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  1. SpoiledMilks
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Great book by an expert
    September 19, 2019
    SpoiledMilks
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    You can read my fuller review at Spoiled Milks (9/13/19).

    If you're a Protestant, and if the Apocrypha isn't canon, why should you care about it at all?

    DeSilva argues that the apocryphal books teach you about the faith of Jews who lived between 300 BC to 100 AD. Early church fathers such as Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius, Jerome, and Augustine read them and knew them. Even Jesus, Peter, Paul, James, and John (in Revelation) allude and paraphrase these writings.

    DeSilva helps you to "comprehend the message, context, and significance of these ancient Jewish compositions" (xi). Rather than being heretical, they "bear witness to what it meant to remain faithful to the God of Israel during a tumultuous period of history" (2). In the midst of trouble and hostility, the Apocrypha tell of Jews who remained loyal to God. They ask the same questions that Christians ask today: how do we persevere in the midst of our secular culture while still using the good things created by that culture?

    Interestingly, as deSilva notes, it was the early church that held on to these texts, preserving them "carefully and conscientiously," not the Jewish communities (14). The church saw them as having value for the disciple, more so than the Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the works of Philo and Josephus. Even Luther translated and placed the Apocrypha in his German Bible, and it was in the first edition of the KJV.

    But they do more than inform our minds about history. Christian biographies are full of people facing difficult trials, pressures from family, culture, missionary agencies, natives, and governments. Yet we are encouraged when we see how the missionary remains loyal to God, even if he or she is imprisoned, beat, or killed.The Apocryphal books can help us to keep our resolve in the midst of trials and receive encouragement to remain loyal to God.

    In chapter two deSilva explains the historical context of the time between the testaments. These books were written out of trials, struggles, and a love for God. The followingsixteen chapters give a nuanced understanding of each book of the Apocrypha.

    Rather than learning about these books from some random website, consider reading about them from someone who has spent the time studying these texts, the situations that prompted them, how they influenced the NT writers, and how they can impact our lives todayas Christians. DeSilva's work is an excellent introduction to the Apocrypha. I highly recommend it.
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