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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Which Written Records about Jesus Are Trustworthy?

Don Stewart :: What Are the Lost Books of the Bible?

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What Are the Lost Books of the Bible?

Which Written Records about Jesus Are Trustworthy? – Question 21

One of the most often-asked questions, about sources for the life of Jesus outside of the New Testament, concerns the so-called “Lost Books of the Bible.” A book with this title was produced in 1926. It was the reprint of William Hone’s Apocryphal New Testament, first printed in 1820. Hone’s book was copied from two earlier one’s published in 1736 and 1737. Thus, the materials found in the “Lost Books of the Bible” were written over two hundred and seventy years ago. Since the time of the original writing of the lost books, the field of manuscript studies has made tremendous advances but those who publish these works have taken none of this into account.

The contents of the “lost books” include the following:

The Four Infancy Gospels

The Four Infancy Gospels include a work called, “The Birth of Mary,” a work written in the middle of the second century; “The Protoevangelium of James,” written about the same time; the “First Gospel of Infancy,” composed about A.D. 400; and “The Second Infancy Gospel,” which in reality is a fragment of the Gospel of Thomas.

These were so-called infancy gospels were written to fill in the details of the early years of the life of Christ of which we have no written record. These works include stories of Jesus forming clay figures of animals and birds, which He makes to walk, fly, and eat.

There is another account of a child who runs into Jesus and then the child falls down dead. These examples are representative of the fanciful nature of the accounts.

Other Works among the Lost Books

There is also a work known as “The Acts of Pilate” which was written in the fourth or fifth century. Other works found among the lost books include the Apostles’ Creed and the spurious letter from Paul to the Laodiceans.

As mentioned, these are not “lost books of the Bible.” They are merely fictitious accounts of the life of Jesus and other characters mentioned in the New Testament. They are historically worthless.

Again we emphasize, it is only the New Testament which give us the true words of Jesus. Therefore, it is to it alone which we must give our attention. It is better these “Lost Books of the Bible” remain lost as far as the reading public is concerned.

Summary – Question 21
What Are the Lost Books of the Bible?

One popular work that purports to give us further information about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ is known as “The Lost Books of the Bible.” As the title indicates, this is actually a collection of writings that claim to have authority similar to that of Holy Scripture. Among their contents are the “four infancy gospels.” These works attempt to fill in some of the details about Jesus’ early years that the New Testament omits. Indeed, a number of personal stories about the youthful Jesus are given to us in these works.

While this is indeed an intriguing title, the lost books of the Bible are not really “lost.” Instead, they are a collection of unhistorical ancient writings that make a worthless attempt to fill in some of the details of the life of Jesus. They are part of a long list of writings that came centuries after the time of Christ. These writings have no historical basis whatsoever.

These works, like so many others, attempt to fill in the gaps in Jesus’ life and ministry that are not recorded for us in the New Testament. Because people are naturally curious about Jesus’ silent years, writings that claimed to give accurate details were read and circulated. However, those in authority in the church realized their worthlessness. Consequently they were never considered of any worth because they do not add to our knowledge of Jesus and His life and times.

It is important that works like these be ignored for they are a waste of time to read. To discover the “real” Jesus is simple. One must simply open up the Bible and start reading the New Testament. This will provide the reader with an accurate firsthand account of who Jesus is as well as what He truly did.

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