How was the Bible assembled?


I am in a dialogue (via e-mail) with a non-denominational Christian friend. She is telling me that the seven books found in the Catholic Bible (not found in the non-Catholic versions) “are not worthy to be considered scripture (because of the late date they were authored, and/or their lack of congruity with the rest of scripture.”

Well, I have asked her where the mistakes are in any of those seven books. Also I have said that Jesus and his apostles were aware of those books during the time of the gospel.

Where do I find a history of how the Bible was “put together?”

I would like to understand where these notions come from and at the same time understand more of how the Bible was assembled.

It would help if I was able to back up my assertions with non-catholic sources as I think that she would consider Catholic sources to be biased.

Thank you in advance.


The Old Testament existed in the Torah [Jewish Scriptures]. They were inherited by the Early Church.

The New Testament came together piecemeal. It started out as a collection of writings. The earliest of which were probably St Paul who wrote within 37-years of the Crucifiction. There were more texts written but the Church under the guidence of the Holy Spirit, discounted all gospels except those known as the Canon [Matthew, Mark, Luke and John]. John was the last to write his. His is a more philosphical account which reflects his lifetime he spent reflecting before he wrote it. Mark on the other hand is a gospel written sooner to the crucifiction and shows one written in a hurry.

The letter of 1 Peter is credited as written by him. 2 Peter was believed not to be. Linus was Peter’s Scribe. [he was also commissioned by Peter and was later to become Pope St Linus. He may be the author of 2 Peter.

Paul’s letters were obviously his writings to the early communities of Christ’s Church. The same for the other letters [John,. James, Jude etc]. These were therefore not written as 'accounts of the Lord, but rather, to encourage the early Church. Had they been around today, they would no doubt have sent an email!]

Some writings were also called ‘Gospels’ but were either too long after the Apostles to be regarded as ahthentic, some were written for catechitcal purposes [and therefore not intended to be used as Gospels]. The text [sometimes called the Gospel of St Thomas] is an example of this. These 'documents were excluded from the New Testament as the Church only included those which were known to be authentic.

In this way, we KNOW that the contents of the New Testament are true.

Some Lutherans do not accept [or at least question] the Letter of James. There ar theological reasons for this. Luther excluded 7-books from his Bible which are found in the Catholic Bible. Some say it was because those books did not support his theories, so he kept them out to support his arguements. I do not know if that is the case. Some Lutheran Churches are now including the ‘missing’ books, as it is felt the Bible is imcomplete without them.

Luther was a Catholic Priest. He did not intend to start a ‘new’ church. He was an Augustinian Friar [the oldest surviving Religious Order in the Catholic Church]. If you ever get the chance to go to Clare Priory in Suffolk, it is wonderful to walk among the Cloisters in the dead of night [not at all spooky, very peaceful], over 1000-years old]…But, I digress. Luther after he was expelled for heresy, to prevent him starving to death [as the new Prods were not willing to support him], he was fed, clothed and sheltered by the Augustinians! I have no idea if he kept his vows of poverty and chastity.

His Bible also excluded books from the Old Testamant.

The oldest surviving parchments on which the New Testament was written [which have survived] are locked away in the Vatican.

Hoe that helps. Also go on line and see Catholic Encyclopedias.


The Torah is the first five books of the Jewish Scriptures.
The divisions are the Law (Torah), the Prophets, and the Writings.
It was a thousands years from the date of first writing in the Jewish scriptures until the last, shortly before Christ was born.

Luther did not exclude 7 OT books and parts of Esther and Daniel from his Bible, but he excluded them from the canon. He also excluded Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation from the NT canon. He accomplished this by separating them – putting them in an appendix at the end of his German translation of the Bible and leaving the pages unnumbered to indicate that they were not to be regarded as scripture along with the books he considered canonical. He wrote prefaces to the NT books stating his reasons for excluding them. He said others could accept them if they wished, but he would not. His followers later restored the NT books to their rightful place, but let his rejection of the OT writings stand. That’s why Protestant Bibles have only 66 books, and the Catholic Bible has 73 plus additional parts of Esther and Daniel.

Luther may not have intended to start a new church in the beginning, but his later actions prove otherwise. He invented several new doctrines completely antithetical to the Catholic Church on which he based his new religion: Protestantism. Among them are Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone), Sola Fide (Faith Alone) and the “invisible church of all believers.” He also initiated Once Saved Always Saved.

Peace be to all who post at Catholic Answers.


Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church
by The **Right Rev. HENRY G. GRAHAM **

This book has been one of the best selling books since it first published in 1911. The above link has each chapter of the book online.


You’ll find a list here


great thank you :thumbsup:


Thank you, everyone, for your help.

Another friend also showed me some information by Mark Shea that turned out to be helpful. At least for me.

Talks with my friend have stalled for now. She doesn’t appear to want to dialogue anymore. She’s a good person. Talks about religion can be very stressful. Please pray for us. Thanks.

The Reformation Attack on the BibleThe deuterocanonicals teach Catholic doctrine, and for this reason they were taken out of the Old Testament by Martin Luther and placed in an appendix without page numbers. Luther also took out four New Testament books—Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation—and put them in an appendix without page numbers as well. These were later put back into the New Testament by other Protestants, but the seven books of the Old Testament were left out. Following Luther they had been left in an appendix to the Old Testament, and eventually the appendix itself was dropped (in 1827 by the British and Foreign Bible Society), To justify this rejection of books that had been in the Bible since before the days of the apostles (for the Septuagint was written before the apostles), the early Protestants cited as their chief reason the fact that the Jews of their day did not honor these books, going back to the council of Javneh in A.D. 90. But the Reformers were aware of only European Jews; they were unaware of African Jews, such as the Ethiopian Jews who accept the deuterocanonicals as part of their Bible. They glossed over the references to the deuterocanonicals in the New Testament, as well as its use of the Septuagint. They ignored the fact that there were multiple canons of the Jewish Scriptures circulating in first century, appealing to a post-Christian Jewish council which has no authority over Christians as evidence that “The Jews don’t except these books.” In short, they went to enormous lengths to rationalize their rejection of these books of the Bible
The group of Jews which met at Javneh became the dominant group for later Jewish history, and today most Jews accept the canon of Javneh. However, some Jews, such as those from Ethiopia, follow a different canon which is identical to the Catholic Old Testament and includes the seven deuterocanonical books (cf. Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 6, p. 1147).
Needless to say, the Church disregarded the results of Javneh. First, a Jewish council after the time of Christ is not binding on the followers of Christ. Second, Javneh rejected precisely those documents which are foundational for the Christian Church—the Gospels and the other documents of the New Testament. Third, by rejecting the deuterocanonicals, Javneh rejected books which had been used by Jesus and the apostles and which were in the edition of the Bible that the apostles used in everyday life—the Septuagint
English Bible History

Hebrews 11 encourages us to emulate the heroes of the Old Testament and in the Old Testament “Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life” (Heb. 11:35). one thing you can never find—anywhere in the Protestant Old Testament, from front to back, from Genesis to Malachi—is someone being tortured and refusing to accept release for the sake of a better resurrection. If you want to find that, you have to look in the Catholic Old Testament—in the deuterocanonical books Martin Luther cut out of his Bible.The story is found in 2 Maccabees 7, where we read that during the Maccabean persecution
Protestant Bible. These “apocryphal” or “deuterocanonical” books are Baruch, Ecclesiasticus (also known as Sirach), Judith, I and II Maccabees, Tobit, Wisdom of Solomon, and additional chapters of Daniel and Esther. The most religiously important of the books are Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon, while the most historically important is 1st Maccabees.

The early church was founded by Hellenistic Jews; naturally, they used the Septuagint. There are passages in the gospels and epistles where Jesus and Paul quote from the Septuagint: 300 of 350 quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament are from the Septuagint. So while the some Jews may have settled on the Palestinian canon by the early first century, the Christian church did not


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Would it help to show a comparative verse between Tobit and Matthew?

Tobit 4:16: See thou never do to another what thou wouldst hate to have done to thee by another.

Matthew 7:12 ”Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets."

Tobit 4:16. See thou never do to another what thou wouldst hate to have done to thee by another. (Douay-Rheims Bible)

Matthew 7:12. All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them. For this is the law and the prophets. (Douay-Rheims Bible)

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