Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Possible References to the Deuterocanon (aka "Apocrypha") in the New Testament (RSV)

Here are the links to the complete, eight-part series:


Mark and Luke

John and Acts


1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians

Philippians Through Titus

Hebrews and James

1 Peter Through Revelation


Derived from pp. 800-804 of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine), published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; see the web page from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, which reproduced the list. NT passages listed in Nestle-Aland will be in blue, and Deuterocanonical passages in red.

Possible references listed by verse only at the end were deemed (by myself) dissimilar and questionable or non-convincing enough to not reproduce.

[Bible passages were retrieved from the RSV Bible, with Apocrypha, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center]

Recently, a Reformed Protestant wondered aloud what the purpose of collecting these possible references would be (if not apologetic in nature, as some sort of "proof" of the canonicity of the Deuterocanonical or so-called "Apocryphal" books). I agree with Jimmy Akin's comments in the above-cited web page:

I get a lot of requests for a list of the references the New Testament makes to the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament. Unfortunately, giving a list is not such a simple affair since it is not always obvious whether something is a genuine reference.

Hebrews 11:35 is an indisputable reference to 2 Maccabees 7, but many are not so clear as there may be only a single phrase that echoes one in a deuterocanonical book (and this may not be obvious in the translation, but only the original languages).

This is the same with New Testament references to the protocanonical books of the Old Testament. How many New Testament references there are to the Old Testament depends in large measure on what you are going to count as a reference.

As a result, many scholarly works simply give an enormous catalogue of all proposed references and leave it to the individual interpreter to decide whether a given reference is actual or not.

I will follow the same procedure . . .
So will I. This project is not, strictly-speaking, an exercise in apologetics, but rather, an aid in Bible study or a Bible "reference" tool. Furthermore, it is obvious (and crucial to understand) that many (if not most) of these proposed or real "references" are not literally citations, but rather parallels or strong similarities in language of a word or a phrase (or in thought, expressed with different terminology). Thus, this listing more often than not provides cross-referencing to such words and phrases in Deuterocanonical passages, just as most reference Bibles do: providing a cross-reference to similar words and phrases in other biblical books, or like a Biblical Concordance does with words, or a reference work like The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge does with phrases.

It is true that discovering all of these cross-references provides the Bible student with a fuller sense of the background of biblical texts, including the Deuterocanon (so neglected in Protestant circles because of the denial of the canonicity of these books). This is valuable whether one accepts the Deuterocanon as part of inspired, infallible Holy Scripture or not (just as cultural or linguistic background factors also are), but for those who do, it will provide a greater sense of the interrelatedness of the Deuterocanonical books with the other biblical books, and a better understanding of the Hebrew background of the thoughts and doctrines of the New Testament; perhaps even some measure of evidence for the canonicity of these disputed books (however indirect).

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