Search for page by title (auto-completes)
Advanced search
Translate into

The Bible

OT Overview

NT Overview

OT Books

NT Books

OT History

NT History

OT Studies

Pentateuch Studies

History Books Studies

Studies in the Prophets

NT Studies

Studies in the Gospels

Acts and Letters Studies

Revelation Studies

Inductive Study

Types of Literature


Early Church

British Museum


Historical Documents

Life Questions

How to Preach


SBS Staff

Advanced Search
Search for word or phrase within each page
Search by OT book and chapter
Search by NT book and chapter

The Pseudepigrapha - including Enoch and Jubilees

Julian Spriggs M.A.

Related articles

Why 66 books - the Canon of Scripture The Hebrew scriptures
The Apocrypha The Pseudepigrapha
History of the English Bible

The Pseudepigrapha

The Pseudepigrapha is a large collection of over fifty Jewish and Christian writings from between 300 BC and AD 300, which were not included in the Hebrew Scriptures, or in the Apocrypha, and are not considered canonical by most of the main churches. It is not always straight-forward to identify which documents should be included in the Pseudepigrapha, as some are included in the OT Apocrypha by some churches, particularly the Orthodox.

The word pseudepigrapha, is from the Greek ‘pseud’, meaning ‘false’, and ‘epigraph’, meaning ‘name’ or ‘inscription’. Taken together, the words mean ‘false superscription or title’. Many, but not all, of these documents claim to be written by one of the well-known people in Jewish history, such as the patriarchs, but were actually written many centuries later.

Studies of the Pseudepigrapha can help in the understanding of history and thought of first- century Judaism, in particular the development of apocalyptic thought within Judaism. Apocalyptic thought was an attempt to reconcile the hopeful prophetic promises looking forward to the Messianic Age with Israel’s disastrous political and historical situation of the inter-testamental centuries. There was increasing differentiation between the current age and the age to come. The future age would have a supernatural origin and will displace the current age, which was understood to be under the control of evil forces. This doctrine of the two ages became characteristic of the inter-testamental period, and is also found in the thinking of the NT. There was increasing Messianic hope, particularly as found in the Book of Enoch, where the Son of Man is understood to be a heavenly pre-existent being, sharing in the judgement with God. Also seen in this literature is a decline in the interest in national Israel and the development of individualism, together with universalism. It also served as an antidote to the increasing legalism of Judaism, particularly among the Pharasees.

These books had a wide circulation among the Jews, and it is most likely that some of the NT writers would have been familiar with them, and even alluded to them. The pseudonymous ascriptions of these books may have been used for security during times of persecution, as well as in some way giving the books greater authority.

The pseudepigraphal books were translated and published in English in 1913 by RH Charles. The first volume contains the Apocryphal Books, and the second volume contains the Pseudepigraphical Books. His translation and others are available on-line. These are the books he included:

Links to online texts of the pseudepigraphal books follow the descriptions below where they are available.

1. Primitive history rewritten from the standpoint of the law

The Book of Jubilees

This book is named by the author’s system of dating. He recommended the use of a 364 day year, so the feasts are celebrated on the correct day. The book claims to be a revelation to Moses on Mt Sinai, urging him to uphold the eternal validity of the law.

The work is strongly legalistic, probably written by a Pharisee in the second century BC, to counter the spread of Hellenism. The author insisted on the strict observance of Jewish rituals, particularly circumcision and observation of the Sabbath. There are many legendary additions to the Biblical accounts, like the claim the it was Satan who suggested that Abraham should sacrifice Isaac.

Text of the Book of Jubilees

2. Sacred Legends

The Letter of Aristeas

The purpose of this book is to tell the story of the translation of the Greek Septuagint, which was proposed by Ptolemy II Philadelphus, sometime after 200 BC, in order to commend the Jewish religion and law to the Gentile world. Demetrius of Phalerum was the head of the great library in Alexandria, who suggested to Ptolemy II that a translation should be made of the Jewish law.

It is a letter written in Greek, claiming to be from Aristaeas, who was a high official of Ptolemy. It was sent to his brother Philocrates in Jerusalem, asking Eleazar the high priest for a copy of the Jewish law, together with seventy-two scholars who could translate the Hebrew into Greek. The letter was accompanied by rich gifts for the temple in Jerusalem. When the translators arrived in Alexandria they were honoured in a series of royal banquets, during which they were able to answer the king’s philosophical questions with great wisdom. They were taken to the island of Pharos in the harbour in Alexandria, where they worked on the translation. Demetrius compared their work each day, and wrote down a consensus. The work was completed in seventy-two days, then read to the Jews, who were pleased with it. Finally, the translators were sent home with rich gifts.

The story is probably completely fictional, even though it does contain some reliable information about the Alexandrian court and customs, as well as knowledge about the Septuagint.

Text of the Letter to Aristeas

The Life of Adam and Eve

There are several versions of this document in a variety of languages, including the Greek Apocalypse of Moses, the Latin Life of Adam and Eve, the Slavonic Life of Adam and Eve, and others, probably copied and modified from a Hebrew original. The Latin document is from the third century AD, but the original must be from before AD 70 as it claims that Herod’s temple is still standing.

This tells the story of the experiences of Adam and Eve after they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. After eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, Adam received a vision and was able to predict the sufferings of the Jews until the post-exilic times, including the final judgement.

Text of the Life of Adam and Eve

The Testament or Assumption of Moses

These may have either been a single work or two separate works, probably from early in the first century AD. It was originally written in Hebrew, and translated into Greek. The only surviving manuscript is incomplete, in Latin from the sixth century. It is also known as the Apocalypse of Moses.

In the Testament, at the end of his life Moses gives Joshua an apocalyptic overview of Israel’s history, from the occupation of the Promised Land, to the end of time, but without any Messianic hope. It is believed the author might have been an Essene.

Jude alludes to the Assumption of Moses in his letter (Jude 9), when the devil contended with the Archangel Michael over the body of Moses. However this portion of the text is missing.

Text of the Assumption of Moses

The Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah

This has three sections. The first the Martyrdom of Isaiah, which is Jewish from around 100 BC, with some Christian additions. The only existing copy is Ethiopic. It recounts how Isaiah was sawn in two with a wooden saw, as referred to in Heb 11:37. A vision of Isaiah was added to record the devil’s indignation over Isaiah’s prediction of redemption through Christ. It also describes Christian history up until the time of the persecutions under Nero.

The second is the Ascension of Isaiah, which is a Christian document from the second century AD. God tells Isaiah about the coming of Jesus, but also records his birth, death and resurrection.

The third is the Testament of Hezekiah, from around AD 90-100.

Text of the Martyrdom of Isaiah

3. Apocalypses

1 Enoch

The Book of Enoch, also known as 1 Enoch, or the Ethiopic Apocalypse of Enoch is attributed to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. However it was written sometime between 200 BC and 50 BC.

It contains material about the origins of demons and the Nephilim, and explains why some angels fell from heaven. It also explains why the flood was necessary, and predicts the thousand year reign of the Messiah.

It contains five sections:
The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1–36) - describing the future judgement, particularly of fallen angels.
The Book of Parables (or similitudes) of Enoch (1 Enoch 37–71) - containing three parables about judgement.
The Astronomical Book (1 Enoch 72–82) - also called the Book of the Heavenly Luminaries or Book of Luminaries
The Book of Dream Visions, or the Book of Dreams (1 Enoch 83–90) - containing two visions, one about the flood and another giving the history of the world until the Messianic Age.
The Epistle of Enoch (1 Enoch 91–108) - containing the Apocalypse of Weeks, which divides world history into ten weeks, the final three being apocalyptic. It is a valuable resource for studying pre-Christian Jewish theology.

The Book of Jude controversially quotes from 1 Enoch (v14-15, quoting 1 Enoch 1:9). Some church fathers believed 1 Enoch should be included in Scripture, but it was excluded in the final canon of the NT.

Text of 1 Enoch

The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

This is based on Jacob’s instructions to his sons (Gen 49). Each son gives moral teaching and instructions to his descendants, reviewing their own failings as warnings to others. Only Joseph and Issachar were able to commend their own virtues.

The original work was Pharisaical from the second century BC, with later additions. Editing was completed by a Christian around AD 200, containing similar teaching to that of Jesus.

Text of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

The Sibylline Oracles

The Sibyl was a Greek prophetess who the Greeks and Romans regularly consulted for oracles of guidance in both private and public affairs. There were several sibyls who had residencies in various locations in Greece and Italy. These oracles were written down and included into a collection around 6 BC, which was kept in Rome. The written oracles were kept by the priests and were constantly studied and consulted in order to determine the will of the gods.

The Jews took over this form of literature, imitating the original Greek oracles. A Jewish collection of oracles was composed in Alexandria around 140 BC. The Jewish writer makes the Greek sibyl commend monotheism, the Mosaic law and important features of Israel’s history, in order to commend their religion to pagans. Later writers, both Jewish and Christian added to this collection over the next centuries until the fifth century AD. The collection originally consisted of fifteen books, of which twelve are still extant. Books 3 to 5 are Jewish propaganda predicting judgement against Gentile nations. Book 3 retells the history of Israel from Solomon until Antiochus Epiphanes. It appeals to the Greeks to abandon their pagan worship, claiming that the original Sibyl was actually a descendent of Noah.

Text of the Sibylline Oracles

2 Enoch, or the Book of the Secrets of Enoch

The Book of 2 Enoch is also known as the Slavonic Apocalypse of Enoch, or the Secrets of Enoch. Again, it is a Jewish work, written sometime between 30 BC and AD 70. It describes the ascent of Enoch through ten heavens, based on the account of Enoch being taken up by God (Gen 5:21-24). There are debates about its origin, being either Jewish, or a first century, or later, Christian work. It is not included in the Jewish or Christian canons.

It has four sections:
1. Enoch is taken by two angels through ten heavens at the age of 365 (ch 1-22).
2. Enoch is guided by Gabriel into the tenth heaven and speaks with God, becoming like the angels. One group of angels try to establish their own throne, and are thrown down by God to tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden. Enoch is given 360 books containing all that can be known from the Creation to the Flood, and is sent back to earth for 30 days (ch 23-37).
3. Doctrinal and ethical instructions given by Enoch to this sons during the thirty days on earth (38-38). This is similar to the teaching in the apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus.
4. The Exaltation of Melchizedek (ch 69-73). Enoch’s son Methuselah is asked to serve as a priest later to be succeeded by Melchizedek.

Text of 2 Enoch

2 Baruch, or Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch

This is similar in content to 4 Ezra, and might be an imitation of the better quality 2 Esdras. It describes great pessimism, darkness and despair following the destruction of Jerusalem, but with faint hope for the Messianic reign of peace which is represented by lightning. It is also from the period following AD 70.

Text of 2 Baruch

3 Baruch

3 Baruch, or The Greek Apocalypse of Baruch is a Christian document from the first or second century AD, using earlier Jewish sources. It gives the account of the journey of Baruch through the five heavens.

Text of 3 Baruch

The Apocalypse of Ezra, or 4 Ezra

This contains visions given to Ezra while in Babylon, about the suffering of Israel from the exile to AD 70. No hope is given for the present age, but the doom is relieved by a vague belief in the coming golden age. The original Jewish form was written after AD 70.

Ezra was given visions of heaven and a fiery gehenna, giving details of punishments for sinners and the coming of antichrist. In heaven, Ezra asks God why human beings were given the ability to sin. God’s reply stresses human free will, but Ezra accuses God of being unjust as he created Eve, the serpent and the forbidden tree, and because of sin, no one can escape the fire. God finally reveals that he endured the cross to save mankind, forgive whose who believe, and defeat death.

The original was almost completely rewritten by Christian editors, and is known as the Greek Apocalypse of Ezra, or the Word and Revelation of Esdras. It mentions apostles, including John and Paul, as well as King Herod. This exists in a copy from the ninth century AD.

4. Psalms

The Psalms of Solomon

This is a collection of 18 psalms, modelled on the Davidic psalms, by a variety of different authors from the second or first century BC which were later collected together. The seventeenth psalm is similar to Psalm 72, attributed to Solomon, which probably gives the collection its name. They are referenced in some early Christian writings. The psalms were opposed to the Sadducees and Hasmonean rulers of Judah, and their overthrow during the conquest of Jerusalem by Pompey in 63 BC was seen as a divine act, even though Pompey was condemned for profaning the temple. Pompey is described as a dragon who had been sent by God to punish the Hasmoneans. Some of the psalms are messianic, emphasising the messianic kingdom rather than the Messiah. Others focus more on individual behaviour, and the need for repentance to gain God’s favour.

Text of the Psalms of Solomon

5. Ethics and Wisdom Literature

4 Maccabees

The Fourth Book of Maccabees is philosophic discourse praising the supremacy of reason over passion. It has a prologue followed by two sections. The first of these is a philosophical thesis, and the second illustrates points using examples drawn from 2 Maccabees, particularly the martyrdom of Eleazer and the youths under Antiochus IV Epiphanes. It was written in Greek by a Hellenistic Jew, probably before AD 70, either in Alexandria or Antioch. It shows much syncretism between Jewish and Hellenistic thought. The writer believes in the immortality of the soul, but makes no mention of the resurrection of the dead. The good live for ever in happiness together with the patriarchs and God. The suffering and martyrdom of the Maccabees stands for the suffering of the Jewish nation, and martyrdom brings atonement for the past sins of the Jews. The Book of 4 Maccabees is included in the Apocrypha in the Orthodox Church.

Text of 4 Maccabees

Pirke Aboth (translated as Chapters of the Fathers)

It can also be spelled Pirkei Avot, Pirkei Avoth or Pirkei Avos. It is a compilation of ethical teaching and maxims from the Rabbinic Jewish tradition. It is sometimes called Ethics of the Fathers.

It contains many frequently quoted rabbinic sayings, on a variety of topics including, showing kindness to others, respecting other people’s rights, striving for greatness, respecting God, being humble, avoiding transgressions, and being careful in speech.

The Story of Ahiqar

This is a Jewish work from the seventh or sixth century BC. Ahiqar, or Ahikar, was known for his great wisdom, and claimed to be the chancellor to Kings Sennacherib and Esarhaddon of Assyria. He adopted his nephew Nadab or Nadin to be his successor. However Nadab plotted to have his uncle murdered, by accusing him of treason before Esarhaddon. Ahikar is arrested and condemned to death. Ahikar reminds the executioner that he had previously saved him from execution under Sennacherib, so the executioner kills another prisoner instead, and is able to convince Esarhaddon that the body belongs to Ahiqar. In the Apocryphal Book of Tobit, Tobit claims the Ahikar is his nephew (Tobit 1:21-22).

Text of the Story of Ahiqar

6. History

The Fragment of a Zadokite Work, or the Damascus Document, of Damascus Covenant

This only exists in fragments. Two were discovered in Egypt in 1897 called the Zadokite Fragments, and more in the Dead Sea Scrolls, when the name was changed because of the many references to Damascus. This may refer the city of Damascus which was included in the kingdom of David, or otherwise to Babylon or Qumran. The document expresses a hope for the restoration of the Davidic monarchy.

It has two parts. The first is the Admonition, containing moral instruction, exhortations, warnings, and polemic against opponents. The second is the Laws, which describe the new covenant community under the Teacher of Righteousness.

Text of the Zadokite Work fragment

Other Pseudepigraphal Works

Many other works are also included in the category of the Pseudepigrapha. Some have been discovered more recently. These can be grouped into the following five categories: Apocalypses, Testaments, Expansions of the Old Testament or other legends, Wisdom or philosophical writings, and Prayers and psalms. This is a selection of them:

1. Apocalypses

3 Enoch

The Book of 3 Enoch is also known as the Hebrew Apocalypse of Enoch and other names. It was written by Rabbi Ishmael who claimed to become a high priest after visions of ascension to heaven. He was a leading figure in Jewish Merkabah mysticism, living after the Fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. It has similar content to 1 Enoch, describing the ascension of Enoch to heaven and his transformation into the angel Metatron.

The Apocryphon of Ezekiel

This is written in the style of the OT, as revelations of the prophet Ezekiel, but was from the late first century BC or early first century AD. It is mostly lost, and only exists in quotations in writings by Epiphanius, Clement of Rome and Clement of Alexandria.

The largest fragment describes a king inviting everyone to a banquet, except a blind man and a cripple. These two are angry, and plot their revenge. The cripple sits on the shoulders of the blind man and together they damage the king’s orchard, but are found out and punished. The story claims to prove the resurrection of the body, as the soul and the body must function together.

Text of the Apocryphon of Ezekiel

The Apocalypse of Zephaniah

This is a Jewish text attributed to the prophet Zephaniah, but because it refers to the apocryphal story of Susanna, it must be later than 100 BC. This is mostly lost, existing only in fragments and quotations in other works.

It tells the story of Zephaniah being taken to see the destiny of the souls of people after their death. He has a vision of a town with no darkness, the abode of the righteous, and of the souls of the lawless being lashed by 5000 angels. On Mount Seir, the angels write down all the good deeds of the righteous, and the accuser records all the sins of the ungodly, after which terrible angels cast them into eternal punishment.

Text of the Apocalypse of Zephaniah

The Vision of Ezra

This claims to be written by Ezra, but is a much later Christian document. It is strongly dependent on 2 Esdras. God answers Ezra’s prayers and sends him seven angels to show him heaven, where several of the apostles are seen, then down to be shown hell. The righteous pass through flames and fire-breathing lions unharmed, while the wicked are ripped apart by vicious dogs and burnt in the fire.

The Apocalypse of Sedrach or the Word of Sedrach

The present form is Christian from the 5th century, but has earlier Jewish sources, now preserved in a single manuscript from the 15th century. Sedrach is thought to be the Greek form of the name Shadrach, one of the three who were thrown into the fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar. Otherwise it could be a corruption of Esdras, the Greek form of Ezra, as the text has similarities with other writings attributed to Ezra.

Sedrach is given a vision of heaven like other apocalyptic texts. In the original Jewish version an archangel was sent by God to take him to heaven. In the later version, the archangel was replaced with the name of Jesus. Differing in emphasis from most apocalyptic texts, there is a call to repentance, before a patient and merciful God, who desires for people to exercise their free will and repent.

Text of the Apocalypse of Sedrach

The Apocalypse of Abraham

This book was written in Hebrew some time after the Fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, but is only preserved in a Slavonic version. The first part describes Abraham’s conversion from idolatry. The second part is an apocalypse showing Abraham the future of the Jewish people. He ascends to heaven where God gives him a vision of the world, the fall of humanity, and the final division between the Jews and the heathens. He is shown the troubles which will precede the Messianic age, when the Messiah, or Elect One, will gather Israel into the kingdom and destroy the heathen with fire.

Text of the Apocalypse of Abraham

The Apocalypse of Adam

This is a Gnostic document from the first century AD derived from Jewish sources, discovered in 1945, forming part of the Hag Hammadi Library. When Adam was 700 years old he tells Seth that he received knowledge of God from Eve, so he and Eve were actually more powerful than their creator. This knowledge was lost as a result of the fall, when the sub-creator, or demiurge, separated Adam and Eve from God. The work includes a lengthy prediction of the flood and destruction by fire, before an illuminator will appear at the end.

Text of the Apocalypse of Adam

The Apocalypse of Elijah

A document which is both Jewish and Christian from between AD 150 and 275. The work is anonymous, and brings a revelation from an angel. Elijah is mentioned in the text, but it does not claim that he is the author. The Christian version was originally five separate works: A treatise on fasting and prayer. A prophecy about the Assyrians, even though the events had already happened. An account of a future son of lawlessness, renamed as the antichrist. An account of the martyrdoms of Elijah and Enoch (the two witnesses in Rev 11), and of Tabitha (Acts 9) and sixty other men. An account of the final judgement and destruction of the son of lawlessness (antichrist).

The Greek Apocalypse of Daniel

The present form is from around the 9th century AD, but contains Jewish sources from around the fourth century AD. It is a Christian work attributed to the prophet Daniel, and has similar visions, but is written much later. There are two sections. The first predicts the Byzantine-Arab war in the eighth century and the crowing of Charlemagne. The second describes the appearance and activities of the antichrist before the day of judgement.

2. Testaments

Many books contain legendary expansions of biblical history, including the patriarchs and the prophets.

The Testament of Job

In this document, Job delivers a parting address to his second wife and children, in which he reviews his life before he dies. His three daughters have a special ability to sing heavenly songs while his soul is transported to heaven in a chariot.

The author is unknown, but would be from one of the stricter Jewish sects, like the Hasidim, from around 100 BC.

Text of the Testament of Job

The Testaments of the Three Patriarchs

This is a collection of three similar by originally separate apocryphal works, the Testament of Abraham, the Testament of Isaac, and the Testament of Jacob from around AD 100. All three are based on the blessing of Jacob in the Book of Genesis.

The Testament of Abraham is from the first or second century AD, and exists in several versions. It looks at Abraham’s reluctance to die, and the way his death came about. It is a theological story with some humour, where Abraham continues to dodge and avoid God’s will, defending himself by his good and devout life. The archangel Michael cannot handle Abraham’s stubborn refusals and each time has to return to consult with God.

The Testament of Isaac was originally Jewish, with many Christian additions. Isaac is informed of his impending death by an angel, after which he foretells the twelve tribes of Israel, and of Jesus (in the Christian version). The angel takes Isaac to heaven, where he see the torture of sinners, meets Abraham, then returns to earth where he writes his testament, before being taken to heaven in a flying chariot.

The Testament of Jacob also describes Jacob being visited by Michael and told of his impending death. He is then taken to heaven, where he sees the torture of the sinful dead, then meets Abraham. The angels then deliver the ethical messages.

3. Expansions of Old Testament and other legends

Joseph and Asenath

Asenath was the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On, who became the wife of Joseph (Gen 41:45,50, 46:20). This book is a Hellenistic Jewish work of fiction from around AD 100, telling about the romance between Joseph and Asenath. A later Christian editor added references to the eucharist and confirmation.

Text of Joseph and Asenath

The Lives of the Prophets

This is a Jewish document from the early first century AD, with later Christian additions. It records legends about some of the prophets of the Old Testament, including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, as well as the minor prophets. It also includes stories about Nathan, Abajah, Joed, Azariah, Zechariah, Elijah and Elisha.

4. Wisdom and philosophical literature

3 Maccabees

The book of 3 Maccabees is a fictional story, written in Greek in the first century BC, about Jewish persecution by Ptolemy IV Philopator (221-204 BC). It has no connection with the books of 1 and 2 Maccabees. The intention of the book is to exult Judaism, to urge Jews to be faithful in obedience to the law, and to warn any persecutors that they will face the judgement of God.

After Ptolemy’s victory over Antiochus III at the Battle of Raphia (217 BC), he attempted to enter the sanctuary of the temple in Jerusalem. After he refused to be dissuaded by the Jews, they cried out to God, and Ptolemy was struck down to the ground. After returning to Egypt, Ptolemy vowed revenge on the Jews. He rounded up all the Jews in Alexandria into a racecourse. There were so many Jews that the clerks had to stop recording them as they ran out of writing materials. He then ordered 500 elephants to be made drunk and released into the racecourse to trample the Jews. On the first day the execution was delayed as the king slept too late. On the second day, God made him forget. On the third day two angels appeared, terrifying the king and his troops as they approached the racecourse. The elephants then turned and trampled the king’s troops. The Jews were finally released and entertained by the king for seven days. The celebration of their deliverance was made into a perpetual festival by the Jews. The Book of 3 Maccabees is included in the Apocrypha in the Orthodox Church.

Text of 3 Maccabees


These are a collection of about 250 Jewish maxims attributed to Phocylides, a sixth century BC Ionic philosopher and poet. Each are a series of hexameter verses in the form of a teaching, containing a command for the reader to obey it. They were probably originally written in Greek between 50 BC and AD 100, and translated into Hebrew. They make no reference to the OT or to Judaism. They refer indirectly to the Noachide Laws, which were a set of imperatives which, according to the Talmud, were given by God as a binding set of universal moral laws for the sons of Noah (ie. all humanity). Some were copied into the second book of the Sibylline Oracles. It was used as a popular school textbook around the time of the Reformation.

5. Prayers, Psalms, and Odes

More Psalms of David

These are Jewish Psalms written between the third century BC and AD 100. One of these is Psalm 151 which is included in the Apocrypha in the Orthodox Church.

Text of Psalm 51

The Prayer of Manasseh

The account of the reign of Manasseh in the Book of 2 Chronicles mentions a prayer of repentance that Manasseh prayed when he humbled himself before the God of his ancestors after being captured by the Assyrians (2 Chr 33:12-13, 18). The prayer was probably written much later in Greek in the early part of the first century AD. It is sometimes included in the Apocrypha, particularly by the Orthodox Church.

Text of the Prayer of Manasseh

Related articles

Why 66 books - the Canon of Scripture The Hebrew scriptures
The Apocrypha The Pseudepigrapha
History of the English Bible

The Bible

Pages which look at issues relevant to the whole Bible, such as the Canon of Scripture, as well as doctrinal and theological issues. There are also pages about the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha and 'lost books' of the Old Testament.

Also included are lists of the quotations of the OT in the NT, and passages of the OT quoted in the NT.

Why These 66 Books?
Books in the Hebrew Scriptures
Quotations in NT From OT
OT Passages Quoted in NT
History of the English Bible
Twelve Books of the Apocrypha
The Pseudepigrapha - False Writings
Lost Books Referenced in OT

Old Testament Overview

This is a series of six pages which give a historical overview through the Old Testament and the inter-testamental period, showing where each OT book fits into the history of Israel.

OT 1: Creation and Patriarchs
OT 2: Exodus and Wilderness
OT 3: Conquest and Monarchy
OT 4: Divided kingdom and Exile
OT 5: Return from Exile
OT 6: 400 Silent Years

New Testament Overview

This is a series of five pages which give a historical overview through the New Testament, focusing on the Ministry of Jesus, Paul's missionary journeys, and the later first century. Again, it shows where each book of the NT fits into the history of the first century.

NT 1: Life and Ministry of Jesus
NT 2: Birth of the Church
NT 3: Paul's Missionary Journeys
NT 4: Paul's Imprisonment
NT 5: John and Later NT

Introductions to Old Testament Books

This is an almost complete collection of introductions to each of the books in the Old Testament. Each contains information about the authorship, date, historical setting and main themes of the book.

Genesis Exodus Leviticus
Numbers Deuteronomy

Joshua Judges Ruth
1 & 2 Samuel 1 & 2 Kings Chronicles
Ezra & Nehemiah Esther

Job Psalms Proverbs

Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations
Ezekiel Daniel

Hosea Joel Amos
Obadiah Jonah Micah
Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah
Haggai Zechariah Malachi

Introductions to New Testament Books

This is a collection of introductions to each of the 27 books in the New Testament. Each contains information about the authorship, date, historical setting and main themes of the book.

Matthew's Gospel Mark's Gospel Luke's Gospel
John's Gospel

Book of Acts

Romans 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians
Galatians Ephesians Philippians
Colossians 1 & 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy
2 Timothy Titus Philemon

Hebrews James 1 Peter
2 Peter 1 John 2 & 3 John


Old Testament History

Information about the different nations surrounding Israel, and other articles concerning Old Testament history and the inter-testamental period.

Canaanite Religion
Israel's Enemies During the Conquest
Syria / Aram
The Assyrian Empire
Babylon and its History
The Persian Empire
The Greek Empire
The 400 Silent Years
The Ptolemies and Seleucids
Antiochus IV - Epiphanes

Old Testament Studies

A series of articles covering more general topics for OT studies. These include a list of the people named in the OT and confirmed by archaeology. There are also pages to convert the different units of measure in the OT, such as the talent, cubit and ephah into modern units.

More theological topics include warfare in the ancient world, the Holy Spirit in the OT, and types of Jesus in the OT.

OT People Confirmed by Archaeology
The Jewish Calendar
The Importance of Paradox
Talent Converter (weights)
Cubit Converter (lengths)
OT People Search
Ephah Converter (volumes)
Holy War in the Ancient World
The Holy Spirit in the OT
Types of Jesus in the OT

Studies in the Pentateuch (Gen - Deut)

A series of articles covering studies in the five books of Moses. Studies in the Book of Genesis look at the historical nature of the early chapters of Genesis, the Tower of Babel and the Table of the Nations.

There are also pages about covenants, the sacrifices and offerings, the Jewish festivals and the tabernacle, as well as the issue of tithing.

Are chapters 1-11 of Genesis historical?
Chronology of the Flood
Genealogies of the Patriarchs
Table of the Nations (Gen 10)
Tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9)

Authorship of the Pentateuch
Chronology of the Wilderness Years
Names of God in the OT
Covenants in the OT
The Ten Commandments
The Tabernacle and its Theology
Sacrifices and Offerings
The Jewish Festivals
Balaam and Balak
Highlights from Deuteronomy
Overview of Deuteronomy

Studies in the Old Testament History Books (Josh - Esther)

Articles containing studies and helpful information for the history books. These include a list of the dates of the kings of Israel and Judah, a summary of the kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and studies of Solomon, Jeroboam and Josiah.

There are also pages describing some of the historical events of the period, including the Syro-Ephraimite War, and the Assyrian invasion of Judah in 701 BC.

Dates of the Kings of Judah and Israel
King Solomon
The Kings of Israel
King Jeroboam I of Israel
The Syro-Ephraimite War (735 BC)
Sennacherib's Invasion of Judah (701 BC)
King Josiah of Judah
Differences Between Kings and Chronicles
Chronology of the post-exilic period

Studies in the Old Testament Prophets (Is - Mal)

Articles containing studies and helpful information for the OT prophets. These include a page looking at the way the prophets look ahead into their future, a page looking at the question of whether Satan is a fallen angel, and a page studying the seventy weeks of Daniel.

There are also a series of pages giving a commentary through the text of two of the books:
Isaiah (13 pages) and Daniel (10 pages).

Prophets and the Future
The Call of Jeremiah (Jer 1)
The Fall of Satan? (Is 14, Ezek 28)
Daniel Commentary (10 pages)
Isaiah Commentary (13 pages)
Formation of the Book of Jeremiah

Daniel's Seventy Weeks (Dan 9:24-27)

New Testament Studies

A series of articles covering more general topics for NT studies. These include a list of the people in the NT confirmed by archaeology.

More theological topics include the Kingdom of God and the Coming of Christ.

NT People Confirmed by Archaeology
The Kingdom of God / Heaven
Parousia (Coming of Christ)
The Importance of Paradox

Studies in the Four Gospels (Matt - John)

A series of articles covering various studies in the four gospels. These include a list of the unique passages in each of the Synoptic Gospels and helpful information about the parables and how to interpret them.

Some articles look at the life and ministry of Jesus, including his genealogy, birth narratives, transfiguration, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and the seating arrangements at the Last Supper.

More theological topics include the teaching about the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete and whether John the Baptist fulfilled the predictions of the coming of Elijah.

Unique Passages in the Synoptic Gospels
The SynopticProblem
Genealogy of Jesus (Matt 1)
Birth Narratives of Jesus
Understanding the Parables
Peter's Confession and the Transfiguration
Was John the Baptist Elijah?
The Triumphal Entry
The Olivet Discourse (Mark 13)
Important themes in John's Gospel
John's Gospel Prologue (John 1)
Jesus Fulfilling Jewish Festivals
Reclining at Table at the Last Supper
The Holy Spirit as the Paraclete

Studies in the Book of Acts and the New Testament Letters

A series of articles covering various studies in the Book of Acts and the Letters, including Paul's letters. These include a page studying the messages given by the apostles in the Book of Acts, and the information about the financial collection that Paul made during his third missionary journey. More theological topics include Paul's teaching on Jesus as the last Adam, and descriptions of the church such as the body of Christ and the temple, as well as a look at redemption and the issue of fallen angels.

There are a series of pages giving a commentary through the text of five of the books:
Romans (7 pages), 1 Corinthians (7 pages), Galatians (3 pages), Philemon (1 page) and Hebrews (7 pages)

Apostolic Messages in the Book of Acts
Paul and His Apostleship
Collection for the Saints
The Church Described as a Temple
Church as the Body of Christ
Jesus as the Last Adam
Food Offered to Idols
Paul's Teaching on Headcoverings
Who are the Fallen Angels
The Meaning of Redemption
What is the Church?
Paul and the Greek Games

Romans Commentary (7 pages)

1 Corinthians Commentary (7 pages)

Galatians Commentary (3 pages)

Philemon Commentary (1 page)

Hebrews Commentary (7 pages)

Studies in the Book of Revelation

Articles containing studies and helpful information for the study of the Book of Revelation and topics concerning Eschatology (the study of end-times).

These include a description of the structure of the book, a comparison and contrast between the good and evil characters in the book and a list of the many allusions to the OT. For the seven churches, there is a page which gives links to their location on Google maps.

There is a page studying the important theme of Jesus as the Lamb, which forms the central theological truth of the book. There are pages looking at the major views of the Millennium, as well as the rapture and tribulation, as well as a list of dates of the second coming that have been mistakenly predicted through history.

There is also a series of ten pages giving a detailed commentry through the text of the Book of Revelation.

Introduction to the Book of Revelation
Characters Introduced in the Book
Structure of Revelation
List of Allusions to OT
The Description of Jesus as the Lamb
Virtual Seven Churches of Revelation
The Nero Redivius Myth
The Millennium (1000 years)
The Rapture and the Tribulation
Different Approaches to Revelation
Predicted Dates of the Second Coming

Revelation Commentary (10 pages)

How to do Inductive Bible Study

These are a series of pages giving practical help showing how to study the Bible inductively, by asking a series of simple questions. There are lists of observation and interpretation questions, as well as information about the structure and historical background of biblical books, as well as a list of the different types of figures of speech used in the Bible. There is also a page giving helpful tips on how to apply the Scriptures personally.

How to Study the Bible Inductively
I. The Inductive Study Method
II. Observation Questions
III. Interpretation Questions
IV. Structure of Books
V. Determining the Historical background
VI. Identifying Figures of Speech
VII. Personal Application
VIII. Text Layout

Types of Literature in the Bible

These are a series of pages giving practical help showing how to study each of the different types of book in the Bible by appreciating the type of literature being used. These include historical narrative, law, wisdom, prophets, Gospels, Acts, letters and Revelation.

It is most important that when reading the Bible we are taking note of the type of literature we are reading. Each type needs to be considered and interpreted differently as they have different purposes.

How to Understand OT Narratives
How to Understand OT Law
Hebrew Poetry
OT Wisdom Literature
Understanding the OT Prophets
The Four Gospels
The Parables of Jesus
The Book of Acts
How to Understand the NT Letters
Studying End Times (Eschatology)
The Book of Revelation

Geography and Archaeology

These are a series of pages giving geographical and archaeological information relevant to the study of the Bible. There is a page where you can search for a particular geographical location and locate it on Google maps, as well as viewing photographs on other sites.

There are also pages with photographs from Ephesus and Corinth.

Search for Geographical Locations
Major Archaeological Sites in Israel
Archaeological Sites in Assyria, Babylon and Persia
Virtual Paul's Missionary Journeys
Virtual Seven Churches of Revelation
Photos of the City of Corinth
Photos of the City of Ephesus

Biblical Archaeology in Museums around the world

A page with a facility to search for artifacts held in museums around the world which have a connection with the Bible. These give information about each artifact, as well as links to the museum's collection website where available showing high resolution photographs of the artifact.

There is also page of photographs from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem of important artifacts.

Search Museums for Biblical Archaeology
Israel Museum Photos

Difficult Theological and Ethical Questions

These are a series of pages looking at some of the more difficult questions of Christian theology, including war, suffering, disappointment and what happens to those who have never heard the Gospel.

Christian Ethics
Never Heard the Gospel
Is there Ever a Just War?
Why Does God Allow Suffering
Handling Disappointment

How to Preach

These are a series of pages giving a practical step-by-step explanation of the process of preparing a message for preaching, and how to lead a small group Bible study.

What is Preaching?
I. Two Approaches to Preaching
II. Study a Passage for Preaching
III. Creating a Message Outline
IV. Making Preaching Relevant
V. Presentation and Public Speaking
VI. Preaching Feedback and Critique
Leading a Small Group Bible Study

Information for SBS staff members

Two pages particularly relevant for people serving as staff on the School of Biblical Studies (SBS) in YWAM. One gives helpful instruction about how to prepare to teach on a book in the SBS. The other gives a list of recommended topics which can be taught about for each book of the Bible.

Teaching on SBS Book Topics for SBS