In a certain context Jesus speaking to the religious leaders makes the following remark

“-and Scripture cannot be broken—” ‭‭John‬ ‭10:35‬ ‭

The NT has texts that are used either to support doctrine and theology by Jesus and NT authors or quoted directly, implicitly claiming authenticity and divine inspiration however they are non canonical sources, one example being Jude 14,15.

Clearer still, we have Scripture endorsing non canonical books for further reading such as the “Book of the Wars of the Lord”, “Book of Jasher”, “Book of Nathan the prophet”, Book of Gad the Seer”, to name a few.

In light of Jesus’ remark that Scripture cannot be broken as translated in English, λυθηναι in the Greek, which could be translated as Scripture cannot be “discarded” in the ultimate sense, is Jesus saying these books, that did not make it in the canon, are these books still considered Scripture therefore? And that they cannot be broken or discarded? In fact they ought to be read and studied? Or is this a stretch?

(Consider including in the answer the overarching reason for the choice of books in the canon, which may or may not have disqualified other Scriptures however they didn’t fit within the purpose for the selection of the canon).

  • In context, John 10:35 would only be referring to Scripture (γραφή) which was written prior to Yeshua's ministry. Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 14:47
  • @חִידָה I concede to your point. Exclude the NT from the argument and the question remains. Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 15:22
  • non canonical Scripture... that 's an oxymoron
    – Steve
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 22:15
  • 1
    Scripture - any writing or book, especially when of a sacred or religious nature. As such not all scripture is canonical @user48152. If you are trolling please stop. Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 23:32
  • Interesting, "the sacred writings of Christianity contained in the Bible" would be the normal explanation. Who includes other writings?
    – Steve
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 0:14

2 Answers 2


Bible Quotes and Allusions from Non-Biblical Sources.

Source Reference
Direct Quotes
Book of Jashir, “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” Josh 10:13
Book of Jashar, Lament for Jonathan. 1 Sam 1:18-27
King Hiram’s Order (in a letter) to provide materials for Solomon’s temple 2 Chron 2:11-16
King Cyrus’ Edict to free Jews and return to Judah 2 Chron 36:23
King Cyrus’ Edict to free Jews and return to Judah Ezra 1:2-4
Rehum’s Letter to King Artaxerxes Ezra 4:9-16
King Artaxerxes’ Letter to Rehum Ezra 4:17-22
Tattenai’s Letter to King Darius Ezra 5:7-17
King Darius’ Letter and Decree concerning the building of the temple in Jerusalem on the basis of King Cyrus’ decree found at Ecbatana Ezra 6:3-12
King Artaxerxes’ Decree to establish Jewish autonomy in Judah Ezra 7:12-26
Sanballat’s letter to Nehemiah Neh 6:6-7
King Nebuchadnezzar’s Decree after the fiery furnace Dan 3:28-29
King Nebuchadnezzar’s Decree and confession after his insanity Dan 4
King Darius’ decree in writing concerning Daniel’s God Dan 6:25-27
Epimenides the Cretan, 6th Cent BC, “In him we live and move and have our being” Acts 17:28
Aratus of Cilicia, Didactic poem, Phaenomena, (An Invocation to Zeus), line 5, 270 BC, “We are his offspring”. Acts 17:28
Epimenides the Cretan, 6th Cent BC, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” Titus 1:12
Unnamed sources
Book of Acts and Gospel of Luke compiled from numerous sources (see Acts 1:1-4 & Luke 1:1-4)
Enoch’s prophecy about coming judgement (see Deut 33:2, 3) 1 En 1:9 Jude 14, 15
Noah’s flood and preaching to spirits in prison (???) 1 En 21:6 1 Peter 3:19, 20
“After this I saw …an innumerable and uncountable multitude who stood before the glory of the Lord of the Spirits.” 1 Enoch 40:1 Rev 7:9
“…as I looked, behold a star fell down from heaven…” Rev 9:1
Trumpet blasts heralding cosmic events in Apocalypse of Zephaniah chapters 9 – 12 Rev 8 & 9
Mythological Allusions
Hades (river Styx, etc) Luke 16:19-31
Hecate as Christ Rev 1:12-16
Chimera as sea beast Rev 13:1-11
Tartarus (= Hell) 1 Peter 2:4

This is far from an exhaustive list. It is immediately obvious that a Bible quote from a non-Biblical source does not canonize the source. However, the quote, after it is taken into Scripture becomes part of the inspired word of God.

That is, it is what is taken into the Scripture (and what is omitted) that is important, not the source.

  • 2 Tim 3:16 - All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
  • 2 Peter 1:20, 21 - Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation. For no such prophecy was ever brought forth by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

My reading of John 10.35, is that Christ, by saying "scripture cannot be broken" was not issuing a command "do not break scripture", but describing a reality.

Scripture is always true. It has nothing to do with the opinions of man towards the scripture. God ensures the scripture is not broken because it expresses God's truth.

Therefore we can debate and try to determine which texts are "scripture" and make a good effort to get that right, but our efforts at canonization cannot break scripture if we leave it out of our cannon, or make something that isn't scripture unbreakable if we put it in.

The verse isn't about us being allowed to do anything nor is there any kind of license involved. As the sky is blue, the scripture cannot be broken. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Mark 13.31)

  • perfect example of the simplest answer is often the best.+1
    – Steve
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 22:12
  • Sure thing Robert but claiming these canonized books are Scripture and everything else is not inspired and therefore not Scripture doesn’t explain if the other writings which were referenced and endorsed as further readings by the Bible in some cases, is therefore uninspired just because they didn’t make it into the canon. So you seem to be agreeing that Scripture is Scripture whether canonized or not but how does one make that call? Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 23:29
  • @NihilSineDeo there is no algorithm to make the call. It requires discernment. I also find truth in pseudo-epigraphia, in homilies (especially those of early christians), in other writings like targums or the talmud. I assume this is why portions of these works are cited or alluded to in the cannon. But unlike what we consider cannon, the work as a whole may be spotty, so I would pick and choose from those texts according to my own discernment, hopefully confirmed by the discernment of those wiser than me
    – Robert
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 1:28
  • @NihilSineDeo The other thing is that you are not going to overturn everything by a single passage. Those important truths that are foundational appear everywhere, with witnesses in many places. If something hinges on just a single word or verse, and that's the only witness you can find for it, then it must not be particularly important and isn't worthy of a lot of disputation.
    – Robert
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 1:31
  • 1
    I am a little concerned by the use of the word "cannon" when describing Old Testament Scripture. This was not a term used in Jesus day and I believe it refers modern readers to an incorrect representation and interpretation of this question and therefore an incorrect answer!
    – Adam
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 2:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.