The Bible is full of esoteric knowledge, including herbals and rituals and affirmations but what Bible should you use? Should you use the King James Version? The Catholic Version? Which Edition? Translation? What about the Gnostic Gospels? While no one edition, translation or version may be the right one, or the whole one, we must all begin somewhere.
I was brought up a Protestant so all of my experiences were of the KJV Bible. When I became Catholic in later life, and was going through my conversion process, I demanded that the priest defend the doctrine of the Catholic Church with the KJV translation of the Bible. Later, after I was a Catholic, I read the books that made the Catholic version different from the KJV.
Catholics include in their Bible Deuterocanonicals, also known as Apocryphal books by the Protestant Church. These books include I and II Macabees, The Book of Wisdom, I and II Esdras, Sirach and Baruch and Tobit. They imparted critical cultural practices of the Jews and told teaching stories and recorded historical events in the lives of the early Jews. These books were written in Greek and were a part of the Greek Septuagint. These Greek texts were not only known by the Jews but to many tribes of Gentile people who loved and respected the wisdom contained here.
They were orginally included in the King James Version of the Bible as the apocrypha, non canonical but a part of Biblical history. It was not until England's increasing tension with Catholics in Ireland the apocryphal books were removed.
If you want a good edition of the Bible with an extensive and non denominational historical overview of the organization and translation of the Bible with the Apocryphal books of the Bible included, get the Oxford edition of the Bible. It is wonderful and very denomination neutral.
As for the Gnostic Gospels and or the Lost Books of the Bible, I have no problem with reading them as well as books like the Book of Mormon for a sense of scriptural fullness and wider view of how the Bible influenced or is influenced by these collections.
I also recommend the reading of the Talmud and the Koran. No scholar of the Bible can ignore the interconnection of these books and faiths with one another.
If you are a witch, keep a notebook devoted to Biblical Craft knowledge. One of these days, I will get my notes togther and put them here on my blog.
Until next time,
Brightest Blessings Be
Aslinn Dhan Dragonhawk