There are several lost books of the Bible, and one particularly controversial one is the Book of Enoch. It is a collection of ancient Hebrew religious writings that speaks of fallen angels, archangels, demons, paradise, giants, and the purpose of the flood that wiped out humanity in the time of Noah. This book is not included in the Bible, however. Many Christians today may be curious about the book and its contents, with many asking themselves: why did historical Christians reject the Book of Enoch?
There are some reasons why historical Christians did not accept the Book of Enoch, but it all boils down to the fact that it was never canonized into the Bible. It was not inspired by God or the Holy Spirit, was heavily inconsistent with general doctrine, had historical and factual inaccuracies, and lastly had no true author.
Why exactly did the early Christians reject the Book of Enoch? This article will give in-depth answers to this question and comment on whether reading this book is sinful to the Church and God. Expect to learn a lot and get some great Biblical references that are highly relevant to the topic.
4 Reasons Why Some Historical Christians Reject the Book of Enoch
The Book of Enoch is a religious book that is made up of several works and covers fascinating topics ranging from astronomy to prophecies and the afterlife. Interestingly enough, this text was informally accepted by the Christian Church but was later rejected for failing to meet the requirements of the canon test. This test determines if a book or religious literature is considered the Authoritative Word of God. Here are some of the reasons why the historical Christians rejected this book:
The True Author of the Book of Enoch Is Unknown
There are two Enochs mentioned in the Bible. One is the son of Cain; according to Genesis 4:17, “Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch”. And the other is the son of Jared, who is the son of Mahalaleel. This is in Genesis 5:18 “When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch.” Enoch, son of Jared, is the great-grandfather of Noah who built the ark before the flood that destroyed the population came (Genesis 6-9). Of the two Enochs, there is speculation as to who authored the book with many believing that there could be several writers. As well, with the estimated composition date of the book being around 167 B.C., there is an unlikelihood that any Enoch wrote it. According to historians, both Enochs were descendants of Noah (Genesis 5:1-24) and therefore lived before Noah. Any works or writings they could have made would have been destroyed in the flood. This has doused the credibility of the book.
It Is Not Inspired Scripture
For text to be accepted in the Bible, it had to be written under the influence of the Holy Spirit and God. Only then could it be taken as accurate. This is according to 2 Peter 1:21, which reads, “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as the Holy Spirit carried them along.” 2 Timothy 3:16 reiterates the same: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and training in righteousness.”
The Book of Enoch was not deemed inspired as Jesus did not refer to it as He did numerous other Old Testament books. Neither did the Apostles. Without apostolic support or recognition from Jesus Christ, the Book of Enoch is classified as one of the Pseudepigrapha, a collection of books rejected by the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestants as they were believed not to be inspired or written by God. These books were also written before the coming of Christ. On the other hand, Apocrypha are books accepted by the Roman Catholic faith but rejected by Protestants. They include books such as 1 and 2 Maccabees, Tobit, Additions of Esther, and others.
Further, the Book of Enoch and other lost books were written during the Silent Years. This was a period that encompassed the age of Hellenistic Judaism and no new prophets came up. According to history, God did not reveal anything new during this time. No prophetic utterance happened, so doubt can be cast as to whether the author of the Book of Enoch was really receiving divine inspiration.
It Is Inaccurate
Further, historical Christians only canonized accurate books that could be verified and were consistent with other texts and books of the Bible. Books that are not historically true or correct are known as apocryphal writings and are treated as fallible. The Book of Enoch is one such book, as some inconsistencies can be found in it.
For instance, Jude 14-15 states, “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Enoch 1:9, on the other hand, reads, “Behold, he will arrive with ten million of the holy ones to execute judgment upon all. He will destroy the wicked ones and censure all flesh on account of everything that they have done, that which the sinners and the wicked ones committed against him.” Jude refers to angels being in the “thousands” while Enoch’s book says they are in the “millions”.
Another great example would be Enoch 7:2, where it is stated that “The women became pregnant, and gave birth to great giants, whose height was 3000 ells.” 4,200 feet giants have never been found to be real, and neither are the sirens mentioned in Enoch 19:2, “And the women also of the angels who went astray became sirens.” The book speaks of mythical creatures that have been found to have never existed.
The Book of Enoch was also referenced in some early Christian literature such as the Book of Baruch and Barnabas. This does not, however, make it accurate or give it authority. Scholars have tabled the idea that Jude and other writers did not know that he was quoting non-canonized work that was not inspired.
It Has Thematic Errors
Another conundrum is that some writings in the Book of Enoch pass messages that do not align with other Scripture in the Bible. For work to be canonized into the Bible, it must be consistent with the other books and the general doctrines of the faith. All the books of the Bible are in sync and have the same fundamental teachings and principles. The Book of Enoch is not in line with the other books. A good illustration would be Enoch 10:8, which states, “And the whole earth has been corrupted through the works taught by Azazel: to him ascribe all sin.” This is greatly problematic as, according to Genesis, the Original Sin came to humanity through the deeds of Adam and Eve. Another example would be Enoch 10:11, 20-21 which reads “And God said to Michael… you must cleanse the earth of all oppression and all injustice and all sin and all wickedness… And all the children of men shall become just.” In many verses, the rest of the Bible states that salvation can only be achieved by accepting Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross and not through Angel Michael. These grievous inconsistencies in the core teachings of Christianity make it difficult for the Book of Enoch to be accepted. Some of the themes purported in the book may even be found to be heretic.
Is the Book of Enoch in the Bible?
No. The Book of Enoch is not in the Bible. Except for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Bible, all other versions and denominations have rejected this book for almost 2000 years. The Jews include it in the Apocrypha as an external text. The canonization of the books in the Bible happened centuries after the death and resurrection of Christ. It happened in the Roman Empire at Hippo and Carthage (around 390 A.D.) These books were eventually accepted after a lot of debate. Despite being a process conducted by humans, God is regarded as the one who ultimately chose the books that were added to the Bible. Historical Christians quoted 2 Timothy 3:16 (“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and training in righteousness”) as the basis of this. The Protestants did rise later on, under Martin Luther, and rejected some of the canonized works. The Book of Enoch was taken as Scripture before the canonization process, but it was ultimately rejected during and after the event.
It is paramount that Christians observe the Books of the Bible and avoid removing or adding from them. Revelation 22:18-19 states, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City described in this scroll.” This is so that the authenticity and authority of God’s Word are preserved. Therefore, the Book of Enoch can never be admitted into the Bible.
Is It A Sin to Read the Book of Enoch?
Another important concern many Christians might have is whether they should or should not stay away from the Book of Enoch. Christian scholars believe that the Book of Enoch, like the other pseudepigrapha books, should be taken with a grain of salt. While some texts may be factual, most of it is inaccurate and contradict the teachings of the canonized Scripture. Although interesting, this book is not the Word of God and has no authoritative truth behind it. With that being said, reading the Book of Enoch is not considered a sin, but many discourage believers from doing so unless in a scholarly context. It contains heresies that can lead one astray.
- What Is the Book of Enoch and Should It Be in The Bible?
- First Book of Enoch
- What Are the Lost Books of the Bible?
- Is the Book of Enoch Inspired?
- What Are the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha?
- Why is the Book of Enoch Not Included in the Bible?
- Why Were the Books of the Old Testament Apocrypha Rejected as Holy Scripture by the Protestants?
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.