Is it a sin (for Christians) to read the Book of Enoch?
The Book of Enoch is one of the controversial books that has become a topic of debate in the Christian community.
Many believe the book does not represent Christian teachings as reflected in the Holy Bible, so it isn’t fit for Christians to read. However, others believe it reflects the life and spiritual encounters of Enoch, an important biblical figure, which the canonical Bible gives little detail about.
But before we discuss whether it is a sin to read this book, let’s know the man Enoch.
Who was Enoch in the Bible?
Enoch was the descendant of Adam.
He was the father of Methuselah, the oldest man in the Bible, and the great-grandfather of Noah.
The Bible dedicated only a few verses to this enigmatic man. However, the short reference revealed the kind of life he lived.
According to the Book of Genesis 5:24, “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”
To walk with God means to live righteously and follow the commands of God. It means agreeing with God’s law and showing it in one’s lifestyle.
Another interesting fact about Enoch is that he is one of the only two people who didn’t experience death but were translated into heaven.
The other person was Elijah, who was taken to heaven by a chariot of fire.
Enoch was taken by God out of this earth.
Therefore, it is clear that Enoch was a righteous man whose lifestyle pleased God to the point that God did not allow him to die before taking him home.
The Book of Enoch
The Book of Enoch is an ancient religious book not included in the canonical Bible.
It is considered part of the Jewish apocrypha or pseudepigrapha, which are writings not included in the standard collection of sacred texts.
Although the Book of Enoch is attributed to the biblical figure Enoch, there is no evidence that he authored it.
It is believed to be a collection of texts that were likely composed by different authors over a period of time, with the earliest parts dating back to the third century BCE and the latest parts written around the first century CE.
The book highlights stories of the fallen angels or watchers, an allusion to the fall of the great dragon or Satan with his army from heaven due to his sin of pride as recorded in Isaiah 14:12-21, Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Revelation 12:3-4.
The Book of Enoch narrates how these angels descended to earth, married daughters of men, and taught humans spiritual secrets, leading to corruption and chaos.
The book also includes teachings about apocalyptic prophecies, heavenly realms, the judgment of the wicked, and the establishment of a righteous kingdom.
It explores how Enoch mediated between God and humanity.
Why isn’t the Book of Enoch considered Scripture?
The Book of Enoch had never been a part of the canon of scripture, which includes 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament.
The books that make up the Bible must be divinely inspired. That is, the writer and the writings must reflect that God inspired them.
Another criterion considered, especially for New Testament books, is eyewitness accounts.
The names of these books and their relationship with Jesus reflect this truth. However, the authors of Enoch cannot be confirmed.
In fact, it is stated that the book’s attribution to Enoch is seen as a literary device, a pseudepigraphical attribution, where the author wrote under the name of a well-known figure from the past to lend authority to their work.
It was a common practice in ancient Jewish literature to attribute writings to notable figures from the past.
The early must also have accepted a book or writing before it would be added to the Bible.
The Book of Enoch was not used by the disciples.
The only references made about Enoch in the New Testament are in Jude 1:14–15, Hebrews 11:5, and Luke 3:37.
These Bible passages did not quote any part of the Book of Enoch.
Instead, they only referenced what is recorded in Genesis 5:22-25. But we see Jesus directly quoting passages from the Books of Isaiah and Psalms.
Is it a sin to read the Book of Enoch?
It must first be stated that the Book of Enoch is not divinely inspired.
The book is not considered a part of the Bible. However, whether it is a sin to read it depends on one’s belief and conviction.
There are many fiction and non-fiction books Christians are permitted to study to learn and understand the world around them.
Many Christian authors have written religious books to help Christians understand their relationship with God and others.
All these books are accepted and approved because they enhance our Christian lives and expand our knowledge.
Therefore, if a believer is interested in studying the Book of Enoch as a historical, literary work that provides insights into ancient Jewish thought and apocalyptic literature, then it cannot be considered a sin.
However, if one studies it intending to imbibe facts and lessons and accept and practice them in their daily lives, then it is wrong.
Believers must, however, guard their hearts and ensure they don’t give room for anything to tamper with their faith and beliefs.
If reading the Book of Enoch will lead one astray from the truth of the Gospel or cause one to doubt the authority of the Bible, then one must avoid it.
We must beware of false doctrines.
We must commit ourselves to studying God’s Word so our spirit man will be able to discern good and evil.
The Bible is the complete Word of God.
We must abide by it and not allow ourselves to be swayed by wrong doctrines.
We must also ensure our quest for knowledge does not lead us into sin.
Does the Book of Jude reference the Book of Enoch?
Who wrote the first Book of Enoch?
The Book of Enoch is believed to have been written by multiple authors (and not the real Enoch) at various times, most likely around the 3rd century BC. It is believed that fragments of the Book of Enoch were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Who are the writers of the New Testament?
The New Testament is a collection of writings by Matthew, Peter, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, and Jude.
What is the Book of the Watchers?
It is the first section of the Book of Enoch. It contains an account of the fall of the Watchers, a class of angels who descended to the whole Earth and lusted after human women (ungodly way). The book also presents other harsh things and ungodly deeds, including the great giants. This apocryphal text can spark great fear in Christians.
Does the Ethiopian Bible have the Book of Enoch?
Yes, the Book of Enoch is contained in the Ethiopic Bible. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church accepts it. This fascinating text is not present in the Roman Catholic Bible, probably due to its controversial issues and defiant words.