Over several years I have asked several pastors and preachers of differing denominations to comment on some books considered to be Apocrypha. Most generally my question was ignored, but on a couple of occasions I was told that they were heretical. In the 1611 edition of the King James they included several books called the Apocrypha, and some of those books have become a part of the Catholic canon. However; some books have been rejected by both Catholics and Protestants.

I am not questioning why or even why not they are accepted or rejected; only which books are considered Heretical and the reasons they are. I am curious to know what denominations hold that opinion of the Apocrypha and if it extends to all books or to only certain books.

Please indicate which denomination you are representing and the basis for your answer (I.E. doctrine, common acceptance, and so on).

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    It would help to specify which of the Apocrypha you're speaking of. Just the seven books included in Catholic but not in Protestant canon? Or others as well (e.g. those included in the Eastern Orthodox canon but not the Catholic canon)? Jan 8, 2016 at 16:35
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    Can you clarify what you mean by "believe the books to be heretical"? There's a difference between believing something is "heretical" and "not inspired". Many groups believe that the books themselves are not inspired*, and because the books aren't inspired, the doctrines that are drawn from the books are heretical. I'm not sure I know of any group that considers any of the books themselves to be heretical, just the doctrines that are rooted in the books. Jan 8, 2016 at 18:50
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    Even Catholics draw some traditions from apocrypha (non-deuterocanonical). Jan 8, 2016 at 19:53
  • @DickHarfield Of course I am aware that there are books in the canon of the Catholic church which are not a part of the Protestant canon, and it is not those books I question, but a copy of the 1611 King James version with the Apocrypha gives several other books not included in either canon.
    – BYE
    Jan 9, 2016 at 12:10
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    @David If the doctrines drawn from the books is heretical why would the book not be heretical?
    – BYE
    Jan 9, 2016 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


As a Presbyterian coming from a reformed tradition, we would see the canon of scripture defined by the Hebrew Bible which is received by the Jewish community as the books which represent the "rule of faith" for the community In addition, we accept the 27 Greek books called the New Testament as the books inspired by God to represent the unchanging teaching of the Apostles. (http://www.bible-researcher.com/bruce1.html for discussion of the development of the New Testament can)

The Westminister Confession of Faith which is the doctrinal standard for Presbyterians state:

III. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the Canon of Scripture; and, therefore, are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings. (Chapter One)

So while these books are not seen as being part of inspired scripture they may as any human books have useful information in them. Only when statements in these books would make statements contrary to the Hebrew Bible and New Testament would such statements be considered "heretical." We would not see the whole books as such.

These books, for instance, may provide useful historical information on the thinking of the Jews from the end of the Hebrew Bible to the beginning of the New ( a period of about 400 years. ) So we would not see the entire books as heretical.

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