Differences between Catholic Bible and Protestant versions?

So, I know this is probably a newbie question… but, hey… I just started the RCIA to become a Catholic :slight_smile: I was told there are some missing books in the Old Testament and some other differences. What are they? I’m pretty sure the bibles I have are Protestant translations… including the NIV, KJV and the Apologetics Study Bible which uses the HCSB.

I believe my brother has a New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha… is that one good?

I’m new to Christianity as well as the bible… even newer to Catholicism and was unaware there were even differences between the bibles until recently.

I like the Apologetics Study Bible because of the numerous apologetic articles and other stuff within it. Is it okay to use that one in addition to just being aware of what’s different and getting a copy of the Apocrypha (I’m not very clear on what that is, either). I don’t know if there would be a different slant in that study bible if it is geared towards different views… I’ve already noticed some criticism of Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses in it. I’ve found some things I disagree with in there, but I like getting different views on topics.

Thanks for any help here :slight_smile:


*Hi, Justin!

Welcome Home!

The major differences between the Catholic and non-Catholic Bibles are these:

  • The Catholic Bible contain the 73 Books of the original Canon which the early Church (4th century) included as part of the Bible.
  • Only non-Catholic Bibles call Yahweh God, Jehovah.
  • Some inclusive Bibles, both Catholic and non-Catholic, have adopted the term “Lord” or “LORD” instead of Yahweh as the name of God.
  • Extra Biblical, Apocrypha, and Deuterocanonicals are terms mainly used by non-Catholics in reference to the Books which they do not include as part of their Canon (I suspect that they are used in a derogatory manner to imply that Catholics added to the Canon of the Bible)
  • There are portions of some of the Old Testament Books (Daniel, Ruth…) that are missing from the non-Catholic Bible. (…these missing portions and the difference of the seven books is due to the source type from where the Catholics and non-Catholics adopted the list of the Old Testament Canon; the Catholic Canon is translated from the text/scrolls used by the Apostles and the early Church and the non-Catholic from that which the non-Christian Jews used.)

There will also be discrepancies due to the various translations as they reflect nuances introduced by their creators (some of these translations murder the original contents while some seek close adherence to the text or the meaning… still others may navegate completely off chart as they attempt to popularize and modernize the usage).

Maran atha!


Thank you for the info. I’ll go out and get me a Catholic Bible then. Luckily, there’s a Catholic book store right across the street :smiley:

You might like the RSV -CE (RSV Catholic edition) - it is based upon the KJV text which you are familiar with.



One of the differences between the two versions is that a Catholic Bible is approved by the Catholic Church, meaning that they have been carefully reviewed to ensure that they do not bring an inaccurate or misleading transmission of the Sacred text to the Catholic reader, while a Protestant version has not been through the same procedure by the Catholic Church. Even when you have a translation of the deuterocanonicals (Protestants call them apocrypha), the translation itself in a Protestant version has not been approved by the Catholic Church, whereas in a Catholic version it has. Not that the Protestant version that you are reading is bad or poses a threat, but the Catholic version has that added insurance of Apostolic guidance that is fully in the Catholic Church.

I won’t by any means say that Protestant translations are bad, because there are some good translations and some terribly biased and misleading ones too, but with a Catholic Bible you are protected from being misled which is nice especially if you are fairly new to the Faith.

I hope that helps.:thumbsup:

Thank you, that does help. That reassurance of not being misled is important to me.

And Brian, I will definitely check out the RSV-CE. I am fond of the KJV… though at times I like to double check on some passages in more contemporary translations to make sure I comprehend it correctly. Are there any parallel bibles showing two different translations side-by-side in Catholic Editions? I guess I will find that out when I go to the book store :slight_smile:


If you are familiar with the KJV and like is style, may I suggest the Douay-Rheims over the RSV-CE or RSV-2CE. You’ll pick up on the Douay-Rheims pretty well. Although I wouldn’t rule out the RSV-CE, as it would be a benefit to you if you like to do comparative analysis with a modern version. The D-R isn’t more accurate that the RSV-CE and the RSV-CE isn’t more accurate that the D-R. I feel that you may benefit from both, but the D-R may benefit you the most

Actually parts of Daniel and Esther are consider Apocrypha by non-Catholics. Ruth is very short book with I think 5 Chapters

This article should help you understand the difference between Catholic and Protestant Bibles. Good luck on your journey.

God bless,

There are some very good answers!

As for the Catholic Bible, it might be helpful for you to know this, though may be a little too early for me to throw this at you, but here is my analysis…

The Douay Rheims version was orignally translated in the late 1500’s to the early 1600’s. It was translated from the Latin Vulgate, which is the Bible in Latin that is a translation from the original languages (Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew) by the great Scripture scholar St. Jerome. This is an excellent translation that you can not go wrong with. The only drawbrack is that the English is a little outdated, but that’s it.

The NAB version is a translation from the original languages (Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew). It is easy to read, but the great drawback is the footnotes and introductions that are highly liberal and are not Catholic tradition friendly. There are some transmissions that I would have done differently, but for some reason they did not come to me for my opinion.:smiley: But the Sacred text itself has been approved by the Catholic Church which is good enough for me.

The RSV-CE version is a translation from the original languages, and is the choice of many great Catholic scholars. It is very easy to read. I have always liked the variant apparatus that gives you variant readings from the ancient Bible manuscripts. It takes advantage of using the Dead Sea Scrolls a lot, which is a good thing!

NJB is not one that I have used much at all, so I really can’t give you an opinion.

Here are some translations that I have on my site, I have Catholic versions as well as a couple of Protestant translations such as the NETS (New English Translation of the Septuagint) and a translation of the Aramaic Peshitta.

Not all Apocrypha collections are the same. In addition to the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, 1st Maccabees, and 2nd Maccabees, and the additions to the books of Daniel and Esther which are accepted as part of the canon of the Bible by the Catholic Church but rejected by Protestants, the Apocrypha of this Bible may also include books that are not accepted as part of the canon of the Bible by the Catholic Church nor by Protestants, such as: 1st Esdras, 2nd Esdras, Prayer of Manasseh, 3rd Maccabees, 4th Maccabees, and Psalm 151.

Hi Leapling,

Here are the books and passages that are in Catholic Bibles and not in Protestant Bibles (They were taken out by Protestants)
*]Additions to Esther (Vulgate Esther 10:4-16:24, but see also Esther in the NAB)
*]Sirach, also called Ben Sira or Ecclesiasticus
*]Baruch, including the Letter of Jeremiah (Additions to Jeremiah in the Septuagint[5])
*]Additions to Daniel:[LIST]
*]Song of the Three Children (Vulgate Daniel 3:24-90)
*]Story of Susanna (Vulgate Daniel 13, Septuagint prologue)
*]The Idol Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14, Septuagint epilogue)[/LIST]
*]1 Maccabees
*]2 Maccabees[/LIST]This list was taken from Wikepedia and it is correct. However, articles and comments on Wikepedia are not all of equal value an are not necessarily Catholic teaching.

As for the Apologetics Study Bible, I liked it at first too, when I just started browsing it. But then I came across the anti-Catholic commentary in the usual places (Luke 1, Matthew 16, etc, etc) so I got turned off to it real quick after that. Sorry – for me, one worm ruins the whole apple.

You may want to keep it around for the translation and to know what the foes of the Church are thinking, but I would jettison it as a reliable primary reference.

Hi, tobinator!

Thanks for the clafication… :o

I’m awful when it comes to names… Ruth just happened to pop up and I went with it.

Maran atha!


no problem

The Book of Ruth is considered as canonical by both Catholics and Protestants, so there is no contention on this one. Ruth has four chapters though, not five.

…it was my mistake, not tobinator’s–the name jumped at me and I posted it without verifying with the Bible.

Maran atha!


Thanks for the heads-up on that one :slight_smile: I have been pretty good about noticing things I don’t agree with in it… I’ll check out what you’re referring to there.

A Wiki article for you:


Welcome to the Faith, and to CAF!

You’ve already had a bunch of good answers!

I’ll just add that there are three Catholic commentaries you can use. There is the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, which is a work in progress, coming out one slim paperback volume at a time. They have done most of the NT.

The Navarre Bible is complete, in several heavy hardback volumes.

Both the above use the RSV-CE. If you prefer the Douay-Rheims, there is the Haydock commentary, which you can find online, so it’s free.

Keep in mind, with the DR, that the names of some of the books are different; like Osee instead of Hosea. Plus the numbers of the Psalms differ a bit, too. The Table of Contents from the link above lists both, with the modern one in brackets.

Last but not least, there is a great online study here.

Welcome home!


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