The Book of Baruch – What is it?
The Book of Baruch (also called 1 Baruch) is a book of the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical Books that are accepted as Scripture by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Protestants reject the Book of Baruch and other writings in the Apocrypha since they were not part of the Jewish Scriptures or New Testament.
Subscribe to our Compelling Mail Newsletter:
In Catholic and Orthodox Bibles, the Book of Baruch is included with the Prophetic Books. It is named after the Baruch who served as the scribe of the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36:4). Its date of writing is unknown, with some scholars dating it to the second or first century BC.
The Book of Baruch includes five chapters (a sixth chapter called the Letter of Jeremiah is added in some versions). It claims that Baruch read this book to King Jeconiah (Baruch 1:3). The themes include confession of sins regarding disobedience to God (1:1—2:10), a prayer of request for mercy (2:11—3:8), a desire for wisdom (3:9—4:14), and a message to the captives (4:5—5:9).
Some have noted errors within the Book of Baruch. For example, Baruch 1:1-2 opens with Baruch in Babylon. However, Baruch served Jeremiah in Judah and Egypt. Jeremiah 43:5-7 notes, "But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to live in the land of Judah from all the nations to which they had been driven—the men, the women, the children, the princesses, and every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan; also Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah. And they came into the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the LORD. And they arrived at Tahpanhes."
In the Roman Catholic liturgy, Baruch 3:9-38 is used as part of its Holy Saturday teachings (the day before Easter). It includes a focus on the desire for wisdom and how to obtain it, concluding with a reference to the Messiah who will live among humanity. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Baruch is used in Christmas Eve liturgy. Since it was quoted by many early Christian writers, it is also clear the book was well-known in the early history of the church.
Some portions of Baruch also resemble verses of the New Testament. Allusions include Baruch 4:7 and 1 Corinthians 10:20, and John 1:14 with Baruch 3:37-38.
What are the Catholic Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical books?
The Letter of Jeremiah – What is it?
What is the canon of the Bible and how did we get it?
Is the Book of Enoch inspired writing? Should the Book of Enoch be in the Bible?
The Book of Jasher – What is it?
Truth about the Bible