In commenting on Heb. 11:35 Jamieson, Fausset and Brown make the following assertion: “The writer of Second Maccabees expressly disclaims inspiration, which prevents our mistaking Paul’s allusion here to it as if it sanctioned the Apocrypha as inspired. In quoting Daniel, he quotes a book claiming inspiration, and so tacitly sanctions that claim.” They don’t offer any citations of where the writer of 2 Maccabees makes this disclaimer but Ron Rhodes provides this same quote from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown and provides two verses from 2 Maccabees as support, 2:23 and 15:38. Here’s what the two verses say:

2:23 – “all this, which has been set forth by Jason of Cyrene in five volumes, we shall attempt to condense into a single book.”

15:38 – “If it is well told and to the point, that is what I myself desired; if it is poorly done and mediocre, that was the best I could do.”

How is this a disclaimer of inspiration? Rhodes explains,

“In one key apocryphal book—2 Maccabees, from which Roman Catholics draw support for the doctrine of the Mass—the author concedes that it is an abridgement of another man’s work and expresses concern as to whether a good job was done or not (see 2 Maccabees 2:23; 13:58). Such would not be the case had this book been truly inspired by God.” (Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics, p. 34)

I confess I don’t follow his reasoning at all. Because a writer abridged another’s work is no more compromising to inspiration as is Luke’s use of other sources (Luke 1:1-4). Paul says in 1 Cor. 7:12 “to the rest I say this (I, not the Lord)”. But we don’t say that he therefore saying at this point the letter is not inspired much less say he’s disclaiming inspiration for the entire book.

This is quite different from some, like Craig Blomberg who note, “It is also noteworthy that none of the apocryphal books claim to be God’s Word, as many books of the Hebrew Scriptures do.” (Can We Still Believe the Bible? p. 50) Here Blomberg notes the absence of a claim rather than saying the books disclaim inspiration. While Blomberg may be right, Rhodes certainly is not.

Whatever your views are of the Apocrypha in general or 2 Maccabees in particular this is an argument that ought to be laid to rest. There is no express disclaimer to inspiration in 2 Maccabees.