The Clear Word 

A Ministry Of Mid-State Ministries  

Becky ask,"I heard today thatt here are Bible books that were lost.  Is the Bible missing some books and if so, how can I get them?

Thanks Becky for writing in your question.

There is much talk these days about lost books of the Bible.  From cults to the New Age, people make all sorts of claims about how the Bible is missing books--books that help justify what they hope to believe.  Sometimes people claim that the Bible was edited to take out reincarnation or the teaching of higher planes of existence or different gods or ancestor worship or "at-one-ment" with nature to name just a few reasons.

However, the "lost books" were never lost.  They were known by the Jews in Old Testament times and the Christians of the New Testament times and were never considered scripture.  They weren't lost, nor were they removed.  They were never in the Bible in the first place.

These  additional writings were not included in the Bible for several reasons:

  1. They were not referenced by Jesus.  Jesus directly referenced the entire Jewish canon of Scripture by referring to Abel (the first martyr in the Old Testament) and Zacharias (the last martyr in the OT) (Matt. 23:35).  He also never quotes directly from any of the apocryphal writings but makes numerous references to the Old Testament books.

  2. They lacked apostolic or prophetic authorship.

  3. They did not claim to be the Word of God.

  4. They contain un-biblical concepts such as prayer for the dead (2 Macc. 12:45-46) or the condoning of magic (Tobit 6:5-7).
  5. They have serious historical inaccuracies

The following is a list of a number of alleged "Lost Gospels" or "Lost Books" that are not in the New Testament.  The reason that these books are not in the New Testament is because they were written so late and therefore could not have been written by an apostle or associate of an apostle, or they did not fit into all of the guidelines listed below.

  1. Acts of John

  2. Acts of Peter

  3. Acts of Paul

  4. Acts of Andrew

  5. Acts of Thomas

  6. Gospel(s) of Bartholomew

  7. Gospel of Barnabas

  8. Gospel of Judas

  9. Gospel of Mary Magdalene

  10. Gospel of Peter

  11. Gospel of Thomas

Following is the criteria which the early Church used to discover which books were from God.  None of the supposed "lost books" fit even one of these.

  1. Was a book written by an apostle or associate of an apostle of Jesus? (Apostolicity) This was the first and main criteria for allowing a book to be in the canon of Scripture.  If a book was written by either an apostle or an associate of an apostle (i.e., Mark was an associate of Peter and Luke was an associate of Paul), then the book could be in the canon.  An apostle was someone who had seen the resurrected Jesus and who had a close fellowship with Jesus (1 Cor. 9:1).  However, if the book was written over a hundred years after the time of Jesus, as is the case with most of the Gnostic Gospels including the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, etc., then such books were obviously not written by an apostle and should not be in the canon.  The last apostle who lived was the apostle John who died around 100 A.D.  Any epistle written after that time was definitely not apostolic.

  1. Did the book agree with undoubtedly authentic writings? (Consistency)
    Another criteria was whether such a book agreed with obviously authentic books of the New Testament.  For example, the book of James was questioned because there was some doubt whether it agreed with Paul's writings (i.e., Romans and Galatians).  No one seriously questioned whether Paul actually wrote a core number of epistles such as Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, and 1 Thessalonians.  Interestingly, even if we did not have the rest of the New Testament books, we probably could build most of our essential Christian doctrine on the book of Romans alone!

  2. Was the book circulated amongst various churches? (Universal)  Another criteria, but less important, was whether a book was circulated amongst various churches.  This criteria was known as catholicity or universality.  This would help the church leaders to know where the Gospel or letter originated so they could trace its roots and determine if the book was apostlolic. So, as you can see, there are no lost books.  You can rest assured that you have the complete, infallible,    and inherent Word of God.