Many scholars and historians regard the Bible as the greatest literary masterpiece of all time. This religious book has a history that goes back over 5,000 years and it reveals the nature of God to each generation of people that exists on the Earth. When the Bible was being formed into one book only certain types of manuscripts were considered sacred and authentic.
The 66 books that are contained within the Bible are believed to be inspired books and authentic writings from God-inspired authors. The books were written by individuals who wrote them from first-hand experience. Many biblical authors also had scribes who transcribed the stories for people who were directly involved in a biblical account. Other qualifications for the books included original manuscripts being written in Hebrew for the Old Testament and in Greek for the New Testament. The books also had to be considered sacred to the Jews, inspired by the Holy Spirit and they had to contain doctrine that was identical to the rest of the Bible. These requirements were necessary for preserving and keeping the authenticity of the Bible.
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Early church fathers and rabbis had decided that only 66 manuscripts that were preserved throughout the years met the standards of authentic Biblical doctrine and they now make up the books of a standard Bible. Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant believers all agree that the canonized 66 books are God inspired manuscripts. Orthodox and Catholic believers have also added the Apocrypha to their versions.
Catholic and Orthodox Christian followers typically view the Apocrypha as inspired books that should be included in the Bible with the 66 original manuscripts. Most Protestant denominations do not consider the books to be inspired because they contain inconsistent doctrine and they do not seem to have been created from Hebrew sources. Also, the OT was established during a meeting of Rabbis at Jamnia in 90 A.D. With the exception of Nehemiah and Ezra, all writings that were created or found after this date were rejected. Since the Apocrypha appeared many years later they were not included with the canonized 66 books.
The Apocrypha consists of the books 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), Baruch, and 1 and 2, Rest of Esther, Song of the Three Children, The Prayer of Manasseh, The Idol Bel and the Dragon and Maccabaeus. Each of these books is included in many Orthodox and Catholic Bibles between the Testaments. The Apocrypha was placed between the Testaments to help explain the 400 years of silence that occurred between these two time periods. The Apocrypha is mentioned on the Biblical Timeline during this time period.
The Roman Catholic Council of Trent established their Bible in the 16th century in order to hold back Protestant heresy. They included the Apocrypha into the Catholic Bible during this time because the council agreed that the books held merit as authentically inspired manuscripts. Some early Protestant believers such as Martin Luther also included the Apocrypha in their biblical variations. However, many Protestant believers began to question the validity of these books and did not include them in later translations that were used by Protestant believers. Many priests and preachers within western society do not preach from Apocrypha books and they are not frequently quoted. The books might be used by some Christian followers, but they are not be held in the same esteem as the canonized 66 books.
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