Are There Lost Books of the Bible?

We have long understood that the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament make up God’s complete revelation to man. The Bible does mention other ancient books, however. Joshua 10: 13 says, “The sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher?” Among the other books mentioned are the acts of Solomon (I Kgs. 14:11), the books of Nathan the prophet and Gad the seer (I Chron. 29:29), and the books of Shemaiah the prophet and Iddo the seer (2 Chron. 12:15). Even more interestingly, Paul mentions a previous epistle: “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators” (I Cor. 5:9). Was the epistle telling them not to keep company with fornicators in the original 1 Corinthians? Paul also wrote to the Christians of Colossae, “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea” (Col. 4:16). What is the “epistle from Laodicea? “

The sixty-six books that make up the canon of Scripture are those books that have met the test of time, and have apostolic authority. For example, Peter warned that some of Paul’s writings are hard to understand, and thus were sometimes twisted by false teachers, as “also the other scriptures” (2 Pet. 3:16). Thus he considered Paul’s writings to be scripture [inspired writings]. The books accepted in the canon claim inspiration for themselves, and the early Christians verified that inspiration by examining their content. These books also received virtual universal acceptance in the early church. Many other ancient books were also considered but rejected from the canon. We rely on the wisdom of the Jews of the first century to help in deciding which books belonged in the Old Testament canon, and the judgments of numerous early Christians help us in seeing what was accepted and rejected among the writings of the New Testament era.

Among the books circulated by the early Christians, but rejected from the canon were the fourteen books of the Apocrypha. Philo of Alexandria ordered these books to be translated with the Septuagint, the first Greek language translation of the Old Testament, but the Jews never considered them to be Scripture.

Most of the books mentioned above, like the book of Jasher, are lost, but simply being mentioned in Scripture does not mean that they were inspired. Paul’s early epistle to the Corinthians apparently contained nothing that God has not repeated elsewhere in Scripture. There are virtually no Bible doctrines that rely on just one mention in Scripture. Peter tells us that God has “given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1: 3). Thus we have all the Scripture God intended us to have in the sixty-six books of today’s Bible. We need no other new revelations or other ancient books to give us what we need to please God. -Bob Prichard

‘Meaning those “measured.” –  We would say they “measured up” to the standards of inspiration.



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