Are There Really Lost Books of the Bible?

@CM asked in a thread earlier:

“Are there not a number of translations, manuscripts, and KJV editions around? Do we have all the words of Jesus, his acts, and the disciples recorded, in the Christian Bible? Are there not lost books of kings and judges of the OT? In short, are there writers and books mentioned in the Christian Bible that don't exist”?

Jan responded the last part of my (CM's) question:  

“Are there not lost books of kings and judges of the OT? In short, are there writers and books mentioned in the Christian Bible that don't exist”?

To the above he (Jan) said:

“Sure. Book of Jubilees etc. Again, the Bible makes no claim that it is the preserved copy of a heavenly manuscript. The Bible clearly identifies most of its human authors, and claims that the words were inspired by the Holy Spirit. There's no contradiction to that claim...”

Really, Jan, "Book of Jubilees etc., lost books of the Bible? If not what are the lost books?

Several other questions beg to be answered:

  1. Do these lost books have any bearing on man's salvation?
  2. Approximately, how many lost books are there?
  3. Do we know who the writers were?
  4. What are the chances any of the lost books found would become a part of the Canon?
  5. One wonders, if these lost books contain prophecy or any words of Jesus?
  6. Are the names of any of these lost books are known?

How much of the lost do we know? CM

Background SOURCE:


  • reformedreformed Posts: 3,132

    First, you can't prove a negative.

    Second, God said He would preserve His word.

    I don't think that it is likely that there are "lost books" of the Bible.

    That being said, there are several editions of the KJV around. It had MANY revisions (something KJVO don't like to discuss).

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 667

    I find the concept of the so called lost books of 'the Bible' to be a bit misinformed . For, one there was never a time in Christian history nor even today when all of Christendom accepted and shared the same canon of Scripture or rather Bible. Throughout history there have been various canons of Scripture or rather Bibles. The chart of the linked page before gives an example of the most common current canons of Scriptures:

    Now, have there been books or writings that not all communities accepted or received as Scripture? The answer is yes! However, it would be very difficult for me to call such literature lost books of the Bible, because of the very fact that those books were neither lost nor were they apart of everyone's canon.

    Take for example the book of Enoch some claim it as a lost book. Was it lost? No, the Ethiopian Orthodox have been knowing about it and using it for a long time so in that sense the book was never at anytime lost as it was always a part of the Ethiopian canon.

    However being that there is no evidence that the book of Enoch was ever a part of the Masoretic Canon it thus is not a part of my received canon of OT Scripture. The same goes for the so called deuterocanonicals (or Apocrypha) because these books were never part of the Hebrew Bible they are not part of my received canon of OT Scripture. Were, those books lost to me? Nope, they simply were never a part of any canon of Scripture I received.

    Grace and Peace

  • JanJan Posts: 284

    The question was about lost books mentioned in the Bible that no longer exist. And to that the answer is a very clear yes.

    Whether these lost books are Holy Scripture is an entirely different question. But since they're lost, and we don't know their content, this is impossible to answer.

    Wikipedia has a list of these books:

    Of many of these there are forgeries around, which have nothing to do with the originals.

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,985


    The Old Testament mentions other books that record the acts of the kings of Judah and Israel. King Solomon. "in the records of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer" (2 Chronicles 9: 29) .

    • King Abijah. The prophet Iddo. (2 Chronicles 13: 22). 
    • King Jehoshaphat. The annals of Jehu the son of Hanani (2 Chronicles 20: 34). 
    • The Book of Jasher. (2 Samuel 1: 18). 

    The Bible clearly indicates that inspired writers quoted or borrowed from earlier authors. All truth, wherever it is found, belongs to God. Thus:

    1. Moses records that he used material from the Book of the Wars of the Lord (Num 21:14).
    2. Joshua and Samuel mention that they borrowed some material from the book of Jasher (Josh 10:13; 2 Sam 1:18).
    3. The authors of Kings and Chronicles refer to at least eight lost books that they used as sources of information (1 Kings 11:41; 15:29; 2 Chron 9:29; 12:15; 20:34; 33:19).
    4. Luke informs us that his work drew on historical research (Luke 1:1-4).

    Because the Holy Spirit guided the Bible writers in their selection and use of sources, these writings are as much the Word of God as those whose content was directly revealed to them in visions, dreams, and theophanies.

    Sometimes, a prophet also employed a secretary or editorial assistant in communicating a message from God, as for example, Jeremiah employed the assistance of Baruch (Jer 36).

    Have we overlooked what's right under our noses? CM

  • reformedreformed Posts: 3,132

    It is not correct to say that because the biblical writers used portions of those books that those entire books are the Words of God. Only the parts that were quoted would be the Words of God.

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,985

    Once again, Mr. Reformed, what is your understanding of biblical inspiration? Do you believe every word is dictated to the Bible writers or they wrote under inspiration? In short, the Bible writers, were they God's pen or His penmen? CM

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 667
    edited November 2019

    In Acts 17:28 Paul quoted Epimenides' Hymn to Zeus and in I Corinthians 15:33 Paul quotes Menander. Does this mean the texts these brief quotations are taken from should also be understood as lost books of the Bible? In my opinion no, because they were never apart of any known collection or canon of scripture accepted by Christians.

    Of course, the various known collection or canons each called 'The Bible' indeed do refer to and allude to other writings outside of Christendom and Judaism's received canons of Scripture. However, because there is no evidence that those so-called 'lost books' of the Bible were ever apart of the canon's I think it is strange to call them lost books of the Bible.

    Apparently, neither the ancient Jewish communities nor the early Christian communities made any attempt to persevere those so-called lost books of the Bible, nor for that matter did they attempt to include them in any of the various known canons.

    @CM stated earlier in this thread:

    the Holy Spirit guided the Bible writers in their selection and use of sources,

    Yes, CM! This sounds very much like what some devout Christians I know argue when they put forth the documentary theory of source criticism. I, however, like the Shitat Habechinot approach of the late Rabbi Mordechai Breuer better.

    Grace and Peace

  • reformedreformed Posts: 3,132

    First, I don't believe your "In short" section contain the only choices. No, I do not believe every word was dictated and they were simply copying down what they were told. There is too much individuality in the writings for that to be the case. In other words, Paul's books write like Paul, John's like John, etc.

    I believe in the Verbal, Plenary inspiration of Scripture. That being that the Holy Spirit moved through these men to write exactly what God wanted to convey. Here's what John MacArthur says:

    The Biblical View: Verbal, Plenary Inspiration. God through his Spirit inspired every word penned by the human authors in each of the sixty-six books of the Bible in the original documents (i.e., the autographs). Inspiration describes the process of divine causation behind the authorship of Scripture. It refers to the direct act of God on the human author that resulted in the creation of perfectly written revelation. It conveys the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit whereby he used the individual personality,  p 78 language, style, and historical context of each writer to produce divinely authoritative writings. These works were truly the product of both the human author and the Holy Spirit. This fits the word Paul used in 2 Timothy 3:16 (theopneustos). This Greek word itself carries the sense of “God breathing out” the Scriptures through the biblical writers. “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (ESV) may even be the most accurate way to translate 2 Timothy 3:16. What is most important here is to recognize that the biblical claim of inspiration is one of divine superintendence. God produced the Scriptures by influencing the human author’s own thoughts. This resulted in divinely authoritative and inerrant words written in the autographs.

    John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, eds., Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 77–78.

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 667
    edited November 2019

    Very well though-out and articulate response reformed!

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,985

    And who is the late Rabbi Mordechai Breuer?

    "Rabbi Mordechai Breuer, one of the world’s leading experts in Tanach who died about ten years ago, dealt with this question of Biblical contradictions and duplications in a different manner.  He accepted the conclusions of Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis – to a point. He believed that the Torah does contain multiple and frequently contradictory texts, but that these texts were nevertheless Divinely authored and intended. He asserts that the Torah intentionally and systematically provides multiple and even contradictory perspectives on how to view a Biblical story or mitzvah, because only by reading it according to multiple accounts can we appreciate the complex nature of that story or mitzvah.

    According to Rabbi Breuer’s understanding, the existence of multiple accounts in the text illustrates for us the complex and nuanced nature of our holy Torah. But perhaps this rich literary tool is meant to teach us about more than just the content of the Torah text. If God saw fit to write the Torah in this nuanced and multifaceted way, what does that tell us about how each of us should be approaching the stories in our own lives? If in God’s book we read multiple perspectives of a singular event or a singular halachic construct, then certainly when we debate the issues of the day, we must recognize that there are multiple angles in analyzing those as well. If God found room in His holiest text for multiple experiences and perspectives, mustn’t we find a way to do the same?

    Let’s not be quick to shy away from things that confuse us, or call into question what we thought we knew. Let’s find a way to tolerate and respect those who see things differently, and in that way, emulate the ways of God".


    I am not so sure, God supervised and managed contradictions when it comes to the Word. Give that all things human is imperfect. The created is not the Creator. Holy men wrote under inspiration not dictation. The men were under inspiration, not his words. God has proven to be unpredictable, but consistent in his love, grace, mercy, and the protection of the called. Somewhere, I read recently that "all truth is of God, regardless of where it's found".

    The unity of the Bible in spite of the great diversity of its authors (education, time, culture) suggests the same supernatural inspiration. Hebrew Bible: the ethical ideal that pierces an open heart, the victories over disease and death, the fulfilled prophecies, and also the extraordinary preservation of the documents. All these are arguments in favor of inspiration from above. CM

    SOURCE: by Jonathan Muskat is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Oceanside.

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 667
    edited November 2019


    The Shitat Habechinot approach is not what is described in that quote of yours. The Shitat Habechinot theory speaks not of contradictions but of aspects and voices of God.

    He was known for developing Shitat Habechinot ("the aspect approach") which suggests that differing styles and internal tensions in the Biblical text represent different "voices" of God or Torah, which cannot be merged without losing their identity. According to Breuer, God wrote the Torah from "multiple perspectives … each one constituting truth, [for] it is only the combination of such truths that gives expression to the absolute truth."

    It should be kept in mind that Rabbi Breuer was an Orthodox Rabbi and scholar he was not a progressive or a liberal in any sense of the word. His work on attempting to recover the missing parts of the Aleppo Codex through examining various manuscripts and then producing an edition of it that almost letter for letter match the Yemenite Torah scrolls testifies to this.

    Rabbi Breuer's method proceeds from one fundamental insight. The Torah must speak in "the language of men." But the wisdom that God would bestow upon us cannot be disclosed in a straightforward manner. The Torah therefore resorts to a technique of multivocal communication. Each strand in the text, standing on its own, reveals one aspect of the truth, and each aspect of the truth appears to contradict the other accounts. ... Each text, isolated from the other, would offer a partial, hence misleading, doctrine of creation. In their juxtaposition, the two texts point the reader toward an understanding of the whole... Misunderstanding is the fate of the pioneer. Rabbi Breuer has persevered against the indifference of the academy and initial lack of comprehension within the Torah community. But the lonely, courageous trailblazer is often at the mercy of his own exuberance, as yet unchecked by the intelligence of fellow seekers.

    It seems to me that the majority of traditinal consevative scholars of faith be they Christian or Jewish attempt to try to ignore or dissmiss the high critical theories but very few indeed attempt to fight the the documentary hypothesis by putting forth a convincing alternative perspective. In this sense I also find what Rabbi Breuer did to be of merit and I hope others will stand up to the very rarely challenged documentary hypothesis.

    Grace and Peace

    Post edited by Mitchell on
  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,985


    Thanks for your response. Really, I was, more or less, shinning a light on who was the "late Rabbi Mordechai Breuer" more so than "The Shitat Habechinot approach", albeit , limited. I cited the source for the rest of the article. Thanks for expanding on "The Shitat Habechinot approach".

    As for the lost books, something must exist and be a part of something before it could be lost. CM.

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 667

    CM, thank you for the feedback!

    This is the type of healthy feedback/discussion rather than cantankerous debate that Christians I believe are in need of.

    Grace and Peace

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