Other Books of the Bible

Coming from a baptist formation and the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, would someone please explain more fully the reason the Catholic Bible holds more books than the KJV? Is it solely due to the Reformation?

It’s a complex issue, but the Deutrocanonical books weren’t added on. They are simply books that were considered inspired until a Jewish council–held after Christianity appeared–decided that those certain books were not part of the OT canon–because of when they were written more than because of what they contained. However, since the Apostles and Jesus himself quoted from those books, the Church retained them, going with a different criteria and with a different translation–the Greek translation over the limited Hebrew version. The reformers rejected the fuller Greek version and accepted the shorter Hebrew version because the Greek supported Church teachings that they had rejected. I may have some of the particulars wrong, so those who know more be kind :wink: but I believe that’s the basic history of it. :slight_smile:

I think this is a good explanation but I would also add that if these Old Testament books that He quoted from were good enough for Jesus they are certainly good enough for me.:thumbsup:

I found this YouTube video (9 mins) to have the simplest but thorough explanation.


Welcome home!

i concur with the link provided for the youtube video explaining the difference of the catholic bible and the protestant bible. it is a good concise presentation of the reasons behind the difference of the catholic vs. protestant bibles.

the catholic church is the vessel of truth. it has never added nor subtracted anything from what jesus christ himself has handed down and taught his apostles. the faith that is taught by the catholic church is the surest way to salvation for it has preserved everything and added nothing to what has been handed down. whereas, the other religions allow divorce, the catholic church does not; not because it does not want to grant it but because it has no power to grant it.

the church, with her bishops united in the magisterium of the holy father, preserves this unity and fidelity to the teaching of jesus.

the bible is a product of the catholic church. the catholic church is not the product of the bible. it is by the singular authority of the catholic church that you bible.

Martin Luther was the first reformer to take out the deutrocanonical books in the bible.

As noted, the differences in the overall length of the Bible result from different collections of books in the Old Testament. Both Catholic and Protestant scholars have reasons for supporting one or the other Old Testament canon. I encourage you to look at both sides.

What I find much more significant is the fact that Catholics and, until recently, all Protestants used the same New Testament canon. Why? How did that come about?

I wonder if Catholics and Protestants will always use the same New Testament canon. Some of the mainline Protestant churches are cautiously starting to incorporate new gospels and epistles, mixed in with the traditional 27. They might not all add the same new gospels and epistles.

The difference between the Catholic and Protestant Old Testament canons is only of limited theological significance. For the New Testament the difference it makes by adding the identified new gospels and epistles would have a huge theological significance. I don’t foresee Baptists adding new books to the traditional 27, but (so far a minority) of liberal, mainline Protestants are.

Yes, it was due to the Reformation.

The Bibles were all the same and no distinction between protestant and catholic bibles prior to the Reformation.

The original KJV had the same list of books in the OT as Catholic bibles today.

It was after the Reformation that there began a separation of Catholic and Protestant bibles.

More here:

Removal of DC books:




British and Foreign Bible Society House,
London, February 10, 1826.

We beg leave to inform you that important reasons have induced the Committee of the British and Foreign Bible society to adopt the subjoined Resolution:—
“That the funds of the Society be applied to the printing and circulation of the Canonical Books of Scripture, to the exclusion of those books, and parts of books, which are usually termed Apocryphal; and that all copies printed, either entirely or in part, at the expense of the Society; and whether such copies consist of the whole or of any one or more of such books, be invariably issued bound; no other books whatever being bound with them: and further, that all money grants to societies or individuals be made only in conformity with the principle of this regulation.”
While the Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society have adopted this Regulation for their own guidance, nothing is further from their intention than to interfere, in the smallest degree, with the religious views and opinions, or with the rites and usages, of foreign churches; —they respect that liberty of conscience in others which they themselves so happily enjoy.
The Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society embrace this opportunity of assuring all their continental brethren of their most unfeigned Christian regard, and of their anxious desire to contribute as liberally as possible to the Foreign Societies consistently with their present Resolution; and they shall deem it their privilege and happiness invariably to maintain that pleasing bond of harmony and union which has so long and so beneficially subsisted between the British and Foreign Bible Society and the kindred Institutions of the Continent.

We remain, respectfully,
Your obedient humble Servants,
(Signed) A. BRANDRAM,
C.F.A. STEINKOPFF [Secretaries]

The Jewish “council” was actually more of a years-long, massive long distance power struggle for the future of Judaism, mostly between the Jewish rabbis of Alexandria, the Jewish rabbis of the Babylonian tradition, and some Jewish rabbis who set up shop in a town called Jamnia that was away from Jerusalem but still inside Israel. There was never any actual meeting and voting, as far as anyone could tell.

The Alexandrian rabbis lived closer to Jerusalem and had an Egyptian tradition of dealing with not being able to get to Jerusalem sometimes, so they saw no problem with continuing Temple Judaism in a modified way. The Babylonians had their own traditions also. The rabbis at Jamnia wanted to just drop all Temple Judaism and start pretty fresh, with a rabbi-centric Judaism, except keeping some of the privileges of Jerusalem and transferring them to Jamnia, so they could get pilgrim traffic.

Not all rabbis agreed with this. There was a very famous one who refused to go along with this plan to forget all about Temple Judaism, and he ended up being shunned for it until the day he died. It’s not a nice story.

Anyway, the Alexandrians spoke Greek as well as Hebrew, so taking a hit at the Septuagint translation of the Bible and the Deuterocanonical works that were popular in Greek was basically a good way to diss the Alexandrians and cut them out of the discussion. It was also a good way to tell the Christians that they couldn’t quote important Biblical prophecies and quotes that supported Christianity. This is why a lot of deuterocanonical books that were actually written in Hebrew (as we found out from the Dead Sea Scrolls) were publicized as “Greek” by the Jamnia rabbi guys.

So yeah, going along with only the modern Jewish OT Canon and the Masoretic readings of the OT is pretty much letting a self-selected, highly political bunch of rabbis from after the Destruction of the Temple boss you around, instead of going with Christianity’s OT Canon and the wider Temple Jewish tradition that Jesus and the Apostles knew.

This video starts off ok, but then goes off the rails a bit at 2:19. “These two Bibles differed…” One can’t really speak of “two Bibles” until after the invention of the codex (around the fourth century) and the development of the idea of a canon itself, which is also much later.

And then the video goes completely goes into the ditch (to mix my metaphors) at 3:09. The Council of Jamnia is a fiction—there are plenty of threads here on this topic or you can read about it on Wikipedia. The “Council of Jamnia” is an immediate red flag that whatever you’re viewing/reading is not credible scholarship.

He speaks of two “bibles” in a generic sense.

The council of Jamnia is indeed debated, but the fact is at some point the Jewidh people decided on Their canon, and in doing so the disregarded texts without Hebrew originals.

It is also fact that the early church used the Septuagint and it is referenced countless times by the church fathers.

Nice try though! :slight_smile:

Perhaps you have another narrative you’d like to propose?

The Council of Jamnia isn’t even debated, except perhaps by people that have no idea what they are talking about. There’s simply zero evidence for it—a fanciful theory that’s easily discredited by simply reading what are proposed as the underlying texts from the Talmud. As for the Jewish criteria for selecting books, there’s no historical evidence one way or the other. Sure, “proposing narratives” might be fun, but it’s poor scholarship, especially when one holds out these theories as established facts to people who really don’t know any better—it’s extremely misleading. I’m continually amazed at how sloppily this “history” of how the Bible developed is presented by some Catholic apologists.

There are many, many other historical problems with the video, but other than the ones I pointed out, perhaps the most glaring is that the Catholic Church didn’t accept the entirety of the Septuagint, otherwise Catholic Bibles would include texts like III Maccabees and the 151st Psalm. Also, churches in non-Greek speaking parts of the world either didn’t know about what the West’s opinion was on the canon, or simply rejected the Western canon because they had already developed their own and didn’t read Greek in any event.

So where did the canon come from in your worldview?

Why do you as a protestant reject the Catholic/Orthodox/Ethiopian canon? (I’m admitting there are variations among these but why do you reject books held by all the apostolic churches)

Also you err greatly, as even your “Wikipedia” source says there was a council of Jamnia, but it was held to be more about Song of Solomon and Chronicles and other things. It is unknown if the canon was set there, at another point, or gradually over time.

Likely it was gradually over time, but the point and fact remain true that a Jewish canon was created in the early post Christ centuries, that there was Christians using the Septuagint, that the Jewish people did not like Christians using it to spread “heresy”, that the Synod of Hippo lists the exact Christian canon used by Catholics today,and that countless church fathers including St Jerome, quoted and used the deuterocanonicals.

I don’t reject the right of the Catholic Church or the many Orthodox Churches to develop their own individualized Biblical canons—so I don’t “reject” them per se—it’s just a description of what happened. History shows that each church developed its own individual biblical canon as well as their individualized theology of canon for that matter. I think the best we could say is that they developed independently and organically.

So I’m curious how you as a Catholic could defend this video or present it to others as a good historical summary.

It’s an excellent historical summary. There are some nuances and exceptions but this is the history of the western church and the eastern church is largely along these lines with a couple minor differences that don’t affect the story.

The important thing is that the western church had a 73 book Bible until I the reformers removed some.

The question realky is “what authority did the reformers have to remove books?”

It is a similar authority which Joseph Smith added books. Protestants are quick to denounce that, but their own founder did essentially the same thing.

How many Protestants realize the Gutenberg Bible is different than their own?

How many Protestants realize the King James originally had 73 books?

When I was Evsngelicsl I heard zero mention of this and it’s a shame that Protestants have rewritten history at the expense of their congregations.

“The Council of Jamnia, presumably held in Yavneh, was a hypothetical late 1st-century council at which the canon of the Hebrew Bible was alleged to have been finalized. First proposed by Heinrich Graetz in 1871, this theory was popular for much of the twentieth century. However, it was increasingly questioned from the 1960s onward and the theory has been largely discredited.”

What’s described in the Talmud (if you take the time to read it) is a description of a rabbinic debate at Jamnia over which books of the Bible “soil the hands” (whatever that means) and where only a few books of the Bible are even mentioned. There are a number of problems with calling it a council including the fact that rabbis at Jamnia wouldn’t have had any more authority than rabbis in Alexandria or Baghdad. Most Talmud scholars don’t even consider this to have been an historic event.

How early and how diverse it was, we really have no idea. Certainly before the 10th century.

SOME Christians used the Septuagint (only Greek speakers) which differed in content from what eventually became the Latinate/Catholic Bible.

No evidence that I know of.

Right. It’s just that the other churches didn’t buy into the authority of the Synod.

Fine with me.

Eastern Church? There are many different Eastern Churches, all with different biblical canons. Another problem in the video, incidentally.

I honestly didn’t watch the video until the end, but from what you’re saying I assume it included the usual misleading Catholic apologetics about reformers removing books. See post #8, particularly the bit about the British and Foreign Bible Society House removing the Deuterocanonical books in the 19th Century, not the reformers in the 16th.

Why should I care what books Joseph Smith had in his Bible. Diversity of canon has been around since the beginning of Christianity.

Not this Protestant.

Does not bother me in the slightest.

True. But it’s also a shame that many Catholics have rewritten history as well. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

The books that actually are the inspired Word of God was decided by Pope Damasus at a Council of Rome in 382, confirmed at the Councils of Hippo, 393, Carthage III 397, Carthage !V in 419 and canonised at the Council of Trent (1545-1563), and from the earliest days of the Catholic Church, popes and councils, saints and scholars have encouraged Bible reading.

But until some years after the printing press was invented in the 15th century, Bibles were scarce and expensive because copied by hand - so often there could be only one book in a town but, nearly everyone who could read could read Latin. Catholic monks faithfully copied the texts, and the production and use of translations, corrupted to support false teachings, was condemned.

Johann Gutenberg, a Catholic, produced the first printed Bible, with the Church’s approval, in 1455. Luther was not born until 1483. There were 18 German editions of the whole Bible before the Catholic monk Luther posted his 95 theses in 1517, and there were German, Flemish, Italian, Spanish, and Polish editions before Luther left the Church. The first English edition appeared in 1525. James I in England authorised the “King James” version only in 1604.

The shunning of Christ’s Magisterium and 7 books of the Sacred Scriptures by Luther, condemned his followers from then to today to a truncated set of beliefs and to endlessly varying interpretations, omitting Purgatory, the priesthood, the Mass, and most sacraments. Without the Holy Mass, and the Magisterium, Protestants had only the Bible for spiritual growth and came to see it as the only way to God, missing out on many essential truths, and splitting into some 40,000 differing denominations. Also, the Scriptures privately interpreted cannot always guide us on contraception, on remarriage, on capital punishment, IVF, cloning and many other modern problems - this results in uncertainty and lack of unified Christian action at times. [See *What Catholics Really Believe, by Karl Keating].

Not really. After a brief period in the 1500s, Lutherans, and Protestants generally, have embraced, with a grip of iron, the same 27 book New Testament canon from the Catholic Church. Since the beginnings of Mormonism, Protestants have indeed “cared” very much about Smith “adding” books to the New Testament. Protestants then, and now, regard Mormonism as a cult for that reason. Mormons however regard their doctrines as scriptural. They are right, in that their scriptures include their doctrines. When Protestants try to convert Mormons, they try to convince them to go back to the (Catholic) “original” canon.

Why were Luther’s followers so adamant that they had to use the same 27 book NT canon the Catholics had been using, rather than following Luther’s changes?

But you will be somewhat correct in the near future. A few mainline denominations are starting to add gospels and epistles now. There will be “diversity” of NT canons, within Protestantism. But for almost 5 centuries, there was a fierce attachment to that same, 27 book canon the Catholics were already using. Why that attachment?

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