Biblical Issue!


Hello, and merry Christmas all!

I have a rather important question. You see, my younger brother has never owned a Bible before and has been asking for one for months. I was in the bookstore, and found a Revised Standard Version that included the Apocrypha, which I knew was the name for the books of the Bible that the Protestants cut out. Satisfied that it must be a Catholic Bible, I bought it wrapped it up, and went along my merry way, excited in waiting for Christmas morning.

Welllll…this morning he unwrapped it and took it out of the box it had been packaged in at the store. When he was looking through his other gifts I grabbed the Bible and began flipping through the pages. It was all looking good…til I hit a Maccabees 3. And then a Maccabees 4. I was like “whaaaaaaaat?”

So I flipped back to the Table of Contents and looked at the books included in the Dueterocanonical section. They were Tobit, Judith, Esther, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, The letter of Jeremiah, Azariah and the Three Jews, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, 1 Esdras, The Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, 3 Maccabees, 2 Esdras, and 4 Maccabees. Now unfortunately, I am not well versed in the Bible, but I know some of these are unfamiliar.

What do I do? Help! On the copyright page it says New Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition…I’m helplessly confused and downright frustrated.

Any clarifications or advice on what to do about the Bible would be magnificent! Thank you!


You can verify that you have a Catholic bible by flipping to the back of the title page and looking for an “imprimatur.” If you don’t find it, you may want to return the bible for another that is actually Catholic.


Don’t worry - it’s Catholic! If I remember correctly, it’s one of the editions that is recommended by Catholic Answers apologists.

Here’s an article by Hugh Pope, O.P. on the Apocrypha:


Bel and the Dragon…never have seen that book in a catholic bible.


That Bible is just fine. Nothing to worry about.


Don’t freak out. That Bible just happens to include the other books found in the canon of the Greek Septuagint that is not considered canonical in the Catholic Church: 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, 3-4 Maccabees. That doesn’t make your Bible ‘faulty’ - on the contrary I’d say you actually stumbled upon a gold mine here. Not too many popular Bibles choose to translate these ‘other’ books, so what’s wrong with a little extra?

I think it’s much better that you have extra books than that you have missing books. :wink:


What you have is an ecumenical Bible that can be used by Catholics AND the Orthodox. The Catholic canon is larger than the Protestant one, and the Orthodox one is slightly larger yet.

  • Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees are Deuterocanonical books of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches

  • There are additions to the Book of Esther that Protestants do not use but Catholics and the Orthodx do.

  • The Letter of Jeremiah is an addition to the last chapter of Baruch for Catholics, and a stand-alone book for the Orthodox.

  • Azariah and the Three Jews, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon are additions to the Book of Daniel that Protestants do not use, but Catholics and the Orthodox do.

  • 3 Maccabees and 1 Esdras are not used by Catholics but ARE used by the Orthodox

  • Psalm 151, 2 Esdras, 4 Maccabees, and the Prayer of Manasseh are not considered scripture, but are held by the Orthodox as worthy of some value and usually included in an appendix.

I believe that accounts for all of the books you listed. The Bible sounds totally fine, as long as you’re aware of the distinction between the three Biblical canons.


The Orthodox Study Bible states that the Orthodox Church never officially canonized a list of books of the Bible. The books mostly in question are those of the Old Testament, for which the Orthodox Church follows the Septuagint.


The Orthodox do not have an official canon. Their Council of Jerusalem in 1672 tried to establish one, but many Orthodox reject it.


Not a separate book, it’s Daniel chapter 14.


Lean something everyday…thanks.


Thanks a lot everyone :slight_smile: I very much appreciate your help! :smiley:


You have a copy that is not Catholic, but as a sort of appendix the Deuterocanonical (or second canon section) is added. There are, or will be, other things that are missing that are in the Catholic Bible. I can’t remember the place, but one Sunday reading this year was for additional verses finishing a chapter and those verses did not exist in my copy of this RSV + Apocrypha, but had no explanation of where to find them. And it is difficult to get a full picture of something like the Book of Daniel - you think you have read Daniel by reading the Old Testament book, but not realizing that you have to go to the back of the book to read Bel and the Dragon plus Azariah and the Three Jews, etc. For some reason you end up thinking those “additions” are optional and less than authoritative.

I hate returning things, but I guess that I would make an exception here, or get him another one and tuck this away…


Can you mention what book this reading is from?


I do not remember, only that the chapter it was in was shorter in my Bible than the Catholic versions.


The Bible most certainly IS a Catholic edition! She said that it even says “Revised Standard Edition - Catholic Edition” in the front. If it was the Protestant version with Apocrypha, it would NOT say Catholic Edition on it. The Catholic Edition has all the necessary additions and changes to make it Catholic. However, because it is an ecumenical translation, it places the Deuterocanonicals / Apocrypha like it does. The Good News Bible, which also has Protestant and Catholic versions, does this as well. Nevertheless, these are approved Catholic Versions. There are other threads on here, and a FAQ on the EWTN website that confirms this. Rest assured… your Bible is COMPLETELY fine for use by Catholics!


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