By Debbonnaire Kovacs, posted June 24, 2015.
I read the Apocrypha last year. It was quite an interesting experience. I found quite a few things I saved; for example:
“The stroke of a whip makes a mark in the flesh, but the stroke of the tongue will break bones” Ecclesiasticus 28:17. I think this makes far more sense than our patently untrue “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!”
Or here’s one:
“As the lamp that shines upon the holy candlestick, so is the beauty of the face in ripe age” Ecc. 26:17. (I hope so!)
When I was young, what little I heard of the Apocrypha implied that it was lies. A false Bible, to deceive unbelievers. In fact, we often use the adjective “apocryphal” to mean false, when it simply means something that can’t be proven to be true.
The fact is, these are books which were considered for inclusion in the canon we now call the Holy Bible, so they couldn’t be that bad. In the end, they were considered in something of the light in which many would now consider Christian fiction, or even Christian nonfiction. In other words, they can contain good insights and teachings, but they must be compared with Scripture to determine their value, not the other way around.
When I read it, I found that there were some parts that I did find intensely inspiring, and others I thought were silly, and could see why they didn’t make the cut. So I thought you might be interested in this passage from an Apocryphal book called Wisdom of Solomon, which is included in this week’s readings from the Revised Common Lectionary:
Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15; 2:23-24
God did not make death,
And he does not delight in the death of the living.
For he created all things so that they might exist;
the generative forces of the world are wholesome,
and there is no destructive poison in them,
and the dominion of Hades is not on earth.
For righteousness is immortal.
God created us for incorruption,
and made us in the image of his own eternity,
but through the devil’s envy death entered the world,
and those who belong to his company experience it.