73 Book Bible...How Important?

Hi everyone,

I wanted to start this thread for two reasons: 1) I believe the answer to my question is “vitally important” and I’d like to share why, 2) It seems like Catholics don’t seem to think what Bible is used (66 or 73 book) is a big deal and I want to know why.

My reason for believing a 73 book Bible is “vitally important” is for the following reasons:

  1. Council of Trent formally reaffirmed that a 73 book Bible is to be used and anyone who disagrees is anathema.

  2. The 7 books that are not found in the Protestant Bible contain clear language as to the “holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead” (2 Macc 12:46). Someplace other than heaven or hell (Purgatory) is the only logical interpretation of why to pray for the dead. To not be able to use this verse to make our case for Purgatory (and salvation as a whole) is like asking a boxer to fight with one arm (can still win, but man is it going to be harder!)

  3. There are translation issues between the 66 and 73 books Bibles. The clearest one is Luke 1:28 where the 66 book Bible declares Mary to be “highly favored” while the 73 book Bible says that Mary is “full of grace”. Huge difference in that “highly favored” doesn’t connote anything extraordinarily unique as many could be “highly favored”. Rather, “full of grace” is to connote something where you can’t have more, which is key to explaining the uniqueness to Mary of being immaculately conceived. It’s a big deal.

  4. Because Catholics are so wishy-washy on this topic it allows some Protestants to spread the lie that it was the Catholic Church that added 7 books to the Bible. Many believe that still today and I wonder how many fallen-away Catholics left the Church, in part, because of this misunderstanding.

I’ve heard from my pastor, others on this board, and Catholics that I know who just don’t see which Bible we use as being a big deal. I’ve even heard of a 66 book Bible on the shelves of a Catholic Church (I haven’t checked at my church yet). Why is this the case? Wouldn’t you think that a person was a heretic if they started preaching that the “real” Bible only had 64 or 77 books? If so, then why are we as Catholics so casual when it comes to the 66 book Bible?

Anything other than a 73 book Bible has been declared as anathema so why is it that many Catholics don’t believe they have to obey this? Are there other beliefs that have been declared anathema that we can likewise disobey?

I know it’s been like 500 years, but they changed the Bible!! Why aren’t we as Catholics driving this point harder when it comes to defending and promoting our faith? It’s like we’ve given up that point and rather spend most of our time in a “my interpretation is better than yours” type debates and arguments…each using different Bibles to make our point!

As you can probably tell this drives me crazy!! So, please help me understand. Thanks.


See the various articles on the Main Catholic Answers site on the matter.

Catholics are not properly educated about their faith and are afraid of it, from my own experience.

Unless we know what every Catholic thinks, it’s not good to put many or most in the same category, outside of our own experience. Here’s a good reference:



This can hardly be attributed to the number of books!? Most notably, the New American Bible (a *73 Book Bible *produced by the Catholic Church) renders the verse:

And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

:twocents: If you mean “The importance of a Catholic Bible over non-Catholic ones”, just say so. (But, NB, see parentheses above) :twocents:


Crucially important, as those seven books are God’s revealed truth - if not in historical accuracy as some demand - in principle, and as a clear and precise demonstration of how God acts and the natures and virtues of the people He uses to accomplish His will.


2 Timothy 3:16-17

[16]** All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching**, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work

The Bible is GOD"S WORDS spoken through Inspired Men, and EVERY book has Lessons for for possible salvatiomn:thumbsup:



Thank you for the link, Ed. I’m not really looking for why there are more books as I’ve already done that research. I’m more looking for why Catholics don’t argue the use of the 73 book Bible more. Good point on the use of many and most so let me rephrase then by saying “some”. Thanks.


Man, thanks for that information. I must admit that I didn’t know that there was a Catholic Bible that translated that verse to “highly favored” rather than “full of grace”. It’s a bit frustrating to me knowing what we as Catholics believe when it comes to this verse and yet we translate it in a way that causes potential confusion or even an opening for attack. Foolish marketing in my opinion, but I digress!! Haha!

But, I believe my other points are still valid…I think…LOL

Thanks again.


From seeing your other posts I respect your opinion, Patrick, so why do you think some Catholics seem to “give-away” this huge advantage we as Catholics have? What I mean is that to me, a disagreement on what constitutes the Word of God is a much bigger issue than having an interpretation argument on a particular verse and yet the debates I see focus more on particular beliefs and verses. If a group is not using the complete Word of God that would seem to undermine and disqualify them from claiming to have truths in other areas as well. So why don’t I see this used as a more focused strategy in every conversation with non-Catholics? Thanks for your thoughts.


IMO, the current NAB/BABRE are the weakest English language Catholic bibles ever printed. They tilt way too far toward ecumenism, and risk obscuring the original meaning of the scriptures.

Now, as to Luke 1:28, the word used in the Greek is kecharitōmenē (“Graced to the full” “Filled with grace”). That word appears exactly one time in the entire Greek language, and only in Luke’s Gospel. Clearly, it is a superlative form of being graced.

To demonstrate to non-Catholics, a good bible to use is the Oxford Press (Not a Catholic source) Revised English Bible or its Study Version. They translate Luke 1:28 as “Greetings, most favored one. The Lord is with you.”, which is a superlative form of being favored.

As to the canards and red herrings regarding the Deutrocanonical books, they were in use by faithful Jews before Christ! They are in the Septuagint version, from which the majority of New Testament quotations come from. The heresy of the reformation demanded a response from the Church, and Trent declared those books for all time to be inspired and part of the canon. They cannot have been “added” if they pre-existed the Incarnation.

It depends.

You need to look at the purpose for which the bible is being used. For a bible study, for liturgical use, for catechism, it is indeed vital that we be sure we are using a Catholic approved bible. (I won’t get into “which translation” because they are all approved and many don’t translate certain words and phrases the same way)

However . . .

If I pray the psalms in my New Jerusalem Bible or in a King James Bible, will God only here my prayer out of the New Jerusalem? I think not.

If I wish to engage in an apologetic discussion on some point of theology with a protestant and can make my point by reference to the KJV, doesn’t that make more sense?

If I am attempting to evangelize (not catechize) non-Catholics, or Catholics who have chosen to attend a different denomination’s services, and I can demonstrate my points by using the NIV, with which they are more familiar, wouldn’t that be more persuasive?

It depends. Context matters.

Ernie, you and I had a discussion on Alpha and this one of the reasons why the reference to the NIV in those materials is not problematic. It is an evangelization program, not a catechetical program.

Just as an aside, you do realize when that phrase was written by Paul, most of the New Testament scripture hadn’t yet been written right? Most bible scholars agree that Paul was referring to the Old Testament here, and we aren’t even sure if he meant only the Hebrew old Testament or those books also written in Greek (the Deuterocononical books.)

Thank you for that explanation. I read the article about Luke 1:28 as well, which was helpful. I guess since I’m looking for any truthful advantage in defending and promoting the Catholic faith I just wish Catholic translations would align with Catholic teaching. I know that’s not the first thing on the minds of translators, but one can still wish!! Haha!

Thank you for your thoughts, Deacon. I understand where you’re coming from. But, as you probably could tell in our discussions regarding Alpha I’m a black and white kind of guy especially when it comes to my faith. There isn’t a 99% truth…only 100% especially when evangelizing. With this in mind there is only one true Bible. To use the KJV or NIV version is to lend credence to them. To lend credence to them lessens our ability to question their validity. Anything other than a 73 book Bible is anathema and we should not even give the appearance that we condone a Bible with anything less than 73 books especially when evangelizing. And we can do this in a charitable and respectful yet effective way.

We need to be unafraid of speaking the truth and the truth is there is only one true Bible. In my mind we’re doing an injustice by knowing the truth and not speaking it. We vigorously oppose those that say the Eucharist is a symbol, that Jesus didn’t mean Peter was the Rock, or that Mary wasn’t ever-virgin, but even though we know they use a 66 book Bible we don’t make a big deal about this. A different version of the Word of God and we say nothing. Seems odd to me. And because we don’t make a big deal out of it some start to even use a Bible that has been anathematized themselves. And then what else that has been anathematized will we start to think is not that big of a deal? Slippery slope in my mind.

Thank you for the discussion.


Well, in the minds of modern translators, anyway. The King James Version is actually quite good for defending Catholic doctrine. The Douay-Rheims, Knox, Douay-Confraternity bibles, etc. are also good. But, keep in mind that bible alone grants license to the believer to privately interpret - and the ego is then certain that it is correct. Bible-based Christianity rejects the Church and her authority and interpretation out of hand, so no luck there. Far better to talk little and pray much for their conversion.

Thank you for pointing out those Bible versions. I’m not really looking for a particular Bible to prove Catholic doctrine because then a non-Catholic will use a different one to prove their doctrine. And then the frustrating back and forth exchange occurs.

This is going to sound strange, but I’m trying to eliminate Bible interpretations from the initial dialogue in defending the faith. Don’t misunderstand that though. I’m not afraid to have a Bible based discussion and go toe to toe with the Church’s interpretation of Scripture versus their private interpretation, but it has been my experience that they dig their heels in so hard that they just won’t listen.

If I can call into question the version of the book they base their entire faith system on then everything they stand for comes crashing down. It’s kind of like why should I worry about chopping down individual branches from a dead tree when I can chop down the trunk and bring the whole thing down? Alot less time and way more effective.

And I hear you on the praying part, but the talk little part doesn’t work so well for me!! LOL!


You do realize that the entire “book they base their faith system on” is, with the exception of not including 7 fairly minor books and small parts of two other books, 99.5% exactly the same as the book WE base our entire faith system on, don’t you? And in fact, many protestant bibles append the 7 deuterocanonicals to the end.

THANKS Emie07:)

PERSONALLY, I don’t think any Catechist, or any person called to share our Catholic Faith can afford to omit EITHER the 73 books or wrong interpretations.

We’re dealing with GOD"S Divinely Inspired WORDS & Teachings here and SOULS are the stake.

Girding and underlying ALL Faith -sharing is the issue of TRUTH, which I have time & time again insisted can only be SINGULAR be defined issue. NOTHING else is a logical or a MORAL possibility.

If sticking to GOD"S TRUTHS gets Us branded as “rigid” & inflexible; so be it:shrug:

Matthew 5:12
Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.

John 15:20
Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also

Either GOD is permitted to be in charge or He’s not:eek:

We live in an age of “MEISM”, and we must not bow to it; as it is a FALSE god.

So with Charity AND clarity [FACTS], we must continue to fight the “GOOD” fight

GOD Bless you and thanks for reading my post!


:smiley: Have you been READING MY POST?

And by FAR, I am not the only informed; Catholic Faith sharing person on the CAF

Thanks for sharing, and WELCOME to CAF


Patrick [PJM]

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