The apocrypha is a selection of books which were published in the original 1611 King James Bible. The Apocrypha refer to texts which are left out of officially sanctioned versions (‘canon’) of the Bible. The term means ‘things hidden away,’ which implies secret or esoteric literature. However, none of these texts were ever considered secret. These apocryphal books were positioned between the Old and New Testament (it also contained maps and geneologies). Jerome rejected the Deuterocanonical books when he was translating the Bible into Latin circa 450 CE, (see the Vulgate). This was because no Hebrew version of these texts could be found, even though they were present in the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint). However, they eventually were accepted by the Church, and most of them remained part of the Bible. Protestants rejected these books during the Reformation as lacking divine authority. They either excised them completely or placed them in a third section of the Bible. The Roman Catholic Council of Trent, on the other hand, declared in 1546 that the Deuterocanonical books were indeed divine. The apocrypha was a part of the KJV for 274 years until being removed in 1885 A.D. A portion of these books were called deuterocanonical books by some entities, such as the Catholic church. In some Protestant Bibles, they are placed between the New and Old Testament. In the Roman Catholic Bibles the books are interspersed with the rest of the text. In this case they are also called ‘Deuterocanonical’, which means ‘secondary canon.’ The books on this page are all Deuterocanonical.
Of these books, Tobias, Judith, the Wisdom of Solomon, Baruch, and Maccabees, remain in the Catholic Bible. First Esdras, Second Esdras, Epistle of Jeremiah, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer of Manasseh, Prayer of Azariah, and Laodiceans are not today considered part of the Catholic apocrypha.
With one exception, all of these books are considered ‘Old Testament’. The apocryphal New Testament ‘Letter of Paul to the Laodiceans’, was once incorporated in many versions of the Bible. However Laodiceans is now considered just a pastiche of other Epistles, and is omitted from contemporary Bibles.
There are many other apocryphal books, which do not fall into the ‘Deuterocanonical’ category, such as the many additional New Testament Gospels, and the apocalyptic book of Enoch. Of which I did not include.
Many claim the apocrypha should never have been included in the first place, raising doubt about its validity and believing it was not God-inspired (for instance, a reference about magic seems inconsistent with the rest of the Bible: Tobit chapter 6, verses 5-8). Others believe it is valid and that it should never have been removed- that it was considered part of the Bible for nearly 2,000 years before it was recently removed a little more than 100 years ago. Some say it was removed because of not finding the books in the original Hebrew manuscripts. Others claim it wasn’t removed by the church, but by printers to cut costs in distributing Bibles in the United States. Both sides tend to cite the same verses that warn against adding or subtracting from the Bible: Revelation 22:18. The word ‘apocrypha’ literally means ‘hidden.’ Fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls dating back to before 70 A.D. contained parts of the apocrypha books in Hebrew, including Sirach and Tobit.
Keep this in mind when reading the following apocryphal books. Martin Luther said, “Apocrypha–that is, books which are not regarded as equal to the holy Scriptures, and yet are profitable and good to read.” (King James Version Defended page 98.)
Personally, and in my humble opinion, I have studied this subject, the books and have followed the references, and I believe these books should have stayed in the Bible, that is why I am including it here.
Viewing the 1769 King James Version. In this order. (Added 3rd and 4th Maccabees, not in the 1769 King James Version)
1 Esdras Chapters 1:1-9:55
2 Esdras Chapters 1:1-16:78
Tobit Chapters 1:1-14:15
Judith Chapters 1:1-16:25
Additions to Esther Chapters 10:4-16:24
Wisdom of Solomon Chapters 1:1-19:22
Ecclesiasticus (Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach) Chapters 1:1-51:30
Baruch Chapters 1:1-5:9
Letter of Jeremiah (Baruch 6) Chapter 1:1-72
Prayer of Azariah (Additions to Daniel, The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men, part of Daniel 3 in the Catholic Bible) Chapter 1:1-68
Susanna (Daniel 13 in the Catholic Bible) Chapter 1:1-64
Bel and the Dragon (Daniel 14 in the Catholic Bible) Chapter 1:1-42
Prayer of Manasseh Chapter 1:1
1 Maccabees Chapters 1:1-16:24
2 Maccabees Chapters 1:1-15:39
3 Maccabees Chapters 1:1-7:23
4 Maccabees Chapters 1:1-18:24