How do you reply to someone when you don't know the answer to their question?
I was asked recently what I thought of the book of Enoch and the Pistis Sophia. I'd heard of the book of Enoch before but the Pistis Sophia I couldn't recall. Down the proverbial rabbit hole I went.
Pistis Sophia is a gnostic text (6 books in total) discovered in 1773 believed to have been written between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. A quick search online and I was reading that this text claimed Jesus was here on earth for 11 years after his resurrection.
Should we believe everything we read online to be the truth? No.
So I then searched out the text to read first hand. Chapter 1 of the first book of Pistis Sophia reads "It came to pass, when Jesus had risen from the dead, that he passed 11 years discoursing with his disciples."
This instantly had me questioning if this text was compatible with the Bible as I was certain it said Jesus was here on earth for 40 days after his resurrection before his ascension. Acts 1:3 "He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God." ESV
Both cannot be possible, he was either here for 11 years or 40 days.
To reply to the person that asked me that the books of the Pistis Sophia cannot be compatible with gaining a deeper relationship with God on this point alone felt like a quick retort that too many are guilty of online. If I truly valued this person then I felt I owed them a better answer, as accurate as that simplistic answer might be.
If I was to discredit the validity of the Pistis Sophia I would have to validate why I credit the Bible. Why do you believe what you believe? Is it because someone told you what to believe or because you did your own research?
Leveraging the knowledge of others my trip down this rabbit hole continued.
A phone call to someone I knew was well versed in apologetics led me to watching an old video series by Grant R. Jeffrey the author of The Signature of God " Conclusive proof that every teaching, every command, every promise in the Bible is True." He authored over 30 books that were translated into 24 languages and sold more than 7 million copies.
Some of what he shared like the Bible codes I remember hearing about before. Some of the other evidences he gives for why the Bible as we know it today can be trusted as the word of God where either new to me or I'd forgotten hearing about them. I can't list them all for you here but I encourage you to discover them all for yourself.
So what about the book of Enoch?
Other than the Ethiopian Jews who believe it to be part of the Bible, most other Christians believe it not to be. So should it be or should it not be?
After a message to another who I knew had studied such matters more than I, saw me with an old paperback copy of The Canon of Scripture by F.F.Bruce in my hand. An author of over forty books and Emeritus Professor in the University of Manchester. In his preface he credits The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church by Roger Beckwith, Oracles of God by John Barton and The Canon of the New Testament by Bruce Metzger as some of the best texts for understanding why we can trust the Bible as we know it today. If we hold any recently discovered texts or yet to be discovered text to the same standards that have been used to date, we should be able to work out which are merely historical and which are from God.
As interesting a read as the Pistis Sophia and book of Enoch might be, the question I am left with is will they help me have a better relationship with my creator?
It's wonderful to know from personal experience that God is real, as is the Bible, but it's even better to be able to live out 1 Peter 3:15 "but in your hearts honour Chirst the Lord as Holy, always prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” ESV
Next time someone challenges what you believe don't be afraid to ask them, why they believe what they believe, and remember always to answer them with the truth in gentleness and respect. It is easier to win an argument than a heart.
Neville Hiatt was the 2020 Press Services International Tronson Senior Writers Award Winner for Australia. His previous posts for can be read here.
He spent a decade working for Radio Stations before his career was intermissioned by someone in a hurry to get home from work. For more of his award winning creativity visit http://nevillehiatt.com.
He also blogs for http://altcoincollege.com/covering the way cryptocurrencies and blockchain are changing our world.