By Steven Bancarz| One of the most common questions I have seen since coming to Christ is the question of whether or not Enoch should be included in the Bible. The short answer to this is that Enoch is not Scripture and was never considered to be on the same level of Scripture historically by any Christian institution other than the Ethiopian Orthodox church of 1959.
But wasn’t the Book of Enoch quoted from in Jude of the New Testament? While it is true Jude quoted from Enoch in Jude 14-15, all this means is that what Enoch said in that particular passage is true.
It doesn’t mean the entire book is divinely inspired, but it does mean that at least that quote by Enoch was true. Just because something is true does not necessarily mean it is inspired by God. History books are true but are not inspired by God. Paul quotes a greek poet named Epimenides in Titus 1:12 but that does not mean that Epimenides was inspired by God.
Everything I have said thus far is true, but that doesn’t mean I am under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, even if we would go as far as to say that particular segment of Enoch was inspired by God, we wouldn’t be able to say this about the entire book since it was written by different people in different languages (Aramaic and Hebrew) over the course of 200 years, which would seem to be a peculiar way for the Holy Spirit to write Scripture.
Was the author who started to write Enoch initially inspired by God, and then it continued to be written by someone not inspired by God? Why would God allow one fragment to be inspired and then the text around it to be in error? Historically speaking, it’s a difficult case to make that one section or fragment of Enoch is inspired while others in the same body of text aren’t. This is one of the reasons the early church did not consent to it’s canonicity.
Here are some additional reasons to reject the idea that Enoch should be considered at the same level of Scripture.
1. Jesus defined the books of the canon to us.
Jesus implicitly rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture by referring to the entire accepted Jewish Canon of Scripture, “From the blood of Abel [Gen. 4:8] to the blood of Zechariah [2 Chron. 24:20], who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation (Lk. 11:51; cf. Mt. 23:35).”
Abel was the first martyr in the Old Testament from the book of Genesis while Zechariah was the last martyr in the book of Chronicles. In the Hebrew Canon, the first book was Genesis and the last book was Chronicles. By Jesus’ referring to Abel and Zachariah, He was canvassing the entire Canon of the Hebrew Scriptures which included the same 39 books as Protestants accept today. (source: CARM)
2. It is a very low and un-Biblical view of God’s sovereignty to suggest that the Holy Spirit was not involved in the preservation of the Word of God.
“so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:11
If God says he will accomplish that which He desires (Isaiah 46:10), and he actually desires Enoch be included in the Bible but didn’t tell Jesus, the disciples, or the church fathers this, then God failed to accomplish what He desires and apparently needs to take a class on communications. If God can create a universe from nothing, God can ensure that His Word be preserved and intact.
3. We do not see a single quote from Enoch or any other Apocryphal book where it is preceded by “As it is written” or “As the Lord spake unto Enoch”, but we see this all the time with the books of the OT.
Enoch was never quoted from by Jesus or any apostle as being Scripture, nor did anyone quote from Enoch as being a direct word from the LORD.
Contrast this with Acts 4:25 where it says the Holy Spirit spoke through David, or where Jesus calls Exodus the word of God in Mark 7:8-13, or Hebrews 10:30 where it says that the LORD spoke in Deuteronomy saying “vengeance is mine.” We have clear indications in the New Testament from Jesus and the apostles about what books contained the words of God, yet we do not see this said of Enoch or any other book of the apocrypha.
If Enoch is supposed to be included as Scripture, why was it never quoted as being Scripture?
“Our Lord and his apostles might differ from the religious leaders of Israel about the meaning of the scriptures; there is no suggestion that they differed about the limits of the scriptures. ‘The scriptures’ on whose meaning they differed were not an amorphous collection: when they spoke of ‘the scriptures’ they knew which writings they had in mind and could distinguish them from other writings which were not included in ‘the scriptures’.[F.F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1988), pp. 28-29.]
4. Enoch contains things that are arguably false.
For example, it says that the giants of Biblical times were 400-450 feet tall. That is over 6 times taller than the largest dinosaur to ever exist, 4 times longer than a blue whale, longer than a football field, and the same height as the Great Pyramid in Egypt. If this is true, why does the Bible only speaks of giants as being 8-15 feet tall, and where are all the other legends in other cultures of giants who were this tall?
We can trust that if God wanted the book of Enoch to be seen as the same level as other Scripture, God would have ensured that this book was included. While Enoch may offer an interesting perspective on things and may include fragments of truth, it is not God-breathed and therefore not to be regarded on the same level as Scripture.