Being a scholar in the ministry has exposed me to a lot of literature that I did not even know existed. Old writings like the Book of Maccabees have always fascinated me.
I recently learnt about the book of Eli from a fellow friend in the ministry. It got me wondering; why was the book of Eli removed from the Bible?
Technically, the book of Eli was not removed from the bible. That is because it was never accepted as a canonical book in the first place. The Council of Nicaea was the religious body tasked with the duty of selecting the right books to include in the Bible. During their meeting in 325 CE, the council of Nicea concluded that the Book of Eli did not meet the criteria for canonical books.
In this article, I encourage you to join me as we learn more about the book of Eli. It will also shed some light on several other books that were excluded from the Bible.
Keep reading to learn this and much more!
Before you proceed, below is a video on the same topic covered on our Youtube channel:
Was there a book of Eli in the Bible?
No, the book of Eli was never a part of the Bible. The Council of Nicaea met with the sole purpose of creating the Bible that Christians currently use.
Bishops who convened to speak about this issue agreed on several criteria that a canonical book had to fulfil.
Firstly, the book’s author had to be an apostle or someone who was in close contact with an apostle.
Second, a big percentage of Christians must accept the book as truth. The third and most important criterion stipulated that the ideas in the book must not contradict scripture in any way.
The book of Eli did not meet any of these criteria. Which explains why it was never included in the Bible.
What is the book of Eli about in the Bible?
The book contained some theological discrepancies that disqualified it as a canonical book. It proposed that Christians could do without some laws given by God, which was a notion that went against everything Christianity represents.
The book of Eli also contained some questionable ideologies such as the transmigration of souls and reincarnation. The early church was not thrilled about these concepts.
Theology scholars have also reported that the book had anti-Semitic content, which contradicts the Christian faith.
Historical literature reveals that the Book of Eli was written by two authors whose identity is still a mystery to theologians and other scholars. What’s more, the book was not included in the Muratorian Canon, which is the oldest list of canonical books.
In the early church manuscripts, there is no mention of the book of Eli. It is however believed that if the book existed, the character of Eli, the priest from the Old Testament, inspired it.
Eli’s character in the Bible is known for raising the great prophet Samuel. The Bible introduces Eli as an elderly priest who blesses Hanna, Samuel’s mother.
If you are not familiar with the entire story, you can read it in 1st Samuel 1:10. The bible says, “She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head” – 1st Samuel 1:10-11.
According to the book of Samuel, Eli had two sons who were also serving in the Tabernacle with him.
The young men, Hophni and Phineas made God angry by mishandling the meat offered during a sacrifice. Their insolence was so bad that they had sexual relations with the women who worked in the tabernacle.
Although Samuel condemned this behaviour, he did nothing to make it stop. Bible scholars suggest that his heart was not resolute about his service to God. That taints his entire role as a priest.
Eli was not fully committed to serving God, even though it meant losing his sons.
What books were removed from the Bible?
Several books did not make it into today’s Bible. These books are known as apocryphal books. The oldest King James Bible had the Books of Apocrypha in the middle of the New and Old Testaments.
The Catholic Church referred to these books as deuterocanonical books. They include; The book of Judith, 1st and 2nd Maccabees, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer of Manasseh, Susanna, Prayer of Azariah, Letter of Jeremiah,1st and 2nd Esdras, Tobit, Ecclesiaticus and Baruch.
Among these books were also the Letter of Jeremiah, Wisdom of Solomon and Additions to Esther. The Books of Apocrypha were booted from the Bible for contradicting scripture.
A great example is the book of Tobit, which heavily features magic and other taboo topics in Christianity.
What is the movie Book of Eli about?
This action-packed film presents the character of Eli as humankind’s redemption after a gruesome war. In an apocalyptic backdrop, the main character has to transport a very sacred book to a secure location.
The journey is riddled with roadblocks that threaten the success of his mission. The movie is predicated on the idea that the book of Eli was hidden away because it had deep insight into how to save humanity.
This movie perpetuated the idea that there might have been deeper reasons why the book of Eli was excluded from the modern Bible.
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.