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Answering a Common Myth: Lost Books of the Bible


The idea that some of the books of the Bible are lost is not new. The idea has no credibility when the history is looked at. Yet this is one of the biggest misconceptions about the Bible. First of all, beside quotations of the Old Testament by the New, the books in the Bible rarely refer to one another, or any other book, internally: they independently state various tenets of Judeo-Christian doctrine. Moreover, the books usually cited as "lost" books are nothing but apocryphal and pseudepigraphal writings that in some cases were never even considered orthodox, let alone canonical, such as the Gospel of Judas or Gospel of Thomas. In any case, below we will discuss some basic history, concepts surrounding what is and isn't a "lost" book, and we will examine references in the Bible (and outside) to non-canonical books.

I. What is a "lost" book and do we have any missing?

Before we discuss the issue as to whether the Bible we now have has all of the books it once did, we should discuss what exactly constitutes a "lost" book. Logically, this was a book that was in the Bible and either was lost over the centuries, or was removed by some who didn't agree with what it said.

In the case of the Old Testament, we do not have much evidence either way as to the early stages of the history of its Scriptures. By the mid 3rd century BC and later, the Jews had an idea of what were authoritative books. Although various groups differed, the general books were all the same, and none were missing. Although Deuteronomy was lost and recovered in Josiah's day (c. 622 BC), and Jeremiah's scroll was destroyed by the king to whom he presented it, God inspired Jeremiah to rewrite it word for word and add more to it, and Deuteronomy had a counterpart in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, so it's possible for a book that said almost the same things to have been out of sight for some time. However, Deuteronomy was not lost anywhere but inside the Temple (2 Kings 22), since the high priest finds it, and had it been thrown just anywhere, the book would have decayed long before then: it would not have had binding like ours do today, but would have been exposed parchment or something similar. The book was probably carefully stored somewhere safe such as in the Ark of the Covenant or in some other box, so this is hardly a case of a "lost" book.

Regarding the New Testament, our evidence is much better that nothing was lost or "removed" just because it didn't jive with some. The councils and people who agreed what books would be there had all writings that claimed to be Scripture and none of them were lost. Of course, some minor writing in an isolated community could have been lost, but obviously this was never Scripture to begin with, seeing that it never made it to the larger Christian world in the first place. Nor was anything removed, because there wasn't one unifying force in the first 300 years to remove and expunge anything in the whole Christian world. In fact, history on this matter tells us that as the centuries went, books were constantly being added to various canons, and not removed. For example, the Bible of the Syrian Church, the Peshitta, didn't have 2-3 John, 2 Peter, Jude, or Revelation until the 7th century; the Ethiopian Church has an additional 8 books in its New Testament, and others in its Old!

Simply put, removal of a book from the Bible by clergy due to theological interests was not possible in the first 300 years of Christian history. For one, books were considered Scripture based on apostolic authority and a reliable tradition within the Christian community regarding its origin and thus orthodoxy. One couldn't simply decide that he or his group didn't agree with a book and then proceed to eliminate it, because no one had the power to impose such a decree upon everyone. Moreover, others would have eliminated such whims by pointing out the book's apostolic authority and traditional backing. Theological interests were always there, but these were rarely anything more than a device to detect forgeries - i.e. a document that espoused a blatantly Gnostic view and was unknown prior to 150 AD was an obvious red flag. For example, when Philoxenos of Mabbug decided to have a more accurate translation of the Greek New Testament translated into Syriac than the Peshitta in the early 6th century, his translation was completely rejected and unused by the Syriac Christians - not a single manuscript survives. Had anyone tried to go against the majority on the whimsical grounds of not agreeing what a book said, they would have failed. This is all too evident seeing that 2 Peter was included in the New Testament when it occasionally has language that can be seen as similar to the Gnostics'.

So when the Epistle of Barnabas, Gospel of Peter, Gospel of Nicodemus and all the other inauthentic writings were rejected, it was because they were demonstratably not by an apostle or one who had a legitimate connection to them (Mark, Luke), or simply didn't qualify (1 Clement, Shepherd of Hermas). And many of these books that were not included in the Old and New Testament were popular for centuries (Epistle of Barnabas, 1 Clement, Wisdom of Solomon, Shepherd of Hermas, Didache), so it's not the case of some sort of arch-conspiracy to remove "other" books was at work. There was simply no evidence or reason to add many of the books that weren't included, and the case of forgery such as the Gospel of Thomas and that of Judas, both of them mentioned by ancient Church writers, was obvious. These later writings have obvious doctrinal propaganda, have no early verification or acceptance in most cases before the third century, and claim to have been written by people who died 100-300 years earlier. Scholars consider the Gospel of Judas and Thomas to have been written c.100-150; others such as the Gospel of Peter are as late as 300! All of this would have been abundantly clear to the early Church, seeing that these books were unknown before then.

Just because a religious writing claims to have a connection to Christianity, going so far as to maintain it was written by one of the Apostles (or Jesus himself!), does not make it a conspiracy to have this book barred from the New Testament. For example, if someone today forged a letter supposedly written by the Pope, we can't seriously consider a collection of the Pope's letters to include this writing and then claim that there are "lost" letters of the Pope not found there, or that someone purposefully expunged/banned it because he didn't agree with it. True, we do have books of the Bible that do not state their author. But he was completely known to the recipients and audience to whom he was writing, such as Hebrews, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and these books enjoyed early, favorable attestation. To accept writings that report outrageous things about Jesus or the apostles centuries after would be similar to accepting that the legend of the Wandering Jew was historical, even though the first mention of it appears around the 13th century (this legend was that a Jew insulted Jesus on his way to the cross, and was thus cursed to wander the Earth without dying until the Day of Judgment). There were books whose favorable attestation wasn't very early (2-3 John, Jude, 2 Peter), but this was either due to a short book length (2-3 John) or perhaps Gnostic/Jewish apocryphal similarities and references (Jude, 2 Peter), and the books are a far cry from the exaggerations of the Gospel of Peter, Judas, and the other Gnostic writings, and certainly not as doctrinally-oriented a forgery as the Gospel of Thomas.

Although we discuss specific examples in detail below, I'll briefly mention that most of the references in the Bible to nonbiblical books, being in the Old Testament, are of a secular, nonreligious nature - works of history that were never intended to be seen as anything but accurate history, a reliable reference. The documents cited were clearly simply uninspired sources, as the title of "Chronicles of the Kings of Judah" and other such imply. References to prophets' books, such as the Book of Gad the Seer, and Nathan the Prophet, are merely referrals to writers of history, just like Isaiah, Nehemiah, Ezra, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and virtually every other prophetic book in the Old Testament attests to. These were history books written by prophets who apparently often acted as court scribes/historians and were apparently not inspired. They certainly would have contained prophecies inspired by God, as all the prophetic books in the Old Testament do, but that doesn't make the books "lost Scripture" or canonical any more than the numerous prophecies hinted at but unrecorded in the Old Testament do. These books are never cited as Scripture, merely referred to as reliable sources. Therefore these have no relevance. Ironically, some of these references might actually refer to books within the Bible itself, but under a different name.

Finally, I'd like to point out that besides clear quotations, there are many phrases that may seem to be allusions. In some cases, quotations do not cite the book or that they are quoting anything at all (Mark 15:34). However, other times, the issue may simply be one of a similarity of expression on similar themes (e.g. Romans 2:6 and Psalm 62:12, Proverbs 24:12; Romans 2:11, James 2:1 and 2 Samuel 14:14, 2 Chronicles 19:7, Deuteronomy 10:17, Job 34:19). For example, David Ewert writes:
Nestle's Greek NT lists some 132 NT passages that appear to be verbal allusions to paracanonical books, but that is the kind of thing we would expect. Writers living at a given period in history tend to reflect the current language of their day. A General Introduction to the Bible: From Ancient Tablets to Modern Translations, p.77
In other words, verbal similarities do not always equal quoation. It is true that many of the books were written hundreds of years before the New Testament, but the Jews in Jesus' day were so immersed in the Old Testament Scriptures that they many times had a similar expression (as we have noted with Romans 2:6, 11; James 2:1 above). Many of the apocryphal books had legitimate Old Testament concepts (day of resurrection, final judgment, reward for the good and punishment for the wicked), but used or took them further into another direction by various ahistorical stories. So if there is a connection in terms of language that refers to this original Old Testament idea, then there is hardly a quotation of a non-canonical book. The language in apocryphal writings that is similar to that in a New Testament verse was used either because it was convenient or common in Judaism, so the idea behind the apocrypha, coming from the Old Testament is what is being referred to. In any case, we look at all of the alleged examples of references to and proof of lost biblical books below.

II. Non-canonical references in the Bible and other books

Before we talk about all the non-canonical books alluded to or cited in the Bible, we should first understand a basic fact. Many of the references are simply pointers towards a secular, or at least non-canonical source of reliable history/records that existed in the authors' days; basically an ancient footnote. So when 2 Chronicles 9:29 talks about the Book of Shemaiah the prophet, or 1 Chronicles 29:29 refers to the Acts of Gad the Seer and 1 Chronicles 27:24 speaks of the Annals of King David, it is obvious that the Bible was directing the ancient reader to a source that had more information should they be curious. These books were certainly not canonical, and in many sections (everywhere except prophecies) - not inspired. The biblical author is basically saying, "I've written quite a bit on the subject [under inspiration], and the reader can find more information on this topic in this [uninspired] source." With this in mind, I will now show that most of the references in the Bible to "lost" books, particularly the Old Testament, belong in three categories that make the issue for those particular citations null and void.

Court Histories

As we briefly mentioned above, the ancient kings of Judah and Israel kept the events in their reigns in a record, much like countless other ancient Near Eastern kings (Cyrus Cylinder, Sennacherib prism, Behistun Inscription, the Annals of Asshur-nasir-pal, etc). These books mentioned in the Bible were simply court histories of the kingdom, the kind we can see for thousands of years after up to the Middle Ages. It seems that in ancient Israel and Judah these histories were written by a prophet who also wrote down various prophecies. So this category we will label (i.e. Isaiah). This history was typically collected into a larger record, such as 1-2 Kings (i.e. 2 Kings 19-20 and Isaiah 37-38, etc). As such, the following books referred to belong in this category:

  1. Chronicles of the Kings of Israel, Chronicles of the Kings of Judah (1 Kings 14:19, 29; 16:20, etc)
  2. The Chronicles of King Ahasuerus (Esther 2:23, 6:1, 10:2; Nehemiah 12:23)
  3. The Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia (Esther 10:2) - probably a broad reference to Persian records in general

Present in the Bible under Different Name

The next category is books that are in the Bible, but under a different name. The vast majority of references here are in 1-2 Chronicles. As we already know, 1-2 Chronicles has a lot of parallels with 1-2 Samuel and particularly 1-2 Kings, though it gives a fuller account occasionally, showing that it might have even older sources, that were perhaps used by 1-2 Kings/Samuel. Under this category belong:
  1. The Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24:7) - probably Deuteronomy or Leviticus/Numbers
  2. The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel (2 Chron. 16:11, 27:7, 32:32; could be 1-2 Kings) - 1-2 Samuel/Kings
  3. Vision of Isaiah (2 Chron. 32:32) - Isaiah
  4. Book of the Chronicles (Nehemiah 12:23) - 1-2 Chronicles
  5. The Acts of Uziah/The Book by the Prophet Isaiah (2 Chronicles 26:22) - Isaiah
  6. The Laments of Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:25) - Lamentations or perhaps a different book, in which case it belongs in the third category below
  7. The Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41) - probably parts of 1-2 Samuel
  8. The Annals of King David (1 Chronicles 27:24) - most likely parts of 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings
  9. The Book of Samuel the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29) - probably parts of 1-2 Samuel
  10. The Acts of Gad the Seer (1 Chron. 29:29) - probably parts of 1-2 Samuel
  11. The Acts of Nathan the Prophet (1 Chron. 29:29) - probably parts of 1-2 Samuel
  12. History of Nathan the Prophet (2 Chron. 9:29) - the same as the Acts of Nathan the Prophet
  13. The Prophecy of Ahijah (2 Chron. 9:29) - most likely 1 Kings 14:2-18 or 1 Kings 14:2-18 is an epitome of the original
  14. The Book of Jehu (2 Chron. 20:34) - if not 1 Kings 16:1-7, the source behind that text which 1 Kings 16:1-7 apparently epitomized
  15. The Story of the Book of Kings (2 Chronicles 24:27) - 1-2 Samuel/Kings
  16. The Acts of the Kings of Israel (2 Chron. 33:18) - parts of 1-2 Samuel/Kings
  17. The Sayings of the Seers (2 Chron. 33:19) - if not parts of 1-2 Samuel/Kings then a court history that isn't in the Bible, thus belonging in category one above
  18. The Book of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the Seer (2 Chronicles 9:29, 12:15, 13:22) - parts of 1-2 Samuel/Kings
  19. Story of the Prophet Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22) - identical with the Book of Iddo the Seer
Our first definitive clue that some of the books mentioned in the Bible are the same as the ones we have but under a different name comes from 2 Chronicles 32:32. The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel is without a doubt 1-2 Kings (and maybe 1-2 Samuel). Proof of this is that in 2 Chron. 32:32, the Vision of Isaiah is said to be in it. This is 1 Kings 19f., which matches what Isaiah has (37f.). Thus, the Vision of Isaiah and the Book by the Prophet Isaiah are our Isaiah (also the Acts of Uziah). Thus the Acts of David, etc are without a doubt 1-2 Samuel/Kings, and we see that prophets/court historians/scribes wrote them. Thus Samuel and Gad the Seer and Nathan the prophet (and probably Iddo the prophet as well) undoubtedly equal 1-2 Samuel since they are all mentioned together (1 Chronicles 29:29) as if they formed a larger, more extensive work. Seeing how 1 Kings incorporates parts of Isaiah, this is most likely what happened with portions from the books of Nathan, Samuel, Gad, Iddo, Shemaiah and probably even other prophets not mentioned. The same can be seen with 1-2 Chronicles and Ezra, to which undoubtedly Nehemiah 12:23 refers. This practice continued down to at least the second century BC, where in 2 Maccabees we see a reference to Nehemiah himself (memoirs of Nehemiah), as well as other letters and records (2 Maccabees 2:13), and one could avail himself of records if he wished more information (2 Maccabees 2:14-15).

One final notice that needs to be mentioned is that sources to which 1-2 Chronicles may or may not refer, could have been epitomized (e.g. the prophecy of Ahijah [1 Kings 14:2-18], the book of Jehu [1 Kings 16:1-7], and maybe the Sayings of the Seers [2 Chronicles 33:18]). These books of prophecies and perhaps history as well would have been like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. These prophecies would have been inspired, but their record would have been entirely from memory, and thus not Scripture, similarly to a divine saying Ignatius of Antioch records (Epistle to the Philadelphians 7).

Other Writings

Of these we can mention:
  1. The Book of Jasher (Joshua 10:23, 2 Samuel 1:18) - this seeems to have been a book of poetry
  2. The Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14) - probably a more detailed account of the conquests of Moses and Joshua, perhaps written by Moses himself
  3. Book of Songs (1 Kings 8:12-13 - Septuagint) - A book with songs.

Books to which the designation of Scripture simply doesn't apply

Under this we can mention without a doubt a book that Samuel wrote for guidelines for the Hebrews (1 Samuel 10:25), and any other such occurances. This was simply an outline as to what the people should do, etc - a Constitution of sorts. Hardly does this count as a "lost" book.

New Testament letters/epistles

There are references in the New Testament and early Church fathers to previous letters/epistles. These are 2 Peter 3:1, Polycarp's letter to the Philippians 3:2 (perhaps also in Paul's Philippians 3:1), the letter to Laodicea (Colossians 4:16), and 3 Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:9; 7:1), as well as another letter (2 Corinthians 2:3-4). In the case of 2 Peter 3:1, the earlier letter may very well be Jude, which seems like it was composed quickly, to which 2 Peter added, having the same themes. If not, then it is entirely possible that there were previous, uninspired letters by Peter, as well as Paul to the Philippians and Corinthians. Some have supposed that 2 Corinthians 1-9 and 2 Corinthians 10-13 were two separate letters, joined together. This theory comes from the sudden change of tone between chapters 9 and 10, and that the previous letter referred to in 2 Cor. 4:2-3 is 2 Cor. 10-13. But why this letter would be placed in the back, and why they would be joined at all, much like the theory of Philippians being composite letters, makes little sense as Kümmel tells us. In the case of the letter to Laodicea, we need not think that it was inspired: an earthquake destroyed that city in 60 AD, and although they quickly rebuilt it, the letter was lost, perhaps as a sign of some transgression of the city's church (cf. Revelation 3:14ff.). In this case it is entirely possible for Paul to refer to that letter as instructional.

Books most certainly not quoted

Life of Adam and Eve. In 2 Corinthians 11:14, one of Satan's tricks is described: to mask himself as an angel of light. In the apocryphal text of the Life of Adam and Eve Chapter 17 satan is described as an angel, singing with the other angels, prior to tricking Eve. This really doesn't prove any connection at all except that the same idea exists behind both Paul and the pseudepigraphal writing, which expands upon Genesis 3. The same goes for the "third heaven" mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:2 and Life of Adam and Eve 37.4, 40.2: for Paul, the third heaven was clearly the highest, the first two being the sky and space (the abode of the stars), whereas the pseudepigraphal writing believes in the Jewish seven heavens at the time (35.2), and something simply happens in the third one in that particular part of the story. This is in no way a dependence - it shows the diametrically opposed view of seven heavens and simply Heaven in Paul.

Jude 1:9, 14 and 1-2 Peter

In Jude 1:14-15 we see a quotation attributed to Enoch. This comes from 1 Enoch, a Jewish work that was completed around the second century BC. Moreover, in Jude 1:9 we see a reference to another apocryphal early Jewish work - The Assumption of Moses. The same influence of 1 Enoch can be seen in 1 Peter, particularly 3:18-22 (Ben Witherington, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians Vol. 2, (2007), pp.186-89), as well as in 2 Peter (2:4, 3:13 - Ben Witherington, Ibid., p.188). But none of these references introduce anything new. Fallen angels were already within Christian theology: Satan himself is one (Luke 10:18), and the demons were obviously the fallen angels who followed him ("the devil and his angels" - Matthew 25:41). Satan is the leader of the fallen angels, and is thus one himself ("a house divided cannot stand": Satan cannot exorcise demons - Matthew 12:22-28). The punishment of these angels, or demons, is also found before 1 Peter in Christian theology (Matthew 8:29, 25:41; Luke 8:31). There may appear to be a slight difference between Jude and 1-2 Peter's angelology and that elsewhere in the New Testament, since the Petrine letters and Jude say that the fallen angels are in "chains/prison" (Jude 1:6, 1 Peter 3:19, 2 Peter 2:4), whereas the demons in the Gospels run amok. However, since 1 Enoch, which also describes these fallen angels in chains, has these fallen angels appear on Earth (interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4), then certainly not all demons are in "Tartarus", or perhaps that's the place where they are expected to be at ultimately (cf. Luke 8:31 - "And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss."). So 1-2 Peter and Jude are following Christian theology/angelology which happened to be similar to 1 Enoch. Moreover, 1-2 Peter and Jude are not strict adherents of Enochian theology/angelology: in 1 Enoch the angels are bound in the valleys of the Earth awaiting prison/judgment, or hellfire, (1 Enoch 10:12-14) and we see no such thing in the Petrine letters and Jude, where the angels are already in a prison/Tartarus. The trespass of the angels in 1-2 Peter and Jude is also different than the one in 1 Enoch. Whereas in 1 Enoch these angels, or "watchers", mixed themselves with women and thus defiled themselves, in 1-2 Peter they are disobedient (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:4, 10 - implied by the condemnation of the angels and Sodom and Gomorrha when in verse 10 the sins of lust and disobeying authority are solely mentioned. Sodom and Gomorrha destroyed for their lust, the angels destroyed for their disobedience to God's authority). In Jude (1:6), it is unclear why the angels were punished. One might be inclined to think Jude agrees with 1 Enoch about angels lusting, since Jude 1:6-7 says, "And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire." But this doesn't necessitate a direct statement by Jude that the angels sinned by lusting: in Jude 1:11 these people in error "walked in the way of Cain", yet no sin of murder is enumerated by Jude. The desire to have a close affinity with 1 Enoch for the sake of the audience's appreciation of Noah and thus probably the work, probably led to the ambiguity of Jude's, as well as 1-2 Peter's, language. In any case, 1 Peter, which as we have seen uses terminology from 1 Enoch even more, does not interpret the angels' sin that way, and 2 Peter, which expounds upon Jude, also reinterprets the angels' sin as disobedience as we have seen above. Since Noah was a very popular figure for the Jews in Asia Minor (Witherington, Ibid., p.190), Jude and 1 Peter (and to a lesser extent 2 Peter, drawing on the earlier letter of 1 Peter) decided to use 1 Enoch's language to describe something they already believed independently of the work. Enoch was a righteous man close to the time of Noah, and the connection would have made him popular as well, which is why both Petrine letters connect Noah and material from 1 Enoch (1 Peter 3:18-20; 2 Peter 2:4-5). I can't see a dependence upon 1 Enoch 108:3b in 1 Peter 1:23 as Witherington citing Nickelsburg does (Ibid., p.187 - the language is not near enough and each has deep roots in Jewish (1 Enoch - "seed wiped off") and Christian (1 Peter - "not perishable but imperishable seed" - cf. 1 Cor. 15) theology. Also the parallels about the lack of love of gold and silver (1 Peter 1:7, 18 and 1 Enoch 108:8) seem sketchy to me, though on the whole it is entirely possible that the concepts in 1 Enoch colored Peter's focus (but not new creation of theology) on the subject. These concepts are and always were entirely within Christian thought. For example, the fact that life is ephemeral and thus not to be valued above doing God's will in 1 Enoch 108:8-9 is also found in James 1:10-11, 4:14. Other similarities between 1 Enoch 108:7-10 and 1 Peter (i.e. 3:9, 16; 4:4, 16) are also found abundantly in Christian thought before 1 Peter. So when 1 Peter used 1 Enoch to make a point, he was simply confirming something that already existed in Christianity, but was trying to prove it for a Jewish or Jewish Christian audience, so that he would confirm their faith. As Witherington says (Ibid., pp.190-91):
It thus is in no way surprising that Peter would choose Noah [and thus 1 Enoch which largely focuses on him] to draw an analogy while addressing persons in these regions, and all the more so if they were Jews familiar with their Old Testament history...Peter was a wise rhetorician, who drew on the story of a very popular "local hero" to make his points about Christ and baptism and salvation and the fallen angels. The story, and Peter's rhetorical move in using it, is all the more telling if the audience is Jewish Christians.
The points Peter wanted to make was that the Christians who were suffering should not be discouraged and that their baptism is a sign of their salvation. This is nothing foreign to the earliest Christian thought at all, and Peter naturally would have used 1 Enoch to support his argument, in a sense saying, "Look, either way, our [Christian] interpretation is right", just like Paul does with the pagan philosophers at Athens (Acts 17:28) and the other examples discussed elsewhere (Quotations of Apocrypha, Greek Poets, and so on). So we do not have any evidence of non-canonical or lost canonical books being referred to or quoted as Scripture in the Bible. The one particular example I will briefly mention here, since it is fully discussed in the link, is Jude quoting 1 Enoch (and 1-2 Peter which indirectly cite some of its elements) and the Assumption of Moses. 2 Peter 2:22 seems to quote The Story of Ahikar, and 1 Peter seems to parallel much of 1 Enoch. This is nothing more than the same example from above when Paul quotes various Greek poets, even calling one a Cretan "prophet of their own" figuratively. Ahikar is wisdom that is universally known - most of us have seen a dog eat its vomit and the one I saw even growled at me when I got closer, thinking I'd take it away from him. In that light, 2 Peter might not even be quoting anything at all. The points in 1 Enoch (and the Assumption of Moses) are used as proof of aspects of Christian theology that are already believed by 1-2 Peter and Jude. These are nothing more than instructions on righteousness, punishment of fallen angels, and the idea of a few believers in the end who are going to be saved by God's armies (Jude 1:14-15; this is actually also a quote of Deuteronomy 33:2 (cf. also 1 Kings 19:18), so Jude is ultimately confirming a point in the OT; Christian theology about a final battle where a few are left are certainly from a non-Enochian origin: i.e. Daniel 11-12, Ezekiel 38-39, Revelation 20:7-9). The idea of not slandering celestial beings (Jude 1:8-10; 2 Peter 2:10b-12) is based on the parallel saying in Zechariah 3:2 and so there is no new doctrine in Jude (and 2 Peter) that doesn't have its roots in the Old Testament and in Christian theology. In those citations, there isn't anything that is cited that introduces some new doctrine as if the referenced writings (1 Enoch, The Assumption of Moses) are authoritative - they are merely used to say that the Christian interpretation of theology is an inescapable conclusion even amongst the Jews. The Jews addressed in Asia Minor had a very high reverence for Noah since the second century BC. This would have made 1 Enoch particularly popular with them, and thus Jude, 1 Peter (addressed to that region - 1:1, and probably the other two have a similar geographical location seeing the affinity with that region in 1 Peter), and 2 Peter would have without a doubt wanted to do what Paul did at the Aeropagus in Athens: to have something the audience cherished to inescapably confirm the Christian message. This doesn't make Jude and 1-2 Peter accept 1 Enoch (or Assumption of Moses) as Scripture, especially since the only two actual quotes of the two apocrypha (Jude 1:9, 14) can both be found in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 33:2, Zechariah 3:2), and as we have seen the rest of the references are nothing new to Christian theology without 1 Enoch or Assumption of Moses. Jude and 1-2 Peter are basically saying: "Christian theology says this and so do the writings (1 Enoch, Assumption of Moses) which you believe." It is simply like assuming that the square root of 2 is rational in order to prove that it's not. Similar examples can be found in the Talmud, such as citations of Sirach. Although three times Sirach is referred to as Scripture (Hagigh 13a; Yebamoth 63b; cf., Erubin 54a), the Jews at that point did not consider it such, but single verses nevertheless appear in: Yer. Ber. 11b; Yer. Hag. 77c; Yer. Ta'an. 66d; Hag. 13a; Niddah 16b; Gen. R. 8, 10, 73; Lev. R. 33; Tan. Wayishlah 8; Tan., Mikkez. 10; Tan. Hukkat. 1; etc.]

Books not in the Bible

In this section we discuss books not referenced in and outside of the Bible and why these and other similar books weren't included in the canon. Since there are literally dozens of these writings, I'll simply talk about the more popular ones, especially ones that have been claimed to be an earlier, more authentic and more reliable witness than the canonical Gospels. In the case of quotations of Greek poets, the issue is dealt with indepth at the article on Inerrancy. In those cases Paul was using pagan authors to prove a point out of logic, a universal virtue, regarding the divine, but since those aren't lost books, nor expunged ones, and it being obvious why they wouldn't be included in the canon, the issue is not dealt with here.

The Gospel of Judas