Q: #201. The Old Testament references a lot of books. Are these lost books of the Bible?
A: No, these are not “lost books.” First off, I believe it is important to remember that 1000’s of years ago, God promised to preserve His Word (Isa 40:8)(1 Pet 1:23-25)(Mt 5:18). What this means is that the Bible we have today has been preserved by God from the time it was written until now, and will be protected for all time. Yes, there has been minor differences in copies of the original manuscripts (the autographa) over time, but what we have today has been shown to be be VERY accurate (See: Q: #175 & Q: #192). Our Bible today is EXACTLY the Bible that God intended us to have. If we needed anything else, God would have preserved it and included it in our Bible.
*** Note: I should add here that there are copies of certain apocryphal books that still exist today. They have survived over time, but have been found to have demonstrable errors in doctrine, history, and geography among other things. God makes no such errors, which is why they are not a part of our canon. (See: next question for more on this)
This being said, the reader of the Old Testament will find that there are numerous books that it refers to. Mentioning these books does not mean that they are “lost books of the Bible” though. Most (or all depending on who you talk to) copies of these books no longer exist today. God saw no reason to preserve them, nor did the Jews who helped preserve much of the Old Testament. However, just because a book is not God-inspired, it doesn’t mean there isn’t useful information contained in it. For example, even though the apocryphal books we have today contain error, it does not mean that they don’t contain some truth. They do have many useful historical facts (and some parts do line up with the canon of scripture). The same could most certainly be true of these books referred to in the Old Testament as well.
For example, I sometimes refer to the writings of the great Jewish historian Josephus in studies on this site. Josephus, being a Jew, did not believe in Christ as Lord, Savior, and Messiah. His writings are not God-inspired. However, he did acknowledge that Christ existed and that others called Jesus “the Christ” (Antiquities: Book 20, Ch. 9). He also mentions and confirms other things the Bible says. So, even though his writings are not God-inspired, I can still quote them at times as a reference to support what I am saying (i.e. as a historical record).
This is no doubt what the writers of the Old Testament did as well. The books referred to contained records of kings, records of wars, descriptions of people, quotes from people, forms of music and poetry, etc… For example, (1 Kin 14:19) says, “And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred, and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.” In other words, it might be like saying, “I have told you what God wants you to know about Jeroboam, but if you want more information on him, you can check out the “Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.”
Having explained this, let me list the various books that I found mentioned the Old Testament. Keep in mind that many of these books many be referring to the same work. This may not be a complete list.
Book of Jasher (Josh 10:13)(2 Sam 1:18)
Book of the Wars of the Lord (Num 21:14)
Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel (1 Kin 14:19)(1 Kin 15:31)(1 Kin 16:5,14,20,27) and others
Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah (1 Kin 14:29)(1 Kin 15:7,23)and others
Book of the Kings of Israel (1 Chr 9:1)(2 Chr 20:34)(2 Chr 33:18)
Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah (2 Chr 16:11)(2 Chr 25:26)(2 Chr 27:7)(2 Chr 28:26)(2 Chr 32:32) and others
Book Of Shemaiah The Prophet (2 Chr 12:15)
Book Of Iddo The Seer (2 Chr 12:15)(2 Chr 13:22)
The Manner Of The Kingdom (1 Sam 10:25)
Book Of The Acts Of Solomon (1 Kin 11:41)
The Chronicles Of King David (1 Chr 27:24)
Book Of Samuel The Seer (1 Chr 29:29)
Book Of Nathan The Prophet (1 Chr 29:29)(2 Chr 9:29)
Book Of Gad The Seer (1 Chr 29:29)
Prophecy Of Ahijah The Shilonite (2 Chr 9:29)
Book Of Jehu (2 Chr 20:34)
Story Of The Book Of The Kings (2 Chr 24:27)
Vision Of Isaiah The Prophet (2 Chr 32:32)
The Sayings Of The Seers (2 Chr 33:19)
Lamentations For Josiah (2 Chr 35:25)
Visions Of Iddo The Seer (2 Chr 9:29)
Book Of The Chronicles (Neh 12:23)(Es 2:23)(Es 6:1)
A Book By Isaiah The Prophet (2 Chr 26:22)
Book Of The Covenant (Ex 24:7)