St. Eucharius (3rd Century) said:  “It is evident why we have not remaining the books which the Holy Scriptures approve of, because Judea having been ravaged by the Chaldeans, and the ancient bibliotheque being burnt. There remaining only a small number of the books which at present make up the Holy Scriptures and which were collected and re-established by the care of Ezra.”

Does that mean many prophetic books were destroyed and we have a small portion remaining?


This is an obscure quote from an obscure early church leader in an obscure book from the 1850s.  Someone is really going out of their way to make a point here (not you, of course, but someone…).  The mere fact that such an obscure quote from an obscure person in an obscure and very old book makes me suspicious that someone is looking for “dirt” on the Bible.  In fact, you can assume that this is exactly what is going on here! I would bet my bottom dollar that it is a Muslim critic who has done so.  We should be cautious to listen to such people.

I did what probably virtually no one does with this quote, which is look it up in the original text to look at the context.  If we do so, we find that the point someone is trying to make here Ithat the prophetic books were destroyed) is definitely NOT supported by this author!  In the text of the 1858 book, if we continue with the quote from Eucharius, we will see that he is talking about books mentioned in the Old Testament such as the Book of Jair and the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah.  There are at least five Jewish/Hebrew historical sources that the writers of the Old Testament historical books used and even referenced in their writings.  These books have been lost.  Eucharius speculates that they may have been lost during the destruction of Judah by the Babylonians.  This is not an unreasonable speculation.  But, it is a speculation!  The fact is that the vast majority every single book ever written in ancient times has been lost.  Like Eucharius says here, “only a small number of the books” which were written back then are now found in the Holy Scriptures.  It is a miracle that we have a collection of 37 ancient books we call the Old Testament.  This is clear evidence of God’s providence in saving the books which he inspired to be written.  Eucharius is not claiming that parts of the inspired canonical Scripture were lost, but simply that other writings of the Jews were lost.  This claim is true.

It is shameful, in my opinion, that enemies of Christianity, such as the Muslims who dug up this quote, will go to such lengths to smear the inspired canon of the Old Testament, especially when they take quotes out of context and use them to try to make a point which certainly is not being made by the original author.  (and, of course, I am not accusing you of doing that—you are simply asking an innocent question!)

John Oakes

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