Protestant 66 books of old testament question?


Researching and also from previous answers, it seems Jesus and his Apostle’s used the Septuagint. Many of the Jews in Jesus’ day used the Septuagint as their Bible. The early Christians also used the Septuagint in their meetings and for personal reading. This version included the extra books, and chapters that protestants later on dismissed.

If Jesus and His Apostle’s relied on it, that is good enough for me.


But not the NT. That’s why I said it is unlikely. The 73 number comes from the canon including the NT


I mean the number of books from the old testament only. The Septuagint, apparently included more than the 73 books which we as Catholics use, however the extra books and chapters dismissed by the protestants were also originally included in the Septuagint.


Please bear in mind that nobody ever set out to define a canon of the books comprising the Septuagint. That is simply a name given to a range of books of a religious nature, originating in Judaism, most of them being translations from Hebrew into Greek but including some (e.g. 2 Maccabees) that were evidently written in Greek. The Jewish canon comprises only books written in Hebrew, with occasional passages in Aramaic but none in Greek.


Ok I understand this. However, NT authors and writers still relied on the Septuagint when quoting from the OT. It was also at least in the beginning highly regarded by many Jews, but later on dismissed by them.


Just to point out, Luther’s canon was different than the modern Protestant one. For the most part, Protestants seem to have rejected his understanding of the canon, his Old Testament canon, and his New Testament canon. Ultimately, his canon would be considered weird by Catholic or Protestant standards.

I’m not sure I’d call it a caricature. Sola Scriptura states that the sole source of Divine Revelation comes from Scripture, and as such, teaching should be grounded in Scripture. This, of course, creates two dilemmas:

  1. Scripture never says such a thing.
  2. The canon of Scripture is never given.

Protestants have sought answers to both of those. Most have passages that they’ll use in an attempt to show Sola Scriptura from Scripture, and the latter is a cause of debate as to whether or not the canon is infallible.

At least in my experience, most Protestants just consider Lutherans weird. I haven’t met one who would say that they aren’t Protestant, much less Christian. Granted, most Protestants I know also know enough Protestant history to understand Luther’s role. If anything, they tend to forget just how close to Catholicism Luther was compared to a lot of modern day Protestants.

Just to be clear, we’re not 100% sure what version Jesus used. He was likely speaking Aramaic, but the New Testament was written in Greek. The use of Greek made the Septuagint a natural choice, especially since many early Christians were Greek-speaking and likely used the Old Testament version whose language matched their own.

That said, I also tend to think that if the Septuagint was good enough for Scripture citation in Scripture and use by the Apostles, it’s good enough for my use.


Yes, agreed. But that just means that when Jesus, Paul, or anyone else quotes from the OT, they are usually found to be quoting from the Greek translation rather than from the Hebrew original. In many of the OT books there are quite significant differences between the original and the translation, as Edwin Hatch pointed out over a century ago. See the opening chapter in his Essays, mainly on pp. 15 to 24.


It is true that Luther was sometimes claiming that several New Testament books, including James and Revelation, are not scripture. But then when he translated the Bible into German, he included the same books as in the canon of modern Lutherans and other Protestants and many other Christians, the 66 books.
I do agree with you that Luther was considerably closer to Catholicism than apparently most modern day Protestants. Only some of the Anglicans are closer to Catholicism than Luther was. But then some of them would not even call themselves Protestants. I even visited a Lutheran church where they had a huge crucifix in the front, facing the congregation. Most Protestants would consider that idolatry.
And I agree with you that the native language of Jesus and the apostles, with the possible exception of Paul, was Aramaic. It is not known how well they spoke Greek, when Jesus was still with them (of course Paul was not with them). So it is not known if they made any use of the Septuagint, at least when they were still with Jesus, later they could have learned Greek better. I would not expect fishermen like Peter to have learned much Greek in the Galilee. Though later, as he became a missionary and church leader, he needed Greek much more, so he surely learned Greek much better.


I would guess that since Jesus spoke to his disciples in Aramaic, and some of them probably did not know Greek very well at that time, then he was surely not quoting from the Septuagint. But the four gospels were written in Greek, with the possible exception of Matthew, that is disputed. So the gospel writers wrote his speeches in Greek, often using the Septuagint, when he quoted from the Old Testament, rather than making their own translation into Greek.


That SS is not explicit is not debatable. Therefore, it is not a doctrine, but a praxis, a principle of hermeneutics. The principle designates scripture as the final norm, the norm that norms but is not normed, for determining doctrine. This is a principle exercised by the Church, which scripture shows Christ grants the authority to teach (the Great Commission).
Additionally, the Church uses its teaching authority to determine how to use the books of scripture, including the deuterocanon and apocryphal books. And as you may know, the Lutheran Confessions do not provide a canon.


This is factually inaccurate. Luther’s translation, completed in 1534 (though he continued to revise after that) contained 74 books, all of the books of the western Bible and the Prayer of Manasseh.
Again, it wasn’t so much a determination of a canon, but a historical look at how the early Church fathers viewed different books, as well as the Hebrew for the OT.

Here’s an excellent article on topic:


The “debatable” part that I mentioned in my post had to do with how to approach the lack of a canon. Some Protestants believe that the establishment of the canon was an extra-Scriptural Divine work and, as such, is infallible. Other Protestants believe that it is not infallible but still see it as inerrant. There are even some Protestants who think that the canon is both fallible and errant, but I think they’re a relatively small group.

Except it is a core doctrine of Protestantism. If it were just a hermeneutical practice, it wouldn’t be one of the major causes of division between Catholics and Protestants. Catholics can, and have, gone solely to Scripture when seeking to support doctrine, often in apologetics aimed at Protestants.


OK, that means then that I was misinformed about Luther’s translation, you seem much better informed. So thank you for the information. I do know that the King James Version was originally translated including the Deuterocanonical books and several other books which they also included in the Apocrypha, and my understanding was that they translated those books but put them in a separate section called Apocrypha, with the understanding that those books are good to read for information, but were not canonical. So consequently nowadays the KJV is usually published without the Apocrypha.


Of course theologically liberal Protestants, who are quite common in some denominations, like the large Protestant denominations in Europe, and also in a few denominations here in the US, such as the United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, the Episcopal church, the Disciples of Christ, most of the Friends (Quaker) denominations, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, they generally don’t care about which books are canonical, since they don’t believe in the inerrancy of the scriptures.


Sure, throughout history, including before the Protestant reformation. And before the reformation, of course the great majority of Christians were Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox. The Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox were opposed to freedom of religion. So minority churches were often persecuted terribly, so they remained small or were wiped out. And I don’t know if any were teaching dogmatically that those books were not inspired. At least among quite normal churches. Of course the Bogomils, the Cathars, and the Albigenses had very different doctrines from normal Christians, they rejected the whole Old Testament and maybe rejected even parts of the New Testament. They taught a type of Gnosticism. Well, anyway, soon they were not tolerated either, finally the pope launched a crusade against them. So tragic, so many deaths. They were defeated, and then the Inquisition did the rest, ultimately wiped them out in western Europe. Only some Bogomils survived in the east, mainly Bosnia, and after the Ottoman invasion, during Ottoman rule, they were gradually converted to Islam. And meanwhile in the fifteenth century, a pope was sending crusades to the land of my birth, which was then the Czech kingdom, to try and defeat and suppress the Hussite Christians. Well, those crusades were defeated, but later the Hussites were defeated in a civil war between Czechs. And then they too were gradually wiped out. But then the Hussite church did not believe in freedom of religion either. Tragic times. This was probably the most important period of Czech history. We studied it a lot in school in Czechoslovakia.It all started with the preaching of Jan Hus, and other reformers, and then Jan Hus was invited to the council of Constance, he was promised safety, but when he arrived, the promise turned out to have been false, he was imprisoned, then sentenced to death for alleged heresy, and burned at the stake. So that led to the Hussite uprising, and then the Hussite wars.


It is a core doctrine of some Protestant churches but not of others.


“Protestantism” doesn’t have doctrines because it isn’t a Church. Lutherans have doctrines. Anglicans have doctrines. I suspect others do, too. But to have doctrines, one must have a leadership to establish them.
As I often say, use of the term Protestant regarding practice and doctrine is folly.

There are communions considered to be “Protestant “ that do not practice sola scriptura.

Even the term is applied differently by various groups, such that some do consider it doctrine. Some go so far as to claim to reject any other norm.
I wasn’t speaking of them. I was speaking specifically of Lutheranism.


The practice the KJV used, placing the DC’s in a separate section, reflects what Luther did with his. Luther placed them between the OT and NT.
It is in this section that he included the Prayer of Manasseh, which is actually one of my favorite scriptural books, canon or not.
AFAIK, it is only among English speakers that Lutherans use a 66 book Bible.


It depends on how you’re defining Protestantism. If your definition is merely rebellion against the Catholic Church during the 16th century, then sure, it doesn’t require Sola Scriptura, but that would sort of leave off groups like Evangelicals. Frequently, though, Protestantism is understood also by the doctrines put forward during that rebellion, namely Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide, often referred to as the “pillars” of Protestantism. (Yes, I’m aware of the five solas, but three of those are debatable in how uniquely Protestant they are.) In that context, it is a core doctrine. Are some moving away from that? Sure, but they’re also generally referred to as “liberal Protestants”, which is itself an admission of how grounded in that belief Protestantism has traditionally been.

Now, granted, there is the Prima Scriptura group, but even more traditionally minded Protestants would question whether or not Prima Scriptura is a separate concept or just a better descriptor.

Yes, I’m aware of that, but most at least hold to a core foundation.


Even that isntbthe definition. The term comes from the formal protest at the Second Diet of Speyer, against civil authorities.
That’s what the protest was.

The problem is that even with the three that a typical Lutheran would point to (include sola gracia), the understandings of these vary from communion to communion. The difference in understanding about sola scriptura between Lutherans and some American evangelicals is greater than the difference in understanding between Lutherans and Catholics about the doctrine of the real presence. Sure, most “protestants” will day they believe in sola scriptura, but there is no “pillar” when it comes to understanding how that is practiced.
Occasionally one sees threads pop up here asking things like, “how can a Protestant observe Lent when it’s not in the Bible?” Well, for someone raised Lutheran that’s frankly a silly question. It’s like saying one can’t use a computer because it isn’t in the Bible. That’s not the intended practice of sola scriptura.

It’s probably a better descriptor, in that the intent is the use of scripture as the final norm for holding doctrine accountable.

Do “Sola Scriptura” Protestants observe Lent? If so, why? It isn’t biblical
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