The book of Enoch (also known as 1 Enoch) is neither in the Catholic nor the protestant Bible. In fact, it’s not part of most biblical canons including Jewish ones (with the exception of some Ethiopian canons).
In this post, we explain what the book of Enoch is all about, why it was left out of the Bible and whether it’s a wise thing to read it.
What You'll Learn Today
Who Wrote The Book Of Enoch?
The authorship of Enoch is traditionally attributed to Enoch, the seventh pre-flood patriarch in the Bible.
Enoch is the great grandfather to Noah. The Bible is cryptic about Enoch. It’s clear he was special in some way, but the book of Genesis doesn’t say much beyond the following:
Genesis 5:24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
Enoch is the first of the only two people in the Bible not to die. The other is Elijah, who was taken up to heaven in a chariot.
Interestingly, most scholars don’t believe that the Book of Enoch was written by Enoch himself. In fact, it’s just one of the many writings falsely attributed to Enoch.
One interesting thing to note is that for it to have been written by Enoch, it would have had to survive the great flood.
What Is The Book Of Enoch About?
The Book of Enoch is apocalyptic in that it contains visions and revelations about the end of times.
1 Enoch consists of five parts, called books. These books talk about the fall of angels, how the Nephilim (referred to as giants in the Bible) came about, why the great flood had to happen, some astronomy and many other prophecies.
Overall, the main theme in the Book of Enoch is judgment for the wicked and blessings for the righteous.
Why Is The Book Of Enoch Not In The Bible?
You will not find the book of Enoch in most Christian and Jewish biblical canons. Some people assume it’s a part of the Catholic deuterocanonical books, but it’s not.
It’s not like the book was not well known. From discovered scroll fragments, it’s clear that many Jews and even some early Christians were well aware of it.
It’s even quoted in other religious texts, including in the Bible in the book of Jude.
Jude 1:14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones..”
Note: Interestingly, the book of Enoch itself may have copied this quote from Deuteronomy 33:2.
So why isn’t the book of Enoch part of the Bible?
The very early christians actually accepted 1 Enoch as part of the Bible. Many influential church theologians including Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria and Athenagoras regarded it as sacred scripture.
But it soon fell out of favor and was excluded from Christian canon.
Its exclusion is as a result of growing controversies over some of its apocalyptic content. It also doesn’t help that the book had already been rejected from the Hebrew Bible.
There were also issues with the pseudepigraphal nature of the book. This means that writers of the book of Enoch falsely attributed the writings to well known patriarchs and prophets to give their books more authority.
Other religious writings of this nature that were rejected from Biblical canon include the Testament of Solomon, the Book of Jubilees and the Epistle of Barnabas.
But the most important reason why the book of Enoch is not in the Bible is that it’s not inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Jude quoting 1 Enoch doesn’t make it inspired.
Should You Read The Book Of Enoch?
There’s nothing wrong with reading the Book of Enoch. It’s not a sin. Like other apocryphal writings, it does contain some truthful and important writings.
But read it with wisdom and with the leading of the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind that 1 Enoch is neither inspired nor 100% reliable.
So don’t take anything in it as the infallible word of God. Read it as you would a novel or an interesting piece of literature.
You can also read it out of theological curiosity and see how it compares to other books of the Bible.
One thing to note is that the book of Enoch can be a difficult one to read. It’s heavy on mystery and symbolism.
It’s a bit like the book of Revelation. So you may want to take your time and seek additional commentaries on it from various sources.