Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Seven

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                             Chapter Seven

The "Sermon On The Mount" continues with Jesus discussing the
righteousness of the kingdom with respect to man’s relation to man, with
a warning regarding judging (1-6), the importance of persistence (7-11),
and keeping "the golden rule" (12).  It concludes with exhortations to
enter the kingdom:  choose the narrow and difficult path (13-14), watch
out for false prophets (15-20), do the Father’s will (21-23), being
doers of the Word (24-29).


   *  The nature of judging condemned by Jesus

   *  How Jesus’ "golden rule" differs from that found in other religions

   *  The importance of doing the Father’s will to being saved


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Righteousness with respect to man’s relation to man - Mt 7:1-12
   - Exhortations to enter the kingdom - Mt 7:15-29

2) What sort of judging is Jesus warning against? (1-6)
   - Not all judging, but hypocritical, censorious condemnation 
     (cf. Jn 7:24)

3) How does Jesus illustrate the need for persistence? (7-11)
   - By literally saying "keep on" asking, seeking, knocking

4) How does Jesus’ "golden rule" differ from that found in other
   religions? (12)
   - Most state it negatively (Don’t do to others what you don’t want
     done to you)

5) Contrast the two "ways" described by Jesus (13-14)
   - The way to life:  narrow gate and difficult way, found by few
   - The way to destruction:  wide gate and broad way, traveled by many

6) How do false prophets operate?  How can we identify them? (15-20)
   - As wolves in sheep’s clothing; by their fruits

7) Who will not enter the kingdom of heaven?  Who will?  (21-23)
   - Many who believed in the Lord, did many great things for Him, but
     practiced lawlessness (i.e., did things without His authority)
   - Those who do the will of His Father in heaven

8) What is the key difference between the wise and foolish listeners?
   - The wise do what Jesus said, the foolish do not

9) Why were the people astonished at Jesus’ teaching? (28-29)
   - Because He taught as one having authority

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Six

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                              Chapter Six

The "Sermon On The Mount" continues as Jesus teaches the righteousness
of the kingdom expected in those who would be citizens of the kingdom.
He discusses righteousness with respect to man’s relation to God,
regarding charitable deeds (1-4), prayer (5-15), fasting (16-18),
materialism (19-24), and anxiety (25-33).


   *  Performing acts of righteousness in ways that please God

   *  The danger of materialism and overcoming anxiety about such things

   *  Making the kingdom of God and His righteousness our number one


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Righteousness with respect to man’s relation to God - Mt 6:1-18
   - Overcoming materialism and anxiety - Mt 6:16-33

2) As we perform acts of righteousness, what should we avoid? (1-2,5,16)
   - Doing it for the purpose of being seen by men
   - Acting like the hypocrites in the synagogues and in the streets

3) How can we ensure that God will reward us for our righteous acts?
   - By doing them in secret where only the Father sees

4) How else does Jesus teach us to give, pray, and fast? (3,7,17)
   - Do not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing as we
   - Do not use vain repetition as we pray
   - Do not disfigure our faces as we fast

5) What is the likely purpose of "The Lord’s Prayer"? (9-13)
   - To serve as a model of prayer ("In this manner...")

6) Of things in "The Lord’s Prayer," on what does Jesus elaborate?
   - The need for us to forgive others their trespasses against us

7) Where are we to lay up treasure?  Why?  How? (20,24; cf. Mt 19:21;
   1Ti 6:17-19)
   - In heaven; to serve God rather than mammon; by giving to the poor

8) What is the key to overcoming anxiety? (25-32)
   - Trusting in the providential care of God

9) How can we ensure that God will provide what we need? (33)
   - By seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Five

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                              Chapter Five

Beginning in this chapter, Matthew records the "Sermon On The Mount".
The theme of the sermon is "The kingdom of heaven" (cf. Mt 4:17;
5:3,10,19-20; 6:10,33; 7:21).  Jesus began with "The Beatitudes,"
describing the character and blessedness of those who would be citizens
of the kingdom (1-12) and illustrating their relation to world as salt
and light (13-16).  Clarifying His own relationship with the Law, Jesus
stressed how our righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and
Pharisees (17-20) following with a series of contrasts between the oral
interpretations of the Law and conduct expected of His disciples


   *  The meaning of the phrase:  "the kingdom of heaven"

   *  The blessedness of those in the kingdom, and their relationship to
      the world

   *  How our righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The beatitudes - Mt 5:1-12
   - Salt and light - Mt 5:13-16
   - Jesus and the Law - Mt 5:17-20
   - Interpretations of the Law versus kingdom righteousness 
     - Mt 5:21-48

2) What do the beatitudes describe? (3-12)
   - The character and blessedness of the citizens of the kingdom

3) How are citizens of the kingdom to relate to the world? (13-16)
   - As the salt of the earth and the light of the world

4) What was Jesus’ relation to the Law of Moses? (17-18)
   - He came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it

5) What does Jesus expect of those who would be citizens of the kingdom?
   - Righteousness that surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees

6) List the five subjects whose interpretations are contrasted in this
   chapter (21-48)
   - Murder, adultery, oaths, retaliation, love

7) What phrases illustrate the contrast? (21-22,27-28,31-32,33-34,38-39,
   - "You have heard that it was said..." (not "It is written...")
   - "But I say to you..."

8) Then what contrast is being made with these five subjects?
   - The oral interpretation and application of the Law versus the
     teaching of Jesus

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Four

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                              Chapter Four

Following His baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness
where He fasted for forty days and overcame temptation by the devil
(1-11).  Returning to Galilee and moving from Nazareth to Capernaum,
Jesus began His Galilean ministry preaching the same message of the
kingdom of heaven as that of John the Baptist.  After selecting four
disciples, Jesus went about Galilee teaching in the synagogues and
healing all kinds of sickness and disease.  Soon great multitudes from
surrounding regions began to follow Him (12-25).


   *  How Jesus overcame His temptation by the devil

   *  The beginning of His ministry in Galilee, His message and methods

   *  The call of Peter, Andrew, James, and John to discipleship


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The temptation of Jesus - Mt 4:1-11
   - The beginning of Jesus’ Galilean ministry - Mt 4:12-25

2) With what three temptations did Satan challenge Jesus? (3,6,9)
   - "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become
   - "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down (from the pinnacle
     of the temple)."
   - "All these things (kingdoms of the world) I will give You if You
     will fall down and worship me."

3) How did Jesus respond to each of the three temptations? (4,7,10)
   - With the Word of God ("It is written...")

4) Where did Jesus begin His public ministry?  Fulfilling what prophecy?
   - The region of Galilee; as prophesied by Isaiah (Isa 9:1-2)

5) What was the theme of Jesus’ preaching? (17)
   - "The kingdom of heaven is at hand."

6) Who were the four fishermen called to follow Jesus? (18-22)
   - Peter and Andrew, James and John

7) How did Jesus conduct His ministry in Galilee? (23-24)
   - Teaching in the synagogues
   - Healing all kinds of disease and sickness, including demon

8) Where did people come from to follow Jesus? (25)
   - Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Three

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                             Chapter Three

Matthew skips ahead about thirty years to describe events that prepared
Jesus for His public ministry.  John the Baptist served as a forerunner
with his own ministry of preaching in the wilderness of Judea and
baptizing in the Jordan river (1-12).   From Galilee Jesus came to be
baptized by John "to fulfill all righteousness".  As Jesus came up out
of the water, the heavens opened, the Spirit descended on Him like a
dove, and a voice from heaven declared, "This is my beloved Son in whom
I am well pleased" (13-17).


   *  The message and ministry of John the Baptist

   *  The purpose and meaning of Jesus’ baptism


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The ministry of John the Baptist - Mt 3:1-12
   - The baptism of Jesus Christ - Mt 3:13-17

2) What was the theme of John’s preaching? (1-2)
   - "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

3) What was John’s mission as foretold by Isaiah? (3)
   - To prepare the way of the Lord (Isa 40:3)

4) What unique clothing and diet did John have? (4)
   - Clothed in camel’s hair and leather belt, food was locust and wild

5) What was John doing in the Jordan river? (5-6)
   - Baptizing people as they were confessing their sins

6) What did John say to the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be
   baptized? (8)
   - "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance"

7) What did John say One who followed him would do? (11-12)
   - Baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire

8) Who came from Galilee to be baptized by John? Why? (13-15)
   - Jesus; to fulfill all righteousness

9) As Jesus came up from the water, what three things happened? (16-17)
   - The heavens were opened to Him
   - The Spirit descended like a dove upon Him
   - A voice from heaven said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am
     well pleased."

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Two

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                              Chapter Two

Unlike Luke, Matthew does not record events related to the day of Jesus’
birth.  But he does describe the visit of the wise men who followed the
star to find the infant child and to worship Him (1-12).  Warned by an
angel in a dream, Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt, escaping the
massacre of infants by an enraged Herod (13-18).  After the death of
Herod, Joseph and his family return to settle in the village of Nazareth


   *  The details of the visit of the wise men from the East

   *  Fact versus fiction related to the birth of Jesus

   *  Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by the events in this chapter


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The visit of the wise men - Mt 2:1-12
   - The flight to Egypt and massacre of infants - Mt 2:13-18
   - The return from Egypt and residence at Nazareth - Mt 2:19-23

2) Why had the wise men from the East come to Jerusalem? (1-2)
   - They had seen the star of the King of the Jews and had come to
     worship Him

3) How did the priests and scribes determine the location of Christ’s
   birth? (4-6)
   - From Mic 5:2

4) How did the wise men find the young Child?  Where did they find Him?
   - Heading to Bethlehem, they followed the star; in a house with Mary
     His mother

5) Why did Joseph and his family flee?  What prophecy would be
   fulfilled? (13-15)
   - Warned by an angel to go to Egypt, in order to escape Herod’s
     effort to destroy Jesus
   - "Out of Egypt I called My Son" (Hos 11:1)

6) What prophecy did the slaughter of the innocents fulfill? (16-18)
   - That spoken by Jeremiah the prophet (Jer 31:15)

7) What prompted Joseph and his family to return?  Why to Galilee?
   - An angel told Joseph of Herod’s death, and told him to return to
   - Hearing that Herod’s son ruled over Judea, they turned aside to

8) Where did the family settle?  What prophecy did that fulfill? (23)
   - In a city called Nazareth
   - "He shall be called a Nazarene" (no one prophecy in particular)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter One

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                              Chapter One

Matthew begins his gospel with the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham to
Joseph.  Thus he shows the royal lineage of Jesus from David, one of the
first things required to convince a Jewish audience that Jesus qualified
to be the Messiah (1-17; cf. Mt 22:41-42).  The birth of Jesus is then
described, with the announcement of the angel to Joseph, and the
protection of her virginity until His birth (18-25).


   *  The genealogy, comparing it with the one in Luke’s gospel

   *  The prophecies of Isaiah and the angel regarding the virgin birth

   *  The significance of the names given to the child born of Mary


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The genealogy of Jesus Christ - Mt 1:1-17
   - The birth of Jesus Christ - Mt 1:18-25

2) Whose genealogy is given by Matthew? (1)
   - Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham

3) What four women are included in this genealogy? (3,5,6)
   - Tamar
   - Rahab
   - Ruth
   - The wife (Bathsheba) of Uriah

4) What was the initial relationship between Joseph and Mary? (18)
   - Betrothed (engaged)

5) When and how did Mary become pregnant? (18)
   - Before she and Joseph came together
   - From the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 1:26-35)

6) What two names would be given the child, and what do they mean?
   - Jesus (savior); Immanuel (God with us)

7) What scripture in the OT was fulfilled by the virgin birth of Christ?
   - That written by Isaiah in Isa 7:14

8) How long did Joseph wait until he knew Mary as his wife? (25)
   - Until she had given birth to her son (Jesus)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Introduction

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"


The book of Matthew has always occupied a position of high esteem in the
faith and life of the church:

"When we turn to Matthew, we turn to the book which may well be called
the most important single document of the Christian faith, for in it we
have the fullest and the most systematic account of the life and the
teachings of Jesus." (William Barclay)

The writings of the early church fathers reveal that it was the most
frequently quoted and perhaps the most widely read gospel during the
first two centuries of the church's history.


The apostolic origin and canonical rank of the gospel of Matthew were
accepted without a doubt by the early church (ISBE).  Matthew, surnamed
Levi, had been a tax-collector,  one of Jesus' earliest disciples (Mt
9:9; Mk 2:14).  He was chosen to be one of the twelve apostles (Mt
10:2-3).  A close associate of Jesus during His ministry, Matthew's
gospel is a first hand account, unlike Luke who depended upon other
eyewitnesses (Lk 1:1-4).


Irenaeus says it was written when Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome
(Against Heresies 3.1.1).  Eusebius states that this was done when
Matthew left Palestine and went to preach to others (Historia
Ecclesiastica, III, 24).  Clement of Alexandria said that the presbyters
who succeeded each other from the beginning declared that "the gospels
containing the genealogies (Matthew and Luke) were written first"
(Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, VI, 14).  It is traditionally dated
in the late 50s or early  60s A.D.


The gospel appears written to Jews, designed to prove that Jesus is the
Messianic king of Old Testament (OT) prophecy.  This is evidenced by
Matthew’s frequent appeal to OT Messianic prophecies.  He quotes from
almost every book in the OT, and twelve times he identifies OT
prophecies as fulfilled in the life of Jesus (Mt 1:22; 2:15,23; 4:14;
5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14,35; 21:4; 27:9).  One could therefore say that
the theme is:
                    Jesus, the King of the Jews


It is a Jewish gospel.  We've noted its frequent appeal to OT
prophecies.  It's organization is mostly topical, as opposed to strictly
chronological (a common style in Jewish literature).  Thus it appears to
have been written with a Jewish audience in mind.

It is an ecclesiastical gospel.  It is the only gospel which mentions
the word "church".  It foretells its beginning (Mt 16:18), and describes
some of the life in the church (Mt 18:15-17).  It contains lengthy
discourses especially beneficial to those in the church, such as the
sermon on the mount (Mt 5-7), the many parables (Mt 13), and the Olivet
discourse (Mt 24-25).  It contains admonitions important to disciples of
Christ, such as the importance of doing the Father's will (Mt 7:21-23)
and observing all that Jesus commanded (Mt 28:20).  In other words, this
was a gospel designed for use by those in the early church.

It is an evangelistic gospel.  It is a preaching gospel, especially when
compared with the apostles' preaching found in Acts.  It expands upon
the basic elements and points made in their sermons.  Consider these
themes in apostolic preaching:

   *  God's promises in the OT have been fulfilled - Ac 3:18,24
   *  The long-awaited Messiah, born of David's line, has come - Ac 13:23
   *  He is Jesus of Nazareth - Ac 13:23
   *  He went about preaching and doing good through mighty works 
      - Ac 10:38
   *  He was crucified according to the promise and will of God 
      - Ac 2:22,23
   *  He was raised from the dead, and exalted at God's right hand 
      - Ac 2:24,32-33
   *  He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead 
      - Ac 3:20-21; 17:30-31
   *  Therefore, all should heed His message, repent, and be baptized
      - Ac 2:36-38

All of these points are expanded upon in the gospel of Matthew.


(adapted from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

1. The birth and childhood of Jesus - Mt 1:1-2:23
   a. Genealogy of Christ - Mt 1:1-17
   b. Birth of Christ - Mt 1:18-25
   c. Visit of the Magi - Mt 2:1-12
   d. Flight into Egypt and massacre of the infants - Mt 2:13-18
   e. Residence at Nazareth - Mt 2:19-23

2. The preparation for the ministry of Jesus - Mt 3:1-4:11
   a. The forerunner of Christ - Mt 3:1-12
   b. Baptism of Christ - Mt 3:13-17
   c. Temptation of Christ - Mt 4:1-11

3. The ministry of Jesus in Galilee - Mt 4:12-18:35
   a. Residence at Capernaum - Mt 4:12-17
   b. Call of four disciples - Mt 4:18-22
   c. General survey of the Galilean ministry - Mt 4:23-25
   d. Sermon on the mount - Mt 5:1-7:29
   e. Ten miracles and related events - Mt 8:1-9:38
   f. Mission of the twelve - Mt 10:1-42
   g. Christ's answer to John, and related discourse - Mt 11:1-30
   h. Opposition from the Pharisees - Mt 12:1-50
   i. A series of parables on the kingdom - Mt 13:1-58
   j. Withdrawal of Jesus following John's beheading - Mt 14:1-36
   k. Conflict with the Pharisees over tradition - Mt 15:1-20
   l. Withdrawal to Phoenecia and healing of a Canaanitish woman's
      daughter - Mt 15:21-28
   m. Return to the Sea of Galilee and performing of miracles 
      - Mt 15:29-38
   n. Renewed conflict with the Pharisees and Sadducees - Mt 15:39-16:4
   o. Withdrawal to the region of Caesarea Philippi - Mt 16:5-17:23
   p. Instruction of the twelve at Capernaum - Mt 17:24-18:35

4. The ministry of Jesus in Perea - Mt 19:1-20:16
   a. Teaching on divorce - Mt 19:1-12
   b. Blessing of the children - Mt 19:13-15
   c. Interview with the rich young man - Mt 19:16-30
   d. Parable of the laborers in the vineyard - Mt 20:1-16

5. The ministry of Jesus in Judea - Mt 20:17-34
   a. Another prediction of Christ's death and resurrection 
       - Mt 20:17-19
   b. Ambitious request of Zebedee's sons - Mt 20:20-28
   c. Healing of two blind men - Mt 20:29-34

6. The ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem - Mt 21:1-25:46
   a. Triumphal entry - Mt 21:1-11
   b. Cleansing the Temple - Mt 21:12-17
   c. Cursing of the barren fig tree - Mt 21:18-22
   d. Questioning of Jesus' authority and his parabolic answer 
      - Mt 21:23-22:14
   e. Questioning of Jesus by various groups - Mt 22:15-46
   f. Jesus' public denunciation of the Pharisees - Mt 23:1-39
   g. Olivet Discourse - Mt 24:1-25:46

7. The suffering of Jesus - Mt 26:1-27:66
   a. Plot against Jesus - Mt 26:1-16
   b. The final meal - Mt 26:17-30
   c. Prediction of Peter's denial - Mt 26:31-35
   d. Events in Gethsemane - Mt 26:36-56
   e. Events at the Jewish trials - Mt 26:57-27:2
   f. Remorse of Judas - Mt 27:3-10
   g. Events at the Roman trials - Mt 27:11-31
   h. The Crucifixion - Mt 27:32-56
   i. Burial - Mt 27:32-56

8. The resurrection of Jesus - Mt 28:1-20
   a. Discovery of the empty tomb - Mt 28:1-8
   b. Appearance of Jesus Christ - Mt 28:9,10
   c. Report of the soldiers - Mt 28:11-15
   d. The great commission - Mt 28:16-20


1) Who authored the book of Matthew?
   - Matthew, also called Levi
   - An early disciple, and an apostle of Jesus Christ

2) Approximately when was the book written?
   - The late 50s or early 60s A.D.

3) What has been suggested as the theme of Matthew’s gospel?
   - Jesus, the King of the Jews

4) What three characteristics of the gospel were noted in the
   - It is a Jewish gospel
   - It is an ecclesiastical gospel
   - It is an evangelistic gospel

5) List the eight sections of the gospel as indicated in the outline
   - The birth and childhood of Jesus
   - The preparation for the ministry of Jesus
   - The ministry of Jesus in Galilee
   - The ministry of Jesus in Perea
   - The ministry of Jesus in Judea
   - The ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem
   - The suffering of Jesus
   - The resurrection of Jesus

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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Does the Quran Encourage Violence? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Does the Quran Encourage Violence?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Does the Quran encourage violence?


Yes. The Quran—the holy book of Islam that 1.3 billion Muslims believe to be the word of God—is replete with explicit and implicit sanction and promotion of armed conflict, violence, and bloodshed by Muslims. Read Surah 47:4 from the celebrated translation by Muslim scholar Mohammed Pickthall:
Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when ye have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the war lay down its burdens. That (is the ordinance). And if Allah willed He could have punished them (without you) but (thus it is ordained) that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He rendereth not their actions vain (Surah 47:4, emp. added).
Many other verses in the Quran forthrightly endorse armed conflict and war to advance Islam. Muslim historical sources themselves report the background details of those armed conflicts that have characterized Islam from its inception—including Muhammad’s own warring tendencies involving personal participation in and endorsement of military campaigns (cf. Lings, pp. 86,111). Muslim scholar Pickthall’s own summary of Muhammad’s war record is an eye-opener: “The number of the campaigns which he led in person during the last ten years of his life is twenty-seven, in nine of which there was hard fighting. The number of the expeditions which he planned and sent out under other leaders is thirty-eight” (n.d., p. xxvi).


Lings, Martin (1983), Muhammad (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International).
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (no date), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).

Are There Lost Books of the Bible? by A.P. Staff


Are There Lost Books of the Bible?

by A.P. Staff


I have heard that there are certain “lost books” mentioned in the Bible—books to which we no longer have access. Is this true? And if so, what impact does this have on the biblical text itself, or on a Christian’s faith?


In a manner that is somewhat similar to a modern research paper, citations appear in both the Old and New Testaments. The inspired writers sometimes referred to certain works that no longer exist—a fact that has caused some people to question the accuracy and completeness of the Bible. Atheists and skeptics claim that if it was truly God’s Word, then it would not lack any composition cited. Massimo Franceschini, an Italian convert to Mormonism, has suggested that the biblical text is more than sixty-five percent incomplete, due, in part, to the “lost books” cited within the Bible itself (Franceschini, 2002). If the Bible is, at most, thirty-five percent complete, then the Christian faith can be no more complete than that. Duane Christensen, in the October 1998 issue of Bible Review, listed twenty-three referenced books that have been lost in antiquity (14[5]:29), to which we can add seven additional works mentioned in the Bible. Such compositions as the Book of Jashar (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18), the Acts of Gad the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29), and Paul’s previous Corinthian letter (see 1 Corinthians 5:9) are among the thirty cited works—twenty-eight from the Old Testament era, and two from the New Testament era—that are not included in the canon of Scripture, and that are missing from secular history. The contents of these books are known only by the fact that they are cited or quoted. Upon further examination, however, it appears that some of them actually may exist in another form.
Some scholars argue that a large number of these citations probably refer to the same composition. For example, the references found in 1 and 2 Kings to the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah, the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel, and the Acts of Solomon, possibly denote a single work (Christensen, 14[5]:29). It is a common practice, even in modern society, to refer to one thing by several different names. For example, a person may refer to Josephus’ work, Wars of the Jews, as “Josephus,” “Josephus’ Wars,” “Jewish Wars,” “Wars of the Jews,” “Josephus’ Jewish Wars,” etc.—all of which designate the same composition. In similar fashion, the many works cited throughout Kings and Chronicles very possibly refer to different sections of a single work. If there was a single original (one referred to by several names), it was likely a highly detailed record of the reigns of the kings in Israel and Judah. As a king lived and died, the records of his reign were added to this work by a scribe, prophet, historian, record keeper, or even by the administration of the next king, making it a composite work of many writers. The various names for this single account might have designated certain sections that made up the composite work. The differences between Kings’ and Chronicles’ naming and citing of the sections of the original, can be understood by the differences that exist among modern citation styles. The style of citation, list of works cited, and information provided vary widely, for example, among such modern-day guides as the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological AssociationThe Chicago Manual of Style, and Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Nevertheless, each one of these provides sufficient information to refer the reader to the original source. Similarly, the writer of Kings’ style of citation, and the writer of Chronicles’ style of citation, both mentioned the original, but did so in a different manner. Nevertheless, both provided the reader with enough information to locate the section referenced in the source.
The idea of a composite source makes sense when applied to Jewish oral tradition. The Talmud—a collection of Hebrew oral law and legal decisions (the Mishna), along with transcribed scholarly discussions and commentary on the Mishna (the Gemara)—holds that Jeremiah wrote Kings, and that Ezra wrote Chronicles (Rodkinson, 1918, V:45). [NOTE: There is no internal evidence for Jeremiah’s authorship of Kings, but 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 and Ezra 1:1-4 are almost identical, which supports Talmudic tradition of Ezra’s authorship of Chronicles.] One theory regarding the citation of lost books is that they were source material for the writers of Kings and Chronicles. Jeremiah possibly edited and/or condensed the original source (by inspiration of the Holy Spirit) into the book of Kings, sometime before or during the Babylonian exile. This new, inspired book of Kings provided a summary of the histories of Israel and Judah for the captives to carry with them—a much smaller, lighter book than the original detailed work. After returning from the Babylonian exile, Ezra composed another history of the Hebrew nation—Chronicles. According to this theory, he used the same original work as Jeremiah for his primary source, but referred to the sections by different names than the ones used by Jeremiah. To this, he added parts of Samuel, Isaiah, possibly Lamentations, and some non-extant works. Like Jeremiah’s compilation, Ezra did this by inspiration. While the original source no longer exists, a condensed form of it survived through the inspired writings.
However, it also is possible that the original work to which Jeremiah and Ezra referred was not a source for their books, but was an uninspired composition of historical significance to which the reader could look for additional information. Under this theory, Jeremiah and Ezra received everything for the composition of their respective works, but also were inspired to include a reference for “extra information.” God did not require every single detail to be preserved in the biblical accounts of the history of the Jewish people, so He revealed what the authors of Kings and Chronicles needed to know, while guiding them to insert a “for more information, please see...” in the text.
Both of these theories allow for verbal inspiration. The first theory suggests that God inspired Jeremiah and Ezra to look at the single historical work as a source, and then He guided them (via the Holy Spirit) to include exactly what He wanted from that source into Scripture. According to the second theory, God revealed to Jeremiah and Ezra the necessary history, and then guided them to place a citation in the biblical text in order to refer the contemporary reader to a then-extant historical book. Some of the “lost books” are references to sections of this source, and others are different names for books that are not lost, but currently reside within the canon of Scripture.
Work Cited
Cited In
The Book of the Wars of Yahweh
Numbers 21:14
The Book of Jashar
Joshua 10:12-13;
2 Samuel 1:19-27
The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah
1 Kings 14:29; et al.
The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel
1 Kings 14:19; et al.
The Acts of Solomon
1 Kings 11:41
Book of the Kings of Israel
1 Chronicles 9:1-2;
2 Chronicles 20:34
Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel
2 Chronicles 16:11; et al.
Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah
2 Chronicles 27:7; et al.
Acts of the Kings of Israel
2 Chronicles 33:18
Acts of Samuel the Seer
1 Chronicles 29:29
Acts of Gad the Seer
1 Chronicles 29:29
Acts of Nathan the Prophet
1 Chronicles 29:29
History of Nathan the Prophet
2 Chronicles 9:29
Prophesy of Ahijah the Shilonite
2 Chronicles 9:29
Visions of Iddo the Seer
2 Chronicles 9:29
Acts of Shemaiah the Prophet and Iddo the Seer
2 Chronicles 12:15
Acts of Jehu Son of Hanani
2 Chronicles 20:34
Acts of the Seers
2 Chronicles 33:19
Midrash of the Prophet Iddo
2 Chronicles 13:22
Midrash on the Book of Kings
2 Chronicles 24:27
Book by the prophet Isaiah
2 Chronicles 26:22
Vision of Isaiah the prophet
2 Chronicles 32:32
Book of the Chronicles
Nehemiah 12:23
Some additional writings, referenced in the Old Testament
and New Testament, can be added to Christensen’s list:
Book of the Covenant
Exodus 24:7; et al.
The Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia
Esther 10:2
Book by Samuel
1 Samuel 10:25
Laments for Josiah
2 Chronicles 35:25
Chronicles of King David
1 Chronicles 27:24
Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans
Colossians 4:16
Paul’s previous Corinthian letter
1 Corinthians 5:9
List of the “lost books”/“lost writings” of the Bible (per Christensen, 1998, with additions)

Chronicles of the Kings of Judah, Chronicles of the Kings of Israel, and Acts of Solomon (non-extant)

These names probably refer to sections of the original, detailed source either used by Jeremiah (through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to compose Kings, or mentioned by Jeremiah as a source for additional information. The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah is cited in 1 Kings 14:29; 15:7; 15:23; 22:45; 2 Kings 8:23; 12:19; 14:18; 15:6; 15:36; 16:19; 20:20; 21:17; 21:25; 23:28; and 24:5. The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel is mentioned in 1 Kings 14:19; 15:31; 16:5; 16:14; 16:20; 16:27; 22:39; 2 Kings 1:18; 10:34; 13:8; 13:12; 14:15; 14:28; 15:11; 15:15; 15:21; 15:26; and 15:31. However, the Acts of Solomon is referred to only in 1 Kings 11:41. This compilation probably contained the records of each king’s reign, official decrees, judgments of the court, census reports, taxation records, etc.

Book of the Kings of Israel, Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel, Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah, Acts of the Kings of Israel, and Chronicles of King David (non-extant)

These five titles possibly were Ezra’s references to sections of the same source from which Jeremiah wrote Kings. According to the two theories, either he used this single historical work (again, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to compose Chronicles, or he referenced it as additional, uninspired information. The Book of the Kings of Israel is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:1-2 and 2 Chronicles 20:34. The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel is cited in 2 Chronicles 16:11; 25:26; 28:26; and 32:32. The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah is referred to in 2 Chronicles 27:2; 35:27; and 36:8. Finally, the Acts of the Kings of Israel, and the Chronicles of King David, are alluded to in 2 Chronicles 33:18 and 1 Chronicles 27:24, respectively.

Acts of Samuel the Seer, Acts of Gad the Seer, and Acts of Nathan the Prophet (1 & 2 Samuel)

The only citation to these works is found in 1 Chronicles 29:29. This probably refers to 1 and 2 Samuel, which Talmudic tradition says was written by Samuel until his death (see 1 Samuel 25:1), and was finished by Gad the seer and Nathan the prophet (Rodkinson, 1918, V:45-46). With this explanation, it stands to reason that Ezra was referring to one work (Samuel) by its composite authors—Samuel, Gad, and Nathan. So these three “lost books” probably cite a single, currently existing work, known to us as 1 and 2 Samuel. [NOTE: In the Hebrew Bible, 1 and 2 Samuel were one book (Samuel), as were 1 and 2 Kings (Kings) and 1 and 2 Chronicles (Chronicles). Also, Nehemiah was added to the end of Ezra in the Hebrew text, and Hosea through Malachi were one book—which resulted in the Hebrew Bible being twenty-four books (Josephus combined two of those, making a total of twenty-two), instead of the thirty-nine in our present-day Old Testament.]

Book by the Prophet Isaiah and Vision of Isaiah the Prophet (Isaiah)

The two “lost books,” cited in 2 Chronicles 26:22 and 2 Chronicles 32:32, respectively, are said to have contained the records of King Uzziah and King Hezekiah. Isaiah lived during the reigns of these men (Isaiah 1:1; 6:1; 7:1; 36:1-39:8), so these citations likely refer to the book of Isaiah that exists in our current canon.

Lament for Josiah (Lamentations 3)

In 2 Chronicles 35:25, it is recorded that Jeremiah composed a lament at the death of Josiah, who was the last unconquered king of Judah, and wrote it “in the Laments.” The book of Lamentations was the work of Jeremiah that mourned the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred not long after the death of Josiah. It is highly likely that the lament mentioned in 2 Chronicles 35:25 is included in Lamentations. It is perhaps in chapter 3, where the tone of the lament changes. There seems to be continuity between 2:22 and 4:1. Chapter 2 talks of God’s anger toward Jerusalem and the result of it, a thought that is continued in chapter 4. Chapter 3 takes on a more personal tone, which could be indicative of the personal grief experienced by Jeremiah at the death of Josiah. It is very possible that, in lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem (Lamentations 1-2), Jeremiah’s grief at the death of Josiah came freshly to his mind, and he digressed in his lament over Jerusalem to include the sorrow of Josiah’s passing (Lamentations 3). Following this digression, his thoughts returned to Jerusalem (Lamentations 4-5).

Book of the Chronicles (1 & 2 Chronicles)

Nehemiah mentioned a record of the Levites, which was kept in the Book of the Chronicles (Nehemiah 12:23). Since Nehemiah and Ezra were contemporaries, it is probable that Nehemiah was referring to the Chronicles written by Ezra—our 1 and 2 Chronicles. It appears that Nehemiah may have been citing 1 Chronicles 9:10-22 specifically, which contains a record like the one mentioned by Nehemiah.

Book of the Covenant (The Pentateuch)

Four places in the Old Testament refer to the Book of the Covenant: Exodus 24:7; 2 Kings 23:2; 23:21; and 2 Chronicles 34:30. This is another name for the Pentateuch, which is sometimes called the Law (see Deuteronomy 30:10; 31:26; 2 Kings 17:13; et al.) or the Law of Moses (see Joshua 8:31; 23:6; 1 Kings 2:3; et al.).

The Book of Jashar (Non-extant)

Recently, certain scholars have written about the Book of Jashar, especially in light of its “rediscovery.” There are only two quotations from the Book of Jashar: Joshua 10:12-13 and 2 Samuel 1:18-27. From these references, it appears that the Book of Jashar was either a book of songs or poems compiled throughout the ages by the Israelite nation, or a record of upright individuals among the Israelites (see McClintock and Strong, 1968, 4:785). The word “Jashar” is commonly translated “just” or “upright,” but some scholars contend that it may be a corruption of the Hebrew word for “song” (Christensen, 1998, 14[5]:27).
Currently, five works claim to be the Book of Jashar, but all are spurious or recent compositions. The most popular of these is a manuscript forged by the Rosicrucians, a secret society dating back to the seventeenth century. The original supposedly was “found” by Alcuin—an Anglo-Saxon from Northumbria—in Gazna, Persia, and translated at some point during the eighth century A.D. The translation, which is the manuscript that is extant today, was “rediscovered” in 1721 and printed in London in 1751. This writing—which continues to be published despite the lack of evidence for its authenticity—is viewed to be a forgery produced no earlier than the eighteenth century (see Christensen, 14[5]:30; McClintock, 4:768-788).
The Book of Jashar was used as source material by Joshua, as well as by Gad and Nathan. It no longer exists in its original form, and the five different recent works are almost universally rejected as forgeries.

The Book of the Wars of Yahweh (Non-extant)

Also called the Book of the Wars of the Lord, this composition is quoted in Numbers 21:14. The quotation is in lyrical form, so it is possibly a book of poetry or a hymnal. Some have suggested that the Book of Jashar and the Book of the Wars of Yahweh are the same work (Christensen, 14[5]:30). Moses quoted it, so the date of its composition must have been prior to the completion of the Pentateuch, perhaps during the wanderings in the wilderness. Nothing else is known about it, and it survives only in Moses’ quotation.

Other Old Testament Works (Non-extant)

Many of the “lost books” actually exist either in a condensed form or under another name. However, some compositions now exist as mere citations in the Old Testament. The History of Nathan the Prophet, Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and Visions of Iddo the Seer are all cited together (2 Chronicles 9:29). If this is a form similar to the 1 Chronicles 29:29 reference to Samuel (using the composite authors for the citation), then it is possible that this was a single compilation cited by mentioning its authors. The same can be said of the Acts of Shemaiah the Prophet and Iddo the Seer (2 Chronicles 12:15). Another possibility is that these, along with the Acts of Jehu Son of Hanani (2 Chronicles 20:34), are all sections in a single work titled Acts of the Seers, which is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 33:19. Since the authors were prophets or seers, their works could have been gathered into a single book of prophetic revelation, similar to the manner in which the works of the twelve minor prophets were gathered into a single book (the Twelve Prophets). It is possible that Ezra used the composite work (if they were placed together), or the individual works, as additional source material in composing Chronicles, or that he cited them in the same manner as the single historical work. So far as we know, these books no longer exist, except in name.
Two other non-extant, but cited, works are commentaries on certain books. The Midrash of the Prophet Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22) was a commentary on a specific writing that contained the record of King Abijah of Judah. [NOTE: A midrash is a Jewish commentary, sometimes translated as “annals” or “commentary.”] Perhaps the work on which Iddo wrote his commentary was the original source used by Jeremiah and Ezra to compose Kings and Chronicles, respectively. Another possibility is that it was Kings itself. The Midrash on the Book of Kings (2 Chronicles 24:27) was possibly a commentary on either Jeremiah’s Kings or the original source for Kings and Chronicles. These midrashim could have been a single work, with the two citations referring to different parts of it. Ezra used these midrashim either as sources for his inspired composition of Chronicles, or as places to look if the reader wanted more information—but the originals have been lost.
Two remaining Old Testament-era books no longer exist except through citations: the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia, and a book by Samuel. The Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia is mentioned in Esther 10:2. This is not considered a “lost book” of the Bible, because it was the official record of the Persian Empire, not an inspired source. It seems to be referenced in Esther 2:23 and 6:1, where the King of Persia is shown placing records in the book and reading from it. The Book of Esther mentions this contemporary Gentile source in order to point the early reader to further details about the Persian Empire, similar to Paul’s quotations from the Cretan poet Epimenides and the Cilician poet Aratus to make his point in Acts 17:28 (Bruce, 1977, p. 44). The Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia is a lost secular historical record. It is not a lost biblical record.
Recorded in 1 Samuel 10:25 is Samuel’s writing of a book concerning the “behavior of royalty.” The biblical record said that he had “laid it up before the Lord,” but nowhere do we find anything that bears the markings of this book. The citation possibly could be a reference to the part of Samuel composed by the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1-24).
To summarize, eight of the “missing” Old Testament books probably are referring to Samuel, Isaiah, Chronicles, the Pentateuch, and Lamentations. Eight others appear to refer to sections of a single source used by the inspired Old Testament writers, making it only one “lost” historical record. Six others were written by prophets and seers, and might have been sections in a non-extant prophetic work known as the Book of the Seers. Two more were commentaries, which also could have been a single work, and two more were books of hymns or poetry. Therefore, the original number of Old Testament-era “lost books,” twenty-eight, actually numbers only a half-dozen. However, along with the “missing” books of the Old Testament era, there are two epistles referred to in the New Testament that some consider “lost books.”

Paul’s Letter to the Laodiceans

Paul, in Colossians 4:16, mentioned an epistle that he sent to the church at Laodicea. Since an epistle by this name is not found in our New Testament, some have claimed that it is non-extant. While this is one option, there are other possibilities. Some scholars say that it may actually exist in the canon of the Bible, but under a different name. According to this theory, Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians was written as an encyclical letter, meaning that it did not have one single destination. There is internal and external evidence to support this theory. Certain characteristics of the letter (like the omission of the phrase “in Ephesus” from Ephesians 1:1 in certain reliable manuscripts), the fact that some early Christians were not aware of the “in Ephesus” for verse 1, and a heretical reference to Ephesians as Paul’s epistle to the Laodiceans, appear to support this theory (Metzger, 2000, p. 532). Yet, the possibility remains that Paul’s letter to Laodicea was lost somewhere, perhaps in Asia Minor, before it could be copied (or the copies were destroyed or lost as well). [Passing mention should be made of a spurious epistle from the fourth century that claimed to be Paul’s letter to Laodicea (Bruce, 1988, pp. 237-240). ]
However, there is another possibility. The text never stated that the epistle was from Paul toLaodicea. It simply says that the Colossian church was to procure a certain letter in the possession of the Laodicean church. This would mean that the church at Laodicea probably had some canonical writing that Paul wanted the Colossian church to read, which would mean that there is no missing Laodicean letter. Of the three explanations (lost Laodicean letter, encyclical Ephesians, or canonical epistle in the possession of the Laodiceans), the latter appears to make the most sense. Most likely, the “missing” epistle to the Laodiceans was just a canonical epistle in the possession of the church in that city. Apparently, there was a section of it that Paul desired the Colossian brethren to read, and so he gave them directions for its procurement.

Paul’s First Corinthian Letter

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to Paul’s missing previous Corinthian letter. Technically, the epistles of 1 and 2 Corinthians could be called more properly 2 and 3 Corinthians, because Paul actually did write an earlier letter to the church in Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 5:9, Paul said: “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.” While some would argue that Paul is referring to a previous section of 1 Corinthians (perhaps 5:1-8) rather than referring to a previous epistle, he then continued (in verse 10) to explain exactly what he meant by that statement, which is not what is said in 5:1-8. After explaining what the statement from the previous letter meant, Paul continued in 5:11 by showing the contrasting point, “But now I have written to you...”—explaining the difference between the statement from the previous epistle and the one from our 1 Corinthians.
What are we to say? This truly is a lost writing of the apostle Paul, and nothing is known about it except that it existed, it was sent to the Corinthian church, and it dealt with sexual immorality. With this book, and with the other “lost books,” we now must ask the question...

Do We Really Need These Books?

When mentioning the “lost books” of the Bible, many people wonder, “Why do we no longer have these books?,” and “Do we really need them?” First, some of the so-called “lost books” probably are references to inspired books that still exist, but by another name. Others were historical references used as sources for inspired books, such as Kings and Chronicles, and so the Jews saw no need to treat them with special reverence, nor to strive to preserve them. Some were books of poetry or song that were uninspired, but served as a record of Hebrew culture. Others were non-Hebrew sources, making them non-biblical compositions and therefore not canonical writings. Many of these “lost books” probably are references to sections of the same work, making the actual number of non-extant books cited in the Bible less than a dozen. However, we must face the fact that some compositions cited by the Old and New Testament writers no longer exist.
While under subjugation to the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman empires, the Jews ultimately were able to preserve only those books that were holy and inspired—everything else was destroyed or lost. While this is unfortunate, it should not affect our faith adversely. The books we have are inspired, and came from inspired men who sometimes mentioned non-inspired sources for recording historical fact, giving places to find additional information, or simply to make a point. These men, like modern researchers, felt compelled to cite their sources, but did not intend these sources to become writings on a par with Scripture. The missing books that are cited in the Old Testament apparently did not bother the Jews, who recorded in the first century A.D. that their writings consisted of only twenty-two to twenty-four works that correspond exactly to our thirty-nine, except for a difference in order and division (Josephus, 1987, Against Apion, 1:38-40; Bruce, 1988, pp. 28-34; Rodkinson, 1918, V:44-45). Obviously, the “lost books” did not present a problem to Jesus and the apostles, who accepted the Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament) as all they needed. They quoted from none of these books, and the only things they quoted as Scripture were the books of the Old Testament. To accept that God allowed the inspired writers to employ sources in composing historical books of the Bible does not negate inspiration by the Holy Spirit. If these men used sources, God still guided them by the Holy Spirit to correct, compile, and add to the uninspired source material. One of the gospel writers (Luke) apparently consulted various sources in compiling his letter (Luke 1:1-4). As was previously mentioned, Paul quoted Epimenides and Aratus in Acts 17, and quoted Epimenides again in Titus 1:12. It was not uncommon for the authors of the Bible to use or quote, by inspiration, either uninspired works or inspired works that no longer exist.
God obviously did not intend certain works to be preserved, because His hand would have guided their perpetuation, just as He guided the continuation of the canonical books. Like the lost Corinthian letter, it is likely that other inspired books were written that God intended for a particular historicalsetting, but did not intend to be preserved in the canon of the Bible. God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him” (2 Peter 1:3), and our knowledge of Him is complete through the revealed Word. None of the books God intended to be in the Bible is lost, and the phrase “lost books” refers only to those books of which no record exists. Whatever these “lost books” contained is irrelevant, because we have the Word of God exactly as He wanted us to have it—nothing more, and certainly nothing less.


Bruce, F.F. (1977), The Defense of the Gospel in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Bruce, F.F. (1988), The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Christensen, Duane (1998), “Lost Books of the Bible,” Bible Review, 14[5]:24-31, October.
Franceschini, Massimo (2002), “Lost Books,” [On-line], URL: http://www.bibleman.net/Lost_Books.htm.
Josephus, Flavius (1987), The Works of Josephus, trans. William Whiston (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
McClintock, John and James Strong (1968 reprint), Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Metzger, Bruce M. (2000), A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft), second edition.
Rodkinson, Michael L. (1918), New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud (Boston, MA: The Talmud Society), [On-line Version], URL: http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/talmud.htm, ed. J.B. Hare.