Lost Books Of The Bible? - 2

In our previous article, we quoted from the Mormon Articles of Faith by James Talmage in which he listed some twenty books or writings mentioned in the Bible. He then asserted that these writings were "missing books of the Bible," and that such proved the Bible to be incomplete. If possible, please secure and read the previous article. In any event, we shall briefly summarize the last article.

We pointed out that the Mormons are obligated to show that these writings are indeed inspired of God, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, if they are inspired, they contain revelation from God in addition to that contained in existing scripture. We further referred to the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 13:26-40) which shows their obligation to actually produce these "missing books" or admit the failure of Book of Mormon promises.

The fact of the matter is that the burden of proof rests upon Mormon teachers. But in the interest of truth, we began an examination of the 20 citations listed by Talmage and found that not a one of them refers to a book that should be in our Bible. We pointed out that all of them can be accounted for on one of the three following grounds:

  1. A misunderstanding or misapplication of the text. The alleged "lost book" is either not a book at all or is not lost.
  2. A historical and/or poetical work cited only for corroborative purposes, but with no evidence of inspiration.
  3. A work that, if granted to be the product of inspiration, is with no evidence that it contained revelation other than that in a known book of the Bible.

In the last article we examined the books which fall into category #I. We shall not notice those which fall into category #II.

Category II

The Jews were prolific record-keepers. It is therefore no unusual phenomenon to see the Bible writers cite a well-known historical or poetical work to corroborate the veracity of their testimony. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul quoted from heathen poets to emphasize his teaching (see Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12). Would our Mormon friends think for a minute that those poets who believed not in God were speaking by inspiration and their writings are "lost books of the Bible?" If not, then why insist on the citation of other historical and poetical works in the Old Testament as evidence of "lost books?" Surely the honest reader can see this.

Book of the Wars of the Lord - Numbers 21:14This is a purely historical and geographical reference. Where is the evidence of inspiration?

Book of Jasher - Joshua 10:13. The quotations from this book (see 2 Samuel 1:18) indicate that it was a well-known historical/poetical work. Again, the references are devoid of any evidence of inspiration. It was cited only for corroborative purposes.

Book of Statutes - 1 Samuel 10:25. Observe that this passage does not give a name to the "book." Talmage read that into this passage. From the brief mention of the book, there appears to be evidence enough to conclude only that Samuel wrote it and that it was included among the historical and political records of the people. One not only has to read the name of the book into the passage, but also has to read inspiration into it as well.

Book of the Acts of Solomon - 1 Kings 11:41. Again, there is no evidence that his book was anything other than a historical record written to supplement the temple archives. The wording would indicate that all the significant acts and wisdom of Solomon had been related in the book of 1 Kings.

Books of Nathan the Prophet and Gad the Seer - 1 Chronicles 29:29. The subject matter of these books was "the acts of David the king," the same, as the passage states, as that contained in the book of Samuel. While there is evidence of the inspiration of the books of Samuel, we would have to assert the same for these books.

Books of Ahijah the Shilonite and visitions of Iddo the Seer - 2 Chronicles 9:29; Book of Shemiah - 2 Chronicles 12:15; Story of the Prophet Iddo - 2 Chronicles 13:22; Book of Jehu - 2 Chronicles 20:54; Acts of Uzziah by Isaiah - 2 Chronicles 26:22; Sayings of the Seers - 2 Chronicles 33:19. We list all of these books together because they are all of identical nature. Look up each of the references and notice that the writer cites them merely to corroborate one incident or subject that had already been related in 2 Chronicles.

The Book of Enoch - Jude 14. In this passage you will note that the name "Book of Enoch" nowhere appears. Jude cites a statement made by Enoch who lived thousands of years before Christ. It is true that there is now in existence a "Book of Enoch" that contains a passage similar to the one quoted by Jude. The scholarship of the world, however, affirms with certainty that this existing book was not written by Enoch; rather, by a Jewish author, perhaps as late as the 1stCentury, although there is no concrete evidence of its existence until the 2nd Century. It may well be that this author included in the book some statements that were traditionally attributed to Enoch - one of them rightly so (the one mentioned by Jude). But Jude's quoting of this one statement no more indicates the inspiration of the entire book, than does Paul's quoting the heathen poets indicate the inspiration of their writings. 

Other Writings About Jesus - Luke 1:1. Again, Mr. Talmage errs in jumping to the conclusion that Luke is speaking about "writings." Just read the passage. It is far from certain that "writings" are intended. But even if this could be established, where is the evidence that such writings were inspired? Many men, from early times until now, have undertaken to write or otherwise narrate the life of Jesus. No one would think that all such works are inspired of God.

It appears to me that the language itself implies the inferior quality of efforts of others (either written or oral). Notice the language at verse 3, "It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write..." Is this not an implication that the other mentioned undertakings were either fragmentary or inaccurate? It would appear so to me. In any event, the Mormons are still obligated to prove that writings were indicated in the passage and, if so, that they were inspired.

In the next issue of the Messenger, we shall conclude our study.