I’m once again opening up David DeSilva‘s excellent introduction to the Apocrypha as I gear up for my Jewish and Greco-Roman Backgrounds of the New Testament class at Eternity Bible College. Here’s a link to deSilva’s book, Introducing the Apocrypha. My hope is that we modern Christians (especially us Protestants) would become more like the early Christians by getting to know the Apocrypha.
For starters, these texts are part of our shared Christian heritage/tradition. And too, reading the Apocrypha gives us a glimpse into the particular struggles (and the hopes) that were common to many Jews living just prior to the dawn of the Christian movement (e.g., 1 Maccabees). And so, in many ways, knowing the Apocrypha provides needed context for interpreting the biblical text.
Reading the Apocrypha won’t threaten or erode your love for the Bible; to the contrary, it will enhance it. It will, in fact, help you get into the world — to get immersed into the cultural/religious/political context — of the New Testament. So, if you love your Bible (and I know you do!), then crack open the Apocrypha and get a copy of deSilva’s introductory text. You can also take my class with me, if you’d like