THE LOST BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
When I first began looking into this subject, it became clear that the first order of business was to attain a thorough understanding of the history of the modern Bible, specifically the King James Version since it has been the primary text used for sermons and bible studies in the Church of God in modern times. I personally have preferred it to most other translations, as I find it offensive that some modern bibles have been created by mainstream Christian theologians in order to inject a private political agenda into the text.
Therein lays the same question that we have not generally asked regarding the King James Bible. Did King James have an agenda? We would be naïve to think otherwise, since he was after all, a politician. Historians inform us that the king was interested in authorizing a single bible that carried forward the idea of the divine right of kings, and he further wished to exclude ideology that tended to approve of seditious behavior. The King was convinced that the widely admired Protestant Geneva bible of 1560, for example, could be an instrument of revolution. The King’s fear was well founded as we shall see. It was truly a stroke of genius for him to approve a different and friendly version of scripture to be read in all churches. This alone would go far to maintain harmony and peace and keep the people loyal to the monarchy. So I am assured that it really was the king’s bible, but was it also God’s?
Most believe that the KJV bible was inspired by the Creator, but here too we have a further dilemma. The first version printed in 1611 included the apocrypha, yet 55 years later this entire section was eliminated, such that the bible we use today does not contain these books. So which version is the inspired one, the 1611 that included the apocrypha, or the 1666 that “lost” the entire section? And since the KJV translators, despite the King’s preference, based 30% of their work solidly on the Protestant Geneva bible, one would have to also conclude that the Geneva bible was inspired. After all, the Geneva bible was the first to be printed in mass for anyone to own, and it was the first to break text into two columns and to add chapters and number verses. These ideas became hallmarks of the KJV. A 1560 version of the Geneva Bible is said to have been brought to Jamestown with the pilgrims. The same version was carried in the Mayflower 13 years later, meaning that it was the bible of the revolution in America! In fact we can attain a copy of the Geneva bible that is called the “Revolutionary Bible” with its jacket sporting a mural from the American revolutionary war. This helps affirm King James’s fear about the Geneva bible.
It is useful in this quest to ask ourselves a very important question in order to begin to grasp the basis for an answer. The question is: what scriptures did our first century brethren read and study? The brethren at Berea, for example, were commended for studying the scriptures daily, so which ones? They certainly did not yet have the New Testament as we do, but they had the apocrypha which had been published two centuries earlier, as well as most of the rest of the Old Testament. We can further be well assured that they had access to much more than we avail ourselves of today, since the Apostle Jude himself quoted Enoch. The quote Jude used is not found in the Old Testament, so it was not what we would call canonized scripture today. Was the quote authentic, reliable and inspired by God? We believe that it was, based on faith, but we must look outside the bible to confirm that Enoch left a written record. And we only need to consider that Moses is credited with writing the first five books, yet he was not present for any event recorded in Genesis. So where did he get all that minute detail if not from records already preserved for his use that had been written as first person accounts by authors of their time?
And we can ask about Luke as he wrote at length intimate details of Mary’s life, yet we do not have Mary’s first person account preserved in our bibles? Further we can ask why Jesus’ life from age 13 to 29 is not chronicled in the KJV? He is the most important man ever born, so where is that part of His story?
So clearly a lot of inspired writings that were likely available to first century brethren are not part of the modern bible, so are these actually lost? Where are all those writings? One can easily conclude that since the first century brethren were literally persecuted into oblivion, then so too was much of the record they alone kept as witnesses to the true Gospel. We know that the Gospel preached by our Savior was replaced by another, and was not heard again for nineteen hundred years. It is probable that some of our early brethren were responsible for hiding the Dead Sea scrolls in an attempt to preserve them for us today. Portions of these manuscripts are still being interpreted and have yet to be released to the public.
If any of our early brethren had compiled a complete bible based on the true gospel, we do not know of its existence. What biblical compilations we do have arose from scholars of a Babylon of religious ideas not founded on the message of the Messenger, but rather on the Messenger himself, a gospel primarily about Christ, rather than the gospel He preached. The bibles we have today were created for the Church of England in King James’s case or as a protestant revolt in the case of the Geneva bible, so how could either be the complete and infallible word of God? Evidently a very few truly sincere and honest scholars agree and that is why some continue the search for other manuscripts and interpretations.
So my assessment is that we do not today have all the manuscripts that were part of our first century brethren’s archives. Therefore I can reach no other conclusion than that of important books having been lost, or at the very least not readily available to us.
For the longest time I have had to ask myself why some of the most important doctrines of the Church are only supported by one KJV author? This is paramount since we understand that God’s way is to establish doctrine only on the authority of two or three witnesses, not just one. God does not break His own law, so we are compelled to accept the reality that other authors had also written about cornerstone doctrines such as the Passover Foot washing, yet the Apostle John’s account is the only one found in our bibles.
Clearly much that had been written by other witnesses has not yet been discovered, laid aside or had been destroyed by those who murdered so many early eyewitnesses. If we are willing to venture into the vibrant world of the multitude of “lost Books”, we just may stumble onto new dynamic truth through other writings that are available while we wait for more to be published as they are found and interpreted.