There are some books that were claimed to have been lost and not in the Bible. Are they important enough to know about or to have been included in the Bible?
The Sufficiency of Scripture
Second Timothy 3:14-17 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
When Paul wrote to Timothy about being equipped for teaching the church he stated that he had already “learned and firmly believed…the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation [for] All Scripture is breathed out by God.” When Paul wrote “all Scripture,” in effect he was saying that all Scripture has been already been provided and that Timothy had already “learned it…from childhood [being] acquainted with the sacred writings” which are the Scriptures. Paul, nor does any other writer in the New Testament indicate that there are other Scriptures that we need to learn from and as Jude wrote, this was “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). The phrase “once delivered” is language that indicated that the message of the faith has already been delivered once and we could add “for all.”
There are literally dozens of other books that were written about the church and some that contain writings about the Old Testament period but they were never canonized into the Bible because, even though they were inspiring, the church fathers did not see them as inspired by the Holy Spirit. If a book is not the inspired words of God then they should not be in the Bible as we know it today. We can say with authority that the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament were universally accepted by the church but many other books such as 1 Maccabees, the Wisdom of Solomon and other such books are what we call the Apocrypha and were never placed into the Bible as we know it today. Although these extra-biblical books may have some accurate historical accounts, God, in His sovereignty, did not cause them to be accepted as His inspired words and so they were not included in the Bible.
The Catholic Bible contains additional books that are not in the 66 books of the Bible and even though they may contain historical accounts of Israel, they do not belong in the Bible. This would be like including Josephus’ “Antiquities of the Jews” in the Bible of today because although it is historically accurate, it was not written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Josephus certainly has some accurate historical writings and as inspiring as they are, we know that his writings were not inspired by God and that is the litmus test of Holy Scriptures; they must be the inspired Word of God to be included in the Word of God, the Bible. Unless we can be certain that they were written under divine, God-breathed inspiration, they do not belong there. These extra-biblical books belong in the church history section of a church library but not in the Bible.
Are the Lost Books of the Bible Inspired by God?
There are many books that claim to be written by Christians who some believe were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit but they fail the test of accuracy. The Epistle of Barnabas for example was not even written by the Barnabas that we know of in the Bible; therefore it is an imposter and does not belong in the Bible. The lost gospel of Judas was discovered in 1970 is Gnostic in nature. Gnosticism was an apostate belief that we could enter the kingdom of heaven by secret knowledge that is revealed only to a select few. In the “gospel” of Judas, Judas claimed that he was instructed by Christ to betray Him because it was the Master’s last wish before He was crucified. This “gospel” also had Jesus’ marrying Mary Magdalene but there is no such historical or biblical evidence to support such a story.
There are also other fake gospels from Thomas, which was exposed to be a forgery, and the gospel of Mary that also contains significant doctrinal errors. Other such alleged gospels or books were written by Philipp, Peter (the Apocalypse of Peter), and even extend into Old Testament with writings such as Psalms of Solomon 4, the Secrets of Enoch, the Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan, and many other such heretical books. These books that were supposedly lost should have stayed lost. These are forgeries and are clearly not inspired books of the Bible and have no place in the Bible today. The Gospel of Mary is another example of a book that is not inspired by God and contains a plethora of heretical teachings.
All we need is all that we already have contained in the Bible’s 66 books. There is no need of further revelation from God outside of the inspired Word of God. The sufficiency of the Scriptures is enough for us to know that the fall of man necessitated the need for a Redeemer and that was Jesus Christ Who came and lived a sinless life to die for the sins of those who would repent and trust in Him. Jesus came to close the gap of the separation that our sins had created and made possible our having a relationship with God and to have eternal life by Jesus’ death. If you have repented and trusted in Christ, you already have had that separation from God ended but if you haven’t been born again, then you presently have the wrath of God still abiding on you (John 3:36) and stand condemned as you read this (John 3:18). Why not trust in Christ today so that you too can finally have peace with God through Jesus Christ’s atonement (Rom 5:10)?
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon