The books of the Maccabees

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I am writing to ask you about a book that I often come across that some say is a part of the bible – as far as I know The Catholics (The Maccabees) what is this? Do we need to study this book as well?

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The Books of the Maccabees are not considered as part of the Bible today, but this does not mean that we should not read them. There was a stage when the first two of the four Books of the Maccabees were regarded as “canonical” but this view was not shared by everyone. Many people find it interesting and stimulating reading these books, especially because through them we may learn more about the way Jewish believers of the period 200 – 100 before Messiah experienced their belief in the Almighty during extremely difficult times. The question is often asked, who made the decision as to which books should be included in the “Bible” and which ones not. These decisions, of course, were officially taken by the Roman Catholic church of the early centuries of our common era (at their well known church councils and synod meetings – some of which took place as late as the 1500’s) but also by Protestant churches (during the 1500’s and 1600’s when Martin Luther played a prominent role).

There is no reason why you should refrain from reading these books but I believe that even though the churches through the centuries have made many mistakes, they had reasonably good reasons for not including certain books in what is today considered as the canonical (or “proper”) books of the “Bible”. We should also remember that the term “bible” is not Scriptural at all and that there is no need for us to refer to the Books of the “Scriptures” (both Pre-Messianic and Post Messianic) using the word “bible”.