Non-canonical books referenced in the Bible

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The non-canonical books referenced in the Bible includes non-Biblical cultures, and lost works of known or unknown status. By the "Bible" is meant those books recognized by most Christians and Jews as being part of Old Testament (or Tanakh) as well as those recognized by some Christians as being part of the Biblical apocrypha or of the Deuterocanon.

It may also include books of the Anagignoskomena (Deuterocanonical books § In Eastern Orthodoxy) that are accepted only by Eastern Orthodox Christians. For the purposes of this article, "referenced" can mean direct quotations, paraphrases, or allusions, which in some cases are known only because they have been identified as such by ancient writers, or the citation of a work or author.

Hebrew Bible[edit]

The following are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible:

Deuterocanon / Apocrypha[edit]

New Testament[edit]

Mennonite scholar David Ewart has mentioned that Nestle's Greek New Testament lists some 132 New Testament passages that appear to be verbal allusions to paracanonical books.[20]

Pagan authors quoted or alluded to:[21][22]

Non-canonical books quoted or alluded to:[21]

  • Book of Enoch (Jude 1:4, 1:6, 1:13, 1:14–15, 2 Peter 2:4; 3:13,[23][24] and John 7:38 [25]).
  • Apocryphon of Jannes and Jambres, according to Origen (2 Timothy 3:8 "... as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses")
  • Epistle to the Laodiceans (Colossians 4:16 "read the epistle from Laodicea")
  • Life of Adam and Eve (2 Corinthians 11:14 "Satan as an angel of light", 12:2 "Third Heaven")[26]
  • A lost section of the Assumption of Moses (2 Timothy 3:8, Jude 9 "Michael.. body of Moses")
  • Ascension of Isaiah (Hebrews 11:37 "they were sawn in two")
  • Paul's letter to the Corinthians before 1 Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:9 "I wrote to you in my letter...")
  • Paul’s letter to the Ephesians before Ephesians (Ephesians 3:3 “As I wrote afore in few words...”)
  • An unknown messianic prophecy possibly from a non-canonical source, quoted in Matthew 2:23 that states "...he will be called a Nazorian." ("ὅτι Ναζωραῖος κληθήσεται"). "Nazorian" is typically rendered as "Nazarene" ("from Nazareth"), as in Acts 24:5, where Christians are referred to as "the sect of the Nazorians/Nazarenes" ("τῶν Ναζωραίων αἱρέσεως"). This is speculated[by whom?] to be a vague allusion to a quote about Samson in Judges 13:5 that uses a similar-sounding word: "the child shall be a Nazirite" (ναζιρ)
  • An unknown version of Genesis (possibly a targum, midrash or other commentary), quoted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:45, as a reference to Christ's being "the Last Adam who became a life-giving spirit" (οὕτως καὶ γέγραπται· Ἐγένετο ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος Ἀδὰμ εἰς ψυχὴν ζῶσαν· ὁ ἔσχατος Ἀδὰμ εἰς πνεῦμα ζῳοποιοῦν.). It has been speculated[by whom?] that Paul is simply paraphrasing Genesis 2:7, but there is no clear indication that this is not a complete quote.
  • An unknown text quoted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:9, suggested by Origen to be a lost apocryphal book:[27] "But as it is written, 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him." This may also be an allusion to the similar Isaiah 64:4, "For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.'".[28]
  • An unknown messianic prophecy, possibly from a non-canonical source, quoted in Luke 24:46, speculated to be a vague allusion to Hosea 6:2:[29] "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day."
  • An unknown messianic prophecy, possibly from a non-canonical source, quoted in Mark 9:12, speculated[by whom?] to be a vague allusion to Isaiah 53: "and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ oble lase (1 December 2014), Ancient Book of Jasher/Audio Version, archived from the original on 21 December 2021, retrieved 18 June 2016
  2. ^ Edward J. Brandt, “The Book of Jasher and the Latter-day Saints,” in Apocryphal Writings and the Latter-day Saints, ed. C. Wilfred Griggs (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1986), 297–318.
  3. ^ Sometimes called The Book of the Wars of Yahweh. One source says "The quotation is in lyrical form, so it is possibly a book of poetry or a hymnal...Moses quoted it, so the date of its composition must have been prior to the completion of the Pentateuch, perhaps during the wanderings in the wilderness. Nothing else is known about it, and it survives only in Moses’ quotation."[1]
  4. ^ Results for the text search
  5. ^ Also called The Book of Statutes or 3 Samuel.
  6. ^ Also called The Book of the Acts of Solomon Archived 2006-06-23 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Also called The Book of the Annals of King David or The Chronicles of King David, which could be a reference to the rest of 1 Chronicles.[2]
  8. ^ a b c "Are There Lost Books of the Bible?". December 2003.
  9. ^ Also called Gad the Seer or The Acts of Gad the Seer
  10. ^ Also called The Prophesy of Ahijah the Shilonite [3].
  11. ^ Also called The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.
  12. ^ Also called The Book of Jehu the son of Hanani
  13. ^ Also called Midrash on the Book of Kings
  14. ^ Also called The Vision of the Prophet Isaiah. May be identical to the pseudepigraphal Ascension of Isaiah. May also refer to the existing Book of Isaiah
  15. ^ "Lost Books of the Bible?". Archived from the original on 2006-06-23. Retrieved 2006-06-29.
  16. ^ Also called The Acts of the Seers
  17. ^ Also called The Book of Records of the Chronicles or The Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia
  18. ^ a b c d e f See footnote to the Biblical passage in The Jerusalem Bible, Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1966
  19. ^ Rollston, Chris A. (April 2001). "Ben Sira 38:24–39:11 and The Egyptian Satire of the Trades". Journal of Biblical Literature. 120 (Spring): 131–139. doi:10.2307/3268597. JSTOR 3268597.
  20. ^ Ewert, David (1 July 1990). A General Introduction to the Bible: From Ancient Tablets to Modern Translations. Zondervan. ISBN 9780310453710 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ a b Holloway, Gary (1 January 1996). James & Jude. College Press. ISBN 9780899006383 – via Google Books.
  22. ^ Charlesworth, James H. (24 October 1985). The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament. CUP Archive. ISBN 9780521301909 – via Google Books.
  23. ^ Witherington, Ben (9 January 2008). Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1–2 Peter. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 9780830829330 – via Google Books.
  24. ^ Porter, Stanley E.; Pearson, Brook W. (19 December 2004). Christian-Jewish Relations Through the Centuries. A&C Black. ISBN 9780567041708 – via Google Books.
  25. ^ Book of Enoch (Ethopic Version), accessed 3 November 2018
  26. ^ Martin, Ralph P. 2 Corinthians Word Biblical Commentary 40,
  28. ^ "Isaiah 64:4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him".
  29. ^ "Did Jesus Err when He Spoke of Prophecies about His Resurrection?". 26 May 2004.