Question & Answer Forum

It would be difficult to find a verse to prove that 66 books complete the Bible. However, careful research of the material shows that it is indeed complete with no other books to be added.

The Scriptures came not “by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved” by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). Thus, the inerrant Word is divine and inspired (2 Timothy 3:16), making it authoritative and binding.

God superintended the compilation of these manuscripts, so that 40 writers over approximately 1500 years produced the Bible.

The Lord quoted from these writings during His temptations (Luke 4:4, 8, 12). After His resurrection, He expounded “in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27), proving that these writings are the inspired Word of God.

Other versions such as the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) and the Vulgate (the Latin translation of Old and New Testaments from the original languages) include a “collection of religious writings” known as the Apocrypha. However, there is no record that the Lord ever quoted from the Apocrypha. This, in itself, indicates these are only historical writings and not divinely inspired.

Thus these 66 books are a unique and complete volume, dovetailing perfectly without contradictions or errors. Let us value and study them, as God’s complete and inspired Word.

S. Wells

What is the history of the Apocrypha?

This collection of 14 books added to the Old Testament (and around 50 lesser known books related to the New Testament) is called the Apocrypha, a Greek word meaning “hidden” and indi-cating that the source of these books is disputed. Josephus, a contemporary of the apostles, refers to only 22 Old Testament books (our 39 books in their Hebrew arrangement). Cyril of Jerusalem (bom 315 A.D.) distinguished the Apocrypha from the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament), which in its earliest existing manuscripts included the Apocrypha. Jerome (scholarly fourth century translator of the Vulgate) wrote, “the Church… doth not apply them (the Apocryphal books) to establish any doctrine.” These writings were likely inserted into the Old Testament between 300 and 400 A.D. The Greek branch of Christendom (Council of Laodicea, 363 A.D.) denied they were inspired, yet the Roman branch includes the Apocrypha in its Bible. In 1546, its Council of Trent equated tradition and the Apocrypha with the authority of Scripture, indicating that until that time the Apocrypha was not considered part of the canon. The Geneva Bible (1560) was the first edition since the fourth century to omit the Apocrypha. These books were included in the first King James Version (1611), but omitted after 1629. (S. Collett, “All About the Book,” F.H. Revell Company, pp. 35-48; H. Mackay, “The Story of Your Bible,” Walterick, p. 17.)

D. Oliver

Does the “Book of Mormon” have any spiritual value?

No. Revelation 22:18 warns against adding to the prophecies of that book. Hebrews 1:1-2 indicates that the time of varied and partial prophecies culminated and concluded in the coming of God’s Son. The Lord authorized His followers to complete the revelation of truth (John 14:26; 16:13, 14). Biblically, then, the Word of God was completed when John went home to heaven. The purported origin of the “Book of Mormon” cannot be confirmed. The three witnesses who allegedly saw the “plates” from which it was translated all eventually turned from Mormonism. In the ensuing years, the “inspired translation” has been changed in over 2000 places. It contradicts the Scriptures, saying, for example, that the Son of God would be born at Jerusalem. Its history contradicts available evidence; its language is an apparent plagiarism of the King James Version and violates accepted rules of grammar; it contradicts its own statements of doctrine. (W. Martin, “Kingdom of the Cults,” Bethany House Publishers, pp. 156-171.)

D. Oliver

Do differences in the manuscripts mean that our Bible is not totally reliable?

The Lord in His wisdom did not preserve to us the original autographs of the Scriptures. Our translations have come from manuscripts formed from documents which may be many copies removed from the originals. These documents have been found in many places and in varying conditions. Finding them, evaluating their authenticity, and assessing their accuracy is a complex science. There are some variations in the manuscripts. W.E. Vine quotes men considered experts in the text saying that the variations are “formed in great part by changes of order and other comparative trivialities.” Further, these men tell us “the amount of what can in any sense be called substantial variation . . . can hardly form more than a thousandth part of the entire text.” Mr. Vine concludes, as do others, “There is no doctrine in Scripture which would be affected if all the various readings were allowed or if all the disputed words, or those about which there is any doubt, were omitted.” (W. E. Vine, “The Divine Inspiration of the Bible, Ritchies’ Christian Book Service, pp. 27, 28.)

Our Lord asserts the exact inspiration of the original words (Matthew 22:29-32; John 10:35). Their precise truth has been divinely preserved (Psalm 119:89; 117:2; 1 Peter 1:25). We build safely on the reliability of God’s immutable Word (Matthew 7:24-25).

D. Oliver