Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. John 21:25
It is not possible to limit God’s words to whatever a few pages of paper could hold. We see elements of God’s brilliance not just in the work of Christ, but everywhere and in everything. We even see it among pagan writings and beliefs.
All humans are created with various capacities rather like instincts. For example, every human has the capacity to pray and to worship. Pursuing such capacities must cause even the most unenlightened individual to stumble across God’s handiwork from time to time. Such things are subject to being written down. Without instruction most such stumblings would be interpreted incorrectly. Occasionally, however, even the most unstudied must, out of sheer volume of opportunity, arrive at a correct answer. I suspect that is why we have stories that appear to be biblical in nature sometimes coming from very unbiblical sources.
We see in the Bible in the book of Jude, verses 14 and 15, a quote from an unbiblical source – the book of Enoch. What? Who was Enoch? Well, Adam had a grandson from Cain named Enoch, but this isn’t him. This Enoch was a seventh-generation grandson of Adam and was the father of Methuselah. He is mentioned several places in the Bible. First mention is in Genesis and lastly in Hebrews 1:15 “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.”
Tradition has it that Enoch had such a calming effect on those around him that God called him to heaven to implement that effect there. I’m not sure I’m quite ready to buy that story, but this much I do know: Enoch (or someone writing in his name) wrote several books collectively called The Book of Enoch.
Scholars believe the Book of Enoch book was written around 300 BC, and fragments of it have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. For various reasons it was not included in Jewish or Christian sacred canon. There are some, however, who believe the text is inspired and should be held to be sacred writing. And there are today segments of the Eastern Orthodox church that do hold it to be canonical.
Ancient writings, even if not inspired, can help us to better understand how words and phrases were originally used and can help us better understand the Word of God. Additionally, such writings can give us valuable insights into things such as customs, contemporary thinking (zeitgeist) and day-to-day living.
There are other writings referred to in the Bible that, unlike the Book of Enoch, are not available to us. For example, we know Paul had written a third letter to the Corinthians. We don’t have that letter. But what would happen if that or other writings were actually discovered one day?
Could additional texts including the Book of Enoch eventually become part of the Bible? Perhaps. We do see a warning in the Book of Revelation not to add to or subtract from the text, but it applies only to that particular book. Of course before any text would be added into the Bible, there would be lengthy debates and discussions about authenticity.
Remember what Jesus tells us in John 15:15 “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” In other words, He has told us everything we need to know for our salvation. New texts may give us new insights and images, but we already have all we need to know.
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