The Rest of the Bible
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Not long after the Orthodox Study Bible was published a couple members of the Sunday School class I teach, asked me about all those extra books we have in our Old Testament. They asked, "Can you teach a class on those books?" I responded, "I don't know anything about those books."
I grew up Protestant so they were not part of my canon, and were not in any copies of the Bible I had. I was aware of the books, but viewed them with suspicion.
I took up the challenge, and taught a semester long class on the books. The difficulty is that there is little written about these books. My research included reading the books, reading the Church Fathers comments on these books, and finding a scholarly work or two to guide my path.
Not long after the class was over, another student (thanks Dr. Dryden) encouraged me to put it into book form. The result is The Rest of the Bible (A Guide to the Old Testament of the Early Church).
The book begins with a brief introduction to the books as a whole, and why they are in some versions of the Bible and not all. I discovered that whether your version of Christianity counts them as Scripture they are extremely valuable to your understanding of the New Testament, and they include multiple prophesies of Christ.
Each book is taken as a separate chapter. My basic format was to outline the book and give a brief summary of the content. Then I look at the major themes, key passages, and significant theological contributions. If the book is used liturgically by the Orthodox church, I discuss the passage and how it relates to the Church service. I also look at how the Fathers of the Church read and commented on the books, as well as where Christ is present.
My ultimate goal was to create a thirst in the reader to explore these books themselves. The early Church found great comfort in these books and young converts were encouraged to read for moral development. I promise this is not an academic tome, but a guide that can be used for individually study, book clubs, or classroom guides.
I hope you enjoy.
Ancient Faith Radio interview with me about the book: The Rest of the Bible
You can read a free sample of the book here.
Introducing the Apocrypha by David A. deSilva
Wise Lives (Reflections on the Wisdom of Sirach) by Patrick Henry Reardon
Apocrypha: Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture by Sever J. Voicu