Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep these commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): This sanction is like a flaming sword, to guard the canon of the Scripture from profane hands. Such a fence as this God set about the law, Deuteronomy 4:2, and the whole Old Testament, Malachi 4:4, and now in most solemn manner about the whole Bible, assuring us that it is a book of the most sacred nature, Divine authority, and of the last importance, and therefore the peculiar care of the great God.
C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): Thus the holy volume is divinely guarded at both ends. It is securely fenced round about, so that no rude hand should touch its sacred contents. To suppose that aught can be added to God’s Word is, upon the very face of it, to deny that it is God’s Word.
RENÉ PACHE (1904-1979): Divine inspiration and canonicity are inseparably bound together―the word “canon”―taken from the Greek―means a rule which serves as a measure―By definition, the Scriptures must contain only inspired texts: “all Scripture is inspired by God,” 2 Timothy 3:16. Writings lacking this quality have no place in it.
CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Hence, to add to His words, stamped as they are with His Divine authority, will expose us to His tremendous reproof, and cover us with shame.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): If the revelation of God were not enough for our faith, what could we add to it? Who can answer this question? What would any man propose to add to the sacred Word?
JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): That detestable decree of the Council of Trent is well known.
ROBERT HALDANE (1764-1842): The Council of Trent, in the sixteenth century, in order to check the progress of the Protestant Reformation, pronounced the Apocryphal books to be strictly canonical. From that period they have usurped the name of inspired Scriptures, and have been intermingled with the canonical books in the Bibles of Roman Catholics.
RENÉ PACHE: The word Apocrypha―meaning “secret, hidden”―is the name given to the Jewish [Old Testament] religious books of obscure origin which were never included in the Hebrew canon [of Scripture].
ROBERT HALDANE: Who their authors were is not known. They were not written in the Hebrew language, in which all the books of the Old Testament were originally composed, with the exception of a few passages in Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezra, and Esther, which were written in Chaldee…All the early Christian writers, while they were unanimous in acknowledging the Jewish Scriptures, rejected with one accord the Apocryphal books as uncanonical, or destitute of all claim to inspiration.
RENÉ PACHE: Why, then, did Rome take so new and daring a position?
Confronted by the Reformation, she lacked arguments to justify her unscriptural deviations. She declared that the Apocryphal books supported such doctrines as prayers for the dead (2 Macc. 12:44); the expiatory sacrifice, eventually to become the mass, (2 Macc. 12:39-46); almsgiving with expiatory value, also leading to deliverance from death (Tobit 12:9; 4:10); invocation and intercession of the saints (2 Macc. 15:14; Bar. 3:4); the worship of angels (Tobit 12:12); purgatory; and the redemption of souls after death (2 Macc.12:42, 46). Here is the list of the Apocryphal books accepted by Rome:
Tobit Epistle of Jeremiah
Judith Song of the Three Holy Children
Additions to Esther Story of Susanna
Wisdom of Solomon Bel and the Dragon
Ecclesiasticus 1 Maccabees
Baruch 2 Maccabees
ROBERT HALDANE: Both Philo and Josephus,* who flourished in the first century of the Christian era, are altogether silent concerning these spurious books, which were not contained in the Septuagint version―and they form no part of those sacred writings committed by God to the Jews, universally acknowledged and preserved by them entire. Above all, they have not received the attestation of Jesus Christ, and His Apostles, by whom they have never once been quoted…Jesus Christ, who appeared on earth 1500 years after Moses, the first of the prophets, and 400 years after Malachi, the last of them, bore His testimony to the sacred canon as held by the Jews in His time.
RENÉ PACHE: Now, we must remember that it was the Jews who were called upon to compile the Old Testament. As Paul said, it was to them that the oracles of God were confided, Romans 3:1,2. We received those oracles from their hands and from no one else…They kept it pure, not allowing the addition of any Apocryphal writings.
ROBERT HALDANE: It was not until the fourth century, when the churches had become exceedingly corrupt both in faith and practise, that they came to be permitted to appear with the canon…In his Latin translation, called the Vulgate, Jerome intermingled the Aprocryphal and inspired writings, but, to prevent mistake, he prefixed to each book a short notice, in which the reader was distinctly informed of its character, and that the Aprocryphal writings were not in the canon of Scripture. He says that to meet the prejudices of the ignorant, he retained these “fables”―but he adds that, according to his custom, he had marked these Aprocryphal intruders with a spit or dagger, placed horizontally for the purpose of stabbing them.
JEROME (340-420): The church does not receive them among canonical Scriptures; they may be read for edification of the people, but are not to be esteemed of [any] authority for proving any doctrine of religion.
ROBERT HALDANE: The Apocryphal books, though not admitted by the first Christian writers, or churches, to have any authority in matters of faith, yet [now] claim for themselves authority, and even arrogate an equality with the sacred Scriptures, to which they were at length advanced by the Church of Rome.
JOHN TRAPP: Witness that heathenish decree of the Council of Trent; equalising, if not preferring, the Apocrypha to the canonical Scripture—
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, COUNCIL OF TRENT (1546): If anyone receive not as sacred and canonical these said books, entire with all their parts…Let him be anathema!
RENÉ PACHE: By this decree, Jerome himself was condemned!
ROBERT HALDANE: Thus, in direct opposition to the command of God, an addition was made to the sacred canon, in the very worst form, of many entire books, and these not corresponding with the inspired writings, but in numerous instances, and most important particulars, directly contradicting them.
CHARLES BRIDGES: The church of Rome—as a church—has been found a liar; adding to the inspired canon a mass of unwritten tradition, and apocryphal writings, with all their gross errors, in despite of the clearest proof of their human origin.
MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): No greater mischief can happen to a Christian people, than to have God’s Word taken from them, or falsified, so that they no longer have it pure and clear.
*Editor’s Note: Philo was a Jewish philosopher who lived at Alexandria in Egypt; Josephus was a Jewish scholar and historian, who was born at Jerusalem.