In the whole world there are 40 million Baptists, 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians, and 1.2 billion Catholics in the world. In the world, including 40 million Baptists, there are 900 million Protestants of which the Lutherans were born in 1517, the Presbyterians in 1570, the Methodists in 1736, and we Baptists were born in 1611 in England. We in the Protestant camp are in the late minority and should bring humility to the conversation about the significance and meaning of our faith. The founders stressed freedom and soul liberty, suggesting that mentally we should never live as Baptists in an intellectual ghetto.
Now as one Baptist who reads the apocrypha with 300 million Eastern Orthodox and 1.2 billion Catholics, may I share how I read it? I read it not for soteriological reasons; which means the doctrine of salvation; or hamartiology which is the doctrine of sin; or eschatology which is the doctrine of last things. I read it to understand the history, a world view, and wisdom of the world in which JESUS was born into. Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox theologians did not write the apocrypha but very devout Jewish scholars who never pretended to be writing scripture.
The context in which I quoted 2 Esdras was an anti-gnostic context where I EMPHASIZED BEING SAVED BY BELIEF and not by knowledge. He or she who believes shall be saved, not he or she who knows. What do we know? 2 ESDRAS 4:1-5 unveils our ignorance: Weigh me a pound of fire? Measure me a bushel of wind. Call back for me a day that has passed. Apocryphra is a Greek for unveiling. Christian theology says crede ut intelligam which means faith seeking understanding because as Proverbs 1:7 says : The fear of the L ord is the beginning of understanding...2 Esdras 4: 1- 5 does not contradict First Corinthians 13:9-12.
Mark 12:30 invites us to love God with our minds. Thank you for participating in this conversation.