As a Catholic convert from Southern Baptist, i do not have a problem with them. I have read them, and find instruction amd wisdom in them. I have a numerous Bibles, Catholic and protestant, and use them all. I also have studied the history of the Bible, it’s translation and the debates on what does and does not fit within the canon of scripture. Bottom line, all new testaments in use by mainline protestant churches and the Catholic Church are in agreement. I do steer clear of some revised translations that are inclusive language or dynamic equivalence. My favpurites are still the King James and the Douay Rheims.
I don’t know if I count, since my faith is more informed by Catholicism and Orthodoxy than by Protestantism,but I liked the deuterocanonicals even before I started moving toward traditional Christianity. I like those which I’ve read, at any rate, the wisdom literature and some of the historical ones.
Lutherans became unfamiliar with these books through the use of English translations that commonly lacked them. Quite a few of our pastors have taken on the task of re-introducing them to their congregations, and the publishing arm of the LCMS now offers the Apocrypha with study notes as a companion to the ESV version of its Lutheran Study Bible. As a layperson who had not read them before, I thought it was pretty cool -
I have read most of them. A Baptist minister advised me to read the first two books of Maccabees as good histories of the intertestamental period. Other books such as Sirach and Susan I enjoyed a lot. Others such as Tobit I couldn’t see any spiritual benefit in reading them at all. For me they are a mixture of human writings. Some I liked, others I didn’t
Originally, the King James Bible included the deuterocanonicals in an appendix (with the understanding that they were not canonical, but still worth including). Even today, I have heard a lesson at a funeral read from Wisdom the Episcopal Church. The Thirty-Nine Articles say, “the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine.” Martin Luther also wrote that they were “good for reading.”
While the Book of Concord does not explicitly lay out a canon of Scripture (as far as I know) I don’t think that Lutherans generally accept the deuterocanonicals as inspired Scripture. Luther himself called them, “books which are not held equal to the sacred Scriptures and yet are useful and good for reading,” and I have not ever heard this contradicted by Lutherans (other than you of course). What does your denomination say about them?
First off, Martin Luther in his 1534 translation explicitly called them scripture, called them good to read , and used them to support Lutheran theology , the reformer sorta called them questioned by parts of the church but canon ( can’t remember the exact Greek word at the moment) , the defense of the Augsburg confession calls the deuterocanon scripture , Lutherans do accept them , the reason many are unfamiliar with them is that other streams of the reformation removed them . I am a member of nalc , and we hold them very highly, as canon.
I think you may have misread the quotation from Luther. The LCMS Christian Encyclopedia says,
The 1534 ed. of M. Luther’s Bible (see Bible Versions, M) contains the apocrypha (except 1 and 2 Esd, which are not included) after the OT canonical books and under the heading “Apocrypha. These are books not regarded equal to Holy Scripture and yet useful and good to read.”
I am Catholic. The bible can range anywhere from 66 books in Protestant Canons, 73 in Roman Catholic, 77 in Eastern Orthodox(Though the Orthodox Canon is very fluid. In fact the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has a Canon of 81 books including Enoch, and Jubilees.) If you buy the Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, it contains all of the books accepted as protocanon(accepted by all), and then after the Hebrew Old Testament contains the deuterocanonical books found in Catholic and Orthodox Bibles. In addition to the Catholic books, it also has 1 and 2 Esdras, 3 and 4 Maccabees, Prayer of Manasseh, and Psalm 151. I recommend this bible because in the preface it explains who finds it canonical and why, and why some don’t regard it as canon. It is actually interesting, because some scholars believe the reason the Orthodox bibles have more books than Catholics which doesn’t make much sense as Jerome only translated the Greek Septuagint into the Latin Vulgate, is because he actually had a copy of the Septuagint that was missing these books. Had this error not been made it is likely that Catholics and Orthodox would have about the same Canon. I read all of the books accepted by all Christian traditions. I actually really like 4 Maccabees, it is very different than 1, 2, and 3 Maccabees but talks a lot about the philosophy of living a righteous life. It also has appendixes in the traditional Catholic bible such as Prayer of the three Holy Children, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, which normally are in Daniel in Catholic Bibles, and additions to Esther in a separate place. I actually like it this way, because it gives you insight as to the differences of opinions of the canonical status of the books.
You know I never actually even read them. I know the stance my church has though is that Jesus did not mention them and the Jews did not hold to them so they should not be/ are not part of the canon. I guess I should probably actually read them and see what I think.
I’m not sure that the conclusion follows. Something cannot be Scripture and yet not equal to Scripture. Unless there is a good reason to re-interpret this statement different from it’s plain meaning, or to say that he contradicted himself, we should read the individual prefaces in light of his statement about the collection as a whole. I think the interpretation that makes the most sense is that he is using the word “scripture” in at least two different senses since he clearly speaks of Scripture as a collection of writings that does not include the Deuterocanon, but at the same time, he speaks of the “proto-canon” next to the Deuterocanon as “the other Scriptures.” After looking up some of the prefaces to the individual book, I grant that it is possible that Luther might have credited some level of inspiration to certain books of the “Apocrypha.”
To give an example, in his preface to 1 Maccabees, he says that it fits in stylistically with “the other Scriptures.”
This is another book not to be found in the Hebrew Bible. Yet its words and speech adhere to the same style as the other books of sacred Scripture. This book would not have been unworthy of a place among them, because it is very necessary and helpful for an understanding of chapter 11 of the prophet Daniel.
And he speaks highly of Judith, saying that the characters in the story should be understood as speaking by the Holy Spirit. I do note though that he seems to credit inspiration more to the characters depicted than the author or the book as a whole. Maybe he has a distinction in mind somewhere.
Therefore this is a fine, good, holy, useful book, well worth reading by us Christians. For the words spoken by the persons in it should be understood as though they were uttered in the Holy Spirit by a spiritual, holy poet or prophet who, in presenting such persons in his play, preaches to us through them.
Yet writing about 2 Maccabees, he says,
To sum up: just as it is proper for the first book to be included among the sacred Scriptures, so it is proper that this second book should be thrown out, even though it contains some good things. However the whole thing is left and referred to the pious reader to judge and to decide.
It seems pretty clear that he doesn’t consider this book “Scripture” (at least in the higher sense), inspired or canonical.
You might also find John Calvin an interesting parallel example. Catholic blogger Dave Armstrong has a compilation of quotations from John Calvin citing different authors from the Deuterocanon as prophets, yet as far as I know, it is generally accepted that Calvin’s position was the 66-book canon. Armstrong even shows an example where Calvin in the course of the same work affirms that Sirach is a prophet, and then later on denies that he is a prophet.
As for the Lutherans who support Luther , we use the books in liturgy, devotions , and they are quoted in the book of concord as "scripture " so I say that means we support there inclusion in the canon
Maybe, but not necessarily. I don’t think the Anglican Church has ever removed liturgical readings from the Deuterocanon, but they still say that they are not canonical.