Let me start with a disclaimer regarding the term Catholic… Catholic is the original Christian faith. It means UNIVERSAL. The name Catholic wasn’t assigned to our faith until groups began breaking off from the original CHRISTIAN church and forming their own versions of Christianity.
There is a vast difference between the Bible most Protestants use and the Bible Catholics use (or should be using).
The Protestant Bible contains 66 Books, The Catholic Bible includes 73 Books. (All those present in the Protestant Bible + the Deuterocanonical books of Tobit, Judith, 1 & 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch.
Why? Did the Catholics write their own books, like some other religions? No…the Greek Septuagint or Alexandrian Canon existed during Jesus’ time. The Septuagint is identical to the Catholic Old Testament and was quoted by Jesus often (Protestants use Jesus’ quotes as a way to determine whether a book was inspired). The Palestinian Jewish people used the Hebrew Tanakh which is identical to the Protestant Old Testament.
I’ve been doing a lot of research into why we have two different version of the Bible, and this is a synopsis of what I’ve discovered thus far. The Deuterocanonical Books have been verified by the Dead Sea Scrolls (except for Esther). This historical proof further illustrates their place in the Old Testament. Martin Luther altered the Christian Bible. His basis was “faith alone” for salvation and he proceeded to remove the books that didn’t support this (the Deuteros). This mentality also attacked Hebrews and Revelation, however, since these books were already accepted as part of the New Testament at the Council of Carthage they were left in.
The Deuterocananical Books were ALWAYS considered part of the Bible by Christians. They weren’t added in by the Catholics. According to David MacDonald of CatholicBridge.com, There was NOT a written Bible prior to the Reformation that didn’t include the Deuterocanonical books. The Catholic (Universal) Christian Church kept all the original Septuagint books in the Bible, because the Bible in its entirety is the inspired word of God.
“I’ve heard some Evangelicals say the Deuterocanonical books don’t belong in the Bible because they are unbiblical. To me that is a circular argument. Martin Luther removed them from his version, (he also wanted to pull the Books of James and Revelation) Now, based on this new canon, Evangelicals are saying the Deuteros are unbiblical. If the Deuteros were in the Bible from the beginning, which is what history reveals, then I would say they are biblical by their very definition.”- From CatholicBridge.com
The Deuterocanonical books are quoted numerous times throughout the New Testament. Many Protestants accept the Bible sans Deuteros because the Jews rejected the Deuteros. But the Jewish Council of Jamnia (~AD90) which rejected the Deuteros is the same council that also rejected the entire New Testament. So, by rejecting the Deuterocanon, Protestants are following the Jewish council which rejected Jesus! That may feel extreme, but there is no other way to look at it given that Protestants accept all 27 books of the New Testament as defined by the same councils that accepted the Deuteros as part of the Old Testament and yet, choose to discard the Deuteros because the Jewish did.
This is by no means an all inclusive explanation… but it does at least (hopefully) provide a basic understanding of the difference. There is a lot of information out there that goes into much more depth… but for my group of youngsters, I think this is enough information for now!
Where did I get this information?
–CatholicBridge (Tons of good time line information!)
–St. Takla (Lot’s of scripture quotes!)
-My Catholic New American Bible for Women
-Did Adam & Eve Have Belly Buttons by Mathew J. Pinto
-The International Student Bible for Catholics
(Other Catholic resources include: Parish Counsel, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, What Catholics Really Believe by Karl Keating, Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly, & Catholic and Christian by Alan Schreck).