Is the Book of Enoch inspired writing? Should the Book of Enoch be in the Bible?
Jude 1:14-15 reads, "It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, 'Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.'" What is this Book of Enoch?
This Book of Enoch (also known as 1 Enoch) was an ancient Jewish writing known within Jewish culture. It exists in full today only in Ge'ez, the religious language of Ethiopia, though it likely existed in Hebrew or Aramaic prior. It is believed the early portions of it existed from about 300 BC while the later portions were added by the first century BC.
The writer of this work is unknown. It is based on the biblical character Enoch who is listed in Genesis as the great-grandfather of Noah and was noted as the "seventh from Adam" (Jude 1:14). Along with Elijah and Jesus, Enoch is noted as leaving this world alive and ascending to God. Genesis 5:24 says, "Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him." Hebrews 11:5 reiterates that Enoch did not die but was rather taken up by God.
Because the Book of Enoch is quoted in Jude, some have wondered whether it should be considered a book of the Bible. However, the following reasons stand against this view. First, the Book of Enoch existed before the New Testament period and was not accepted as authoritative by the Jewish leaders who affirmed the Old Testament writings.
Second, the Book of Enoch was not authored by the biblical Enoch. While there are biblical books whose author is unknown, there is no biblical book whose authorship is knowingly attributed to a false author.
Third, quoting a book in the New Testament does not require that the book be considered part of the Bible. For example, Paul quoted Greek poets (Acts 17; Titus 1:12) and surely did not consider these sources "biblical sources" or inspired. He instead used these sources to illustrate an idea with his audience. The same was true of Jude's use of Enoch. His Jewish readers would have been familiar with the Book of Enoch. Jude used this quotation concerning judgment as a warning to his readers, but did not do so to help prove that the Book of Enoch should be in the Bible.
Instead, the Book of Enoch is to be treated like other historical writings. Some of its information is true and some is not. It can be helpful in research, but is not inspired as Scripture.
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