A non-Catholic Bible is a false Bible

There are many Catholics I’ve heard say that there is nothing wrong with a non-Catholic Bible (any Bible that doesn’t include all 73 books as inspired). Some say it is simply “incomplete” or that it’s acceptable as long as the 7 books in question are “included” (as Apocryphal) or even that it’s their business and we shouldn’t really care. Here’s why I believe all of those reasons are wrong and why as Catholics we owe it to all Christians to stand up for the truth and that truth is that any non-Catholic Bible is false.

  1. It is a fallacy to say that a non-Catholic Bible is simply “incomplete”. Incomplete assumes a position that something is not yet finished, but that is not the case when it comes to non-Catholic bibles. All of those bibles make a declaration that their bible is complete. Because they take a stand on defining truth it goes from an incomplete status to being wrong or false.

  2. It is a fallacy to say that as long as a bible includes the 7 books in question as Apocrypha it is acceptable. Again, they are defining truth since they are making a declaration that those 7 books are not inspired. As a result, being physically included is not good enough because it comes with a huge asterisk.

  3. False bibles lead to false beliefs. In general Protestants believe that justification is a one-time event. Many also believe that they are saved through faith alone and that once saved you are always saved. This belief system is destroyed via 2 Macc 12:46 where it states that praying for the dead “is a holy and wholesome thought that they might be loosed from their sins”. Since prayers are not needed for those in heaven and pointless for those in hell there must be another place. Purgatory destroys the Protestant belief system and that’s why Luther needed to eliminate 2 Macc from the bible. If we don’t condemn all non-Catholic bibles then we are enabling this false belief system.

Most knowledgeable Catholics will vehemently defend the Eucharist, the authority of the Church and the pope, Mary being ever-virgin, and many other purely Catholic beliefs. Yet, when it comes to defending the bible we become oddly politically correct and take a “let’s all just get along” type position when it comes to what constitutes the true Word of God. Why is that? We spend so much time defending each and every attack on our faith when we can make a simple initial argument…that their bible-alone faith system is based on a false bible. Many times, even in the bible, the truth is not well received and is divisive to those who disagree, but being politically correct or withholding the truth was never the answer.

I’d love to hear as many thoughts on my above reasoning as possible. Thanks.

-Ernie-

I’ve read the RSV translation for years. I have the Catholic edition but also the edition published by OUP. I think if you know what is in the true canon then I don’t see the issue. On the other hand occasionally you will see a difference between the translation in the RSV CE and the RSV OUP. The well known prophecy in Isiah is translated as virgin in the former and maiden in the later although ‘virgin’ is given as an alternate reading in the notes.

I also read the KJV for the beauty of the language knowing that the translation’s accuracy is subject to question. In other words, you have to be careful about the translation and ought to stick to Catholic ones. I don’t see a problem with the canon as long as Catholic reader knows the true one.

The reading in the Catholic NAB should have you running for KJV or RSV OUP:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign;* the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel.

Yet in the Roman Catholic Liturgy in the USA when this passage is read it is changed to “a virgin shall conceive.”

I’d reluctantly agree with you, only on the basis that absolutist positions rarely ever bear fruit, instead of saying it as their Bibles are false maybe say their Bibles are a starting point to bring them to the fullness of truth in the Catholic Church using the Catholic Bible.

Firstly I utterly reject your premise and wonder if you have ever read a significant part of a “non-Catholic” Bible. Clearly, for both Catholic and non-Catholic Bibles, some translations are better than others, some are more dignified in their language than others, some have footnotes that are unhelpful (a good reason not to have footnotes in Bibles at all), but at the end of the day the Bible is the word of God. At lot of folk are fond of saying that Christ only founded one Church. Well God only inspired one Bible.

  1. It is a fallacy to say that a non-Catholic Bible is simply “incomplete”. Incomplete assumes a position that something is not yet finished, but that is not the case when it comes to non-Catholic bibles. All of those bibles make a declaration that their bible is complete. Because they take a stand on defining truth it goes from an incomplete status to being wrong or false.

What about a non-Catholic Bible that includes the Apocrypha? These certainly exist. What if they are published in a separate accompanying volume? And I don’t agree that not presenting the entire Bible means what you have is false. There are many publications of just one of the Gospels to encourage people to read some of the Bible for instance. That is incomplete too by your reckoning.

  1. It is a fallacy to say that as long as a bible includes the 7 books in question as Apocrypha it is acceptable. Again, they are defining truth since they are making a declaration that those 7 books are not inspired. As a result, being physically included is not good enough because it comes with a huge asterisk.

The word “Apocrypha” may literally mean “false teachings” but is in reality how most people refer to these books. Many non-Catholics have historically held them in some sort of regard without affording them the same status as the rest og the Bible. The 39 Articles of the Anglican Faith for instance state that “the Church doth read [them] for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine.”

  1. False bibles lead to false beliefs. In general Protestants believe that justification is a one-time event. Many also believe that they are saved through faith alone and that once saved you are always saved. This belief system is destroyed via 2 Macc 12:46 where it states that praying for the dead “is a holy and wholesome thought that they might be loosed from their sins”. Since prayers are not needed for those in heaven and pointless for those in hell there must be another place. Purgatory destroys the Protestant belief system and that’s why Luther needed to eliminate 2 Macc from the bible. If we don’t condemn all non-Catholic bibles then we are enabling this false belief system.

False interpretation of Bibles leads to false beliefs, and the passage you cite is open to many interpretations. I can think of aspects that are missing from some Catholic Bibles by their attempts to be “more relevant”. The Jerusalem Bible for instance translates the Beatitudes as “Happy are…” rather than “Blessed are”, which as my priest has pointed out missed the point about someone who is blessed ultimately enjoying the beatific vision and reduces it to merely a positive emotional state. There are other examples. Quality of translation is therefore the most important quality of a particular Bible.

There are no false Bibles.

A problem I see with your position is it would make the Book of Gospels or the Lectionary a false Bible as both are incomplete. That is neither has all of Sacred Scripture. But neither is intended to have all of Sacred Scripture. If a person claims that a Protestant Bible contains all of Sacred Scripture then that statement is false. But that alone doesn’t make the book false.

Point three is true but especially if you adhere to Sola Scriptura, at least as popularly practiced. Practically speaking the biggest problem for a non Catholic isn’t an incomplete Bible or bad translation but vesting authority in himself. Even if a non Catholic used a Catholic Bible he isn’t going to become Catholic unless he accepts the Church’s authority.

I have to agree.

The translation of the word in Isaiah as ‘virgin’ rather than ‘young woman’ or ‘maiden’ is not a Catholic one. In the judgement of those editors, who happen to be Catholic, it is the correct one. I was just using an example.

Call

I really doubt if the Church spends much time splitting hairs on this one. The Ignatius Bible Study program has separate books for the New Testament Books. Are suggesting that these are false as well?

I’ll take you to task here. What man calls the books is immaterial. Christ, via His Church, has long ago declared them to be inspired. In my collection I have several “Protestant” bibles, but specifically seek out those which contain the Deuterocanon. IMO, nearly all of them are superior, in some way, to the “official” US Catholic bibles (NAB, NAB/RE).

False beliefs were out there, are out there, and always will be out there. Still, a Catholic needs all of the books for three reasons: 1. they are scripture and thus worth reading, 2. they reinforce revealed truth as contained in doctrine and 3. they are used in the liturgy.

I think that “misleading” would be a better term than “false”, but misleading is easily applied to each and every founding principle of Protestantism. After all, Protestantism is not founded on Christ - He founded His Church 1,500 years earlier.

Protestantism is founded on controversy relating to Christ.

I see where you’re coming from regarding the beauty of the language in the KJV, but you are reading it with the full understanding of what is in the true Bible in terms of the number of books. You are not reading the KJV thinking it is complete with 73 inspired books.

Personally, I’m a fan of the RSV mainly because of how it states that Mary is full of grace rather than being simply “favored one”. It just lends itself to potential interpretation issues by those opposed to Catholic teaching.

Thanks for your thoughts!

-Ernie-

I call. What do you have?

Hello,

I’ll have to admit that I’m not at all knowledgeable in the books you mentioned as my topic is specific to the Christian Bible. But, Joeybaggz looks to be someone that would be interested in having this discussion. Could I respectfully ask you both to start a new thread on this topic? I ask so that we don’t get side tracked on this thread, but so that we all can follow what could be a very interesting discussion!!

Thanks!

-Ernie-

I ended up buying a NIV New Testament to carry in my purse because it’s so much easier to read - the Catholic version is pretty clunky. For poetry, I like the KJV on occasion.

Protestant New Testaments almost always have the Psalms & Proverbs - the Catholic one doesn’t.

I hear what you’re saying, but it seems like nowadays Catholics are so focused on ecumenicalism that the truth takes a back seat. The fact is we all know the Bible was changed. During the Council of Trent it was treated with such disdain as to call those that opposed the 73 inspired book Bible anathema. Yet today, we need to walk on egg shells as it relates to this topic because it causes division.

I just think there is a way to respectfully yet forcefully proclaim the truth. May I ask you what Bible you are quoting from? Are you aware that the true Bible contains 73 inspired books? Such questions and others asked in a charitable way will enable you to have a fruitful conversation based on truth. I’m certainly not advocating that we go up to all Protestants and yell, “your Bible is false!”. But, we need to acknowledge that it is so we can have truthful dialogue.

I just don’t think we should ever be afraid to proclaim the truth. The manner in which the message is conveyed is definitely a worthy discussion.

Thanks for your thoughts!

-Ernie-

The KJV, Douay-Rheims, NAB,"What I wish my Christian Friends Knew about Judaism by Robert Schoen, The Kama Sutra, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and an autographed copy of “The Best of Calvin and Hobbes.”:shrug::extrahappy::doh2:

I’m assuming this is seven “books” stud. :wink:

Shalom

Have a look at the 1941 Confraternity New Testament. 100% Catholic. Solid, confidence inspiring introductions and foot notes. Language modern enough to be understood, but reverent enough that you know you are not reading a dime novel.

Dr. David Anders, Protestant convert (host of EWTN radio show “Called to Communion”) states that at least one theological opinion is that it is impossible to know the mind of Saint Paul from the NIV translation. I have one, though, for reference.

Ernie; Actually my response to Tsuzuki was just a very small effort to inject a little humor into the thread. A discussion between myself and Tsuzuki and others wouldn’t be possible because I have not read anything but the Bible, much of the Talmud, a bit of the Qu’ran, and none of the (I guess) Eastern mystical works cited in Tsuzuki’s post.

Without hijacking the thread, I will comment though. First, there is no such thing as a protestant Bible. The Bible was established by the Vatican in response to the work of St. Jerome in approx. 400 A.D. It is composed of the Tanakh (the Old Testament), and the New Testament. There may be “protestant” interpretations but outside of Luther’s using the Hebrew instead of the Greek translation, the Bible is a Catholic library of works.

Jesus’ words in the Gospels were generally spoken to the twelve apostles, not necessarily the crowds. Simple Galilean fishermen and tradesmen, they spoke ancient Aramaic which doesn’t necessarily translate perfectly to Greek or Hebrew. Then add the translations to Latin and the other Western languages and you can see some of the problems. (Not to mention Russian, Chinese, Swahili, etc. etc.) Search long enough in ancient translations and I doubt it would be difficult to find points of controversy with modern translations.

As to the question of false, there is something I learned from a sermon I heard a long time ago that fits. A priest was talking about the Bible and he said something very interesting. He said, if you are going to read the words, you must read the punctuation. It is very important. He went on to support those words by quoting the story of Jesus and the Rich man. The rich man approaches Jesus and asks, What must I do to have eternal life? Christ makes a point, and then proceeds to say, “Obey the Commandments.” PERIOD. The young rich man questions, which commandments. I thought it strange at the time until I realized a faithful Jewish man at Jesus’s time would observe the 613 in the Torah. Jesus then enumerates the five or six social commandments of the Ten from Sinai. The priest than asked, if the young rich man said, Thanks Rabbi, and turned to walk away, would Jesus run after him saying, “wait, come back, I have more to say, and I have this great zinger about a camel and an eye of a needle.” No, Obey the Commandments, that was the Lord’s answer.

Jesus is asked, what must I do to be saved and go to heaven. His answer, obey the commandments. Period, Simple. If anyone, Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Hindu, Muslim, or any other religion obeys the commandments (in whatever form they recognize and understand them) they will attain eternal life.

As to “just getting along”, in light of my above belief in the universality of salvation by the simple obeying of the Ten Commandments, as spoken by Jesus Himself, everything else is a discussion. I am Catholic, I love this church and would not go anywhere else, and I feel sorry that more people not only don’t avail themselves of the wonders of the church, but are leaving it in droves. And that there is so much antagonism. But to debating the validity of one point over another, I think I’ll let God do the judging. As they say in the military, “That’s way above my pay grade.”

I write an episodic series of inspiration and faith oriented stories. The above discussion can be found (if you wish) by going to TresAngeli.com, click on Tony’s Town, scroll through the current episode, and click on an archived episode entitled “Amish Race Car Drivers.” It fleshes out the idea of salvation through the obedience to God’s Ten Commandments in a more detail, and somewhat everyday casual, way.

Shalom

I’m no fan of ecumenism that gives the impression we are lukewarm about the truth of the Catholic Faith. You certainly can and should point out the inferiority of a Bible with less than 73 books. In fact I think it is great to start out by challenging Protestantism on their canon because they don’t have a good justification. And yet they largely base their faith on that Bible.

The fact the Martin Luther accepted the Pharisaic canon (see Matthew 23) as true is surreal.

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