The Faithful Scribbler

A Catholic Mother In A Secular World

HOW Many Books in the Bible?!

on May 5, 2010

Please note– this is a VERY meaty post about early church history, and much of it was composed by others (as noted).  Good luck getting to the end of it :)  It’s the first of 2 posts– the second of which will offer more of my own personal commentary)

So…I learned not that long ago that there were two different kinds of Christian Bibles– the Catholic one, and the Protestant one (without delving into various translations, of which there are MANY).

Below, find a list of books in each version (credit due P. Miron!)

Catholic ______ Protestant
Bible _________ Bible

Genesis _______ Genesis
Exodus ________ Exodus
Leviticus _______ Leviticus
Numbers _______ Numbers
Deuteronomy ___ Deuteronomy
Josue _________ Joshua
Judges ________ Judges
Ruth __________ Ruth
1 Kings ________ 1 Samual
2 Kings ________ 2 Samual
3 Kings ________ 1 Kings
4 Kings ________ 2 Kings
1 Paralipomenon __ 1 Chronicles
2 Paralipomenon __ 2 Chronicles
1 Esdras _______ Ezra
2 Esdras _______ Nehemiah
Tobias _________ (omitted)
Judith __________ (omitted)
Esther _________ Esther (part omitted)
Job ___________ Job
Psalms ________ Psalms
Proverbs _______ Proverbs
Ecclesiastes ____ Ecclesiastes
Canticle of Canticles _ Song of Solomon
Wisdom ________ (omitted)
Ecclesiasticus ___ (omitted)
Isaias _________ Isaiah
Jeremias _______ Jeremiah
Lamentations ___ Lamentations
Baruch ________ (omitted)
Ezechiel _______ Ezekiel
Daniel _________ Daniel (part omitted)
Osee __________ Hosea
Joel ___________ Joel
Amos __________ Amos
Abdias _________ Obadiah
Jonas __________ Jonah
Micheas ________ Micah
Nahum _________ Nahum
Habacuc ________ Habakkuk
Sophonias _______ Zephaniah
Aggeus _________ Haggai
Zacharias _______ Zechariah
Malachias _______ Malachi
1 Machabees ____ (omitted)
2 Machabees ____ (omitted)

So wait a minute…we have books that Protestants don’t have?!  What’s THAT about?!  Not wishing to reinvent the wheel by restating something already said quite clearly and eloquently, I am going to defer to other authors.  The following is text I have stolen (with permission– which makes it borrowing?) from P. Miron.

The Protestant OT is based on the Palestinian (or Hebrew) canon used by Hebrew-speaking Jews in Palestine. The Catholic OT is based on the Alexandrian (or Greek) canon used by the Greek-speaking Jews throughout the Mediterranean, including Palestine.
The city of Alexandria in Egypt possessed the greatest library in the ancient world and during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC), a translation of the entire Hebrew Bible into Greek was begun by 70 or 72 Jewish scholars-according to tradition-six from each of the twelve tribes. From this Alexandrian translation (completed between 250-125 BC) we get the term “Septuagint,” Latin for 70 (LXX), the number of translators.
This Greek translation of the OT was very popular because Greek was the common language of the entire Mediterranean world by the time of Christ. Hebrew was a dying language (Jews in Palestine usually spoke Aramaic), and so it is not surprising that the Septuagint was the translation used by Jesus and the New Testament writers. In fact, 300 quotations from the OT found in the New Testament are from the Septuagint. Remember also that the entire New Testament was written in Greek.
The Septuagint contains 46 books. The Hebrew canon contains only 39.
Why are there seven fewer books in the Hebrew canon?
The Hebrew canon was established by Jewish rabbis at Jamnia, in Palestine about the year 100 A.D., perhaps in reaction to the Christian Church, which was using the Alexandrian canon. The Jews at Jamnia rejected seven books from the Hebrew canon found in the Septuagint-Wisdom, Sirach, Judith, Baruch, Tobit, and 1 and 2 Maccabees (as well as portions of Daniel and Esther)-chiefly on the grounds that they could not find any Hebrew versions of these books which the Septuagint supposedly translated into Greek.
The Christian church continued to use the Septuagint. When the Church officially decided which books comprise the canon of the Bible (Councils of Hippo, 393 A.D., and Carthage, 397 A.D.), it approved the 46 books of the Alexandrian canon as the canon for the OT. For sixteen centuries the Alexandrian canon was a matter of uncontested faith. Each of the seven rejected books is quoted by the early Church Fathers as “Scripture” or as “inspired,” right along with the undisputed books.
In 1529 Martin Luther proposed the Palestinian canon of 39 books in Hebrew as the OT canon. Luther found justification for removing the seven books from the Bible in the old concerns of St. Jerome and the Council of Jamnia that the Greek books had no Hebrew counterparts. However, research into the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran has discovered ancient Hebrew copies of some of the disputed books, 12 making their i-ejection unsupportable on those grounds.
But here is the real question: Which OT would you rather use-the OT used by Jesus, the NT writers and the early Church, or the OT used by the Jews who rejected Christ and persecuted Christianity?
If your Bible includes the seven books, you follow Jesus and the early Church. If your Bible omits the seven books, you follow the non-Christian Jews at Jamnia and Martin Luther-a man who wanted to throw out even more books (James, Esther, Revelation), and who deliberately added the word “alone” to Sacred Scripture in his German translation of Romans 3:28.

Additionally, I found THIS supporting evidence for the Church’s inclusion of ALL books of the ORIGIONAL Christian Bible:

The Protestants of the sixteenth century objected to the additional books because of the doctrinal teachings of these books. The Second Book of Machabees, for example, contains the doctrine of purgatory, of prayers and sacrifices for the dead (12:39-46). The book of Tobias teaches the importance in the eyes of God of good works. The Protestants could not reject some without excluding all of the additional books. Hence, in drawing up their list of Old Testament books they went back to the first collection of Biblical books of the Palestinian Jews. They removed the additional books, which had been in the Bible up till 1517 and placed them at the end of the Bible in a special appendix. In addition, they labelled them as “apocryphal” (spurious, uninspired), a designation which helped to lower them in the estimation of Protestant readers.
The Lutheran and Anglican Bibles still carry these books in the appendix or give them at least a secondary place. But the other Protestant churches reject them entirely. In 1827 the British and Foreign Bible Society decided not to print or handle Bibles that contained the additional books and not to aid financially companies that published Bibles containing them. As a result these books have practically disappeared from Protestant Bibles. The Catholic Church has always considered these books as inspired and of the same rank as the other Old Testament books. Her attitude is based upon the following facts

1) The Apostles and New Testament writers quoted principally the Septuagint. In fact, of the three hundred and fifty Old Testament quotations found in the New Testament, about three hundred are taken from the Septuagint.

2) Some of the New Testament writers made use of the additional books themselves, particularly of the Book of Wisdom, which seems to have been St. Paul’s favorite volume. The Epistle of St. James – to take another example – shows an acquaintance with the Book of Ecclesiasticus. If the Apostles and New Testament writers used some of the additional books, did they not thereby approve the entire Septuagint collection?

3) The additional books were accepted in the Church from the beginning. The Epistle of Pope Clement, written before the end of the first century, makes use of Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom, gives an analysis of the book of Judith, and quotes from the additional sections of the book of Esther. The same is true of other early Christian writers.

4) The oldest Christian Bibles in existence (Codex Vaticanus, etc.) contain the additional books intermingled with the rest, just as we find them in the Catholic Bibles today.

5) The oldest Christian lists of Biblical books contain the additional books. In 382 Pope Damasus in a Roman Council issued a formal list of Old and New Testament books and the list contains the same books as we have in our Bibles.

6) Finally, Christian art of the first four centuries – especially that found in the catacombs and cemeteries – furnishes among others the following illustrations from the additional books: Tobias with the fish (Tobias 6), Susanna (Daniel 13), Daniel and the dragon (Daniel 14), the angel with the three children in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:49), Habacuc and Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 14:35).

In conclusion, let us point out that since they follow the synagogue in their rejection of the additional books of the Old Testament, the Protestants should in all logic follow it in its rejection of the New Testament and of Christ Himself.

So those are the factual differences– to put this into historic context, we need to further examine the life of the “Great Reformer” (or “Unfortunate Heretic”, depending on who you ask!), Martin Luther.  Changing the Bible– eliminating books and also blatantly changing and elminating phrases– hinges on the political and religious climate of the Reformation era.

Now I’ll be honest, one blog post is hardly enough space to really deeply examine this issue.  Frankly, I’m not entirely certain I’m a competent enough academic to examine it using only the internet as an available resource.  I’ll start by sharing what P. Miron has to say on the subject, and continue on with further research in a subsequent post:

One must keep in mind the circumstances of the time. Martin Luther, a “Catholic” priest began with a worthy motive; namely to challenge the CC current PRACTICE of “charging for indulgences.” In other words; With enough money to the “right” people; one could buy access to heaven.
The debate on the Morality of this practice seems to have been limited to saying it was wrong. I’ve never been able to find a teaching that affirms the “practice with the reality.”  The Pope at the time was trying to raise funds to build a new Cathedral.  It seems clear that God and the Holy Spirit affirm TEACHINGS of the Church; but no such guarantee applies to Church “Practice” which can and do change. [John Chapters 14 and 17].
Having said this; it is clear that Indulgences do TOUCH on the Matter of our Faith.  
So what happened to Martin Luther to make him lose his faith?! Can’t be sure here– but based on the evidence, it seems his motives were more political than pure!  Attacking the ONLY Christian Church seems pretty self-destructive to me, and the motives for doing so are highly suspect!   Keep reading! (~FS)
From this point one needs to try to get into Luther’s head and confront with him the challenges of “taking on” The Establishment, now 1,500 years young, firmly founded, well financed, and recognized throughout the world as the One Tue Faith.
There had been others over the years who tried to unseat the CC, but no serious contenders were to be found. Luther understood the challenge; and why others had failed. It was because everyone else was too narrowly focused on a few [but to them, major] theological differences. The church was always able to deflect these attacks by using the Bible or Tradition which still held sway.
The others did not offer either sufficient change or EASIER SALVATION.
Luther reckoned that there had to be a SIGNIFINATLY different theology, and philosophy on the issue of Salvation itself if the revolt were to take hold. The problem in “selling” this new-salvation, was of course the Bible.
Luther knew that in his favor was the fact that the CC had prohibited, or at least strongly discouraged, those in the pews from reading the bible. Also, it was not a common practice for the laity to attend DAILY MASS, therefore; almost all the laity were only exposed ONLY to the Sunday’s readings and therefore ignorant about the majority of what the bible said.
Rom. 10: 17 “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.” and similar verses were the Churches foundation for such a position. [And through the window of history; She was correct. Look what has happened to the proliferation of Protestant churches; faiths, beliefs; solely on misunderstanding or disagreements on what the bible means.]
Luther had a group of disenchanted theologians and they conspired to alter the Bible to give what evidence they could in support of their new, easier way to heaven, to the new flocks. They knew better than to remove entire books from the NT, because these text were better known to the laity at large.
Luther wanted to eliminate the book of James for example; which destroys his premise of salvation through Faith Alone. [Chapter two].
So they quite brilliantly went back and removed seven books of the OT, which all had passages that contradicted the Faith beliefs they schemed to put forth. The pretext for this was that these books were not accepted by the NEW Jewish [post death of Jesus] Nation, who ALSO deleted them for some of the same base motives!
Then they went though and deviously changed words, phrases and meaning [by footnote explanations], knowing that they intended to allow everyone to read the Bible and to self interpretation [“wherever 2 or 3 are gathered there an I in there midst“.] And sold the idea that EVERYONE has the Holy Spirit as their guide.
They were masters of pulling this or that verse to make there points; while in fact being out of context.
(Note from the Faithful Scribbler– I have blogged about this recently, this continued use of Bible quotes of context, brandished about as weapons!~FS)
1 Cor.6: 19 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own;”

They said this affirms that the HS resides in each of us to protect TRUTH. What it actually means is that our bodies are ONLY on LOAN from God. God will judge us on what we do with them. Quite a difference!
Then they denied the Seven Sacraments. Why? So that salvation “would be easier to accomplish.” In particular they denied The Real Presence; an easy sell: They could neither see Christ, nor understand the Love God has for us, so it was easy to convince them that it was only a sign or a symbol. 
And then the clincher: you can confess your sins to God… God is Mercy and Love” He’ll forgive you. Brilliant Marketing! You don’t have to go to a priest. EASIER IS BETTER??????
The most astounding point to me is how they got away with it. Especially the deletion of books of the Bible. They continue to proclaim that the Bible is “Inspired by God.” If they actually believed this; on what truthful basis did they have to eliminate Seven Entire God Inspired Books from the Bible? [Not to mention the many alterations to text.] 
So this brings me to the next post on this subject, which will cover WHY Luther sought to sell this COMPLETELY FALSE version of salvation, and it’s absolutely devestating effects on modern society!


10 responses to “HOW Many Books in the Bible?!

  1. Andi says:

    I must admit, I don’t really understand why our Bible lacks books. I’ve never really “read up” on it. I don’t have much a feeling on it one way or another.

    I do find it funny, however, that the books that we do have in common can be interpreted so differently! See above – your quote where the author says, “what it REALLY means is…” How do they know what it “really means”? How do any of us? I guess we can all claim to know, but I don’t think that we will until we get to heaven. Until then we can just give it our best guess. But I would never claim to know what it “really means.” I would say what I BELIEVE it means or THINK it means, but not claim to absolutely *know*. KWIM? ;-)

  2. Kristy says:

    That’s just the thing tho, Andi– Catholics do not believe in personal interpretation of the Bible.

    It didn’t even EXIST until Martin Luther’s time– the next post will examine why that was.

    The Church since the beginning held councils, in part to determine the meanins of the Scripture– these meetings date back to the time the Scripture itself was written! In order for it to be canonized (declared divinely inspired by God) by the Church, it had to be very VERY carefully studied. Through study and canonization, the meanings behind the Scriptures were determined.

    The concept of personal interpreation of scripture is actually very dangerous because it leads people to use Scripture out of context to justify their own sins (which we see all the time, on the BB’s for example, when people have said that they give their 10% tithe and that’s all they need to give– totally leaving out the part about caring for widows and orphans, or the story of the Good Samaritan, etc).

    Catholics don’t interpret Scripture personally. We follow the Church, left to us by Jesus, to tell us what it means (if it’s not straightforwardly clear).

    AND our books are not the same, even the ones that ARE the same– Catholic Bibles (Douay-Rheims version) have exact phrases from the origional Greek. The next post will examine which PHRASES Martin Luther scrapped from the books that still do exist! And I believe, in one case, he eliminated an entire CHAPTER from the Gospels! So not only did he choose not to include the seven books of the Septuagint, he also “edited” the books that had already been in existence since the canonization of the Bible itself– primarily because they directly negated his concept of easy salvation without sacraments and works. (Which, I will one day convince you with factual evidence because you are an academic and enjoy that sort of thing, is quite dangerous and false!)

    To be continued….

  3. Andi says:

    Hmmmm… that was still MAN interpreting the Bible. Regardless of who they were or what esteem “the” church held them in. No?

    And sacraments to achieve salvation? Again, one man’s or one “council’s” interpretation. You have to understand that your saying the Catholic council of “the” church decided this means little to me. Just as me saying that I believe my church is THE church and a bunch of people got together back in the day and decided what the Bible meant would mean little to you.

    The difference is that I (a wretched ;-) protestant) do NOT believe that one church has all the answers. We are all part of one church and it doesn’t have to be the Catholic church. Dangerous to you, commonsensical to me.

    My mom says that you must be of the anti-Vatican 2 leaning. Yes?

  4. Kristy says:

    lol the thing is, Andi, MY Church was YOUR chuch too for the first 1600 years! so when I say “MY Church’s councils”, they’re yours too. It was the only Christianity that existed!

    That “bunch of people back in the day” were the Apostles themselves (which is making me giggle).

    Sacraments arent ANYONE’s interpretation. Much of the Bible (in it’s origional and altered forms) tells us quite clearly that sacraments are given to us by God as a means of accepting His grace. We accept them. Or we reject them.

    My job isn’t to convince anybody of anything. Conversion comes from God, not from men. My job is to inform people of the Truth. You’re in it now, sister– you read the blog, you’ve been exposed to it, and on Judgement Day when you stand before the Lord, you won’t be able to say you didn’t know! lol!

    I think (having explored Protestantism with Dan when first married and found it almost universally to be biblically unsound- and at the time we WERE using the uncomplete, King James version) that until a person is ready to REALLY explore and consider opposing views, they can’t really be sure what they belive is correct.

    Just because I believe it, that doesn’t make it true. Millions of atheists believe there is no God at all. Just because they believe it, doesn’t make it TRUTH! Unfortunately, history and solid, verifiable FACT tells us that millions of Protestants were led astray about 400 years ago. The generations of Protestants today often times even know the history of their own churches, which how we’ve arrived at this “all paths to God” society.

    Which is just baloney.

    So my question to you (not you specifically Andi, but “YOU” the general readership) is this– are you willing to risk it?! Are you REALLY willing to risk that Martin Luther didnt have a political alterior motive in deleting sections from the Bible and selling this view of easy salvation? What if you’re wrong? What then?!

    I’ve been down both sides– I’ve examined Scripture with a room full of Baptists, BEFORE we became traditional Catholics. I was married (the first time) in a Methodist church. We explored Lutheranism and Prebyterianism. I challenged what I believed FULLY, without operating under any assumptions about those faiths. I, like the many Protestants flocking the Catholic Church at the moment, found them to be…incomplete…at best.

    More to come! Keep reading! You just never know Andi ;)

  5. Kristy says:

    Oh yeah, and I’m not EXACTLY anti-Vatican II. The Church has always had the power to “bind and loose” (which comes directly from Scripture) the practices of the faithful.

    The problem is that (and this is VERY VERY simplified), the AMERICAN Churches often took liberties with what was NOT specifically noted in the Second Vatican Council– for example, headcovering in the prseence of the Lord (Eucharist).

    The Second Vatican Council mentioned NOTHING about headcovering– it was omitted entirely. Thusly, the populous took that to mean it was no longer necessary, and in many parts of the country, have done away with the practice. Such is not the case in other parts of the world!

    Lots of little issues like that. Mine is not an issue with the Council– mine is an issue with the way American churches (ome, not all) have taken liberty with the Council decrees.

  6. Andi says:

    Eh, believe what you want. That is fine and within your right. I don’t believe that you are *wrong* per se, and that will remain the main difference between my faith and traditional Catholics. I would never surmise to tell someone that I alone have THE truth and know without a shadow of a doubt the absolute only way to live it out. I am not saying truth is subjective, I am saying that we all choose to PRACTICE it in different ways. And I have no fear of death or where I will be when I die. So no worries.

    There was recently a discussion on the BB about why other faiths do not respect Catholics (or something like that, I did not participate). Or misunderstand it, or something. Folks were all up in arms that we all “misunderstand”. I don’t misunderstand, it is just not how I choose to live out my faith. And the general Catholic (traditional, anyway) premise of “we’ve got it right, you are serving God all wrong” is why many are turned off to it (within other faiths).

    There are many things I disagree with regarding Catholicism but they all have to do with the practice of it. I do not think that any one who has truly been saved and happens to be Catholic is going to go to hell because they confess to a priest (not Christ directly), pray to the dead to ask for them to pray for them, practice the sacraments in a legalistic manner, think that a relationship with Christ is not necessary or a myriad of other things. To me they are not salvic issues.

    All the Apostles were Catholic??? Oy.

    And, I don’t follow Martin Luther, I follow God. I don’t know if he was 100% right or wrong. I think every man who has ever lived (other than Jesus) has his or her own agenda! That’s why I do not like the KJV of the Bible. It was a King paying people to translate the Bible for him! Hello?! Bit of a complex there? LOL

    Don’t waste your time trying to convert people like me to be Catholic! Worry about those who truly do not know God at all! Those are the folks we should all be concerned about. That’s why I mostly don’t get into theological discussions. It’s a bunch of us on the right path wasting our time when people are literally dying without any knowledge of God!

    And I certainly do not believe that “all paths lead to God.” But I do not believe that the Catholic path is the only way there. And reading here has actually convinced me of that more, not less. ;-)

    Oh, and what is the “truth” that we are all missing, btw? That there are books in the Bible we don’t read, or that we don’t wear headcoverings? Those things have nothing to do with truth. Jesus was the truth. And all the Christian faiths I know of believe and preach that. Beyond that the rest is legalistic apples and oranges.

    Like I said, I don’t know why certain books are not there but I am not averse to reading them. I don’t think they will lead someone astray or something! Do you honestly think God will be more worried about that than how we lived our lives for Christ on judgment day??? (and I mean day-to-day life, not taking sacraments once a week or going to confession. those are ways you PRACTICE your faith, not how you LIVE it.)

    Speaking of head coverings… last week I went to church with baby puke on me and I wore pants. Guess I’m definitely in for the flames now! ;-)

    I guess the bottom line for me is not truth vs. non-truth, I think we all basically believe the same things. It’s how it has been said to be necessary to *do* certain things to really have the truth and be saved. The gift of salvation has nothing to do with acts by men in terms of rituals, because that is all they are, acts or rituals performed by man. It is the true change within the heart that leads one to salvation and keeps him or her there. And if that leads one to *practice* their faith by *doing* certain things, that is fine but I don’t believe for a minute that not *doing* those things will damn them.

    I need Jenni! She knows scripture much better than me. I can’t just quote it off the top of my head (not a lot of it anyway). :)

  7. Kristy says:

    LOL ok Andi, you’re calling in your big guns with Jenni– Back at ya! PATRICK!!!!!!!! Patrick if you’re reading this, I need an assist!

    (more later, gotta make dinner!)

  8. Kelly says:

    I remember being in Jr. High, attending a private school and learning for the first time that there were different Bibles. A fellow classmate was Catholic and he used the Catholic Bible. When I asked why his was different, he quickly replied that my Bible was all wrong. yeah…

    I haven’t read your whole post, Kristy and I will tomorrow. Perhaps I will have some time to dig into scriptures and sound semi-intelligent.

    I just wanted to interject that in Jesus, there is freedom. I believe fully in living a life set apart. However, I know that I can come to Him broken and He is the one to make me whole. Not my deeds or dress. I have faith in Him, that even if some man passed on an incomplete set of scriptures, that He is the Author and Finisher of my faith. He will make up for what has been lost.

  9. Steven DeCillis says:

    Fascinating article Kristy. Thank you and wonderful dialogue on both sides…sincere thanks to all.
    A couple of meager points. One is that the Catholic church has been remiss in educating their congregations on the bible. Period. Most Catholics couldn’t tell you the differences between our bible and those of our Protestant brothers and sisters and there is zero education and bible studies iin most parishes. We are not encouraged to read the bible, (a throw back I assume to the time when the populace couldn’t be trusted to understand the Word), there are no bibles in our pews, and if you have a thirst for the word your best bet is to attend a bible study in a protestant church as I do. Why can’t we get one priest or deacon for two hours one night per week to help us understand the Word of God? I have studied the bible for many years but never the seven books your refer to that the Reformists removed. Our church drops the ball badly here.
    A last word for consideration to my Protestant brothers, look at Romans 3:28 and you will note that in the Protestant bible it says that Man is justified by faith alone, apart from works. Luther added the word “alone”. I think it quite odd that this is one of Luther’s two columns on which he called for reforms and then he changes one word to help make his point. I cannot find anyone who can give me a satisfactory answer as to why this was necessary other that to substantiate his stance. Luther also wanted to “rip the book of James from the bible” because it does not support his beliefs or can be interpreted as not supporting his beliefs. Personally I think James and Paul, once studied, agree perfectly with each other and are not at odds as some people feel.

    Thanks for a great job Kristy.

  10. Kristy says:

    Steven this whole topic was actually covered at your special request in a previous comment! And so, hats off to YOU because I learned a lot that I hadn’t previously know!

    Care to assing the grasshopper-turned-praying-mantis any other homework? :)

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