagint and the Apocrypha. Thus, I cannot see a reason why we would allow rabbinic Judaism to decide which OT books are canonical. The apocryphal books might not be canonical to Rabbinic Judaism but they seem to be canonical to the Jews who gave rise to Jesus and his teachings. Therefore, I am inclined to think that we might not want rabbinic Judaism to be the final word on canonicity. Jesus, his followers, and the NT authors, disagree with rabbinic Judaism on many points, so I do not believe that forcing our OT canon to conform to rabbinic Judaism is necessary. Which community should we look to for authority? I am of the opinion that the community which gave rise to the NT make the most sense.

I actually believe that most of the apocryphal books should be canonical, or at least included in our Bibles. I would also ad the 1st book of Enoch which was referenced by multiple NT writers. One of the main reasons why Paul’s letters are treated as scripture is because they are recognized as being authoritative by Peter (2 Peter 3:16). However, Peter also treats Enoch and the Apocryphal books as authoritative. This is true also of Jude, James, and I would argue, Jesus. They were willing to separate themselves from rabbinic Judaism, as was the earliest church fathers.

The OT Bridge

Without the Apocryphal works, the bridge from the OT to the NT is razor thin. So much of the NT is dependent on an apocryphal tradition that is not found in the OT. The book of Daniel is the first step of that bridge but without the Apocrypha it is not possible to fully understand the theological progressions from the OT to the NT, or even the book of Daniel. Daniel is a single piece of apocalyptical literature that was part of a larger body of work.

Does that mean that they all need to be canonical? Not necessarily. However, I think they should at least be included in our Bibles. The books that seem to be authoritative to the NT writers and the church are Tobit, Sirach, 1-2 Maccabees, 1 Enoch, and Wisdom of Solomon. I would vote yes on canonizing these books because of the dependency that NT thinking has on them, not just because they are alluded to often in the NT.

There is an entire tradition that arose in the intertestamental period and the NT appears to have been a logical extension of this tradition. This apocalyptical tradition that gave rise the Jesus movement seems to have given us the Apocrypha. I believe that they go hand-in-hand.

47 thoughts on “Did Jesus or The New Testament Authors Quote from The Apocryphal Books?”

  1. This is a Protestant / Anglican site, as alluded by the author and yet he has proven that the Apocrypha is the inspired Word of God, and yet he refuses to believe his own work, that the whole Bible is the inspired Word of God. All 73 Books are the inspired Word of God. By the author’s own admission who is not Catholic is showing that the Apocrypha is quoted by Jesus and throughout the entire New Testament that the Apocrypha is valid. It is the inspired Word of God. Which also shows that the Catholic Church is The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church since this is a fact then everything else must be and is a lie.

    • I have no idea what you’re talking about and it sounds like neither do you. I’ve made the case many times on here that the Apocrypha should be part of the Bible and that the apocryphal books were used as scripture, without question, until the time of Jerome.

      I stated in this very article “I actually believe that most of the apocryphal books should be canonical,”

      • “the Apocrypha should be part of the Bible” simple cure, use one that contains it, I use the 1611 and have 80 books available, unlike the 73 which the reply you answered claims or the 66 many others have.

        I do struggle with writers who do not use the 1611 as I see from your first comparison of Matthew 6:19-20 – James 5:3 – and Sirach 29:10-11 (Ecclesiasticus in 1611) which makes more work, but of course to each their own.

        The comment you wrote in that first comparison “no concept of heaven in the OT” I find odd, i.e. Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

        “And” is quite distinct, a conjunction but in this case it defines two separate places, assuming you mean merely the sky we also find Deuteronomy 10:14 “heaven and the heaven of heavens” do you assume only to mean the stars above the sky?

        Deuteronomy 26:15 “Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven” , habitation, Gods home, again, you assume just the stars?

        Many instances to quote, same with hell

        Deuteronomy 32:22 “shall burn unto the lowest hell”, Dante surely took note

        2 Samuel 22:6 “The sorrows of hell” , that pretty much says it, its no fun and etc etc

        So, perhaps you have an existing or can write an new article on your claim “Christian concepts of heaven and hell come during…” ?

        As to your reply in general “I have no idea what you’re talking about” it seems simple to me, that reply is from a Catholic apologist, I myself am a convert to Catholicism but cling to my 1611 (and 1911 ;>)

        So take it for what it is, use it and perhaps learn from it, you admit candidly being “drastically under-studied ” (in this subject) which is commendable, I’d guess we all are since we were robbed of these books, same (IMO) with the new minority versions people rely on, which is what makes sites like this one valuable, it helps with the blessing promised:

        Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

        What is more righteous than discerning truth?

  2. I don’t know if I missed it and you put it here but Jude literally says “Enoch prophesised….” In Jude 1:14/15 and word for word it is in Enoch 1:10.

    • Leah, thanks for the comment but I left Enoch out because it’s not part of the traditional Greek apocrypha and it seems like that was the version of the Bible that was being quoted by the NT authors. That being said, Enoch is in the Ethiopic Canon so it was included by at least part of the church. And Peter quotes from it in addition to Jude so we know that they were at least reading it and thought it was true.

      • “The traditional Greek apocrypha” I’ve taken to mean included in the LXX which was translated by “the seventy” from the earlier Hebrew text. The Lexham English Septuagint “LES,” from that earlier Hebrew text, includes a shorter Enoch (which, interestingly is in several mss of the DSS).
        So, we simply don’t know WHAT the Hebrew canon was before Christ. WAS Esther part of it or not? And if so, was it received in part or only the modern edited version without all the references to God?
        I don’t know.
        Church historian David Bercot teaches with documentation that the Apocrypha was part of the Hebrew canon until about A.D. 100, and part of the Christian canon until the 1800s. Fabricated history that the Vatican added it at the Council of Trent.

  3. I think it is very clear that the present-day bible wether the Old Testament or new has many errors, problems and contradictions. Despite the clarity, the Christian claim on these being inspired words of God are absurd and beyond any rationale.

    • Hi KB. Ya… I appreciate your view. I suppose it all depends on how you would define “Divine inspiration”. If you expect that the Bible ought to be totally scientifically correct and that all archeology and extra-Biblical data should agree with everything that is written, AND that all that is written ought (most naturally!) to make perfect sense, well then, there is no way it can in any way meet the criteria of infallibility. However…
      Some time ago, a colleague of mine who was doing some post-doc engineering research was telling me about his topic – something to do with chaos theory, all very complicated. Now here’s the thing: I could hardly understand what he was telling me (or maybe I could actually understand a bit – I don’t know!) But based on what he told me, I said; “You know, I think you should get a copy of Eugene Marais’ “The soul of the white ant”. I think this will help you in your research. And he responded: “Actually, my supervisor told me the same thing!” (I happened to know his supervisor – he had been my moderator for subject of which I was the examiner). Here is the thing: There are all too many phenomena which when examined superficially, give the indication of being chaotic, arbitrary and nonsensical. But as one dedicates oneself to a tenaciously focused examination, one finds that there is in fact, great logic…
      Here’s a suggestion: You have to KNOW Christ personally before the bible will make any real sense. Call out to him. Invite him to reveal himself to you. Then follow the dots…

      • While I do actually enjoy the chaos theory, as an engineer myself…… and I certainly enjoyed the nuggets you brought up. I would add that many many Christian scholars have also noted these same biblical errors. While it is true that upon close examination, many of them are cleared up, there are still enough left over that are simply unexplainable.

        For example, the existence of the firmament or the flat nature of the earth, or some of the contradictions between the gospels or the historical books. Or my personal favorite, which is that rabbits and rock badgers don’t chew the cud.

        I simply say all that to say, I don’t think you need the holy spirit to understand that there are difficulties in the text. And if the HS were able to resolve the issues then why have they remained problems for 2000+ years?

        I find it for more likely that there are errors or corruptions in the text and I am OK with that. But I understand that many are not.

  4. The Matthew 23:37 and 2 Esdras 1:30 connection goes a bit deeper.

    Matthew 23:37-39 (NRSVUE)
    37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you, desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”

    2 Esdras 1:30-33 (NRSVUE)
    30 I gathered you as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But now, what shall I do to you? I will cast you out from my presence. 31 When you offer oblations to me, I will turn my face from you, for I have rejected your festal days and new moons and circumcisions of the flesh. 32 I sent you my servants the prophets, but you have taken and killed them and torn their bodies in pieces; I will require their blood of you, says the Lord.
    33 “Thus says the Lord Almighty: Your house is desolate; I will drive you out as the wind drives straw,

    That connects to the prophets being killed and the desolate house.

  5. Wow, I found this discussion way above my head, as I stumbled around trying to find out why the Apocrypha was removed from the bible. What did stick with me through it all was when someone mentioned following the Holy Spirit, which appears to be difficult when man tries to justify their positions and come up with answers that satisfy everyone. Indeed, there may be no such thing!

    I am certainly no scholar, but it seems to me that the decisions that were made throughout history were influenced by the times in which they were made. After all coming to a concensus then couldn’t have been any easier that coming to one now is.

    It was my understanding that a number of Jewish scholars were instrumental in the translation of their Bible into the Greek language after Alexander influenced the region. And I believe I also just read somewhere that the Jewish Council that didn’t include the Apocrypha took place not long after Rome put down a rebellion which also destroyed the temple and the city of Jerusalem.

    I would think it reasonable not to include epic stories of Hasmonian heroes along with Daniel and Ester so as not to incite further rebellion at the time. Just as Luther and others from the reformation had their rationale.

    Again, I am just an every day Christian seeking answers, but what I do know is that Hanukkah is celebrated faithfully every year and without the Maccabees there may not be such celebration or possibly a Jewish religion at all! What I do know is that all Christians celebrate the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus!
    And, what my conclusion to this discussion is that we are all infallible humans who will never understand how and why God does what He does or who He uses for His purposes.

    To paraphrase one of my favorite scriptures, we should, ” Lean not unto our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct our paths.” Now, I don’t know what Testaments, writings or translations that is included in, but as long as we’re giving God the Glory, we can be benefiaries of God’s love, mercy and grace. Even from a discerned, discussion such as this. Peace be with you all!

  6. Thanks for this article! Very interesting but sometimes misleading. You say near the beginning that there is no references to fire and worms in the Old Testament but then later you acknowledge that it is in Isaiah 66:24 and in fact that is much closer to the NT reference than the apocryphal reference! So perhaps a correction needs to be made.

    Also you say there is no OT armor of God mentions, but in fact there are several- see Isaiah 11:5, 52:7, 59:17 and Hosea 6:5.

    I do think the LXX and the Apocrypha including Enoch need to be studied more and taken seriously since Jesus and the apostles quotes from them. Work should also be done to show how supposed “contradictions” parallel those in the Protestant canon and how they can be harmonized or accounted for in the same way.

    • That is a fair point on the armor verses from Isaiah. I did add a comment and further explanation for that. However, on the comment about Isaiah 66:24, I was not implying that the apocryphal quote was the better fit. In fact, I was stating the opposite. I was just pointing out that the quote was very short between the OT and NT, and therefore, the length of the quotation should not be a contested issue.

      Thanks for reading. We are always willing to make correction here!

  7. I’m not trying to get into a dispute, here, but I felt the need to point-out the fact that many of those references, where you said there were no old testament citations, and only Apocryphal, do, indeed, go back to some of the earliest books.
    For example, when Jesus discusses “fruits”, all you have to do is type-in “fruits” in your Bible software, and there are many references that clearly correlate to that teaching.
    In fact, “you reap what you sow” is one of the core Biblical, and universally acknowledged, tenants.
    Another one, at the top, where Jesus is telling Peter about “the rock” can be easily spotted by looking-up the keyword in the same manner.
    For example:
    Deuteronomy 32:4 KJV
    He is the Rock, his work is perfect:
    For all his ways are judgment:
    A God of truth and without iniquity,
    Just and right is he.  

    I’m not gonna go through all the citations, but in short, I would make the argument that proper correlation has not been done, here, just by looking at a few key verses, and it seems like you have gone out of your way to correlate the Apocrypha, and ignore the Old Testament.
    As far as I know, the only questionable reference is in Jude, and based on my research, I think the Apocryphal books are forgeries, which came later.
    I haven’t looked into that in a while, though, which is why I was doing some searches, recently, and stumbled onto your page.
    Still, one reference, which might even be inverted, is not as much of a concern as the scores of heresies the Apocryphal books contain, which contradict the rest of sound scripture.
    I’ve even seen content, in the past, which suggests the early church considered the Apocrypha to be heresy, and cult-like in nature.
    I’m interested in perfecting my understanding on the topic, but again, just in looking through your top gospel citations, you have some inaccurate information, there, sir.
    I’m not gonna follow-up on this thread, but I exhort you make the appropriate adjustments.
    Best to you…

    • I always appreciate a civil discussion.

      I think were we disagree is that I am pairing concepts and phrases, not just single words. Additionally, the example you pointed to is literally the weakest comparison on my list and I even noted it was a glancing allusion in the article, as opposed to a direct one.

      As for your comment on the rock passage. The comparison had nothing to do with the fact that the word “rock” exists elsewhere in literature. I noted in the article that the comparison was about overcoming the gates of Hades. The gates of Hades is not found within the Hebrew OT.

      based on my research, I think the Apocryphal books are forgeries

      Forgeries of what? Based on the researched of hundreds of people who hold Ph.Ds in the fields of paleography and ancient languages…. I disagree.

      Still, one reference, which might even be inverted, is not as much of a concern as the scores of heresies the Apocryphal books contain, which contradict the rest of sound scripture.

      If the apocryphal books are scripture then they don’t contradict the scriptures… because they are the scriptures. If you mean internal contradictions, those already exist in the standard protestant canon. The gospels contradict each other on many occasions, as do Kings, Samuel, and Chronicles. Moreover, the OT is riddled with scientific inaccuracies, such as the earth being a flat disc, the sky being the home of the gods, sheol existing inside the earth, rabbits and hyraxes chewing cud, etc. For more on that topic please reference (https://dustoffthebible.com/Blog-archive/2016/07/13/is-the-bible-inerrant/).

      I’ve even seen content, in the past, which suggests the early church considered the Apocrypha to be heresy, and cult-like in nature.

      I believe what you saw was probably unfounded. We have hundreds of quotes from the early church referring to them as scripture and using them as such. I am currently working on an exhaustive list of these quotes. For now, you can check out a few in this article (https://dustoffthebible.com/Blog-archive/2021/10/03/why-did-the-apocryphal-books-get-removed-from-the-bible/).

      looking through your top gospel citations, you have some inaccurate information, there, sir.

      Again, I am not above correction and I welcome an exchange of ideas. But if you wish to issue corrections, you need to point out the errors, and so far I have not seen anything to correct. The 2 passages you pointed out, you didn’t really understand why they were even listed.

  8. Romans 9 21 is a using Jeremiah 18 and Isaiah 64:
    “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?”

    Jeremiah 18 – “So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”

    Isaiah 64 – “But now, Lord, You are our Father;
    We are the clay, and You our potter,
    And all of us are the work of Your hand.”

    So your claim regarding “There simply is not an OT counterpart for Romans 9:21. This is clearly a reference to Wisdom” is completely falsified.

    Qoutes like Hebrews 11 5 which directly qotues the book of Genesis and then qouting external book which qoutes Genesis are also false. And yes, the story of Enoch indeed has a lot of weight into it as it is heavily mystical and unknown and was discussed heavily in rabbinic circles.

    • You forgot the main function of the passage which is namely that some vessels are designed for clean/sacred use and some for unclean use. The verses you listed have nothing to do with the context of Romans 9:21.

  9. I found your work here illuminating. I had always heard that the NT quoted the Apocrypha but had never really delved into it until now. Personally, the fact the early church including many of these books in the canon was enough for me. Also that they were removed by Luther who started a heretical movement ending in a church divided. Beyond the idea of quotes, it is clear the Apocrypha was an important source in developing Christian understanding. I wonder why people are so adamant in denying something so fundamental to our faith.

    • As I’ve said before, obviously some are glancing. But quite a few are direct quotes and some are direct references to material that has NO counterpart in the OT. The Bible of the messianic Jews of the 1st century included the apocrypha. nearly 80% of all OT quotations in the NT are done from the Greek LXX.

      I would also point out that a number of OT books are never quoted in the OT….not even glancing.

  10. Thanks for this informative and challenging blog: I recommend the following book that deals with canonicity and has small portion of it dedicated to the apocrypha. I think that it will challenge you, blessings

    Canonical Theology: The Biblical Canon, Sola Scriptura, and Theological Method Paperback – November 27, 2016
    by John C. Peckham (Author)

  11. Most, if not all of the ‘comparisons’ are coincidental. If one were to read them side-by-side, without the preface, they are hard-pressed to be ‘direct’ quotes.
    Similar, but not more exact, as with Jesus’ direct quotes from the Hebrew Scriptures.
    While you are not supporting the apocrypha as legitimate, some just might after reading this.
    Good day!

    • Freddy,

      Certainly a number of these quotes are coincidental. However, some were not. It is also important to recognize that a number of the quotes are presented because the idea behind the quote comes from the Apocrypha and not the OT. The NT authors quote from the Septuagint version of the OT about 2/3 – 3/4 of the time and it included the Apocrypha. Early Christians made no distinction between the books of the Apocrypha and the OT.

      For example, Justin Martyr quoted from it (including the book names [I.E. Tobit, Wisdom, etc.]) as scripture, as well as Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Hyppolytus, Origen, Cyprian, etc.

      Moreover, the early councils that decided the bounds of our Biblical canon included most of the Apocrypha. (Council of Rome Decree of Pope Damasus (382 AD), Council of Hippo Canon 36 (393 AD), Council of Carthage III Canon 47 (397 AD), Council of Carthage IV Canon 24 [419 AD]).

      Lastly, these apocryphal books were also found among the many scrolls in Qumran. As we know today, the community represented in Qumran was very similar to the community of Jews that birthed the messianic movement that lead to Christianity. The texts from Qumran are a micro-chasm of teachings that show up in the NT, especially the gospels and revelation.

      So I say all this simply to suggest that if the first Jewish and Greek Christians (including the apostles) used them as scripture then I am pretty sure it’s a far greater error to ignore them than to hold them in high esteem.

    • You’re right. It’s just similar sounding statements about similar things. Some of them are also references a common OT source.
      This article is bogus.

      • Your comments are neither helpful nor charitable. You seem to have no evidence of your own to present, and your childish name-calling will convince no one of intellect. Perhaps it would be better for you to remain silent.

  12. Convert to Episcopalian-ism here! Thanks so much for this fascinating and painstakingly thorough analysis re: the Apocrypha/Deuterocanon. This is the most open-minded I have ever seen from a (presumably) Protestant worldview. One quip about the responder on the Council of Rome (382) as ‘settling’ the Canon for Roman-Catholics. The council’s (Pope Damascus’) list expressly lists Lamentations as a ‘book’ but has NO Baruch- period. The BEST copies of St. Jerome’s Vulgate (the Codex Amiatinus)
    likewise NO Baruch. The Council of Cathage’s (397) listing of “! Esdras” is actually Augustine’s Apocryphal “3rd Esdras”. Since the Church of Rome claims these were Ecumenical, Trent (1546) would have to be in error. No? Comments?

    • Hi I’m responding to ‘myself’! I shouldn’t have said that Trent and modern Roman-Catholics say that the Councils of Rome and Carthage were “ecumenical’, but rather subsequently later confirmed by the Pope(s) as ‘binding’. Nevertheless Rome, Carthage and Trent do NOT entirely agree. Even if Trent IS to be received as binding (at least ‘Ecumenical’ for RCC believers) it disagrees with previous RCC canon lists (Formerly approved for them). So there remains a problem: ONE of these councils got-it-wrong. HJ

      • Lol, yes a number of the early councils were more of an open debate than a meeting of agreements. I personally, didn’t give the Apocrypha it’s due until I started researching the 1st century Judaism sects and the Qumran scrolls. It seems clear that the sect of Judaism that birthed Christianity valued these books and their teachings. Some books like Tobit were nearly made officially scripture by even the high ranking Jewish leaders. The fact that Jamnia even happened is a testament to its importance.

        Nevertheless, perhaps 5-10 years from now I will be convinced by a better argument. Always open to an alternative view if it’s supported with evidence and logic.

        Thanks for reading!

  13. Not sure these books were being quoted so much as Jewish history, culture and folklore – these were likely sayings that had been passed down and had their origin far further back. In fact those books likely quoted earlier teachings. Christ taught with parables as well – he used what people would understand at the time.
    Far too much emphasis is placed on canonization or exclusion. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out.
    We have the Holy Spirit to guide us. Pray for his guidance.

  14. Good analysis; however James 2:23 does not quote 1 Maccabees 2:52 as “scripture” – instead it is quoting Gen. 15:6. Also, a quote or reference does not indicate it is to be regarded as canon (e.g., Jesus quoted from a fable of Aesop). Much of what we can regard as canon can actually be found in the quotations of Jesus in the Gospels and Revelation. Also there is evidence that the Writings or Jewish Ketuvim was originally intended as “ancillary writings” that support scripture, but the books were not the Word of God in themselves. The Apocryphal books fall into this category, since books such as Tobit and Judith fall into the category of “historical novels” similar to Esther. For an analysis of this see A Divine Revelation of the Biblical Canon. I would put the writings of the apostles as having lower authority than that of Jesus, thus Jude’s quote from the book of Enoch definitely does not make it scriptural.

    • I would agree that a quote alone doesn’t make it authoritative or “scripture”, however, it would be irresponsible to completely disregard such writings as they were a great influence on formation of Christian beliefs and second temple Judaism.

      • If one is able to quote from a source, it is clear that he trust the source and also in the authority of the source.
        Therefor, let us look carefully on the context and the issues in which author is writing about.

  15. Good analysis. The canon can actually be determined by focusing solely on the Words of Jesus, and I agree, a quote/allusion does not make the book canonical. One thing to recognize is that the Jews divided scripture into Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, and there is some evidence indicating that the Writings were considered as “ancillary writings” – thus useful for supporting scripture, but not considered as the Word of God. I would also recognize Jesus as the ultimate authority, and give His words higher priority than those of the apostles, thus the quotes from apostles I would not give so much weight (e.g., Jude directly quotes from Enoch as scripture). For my analysis see A Divine Revelation of the Biblical Canon

  16. Convert to Catholicism here! These books were declared as part of the Bible in 382 A.D. the fact that Saint Jerome had misgivings about them but submitted to the authority of the Catholic Church, further proves that it is not up to us to decide what qualifies as inspired Scripture or not, and further, not to interpret said Scripture according to our own preferences- hence 30,000 plus denominations all reading the same Book (ummm MINUS these seven books).
    Anyway, great analysis here. I hope Truth will lead you to the Catholic Church!

  17. Greetings and thanks for your spirited post. I think it safe to say that few Protestants love the Apocrypha more than I do or have spent more time promoting knowledge and respect for these texts. If it were up to me, we’d go back to having all printed Bibles include the Apocrypha — but, if it were up to me, also as a separate section between the Testaments, as in Luther’s Bible and the KJV. I would not press for Protestants to view them as canonical — I would be content for them to stop viewing them as ignorable. (Spell check is telling me that’s not a word.) I would take issue with your presentation on a few counts for the sake of precision. First, when I use the verb “quote,” I speak not of an author’s drawing upon some source but drawing ATTENTION to the fact that he or she is using a source. Thus, I do think it is highly relevant that NT authors will preface a quotation with “as it is written” or “as David says” or “as the Spirit says” or some such thing. They only do this (or do this for the most part) because their readers will recognize the authority that the quoted material brings and, if successful, conveys upon the use to which the quoted material is put in the new text. No NT author ever prefaces material from a book now included in the collection called “Apocrypha” with such an introduction. So I have said in print that no NT author “quotes” the Apocrypha. They may have learned from the Apocrypha and incorporate material from the Apocrypha, but they do not QUOTE it. This says something to me about the authority these texts were perceived to have in the first century (among first-century Jews in Judea and Galilee, in the case of Jesus’ sayings; first-century Christian communities, in the case of the whole). The situation changes in the second century, when we find Christian authors now quoting the books of the Apocrypha, showing that they were gaining authority in the church — to such an extent that the majority of Christians in every age have, in fact, regarded them as part of the scriptural canon. So even I would find your opening premises invalid: the NT does NOT quote the Apocrypha. If quotation is an index of canonicity, it is not there.

    But I must also address your argument from another angle, because quotation is not in itself an index of canonicity. NT authors do quote Aratus, Euripides, and Menander, but there’s no question of their being “canonical.” Jude quotes 1 Enoch 1:9-10, but this does not mean that the text should therefore be considered canonical (especially as a whole, since it has undergone a complex history of growth by accretion). And there are a number of books of the OT that are never quoted (truly QUOTED) in the NT, and their canonicity is not thereby brought into doubt (though it might as well be — I mean, who has read or gotten anything out of Obadiah recently :) ).

    Use does not imply that a work was canonical for the authors; use by OT or NT authors does not automatically promote those texts as canon. It only means that the authors found the books, well, USEFUL — and it strongly suggests to us that we would find them USEFUL as well.

    But, ultimately, “canonicity” is a decision made by a community. It says “these texts — and only these texts — ultimately tell us who we are and what we must value and how that must direct us; we cannot be ‘us’ without these texts.” The Apocrypha’s place within that narrow, select library has been a matter of debate from quite early on in the church’s life (I tend to think of Origen’s correspondence with Africanus as a good starting point) — but that, in itself, speaks volumes about the value and usefulness of these books. I’m delighted that you find them of sufficient value to argue for their inclusion; I’d personally be content if they remain “the first book Christians ought to read besides the Bible.”

    • I was overdue for a good paddling. ?

      I would agree that the word “quote” is a little more generous than most would allow. They are glancing quotes at best; however, I find that this is often how the NT quotes from the canonical books.

      Nevertheless, I will digest your comments and follow up with some adjustments because you raise valid points.


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