Other ‘gospels’ and books missing from the Bible

Question 193, from Frank

I have come to understand that there are a lot of books and scriptures that are missing from the modern Christian bible. Is there a complete volume that includes all the books of the catholic bible as well as those that are omitted from the bible such as those from the Hebrew bible and the books of Enoch? I know there are Dead Sea Scrolls and those of the Gnostic scriptures that have been omitted as well as others. I guess what I am asking for is there a “complete” book of all scriptures that exist?

Early Christianity is often described as ‘heterodox’, meaning there were a number of different communities and ideas that broadly speaking claimed to be Christian. Some of these groups wrote their own books and the confusion this caused led to ecumenical councils deciding which books were accurate and authoritative. The books that made the cut were considered ‘canonical’. (more…)

Saying ‘Be blessed’ – more than a nice gesture?

Question 192, from Mark, United Kingdom

In church we hear many people say, “be blessed”, “I pray God will bless you” or “you’re a real blessing”.

While I totally believe that many people use this as a genuine statement or encouragement, I’m sure for some it could be viewed as a bit of a cliché. But what does to be ‘blessed’, or to pray blessing over someone actually mean in biblical terms? How can we avoid it becoming a cliché and something that just rolls of the tongue without much thought?

The Christian view of blessing is of spiritual and material benefits given by God. There are many precedents for this in the Old Testament, and in Numbers chapter 6, Moses is told to tell Aaron and the priests to bless the people of Israel on behalf of God, so that God wold look favourably upon them (see verses 22-27). (more…)