Why should God let you into Heaven?

Do you know the answer? Are you confident in your salvation?

Find out!

What Are The Missing Books In The Bible?

If you have friends or family in the Catholic or Orthodox church, you might have noticed that their Bible has books that aren’t in your Bible. Or, maybe you’re the one who’s Orthodox or Catholic and wondering why your Presbyterian friend’s Bible is missing some books.

Maybe you are Lutheran and wondering why the Apocrypha books appear on the reading list in your Lectionary but aren’t in your Bible. The great Reformer Martin Luther didn’t consider the Apocrypha books as scripture, yet he felt they were “worthy of reading.” That’s why they show up on the Lutheran Lectionary.

Have you ever heard about the “lost books of the Bible?” Some folks say they were part of the original Bible but later taken out of the canon. What’s a canon? The biblical canon is a group of books that the Christian churches consider official books of the Bible.

This article will unwrap who decided which books were part of the canon. When and how did that happen? Why are the Catholic and Protestant canons different?

Are there missing books in the Bible?

The quick answer is “no.” However, the explanation is a little complicated.

We’ll start with the so-called “Lost Books of the Bible.” These “Lost Books” are the Gnostic gospels and other pseudepigraphal books. The word pseudepigrapha basically means “fake writings.” They were passed off as written by one of the apostles or a close associate, but they weren’t.

The Gnostic gospels were fifty-two writings found in Egypt, and they contained poems and myths supposedly told by Jesus. Yet, they don’t sound anything like what Jesus or His apostles said.

In 1945, some Egyptian brothers were digging for fertilizer when they uncovered a red clay jar. At first, they were afraid to open it. What if it had a jinn (spirit)? But maybe it had gold or other treasures. They finally broke it open but were disappointed to find it only had ancient papyrus books (papyrus was like ancient Egyptian paper). They carried it home and put it by their mother’s wood stove to light the fire. She actually did burn some of the papyrus sheets.

But then, the brothers killed a man who had murdered their father. They knew the police would search their home and didn’t want them to find the ancient books. So, they passed them off, and some ended up in a museum. Others were smuggled to America.

Finally, a scholar deciphered the opening words, “These are the secret words which the living Jesus spoke, and which the twin, Judas Thomas, wrote down.”

Why secret words? Jesus spoke His teachings publicly. His teachings and the apostles’ writings were read publicly in the churches.

Some of the writings copy verses from Jesus’ teaching almost exactly. Others were bizarre and, quite frankly, demonic. They quoted Jesus as saying a woman had to “make herself male” to enter the kingdom of heaven. They implied that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were lovers. Other teachings denied Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead and His virgin birth. They told the story of the Garden of Eden from the serpent’s point of view. God was the bad guy, while the serpent just wanted to help Adam and Eve be wise. They referred to God as a woman, “whore and the holy one.”

At the time of these writings, the early church was dealing with “heretics” or false teachers, called the Gnostics. They twisted the Christian faith into a cult.

Another book that came out of the Gnostic heresy was The Acts of John. It was written as if the author were traveling with the apostle John. However, it doesn’t sync with what John or the other disciples wrote about Jesus. It says Jesus never slept, but Mark said Jesus was sleeping in the ship. It says Jesus never ate, left no footprints on the ground, and wasn’t really on the cross.

Another example that isn’t Gnostic but weird and unbiblical is The Acts of Paul and Thecla. Supposedly, Thecla is a woman who converts to Christianity under Paul’s ministry. She baptized herself by jumping into a pool of seals. When the seals tried to eat her, fire from heaven killed them. She dressed like a man and told women not to get married, a contradiction of what Paul actually taught (1 Timothy 5:14, Titus 2:4).

The twenty-seven books of our New Testament were probably completed by 100 AD. For the next century, they were widely read in the churches. They were considered scripture by the early church writers who referred to them. In 382 AD, the Council of Rome voted to accept those twenty-seven books as scripture. They simply recognized what the church had accepted as scripture for over two centuries.

What are the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical books?

Jerome was a 4th-century AD priest who translated the Bible into Latin. The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew (mostly). However, Alexander the Great conquered Eastern Europe, West Asia, and Egypt in the 4th century BC. Almost everyone in that part of the world started using Koine Greek as the standard spoken and written language. Around 250 BCE, Jewish scholars in Egypt translated the Old Testament into Greek, and this was called the Septuagint.

By the 4th century AD, Rome ruled much of Europe, West Asia, and North Africa. Now, everyone was supposed to speak and read Latin instead of Greek, so Jerome was translating. He translated from the Greek Septuagint version and the Hebrew scriptures for the Old Testament.

Jerome found it odd that the Septuagint had seven books that weren’t in the older Hebrew Bible. He called them “Apocrypha,” which means “hidden.” They were 1 and 2 Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Sirach, Wisdom, and Baruch.

They weren’t in the Hebrew Old Testament because the Hebrew scriptures were complete by 400 BC, and the Apocrypha books were written between 300 BC and 100 AD. The Jews read the Apocrypha books (obviously, since they were in the Septuagint) but did not consider them scripture. Jesus never quoted from the Apocrypha, nor did any New Testament authors cite them as scripture.

The Apocrypha was not regarded as scripture for the first three centuries of the Christian faith. However, some Christian leaders said they were worth reading. By the 4th century, many theologians like Saint Augustine said they were scripture. Jerome disagreed, saying they were “helpful” but not scripture. The debate raged for centuries until the Protestant Reformation happened. The Apocrypha supported some of the doctrines that the Protestants rejected, like purgatory, so the Protestants didn’t include them in their Bibles. However, the Catholic church finally declared them official scripture in the 1546 AD Council of Trent.

Another name for these seven books of the Apocrypha is Deuterocanonical books, meaning a “second canon” of what the Catholics considered to be inspired books.

What’s in the Apocrypha? The books of Maccabees cover Jewish history that happened between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. Tobit and Judith are short stories about Jews in exile in Assyria and Babylon. Sirach and Wisdom are like sequels to the wisdom books of the Old Testament, like Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Baruch is supposedly a letter written by the prophet Jeremiah’s scribe to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. The Catholic Bible also includes some additions to the books of Esther and Daniel that weren’t in the Hebrew scripture.

Are there verses missing in the NIV Translation?

To answer that question, we need first to understand how our English translations of the New Testament were translated from the Greek in which they were written. The Textus Receptus was a Greek New Testament published by the Catholic scholar Erasmus in 1516 AD. He used the Greek manuscripts that were available to him at that time. However, the oldest manuscripts he used were only 400 years old. They had been copied and recopied by hand for a thousand years. These were the manuscripts used to translate the King James Bible.

In recent years, much older Greek manuscripts have been found. Some were written in the 200s AD, so they were only copied and recopied for less than 200 years, not a thousand. Thus, there was much less chance of mistakes creeping in. Most newer translations use these older manuscripts but still compare them to the Textus Receptus.

Here’s the thing. The Textus Receptus has some verses that aren’t in the older (presumably more accurate) manuscripts. Yet, it’s not that cut and dried. The verses at the end of Mark 16 are a huge area of controversy. Two older manuscripts don’t have them, but more than 1000 other Greek manuscripts do. Most modern translations of the New Testament (including the New King James Bible) kept the entire Mark 16, but with a note that not all the manuscripts have that section.

What did the NIV (New International Version) do with Mark 16? They did keep all of it in except for part of verse 8, but with a bracketed statement between verses 8 and 9 saying:

[The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.]

Attached to verse 8 is a footnote saying,

“Some manuscripts have the following ending between verses 8 and 9, and one manuscript has it after verse 8 (omitting verses 9-20): Then they quickly reported all these instructions to those around Peter. After this, Jesus himself also sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.”

The NIV isn’t the only version that does something along this line. For instance, the NLT (New Living Translation) stops at Mark 8 and then notes a “shorter” and “longer” version of the end of Mark 8.

In other places, the NIV (and several other translations) leave out a verse in the main text but include it in footnotes explaining why. For example, Mathew 23:14, Matthew 17:21, Matthew 18:11, Mark 7:16, Mark 9:44, Mark 9:46, Mark 11:26, Mark 15:28, Luke 17:36, John 5:4, Acts 8:37, Acts 15:34, Acts 24:7, Acts 28:29, and Romans 16:24.

How do we know everything in the Bible is true?

Although the above verses are a bit controversial, what is truly astounding is that only these 17 passages are slightly different in all the manuscripts out there. All the rest of the New Testament verses are virtually the same in the older and newer manuscripts. Did you know there are over 25,000 manuscripts for part or all of the New Testament? Thus, we can trust that very few mistakes crept in and nothing that changed doctrine or core teaching.

Much of the Bible includes eyewitness testimony of what happened. For instance, Matthew and John were Jesus’ disciples, and they wrote down what they saw and heard. All four gospels contain many of the same stories and teachings of Jesus. They might have some variations, as would be expected if two or three people reported the same thing. Still, the core of the events and teachings dovetail.

Moreover, secular histories recorded by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans support the history of the Old and New Testaments. And let’s not forget all the fulfilled prophesies! For instance, Isaiah 44 & 45 prophesied that God would use Cyrus, a Persian king, to rebuild the temple. He named Cyrus, yet Cyrus wasn’t born yet! And what about prophesies that God would gather the Jews from the ends of the earth to resettle Israel (Amos 9:14-15, Ezek. 36:24, etc.)? Let’s not forget the Biblical prophesies of the end times unfolding before our eyes! (Matthew 24, 1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 3:1-9)

Finally, if we compare the Bible to other ancient works of its day, its authenticity shines through. We don’t doubt that Plato and Aristotle existed or what they had to say. Yet, the Bible has much more authentication than their writings. As previously mentioned, the thousands of copies of manuscripts of the Bible are remarkably the same.

Make time for God in His Word

Since we know the Bible is accurate and reliable, we must spend quality time diving into what God has to say to us. We need to schedule a regular time each day to read His Word and meditate on it. We should think about what a passage tells us about God’s character, what He wants us to do or not do, what promises He has given us, what will happen in the future, and so much more.


To sum up, there are some books out there that are supposedly written by or about Jesus and His apostles. Yet, they contradict what the rest of the Bible says. They are obviously fakes promoted by the Gnostic heresy and other people Satan used to confuse and divide.

Some books in the Catholic and Orthodox Bibles aren’t in most Protestant Bibles. These books don’t add anything substantial to our knowledge of God. Jesus never quoted from them (as He did the Old Testament scriptures), and the New Testament writers did not cite them as scripture. They weren’t considered scripture for at least the first two centuries of the early church.

Finally, some Bible translations have moved seventeen verses or passages to the footnotes because of conflicting manuscripts. However, most of the manuscripts do support those passages.

We can trust that the Bible is true and well-authenticated. We need to be sure we’re reading, memorizing, and applying it in our everyday lives!

0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment