What are apocryphal books, and should Christians read them?

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I’m a Presbyterian, and the confession of faith that the denomination I’m in uses is the Westminster Confession of Faith. In its first chapter it makes a comment on the apocryphal books, which basically is that they have no more value than any other piece of literature.

The reason that is characteristic Reformed teaching is because unlike, for example, the prophecy of Isaiah or Jeremiah, the apocryphal books are not recognized by the apostles as part of the canon of the Old Testament Scriptures. So there is no reason that Christians should treat them in that way.

In the Anglican tradition, I think in the Thirty-nine Articles they’re regarded as pious reading, and in that sense, there is lots of pious reading. But they do not carry the authority of God. There is no reason that anyone would think they were inerrant.

You can certainly get to heaven, and 99.99% of Christians get to heaven without even knowing there is an Apocrypha, I suspect.

This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with Sinclair Ferguson and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, email ask@ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.