None of the Apocrypha passes the test of canonicity which include the following as stated by Geisler and Nix (p. 175).
1. Inspired Books of the Bible Must be written by a prophet.
2. Inspired Books of the Bible Must be spiritually qualified. The Apocrypha is not transforming and does not have the authority of God.
3. Inspired Books of the Bible Must be received by the church at large. The Apocrypha was rejected by the authors of apocryphal 1 Maccabees 9:27 (100 B.C.): “The memory of an authoritative prophet among the people was one that belonged to the distant past, for the author could speak of a great distress ‘such as had not been since the time that prophets ceased to appear among them’ (1 Macc. 9:27; cf. 14:41)’ (Grudem, p. 56).
The Apocrypha was rejected by Josephus (born A.D. 37/38). The Apocrypha was rejected by Jesus and the writers of Scripture. The N.T. writers quote over 250 times from the O.T. but never from the Apocyrpha (Geisler and Nix, p. 175).
Wayne Gruden gives four reasons for rejecting the Apocrypha (p.59)
1. They do not claim to be the Word of God.
2. They were not regarded to be the Word of God by the Jewish people.
3. They were not regarded to be the Word of God by Jesus or the N.T. writers.
4. They teach false doctrine.
Why was the Apocrypha included in the early Bible?
The Apocrypha was included in the Septuagint which was the Greek Bible of the early church. There were two canons in the early church. One was the Palestinian Canon. This is the Hebrew Canon which originated in Palestine with the same O.T. books as our English Bible. This was the canon of the Jews.
There other was the Alexandrian Canon. This was the Greek Canon with an additional 14 or 15 books which originated in Alexandria, Egypt and where the Septuagint was written in 250 B.C.
Athanasius, bishop of Alexander, in A.D. 367 wrote concerning the Apocrypha, that these are “not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Father to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the words of godliness.”
Martin Luther in his German translation wrote: “The Apocryphal Books, which are not to be held equal to Holy Scripture, but are useful and good to read.” For example, I Maccabees is one of the best written historical accounts of the Maccabean revolt in the 2nd century BC.
Why was the Apocrypha included in the 1611 KJV?
The earliest English editions follow the example of Luther in disclaiming the Apocrypha. The Coverdale’s English Bible (1535) wrote: “Apocrypha: the bokes and treatises which amonge the fathers of old are not rekened to be of like authorite with the other bokes of the byble, nether are they founde in the Canon of Hebrue.”
The later English editions blurred the differences between the Apocrypha and the inspired books of the O.T. The Great Bible of 1541 omitted any disclaimer and listed the Apocryphal books stating: “The fourth part of the Bible, containing these bokes.” The Geneva Bible (1560) returned to Luther’s position: “These bokes that follow in order after the Prophets vnto the New Testament, are called Apocrypha, that is bokes, which were not receiued by a commune consent to be red and expounded publikely in the Church, nether yet serued to proue any point of Christian religion, saue in asmuche as they had the consent of the other Scriptures called Canonical to confirme the same.” The Geneva Bible (1599 edition) became the first English Bible printed without the Apocrypha.
It is not surprising that Puritans and Separatists in England were not pleased when the new translation authorized by King James was published in 1611 including the Apocrypha, without the traditional disclaimers concerning their non-canonical status. In 1615 the archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican counterpart to the pope, decreed that anyone who bound or sold a Bible without the Apocrypha would suffer a year’s imprisonment. It took nearly twenty years of pressure from public outcry before the king finally relented and authorized the publication of an edition without the Apocrypha (1629) (From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man, pp. 44, 45)
Conclusion: Only the 39 books of the O.T. and the 27 of the N.T. are “given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2nd Tim. 3:16, 17).