The book of Enoch is regarded as an apocalyptic book that tries to explain the origin of demons and Nephilim, the reason why Noah’s flood happened, why some angels fell from heaven, and a prophecy about the 1000 years. Even though this book gives an account of some events and stories that are documented in the Bible, most Christians as well as Jewish bodies do not recognize it as canonical scripture.
So, is it a sin to read the book of Enoch?
It is not a sin to read the book of Enoch. Even though Christians are expected to rely on the Bible for spiritual nourishment, there is nothing wrong with reading other books – as long as they do not blaspheme God or contradict the teachings of the Bible. The book of Enoch has some useful information and it is therefore not a sin to read it.
What is the Book of Enoch?
The book of Enoch is also referred to as 1 Enoch. It is an ancient Jewish book that is ascribed to Noah’s great-grandfather, Enoch and it is believed to have been written in the 2nd century BCE. The book is full of complex prophecies, visions, and narratives that go into the details of cosmology, angelic hierarchies, and other things of the spiritual realm.
The book of Enoch is quoted in the of Jude in the scripture that says:
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. Jude 1:14-15
This excerpt is a direct quote that was lifted from 1 Enoch 1:9
Some of the prominent church fathers like Tertullian and Origen quoted from the book of Enoch in their literary works. It is therefore very likely that the Book of Enoch influenced how the early church fathers interpreted the Old Testament. However, it was not canonized when compiling the books of the Bible. Because of the decision not to canonize it, this book was mostly forgotten over the years until its rediscovery by James Bruce, a Scottish explorer. He found a copy of the book in Ethiopia which had been preserved in the sacred Ge’ez language.
Is the Book of Enoch Accepted by Christians?
The book of Enoch was believed to be part of the Christian books until the fourth century when a decision was made to exclude it from the Bible. Even though the Catholic Bible allowed the inclusion of some books that the protestants didn’t deem fit, they agreed on not endorsing the book of Enoch. However, the Ethiopian (and Eritrean) Orthodox Churches endorse this book and they have included it in their Bible.
There are a number of reasons why the book was not accepted in the canon but one of the main ones is the discrepancies between its text and what other books of the Bible teach. A good example is the story of the fall of man. While Genesis records that Eve was tempted by the serpent, the book of Enoch says that Eve was deceived by a demon by the name demon Gadreel. Another visible contradiction is its view on seasons. The book of Enoch says that Winter and summer existed before the flood of Noah. However, the book of Genesis clearly says that the seasons were an aftermath of the flood.
Even though such contradictions were reason enough to remove it from the list of books to be added to the Bible, there is no denying that there are still some incredible parallels between it and other books of the Bible. The concepts of judgment, resurrection, and the messiah that are contained in the book of Enoch are very similar to those used in the other books of the Bible. In fact, it is such similarities that might have inspired the adoption of the book by the Orthodox Church.
Should Christians Read The Book Of Enoch?
We have already stated that it is not a sin to read the book of Enoch. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should read it. There are lots of things that are not sins but it is a good idea to avoid them nonetheless. Apostle Paul put it this way:
All things are lawful [that is, morally legitimate, permissible], but not all things are beneficial or advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]. 1 Cor. 10:23
The books that were not canonized were left out for good reason. As we have seen, the book of Enoch was left out because of its contradictions. Such contradictions create the impression that the book was not an inspired work of the Holy Spirit but the thoughts of man. There is therefore the danger of being misled if you read the book.
If you are not familiar with your Bible, then it is a good idea to avoid reading the book of Enoch altogether. That is because you may not be in a position to distinguish fact from fiction. However, if you are a good student of the word, you can read the book of Enoch because you will have the filters to know what to pick and what to leave out.
To sum it up, there is nothing wrong with reading the book of Enoch – as long as you understand that it is not a canonical book and should be read with caution. The reason the book was not canonized is that it has some glaring contradictions with some of the things recorded in the Book of Genesis. For instance, it states that seasons existed before the flood whereas Genesis says seasons emerged after the flood. As such, it might be a good idea to avoid the book altogether as it could get you into error.