Old Testament Cannon

I read an article by a Protestant saying it wasn’t until the Council of Trent that the Catholic Church declared the deuterocanonical books cannon. Can someone point me to council documents before Trent that shows those books were considered cannon?

Try going to NewAdvent.org and doing a quick search. Excellent website with excellent resources! :thumbsup:

A cannon is a gun. The word that you want is canon.

The dispute over the Old Testament books goes back to the first century AD. See:


Church doctrine is often declared to settle disputes or in response to heresy. This occurred early on when the Arian heresy arose, and from time to time since as various men thought they were smarter than Christ’s Church. As in Acts 15, when the Church speaks the matter is settled. The fact that some do not accept the Church’s ruling is their problem, as they have chosen to be disobedient.

As to the Deuterocanon, here is an article written years ago by Mark Shea: catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/apologetics/5-myths-about-7-books.html

These should help.
The Old Testament Canon

Protestantism’s Old Testament Problem

also realize the term Deutero-/canon is an attempt to delegitimize the books. The proper term for the Old Testament canon from the Greek is the Septuagint.

Thank you everyone for your replies, and I am sorry for the misspelling.

The article I read (not sure if I should link to it or not) basically said Christians knew what the scripture was before the councils, so the councils didn’t “decide” what books belong in the Old Testament.

It also said the Council of Trent added books to the Old Testament and the Catholic Church didn’t regard them as scripture before that time. That is easily disproved by citing what Pope Damasus wrote (Decree of Pope Damasus [A.D. 382]). It includes books like Maccabees.


…the problem of protestant understanding is that it is devoid of 1500 years of Church history and it ignores even the Word of God when it does not reflect its understanding… there are several New Testament Writings which cite some of the books which protestants are bent on denying as part of the Bible’s Canon.

Further, they fail to understand and accept that those books were held by the early Church as Inspired books–yes, there has always been issues which have created some sort of dissent or confusion; but, once addressed by the Church, these issues have been put to rest.

Just read through the Epistles, you will find that error and heresy took hold right from the Inception of the Church.

Apostolic Teaching and Apostolic Succession is what keeps the errors and heresies from eroding the Body of Christ; Protestantism refuses to accept that splintering the Body of Christ cannot lead to Unity (which Christ Calls for) and Love (which Christ demands in order for man to hold Fellowship with Him):

[size=]The Christian biblical canons are the books Christians regard as divinely inspired and which constitute a Christian Bible. Which books constituted the Christian biblical canons of both the Old and New Testament was generally established by the 5th century, despite some scholarly disagreements,[1] for the ancient undivided Church (the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, before the East–West Schism). The Catholic canon was reaffirmed by the Catholic Church in the wake of the Protestant Reformation at the Council of Trent (1546), which provided “the first infallible and effectually promulgated pronouncement on the Canon” by the Roman Catholic Church.[2]

The heretical 16th century teachings caused the Church to reaffirm the Bible’s Canon–just as she has fought heresy from her infancy, the Church moves to solidify Doctrine and Practice as the Faith is challenged.

Maran atha!




…as I’ve stated before Protestantism’s default is to protest against the Church; if the Body of Christ were to be United Protestantism would have ceased–it is a scary thought… pride often keeps them from realizing the Truth:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]18 As thou hast sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for them do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20 And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me; 21 That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, as we also are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me.

(St. John 17:18-23)
…so while they purport to Believe in Christ and to hold Sacred Scriptures as the final authority, they fight tooth and nail against Believing Christ’s Word: ‘Be One in ME!’

…which, coincidentally, is the Teaching of their most celebrated Apostle:

1 I therefore, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called

, 2 With all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity. 3 Careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism. 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all. (Ephesians 4:1-6)

Maran atha!



The Council of Trent, in 1546 AD, same Canon as :
** Ecumenical Council of Florence on Feb. 4, 1442 (EnchBibl 47). See Text. And **
Seventh Ecumenical Council, II Nicaea 787 AD (See Text**) And **
Sixth Council of Carthage 419 AD, which explicitly stated this canon. This is the same
Canon that was approved by Pope Innocent I in 405 AD, and the same as

**Third Council of Carthage in 397 AD, **
**Council of Hippo in 393 AD, and the **
Council of Rome in 382 AD under the authority of Pope Damasus I.
Read More

If that were so, then why is it that there is no complete and accurate list of Books belonging in the Bible before AD 370. It was the Holy Spirit who made them Sacred Scripture from the beginning, but it was also the Holy Spirit who led the councils to determine which books belonged in the canon. Neither Jesus or the Apostles told us.

The Catholic Church did.

Yes. That is one way. Another way to prove the Catholic Church did NOT add them in at Trent it to show them Bibles before Trent that already had those books there mixed right in with the other Books of the Old Testament, not in a separate section.
See **
Old Bibles**

Pictures of Catholic German Language Bibles Before Martin Luther



JohnR77, thanks for the links and all the info. I have saved those for future reference!

I** added some links to New Testament books** :
2 John 3 John Jude and

Since Martin Luther through them out of his canon as well.

You can end your discussion with,
“Well, and we at least agree that the New Testament books that Martin Luther through out need to be put back into the Bible ?”


**](“http://www.defendingthebride.com/bb/deuterocanonical5.html”)Luther on the Canon of the New Testament
In 1522 Martin Luther wrote a German Translation of the New Testament. He wrote a preface to the epistles. However, he placed four New Testament Books, Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation in a separate index in the back of his translation. He separated them from the rest just as he had done with the Deuterocanonical books (called Apocryphal by Protestants) of the Old Testament Canon.


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