Can a Protestant Christian study the apocrypha from the Catholic bible?

Is there a definite reason as to why I should not read it? 

Clarify Share Report Asked April 17 2014 Mini Anonymous

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Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
You can read them, there is no prohibition against it. However, do not treat it as "Scripture". Besides writings that tempt one to sin by the reading itself (such as smut, profanity laced books, guides to witchcraft, etc) there are few books that christians "must" avoid. 

We can study a book (like a commentary or a book on christian living), so long as we keep it in its larger perspective and run it back through scripture. We can read a book to analyze its arguments and test them against scripture (such as a philosophy book). We can read books for entertainment or culture (such as a guide to bird watching, or a mystery book). We can read books to learn history (such as an encyclopedia or autobiography). We can read science books, math books, fiction, sci-fi, etc. In fact, a wide variety of reading is encouraged - so long as we test everything and don't treat non-inspired writings as gospel truth.

Reading a book does not make us unclean: it is what comes out of us that makes us unclean (such as disbelieving God, mocking God, mistaking false philosophies of man for truth, etc).

As to the apocrypha itself:

The apocrypha contains some very interesting books from a historical, even a moral perspective. Here are a few highlights:

The "Book of Sirach" is much like proverbs if you are looking for general wisdom/advice. Take everything with a grain of salt though - it is not an inspired text. A few of his ideas conflict with scriptures. Overall, it is much like reading a collection of wise sayings by any noted philosopher.

"The Prayer of Azariah" (though not in the Catholic apocrypha) is an encouraging expansion of Daniel's three friends in the firey furnace (Dan 3). Much like any other hymn that we might sing at church - it is not 'scripture', but still is useful for the praise of God.

"Bel and the Dragon" is a sometimes hilarious tale of Daniel's fight against the idolatry of his day. It is similar to how many authors today write fictional novels about Biblical characters, which take a lot of artistic license to set the scene, but try to remain true to the higher points. There are moral principles about God being supreme, idols being nothing, and God hearing prayer that are quite true.

July 28 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Bryan Myers Minister of the Body of Christ
The apocrypha was never accepted as Scripture by the Hebrews, nor was it part of the Septuagint originally. If you treat them as historical works, there is nothing wrong with reading them. However, be mindful over contradictions with Scripture.

I have in my personal library the works of Philo Judaeus, Flavius Josephus, and Eusebius. These are excellent historical references that I use to gain the Jewish perspective on early Christianity and the growth of the early church. But I only use them as references. The final authority is the revealed Word of God contained in His inspired Word.

July 29 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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