How is the Catholic Bible different?

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By BibleAsk Team


The Catholic Bible Different than the Protestant Bible

While all 66 books in Protestant Bibles are found in the Catholic Bible, the Catholic Bible includes other additional books known as the deuterocanonicals/Apocryph. The Catholic Bible has 73 books, 46 in the Old Testament (Protestant Bibles have 39) and 27 in the New Testament (same as Protestant Bibles).

The Deuterocanonicals-Apocrypha books are: Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), and Baruch. The Catholic Bible also has additions to the books of Esther and Daniel.

The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books teach many things that are not true and are not historically factual. The New Testament quotes from the Old Testament hundreds of times, but nowhere quotes or alludes to any of the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books.

The early church leaders after careful study to the Apocrypha decided not to include them in the canon because they were not in harmony with the rest of the Scriptures. The following principles were used to determine whether a book was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit: 1) Did the book contain information that is consistent with the doctrine of the Scriptures? 2) Did the book present a high moral and spiritual values?

The early Protestant Reformers, in agreement with Judaism, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit determined that the Apocrypha did not belong to the Bible, and therefore removed the Apocrypha from Protestant Bibles.  The Apocrypha was treated as fallible historical and religious documents, not as the inspired, authoritative Word of God.

Although Jerome the translator of the Latin Vulgate believed that the Apocrypha didn’t belong to the canon, Rome insisted that they should. And the Latin Vulgate became the official sanctioned Catholic Bible, and remained for around 1200 years. It should be noted that the Apocrypha was not made a part of the Catholic Bible, until the Council of Trent, in response to the Protestant Reformation.

Why Protestants Reject the Apocrypha?

Protestants have several reasons for rejecting the Apocrypha:

  1. Canonical Uncertainty: The books of the Apocrypha were not universally accepted as inspired Scripture by the early Jewish or Christian communities. The absence of explicit endorsement by Jesus and the apostles further contributed to doubts about their canonical status.
  2. Absence from Hebrew Canon: The Jewish canon, which forms the basis of the Old Testament, does not include the Apocrypha. Protestants generally adhere to the Hebrew canon as authoritative.
  3. Historical and Theological Concerns: Some passages in the Apocrypha conflict with established biblical teachings. Additionally, their late authorship and lack of historical accuracy raise doubts about their divine inspiration.
  4. Doctrinal Discrepancies: Certain teachings within the Apocrypha contradict core Christian doctrines found in the rest of the Bible, leading Protestants to question their authenticity.

Unbiblical Doctrines in the Apocrypha

  1. Prayers for the Dead: The practice of praying for the dead is found in 2 Maccabees 12:44-46, where Judas Maccabeus offers a sin offering for fallen soldiers. This contradicts the Protestant belief in salvation through faith alone, without the need for intercessory prayers for the deceased.
  2. Purgatory: The concept of purgatory, a place of purification for souls before entering heaven, is implied in 2 Maccabees 12:45. This notion contradicts the Protestant understanding of salvation as a free gift received by grace through faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  3. Salvation by Works: The Book of Tobit emphasizes the importance of good deeds for salvation (Tobit 12:9). This conflicts with the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone, as taught by Paul in Romans 3:28.
  4. Angelology: The Apocrypha contains detailed accounts of angels and their interactions with humans, which are not found in the canonical Scriptures. While angels are acknowledged in Protestant theology, the extensive angelology in certain Apocryphal books raises questions about their doctrinal accuracy.
  5. Historical Inaccuracies: Some historical details in the Apocrypha are inconsistent with known historical facts or contradict the canonical Scriptures. For example, the historical accuracy of events described in the Book of Judith has been questioned by scholars.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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