For more than 100 years, the Apocrypha has been left out of English versions of the Bible. Concordia Publishing House is proud to announce the 2012 release of the first and only ESV edition of the Apocrypha with notes and annotations by Lutherans.
Described by Martin Luther as useful texts to read, but not divinely inspired, the Apocrypha allows Lutherans to look back at their heritage and see the Bible as our forefathers would have. Furthermore, the texts of the Apocrypha are essential reading for filling in the 400-year gap between the Old and New Testaments.
A key resource for understanding the New Testament’s background, Concordia’s The Apocrypha will include notes, maps, charts, illustrations, introductions to the books, and an extensive set of articles that will provide guidance to those who are studying ancient literatures such as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
This Study Bible-style treatment of the Apocrypha is certain to be the most extensive, popular edition available; especially to those eager to study the unique Lutheran perspective on these books and the time between the testaments.
Audio Interview Listen to an interview with Rev. Dr. Andrew E. Steinmann, contributor to The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes, as he provides insight as to what the Apocrypha is and how it can benefit Lutheran's today. Click here to listen to additional interviews.
Video—The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes
Endorsements—The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes
"Scripture in Jesus’ Judaism and in the Early Church included more documents than those found in the Protestant canon. Some of these works, called “Apocrypha” by Protestants and “Deuteron-canonical Works” by Roman Catholics are expertly and attractively collected in The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes. In these writings you will find a deep expression of the need for God’s forgiveness (the Prayer of Manasseh) and a vision of the future with the coming of the Messiah (2 Esdras or Ezra Apocalypse = 4 Ezra). The introductions are superbly well written and engaging. One can see how the Apocrypha...bridges the “Old” Testament with the “New” Testament. Highly recommended, as Athanasius said in 367 “for instruction in the word of godliness.”
—James H. Charlesworth Director and Editor, Princeton Dead Sea Scrolls Project George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
"Quite likely, The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes is the product of one of the most ambitious projects dealing with the Apocrypha ever undertaken. Not only does it offer an unfailingly accurate translation of the various texts involved, via the English Standard Version, but it is also replete with scholarly notes and commentary to assist the reader—lay or professional—in every way possible."
—From the foreword by Rev. Paul L. Maier, PhD The Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History Western Michigan University
"This book provides a well-balanced blend of sound scholarship and religious beliefs on the Apocrypha, especially those of Luther and the Lutherans. The reader will find all the necessary background information on the Apocrypha in an attractive presentation, as well as religious guidance for instruction and preaching. A wealth of introductory essays and appendixes make this a very useful compendium."
—Prof. Emanuel Tov, PhD J. L. Magnes Professor of Bible Hebrew University, Jerusalem
"Concordia Publishing House, General editor Edward Engelbrecht, and the several contributing editors have placed Bible scholars and students into their debt by bringing out a new and updated version of The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes. The introduction includes explanation of what the books of the Apocrypha are, what their value is, and a concise overview of history from Persian rule to Roman rule. Next come judicious commentaries on the several books of the Apocrypha, followed by ten appendices that provide readers with additional related information concerning such things as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the writings of Josephus, rabbinic literature, and New Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. What a treasure trove! This marvelous commentary belongs in the study of every student and scholar of the Bible."
—Rev. Craig A. Evans, PhD Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia, Canada
"Luther recommended the Apocrypha as books that are not regarded as equal to the Holy Scripture, and yet are profitable and good to read. Lutheran piety up to now seems to have remembered just the first part of this statement and did not very often exercise itself in the profitable reading. This present edition gives us occasion to get a fresh approach to books like Wisdom of Solomon, Maccabees, and others. Accompanied with quotations mainly from Luther and John Gerhard, and useful explanations, the reader may gain a deeply spiritual approach to the Apocrypha and explore anew these treasures of the Lutheran faith!"
—Prof. Dr. Volker Leppin Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany
"I recommend this edition of the Apocrypha as a timely and useful addition to The Lutheran Study Bible. The Apocrypha have been considered as a part of the biblical canon for most of the church’s history, and while the Reformers may have had good reasons for thinking differently, they still had a high regard for them. This edition enables both scholars and lay readers to understand why."
—Knut Alfsvåg, ThD Professor of Systematic Theology School of Mission and Theology, Stavanger, Norway
"The books of the Apocrypha are absolutely essential for understanding the Jewish context of early Christianity. The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes is an outstanding work of scholarship that provides a welcome service to Lutherans and, indeed, to Christians of other traditions interested in reading and studying these fascinating and often entertaining writings, which the great Luther himself deemed “useful and good to read.” A thoughtfully edited and attractively produced volume, it includes many unique features and has the fullest annotations of any comparable study edition. In all, this is a monumental achievement and valuable resource for scholars, students, and lay people alike."
—Daniel C. Harlow, PhD Professor of Religion, Calvin College Editor, The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism
"One of the great rewards of biblical study is an increased awareness of the historical and cultural setting in which the Scriptures were written. In The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes, Editor Engelbrecht and his team of contributors has provided an attractive and accessible overview of one of the most interesting periods in the Bible’s history, namely, the Intertestamental or Second Temple Period. It was during this time that the Old Testament was completed and the New Testament was on the threshold of emerging. Succinct introductions with helpful maps and diagrams enrich the presentation. A distinctive strength is the churchly and confessional assessment from a Lutheran perspective that provides a framework for the historical material--a significant contribution that lifts the reader beyond the merely academic."
—Rev. Dean O. Wenthe, PhD General Editor, Concordia Commentary Professor and President Emeritus, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Indiana
"Martin Luther commented that the Apocrypha “were not equal to scripture, yet useful and good to read.” This volume helpfully guides the reader in exploring how and why this is so. Useful historical explanations, wisely chosen excerpts from the prefaces of the Apocryphal books by Luther and Gerhard, helpful textual explanations and charts, and wise advice on the challenges and blessings for readers make this edition of the Apocrypha shine. This is a delightful study resource and devotional guide to complement one’s reading of Scripture."
—Rev. Gordon A. Jensen, PhD William Hordern Professor of Theology Lutheran Theological Seminary Saskatoon, Canada
"I have been pleased to review this latest CPH treasure from the perspective of an interested churchman who has watched 60 years of softening in general Lutheran attitude toward things associated with the Roman Catholic Church. Bringing these intertestamental writings out of such shadows is not only bold and timely but may be one of CPH’s greatest gifts to today’s Lutheran and Protestant world. With its publication of The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes, CPH signals that these writings are okay to read. These writings (and the commentary CPH provides) make available to both clergy and laity a very important aid to Bible study: a firsthand look into the historical context that God Himself regarded as “the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4)."
—Raymond L. Hartwig Secretary, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
"This is an extraordinary volume that should be in the library of every serious student of Holy Scripture. Especially helpful are the historical outlines and theological underpinnings of the intertestamental period. Returning from Babylonian exile, the chastened and repentant God’s covenant people struggled to remain faithful. Entering into a post-Christian era, we can learn much from those who have gone before us when the Messianic Hope was a minority faith. Studying this volume in conjunction with the Bible will enrich you for the living of these days."
—Rev. Timothy J. Scharr President, Southern Illinois District, LCMS
"This companion to The Lutheran Study Bible will be a very helpful tool for Lutherans to become reacquainted with the Apocrypha. I say reacquainted because the Apocrypha were long included in German and English Bibles. More recently among Lutheran Bible readers, knowledge of the Apocrypha has almost disappeared. This volume provides all the tools—translations, notes, and supplemental essays—that readers will need to become familiar with these writings."
—Professor John Brug Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary
"The Apocrypha not only illustrates sin and grace, godlessness and godliness, humanity’s need and God’s grace for the reader, it also helps one to better understand the meaning of “the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4), when God sent His Son to redeem us. Reading it on one’s own, however, is daunting at best. The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes helps the reader to understand the significance of the Apocrypha itself along with issues such as canonicity and historical context. From introduction through the study notes, charts and illustrations to the final topical index, the reader will find great assistance and guidance. And through this guidance, the reader comes to a better understanding of the Word made flesh who gave Himself to save us."
—Rev. Dan P. Gilbert President, Northern Illinois District, LCMS
"There recently has been a renewed interest in the Lutheran devotional writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In this literature their use and interest in the Apocrypha is clearly evident. The devotional writers have a genuine appreciation of these books and especially for Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon. This is certainly in keeping with Luther’s evaluation of the Apocrypha: “These books are not held equal to the Scriptures but are useful and good to read” (AE 35:337). Concordia is to be commended for this excellent Lutheran edition of the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes will definitely be edifying for twenty-first century Christians."
—Gaylin R. Schmeling President, Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary
"CPH’s The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes provides a great resource for those who, having mastered the canonical books, desire to delve into those books that arise out of the intertestamental period. The explanations and historical data will help both the lay and clerical reader wade through some unfamiliar literature. The liturgical uses of this literature are especially highlighted. Finally, the appendices will help those who are confounded by the constant resurrection of the so-called “lost books” of the ancient world by the ignorant or misleading media. The reader will be comforted by the clear distinction that is able to be drawn between the canonical books and those of non-canonical status. CPH’s Apocrypha is a wonderful resource for the church."
—Scott R. Murray, Ph.D. Senior Pastor, Memorial Lutheran Church Fifth Vice-President, LCMS
"Edward Engelbrecht and Concordia Publishing House are to be commended for publishing The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes. It is a fitting companion to The Lutheran Study Bible. The introductions, historical articles, appendices, and reference guide provide a concise and immensely helpful overview of the intertestamental period. All who lead or participate in Bible studies will find these resources, as well as the text of the Apocrypha, to be of great value in better understanding the Old and New Testaments."
—Rev. Mark C. Chavez General Secretary, North American Lutheran Church
"Years ago a popular Sunday TV program announced that the evening’s offering was the “biblical” story of Judith and Holofernes. I’d never heard of them! If you don’t recognize them, or the names of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, or Judas Maccabeus, if you’ve ever wondered about the origin of Hanukkah, or what happened between the time of Nehemiah and John the Baptist, you will discover why Martin Luther recommended reading the Apocrypha even though it is not Scripture. This marvelous edition is chock-full of helps that mark it as a truly Lutheran study edition!"