The Catholic Bible & The Book of Tobit


Hello Everyone, :slight_smile:

My parish mentioned a new bible study for young adults on Ruth and Tobit and I decided to go. I will be honest and say that I had only heard of Tobit once I prefer to read the NIV Bible (hence why I couldn’t find Tobit ) instead of the New American Bible or other Catholic based bibles. Although I do want another Bible with more commentary so any suggestions would be great. I wanted to invite some of my non Catholic friends (a Mormon and a Baptist) to the study since the study was on friendships/relationships. My Mormon friend couldn’t come due to work and my Baptist friend said that she had never heard of Tobit which made sense, as a result she didn’t come either.

I want to find a way to explain why Tobit is in our Bible and what a great story it is and how they can apply it to their lives.

This link did explain a few things about how Tobit and Ruth were found in the Dead Sea Scrolls but if anyone could add additional thoughts that would be great!

Thanks :slight_smile:


I’m confused… doesn’t Tobit appear in the NIV in the Apocrypha?

my Baptist friend said that she had never heard of Tobit which made sense, as a result she didn’t come either.

What version of the Bible does she use? Does it not contain the Apocryphal books?

I want to find a way to explain why Tobit is in our Bible

Pick up a King James Version and find Tobit as part of the apocrypha. Explain that Tobit is in ‘our’ Bible because it was always in ‘the’ Bible, until excised once the Bible had always been around for at least 1600 years… :wink:


Don’t call yourself Catholic and read a Protestant bible. That may sound harsh, but biblical scholars for the most part agree that Catholic translation are the most authentic and true to the original Hebrew and Greek.

Tobit was part of the Jewish canon of scripture and was therefore held as authoritative. The Council of Trent in 1546 declared that all 46 books of the Old Testament, thereby including the apocrypha, are canonical and authoritative. Protestants, most notably in the KJV, when forming their churches, removed the books of the Apocrypha because they claimed they were not divinely inspired, despite the fact that the Jews held most of the books – specifically Tobit – as canon and authoritative. The Protestants, in a short explanation, found in these books theological concepts that would have refuted important aspects of Protestant theology. So instead of realizing the error, they tried to erase the books altogether.

Same for Ruth.


Although I do want another Bible with more commentary so any suggestions would be great.

NAB is great. It has a lot of commentary, but not so much it’s distracting (like the Navarre). The RSV-CE and RSV-2CE are also nice, but they have very few footnotes, which is the opposite of what you want. They are worth looking into, though.

Good luck!


Also, both Tobit and Ruth (and the rest of the Apocrypha) were written in Greek. While this did not make them any less canonical or authoritative, as most Jews, especially those along the Mediterranean (so the Holy Land) a.) used Greek as the lingua franca, and b.) held the books as canonical and authoritative.

Martin Luther flew in the face of all of this tradition, saying only the books in Hebrew should be canonical. So all the tradition and the Church councils (a multitude of bishops) regarded these books as canonical, yet one man, Martin Luther, thought otherwise and scratched them from Protestant scripture.


Sorry. Ruth isn’t Deuterocanonical. Mea culpa, got mixed up.


More exactly (and more fairly). Luther removed them from canon, under grounds of them not having original Hebrew sources at the time. Although, I would consider it fair to say some of them may have been partly because of theology. (Or at the very least, modern Protestants argue that way, citing supposed examples of the occult in Tobit, for instance)

HOWEVER, Luther still considered them worth reading, and published them alongside his Bibles. And notably, the Catholic Church has done the same to books we would agree are apocryphal, specifically 3/4 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh. It was only later reformers who stopped publishing them altogether.


I mentioned the Hebrew reasoning as well. And yes, we have our own apocrypha. However, we also have the fullness of the Christian truth. Further, the decisions of canon for Catholics was decreed by an Ecumenical Council, not one man.


Tobit is a wonderful story and reveals truths about angels that our Lord also later revealed via other inspired writers.

Opinion alert:

As to OP’s bible: The NIV is a very protestant biased translation, tending to oppose Catholic teaching as to the nature of the Church and how it was founded. For this reason alone, as well as its 66 book incompleteness, I would certainly not rely on it. I have one only for reference purposes. As well, its language seems almost pre-teen in reading level.

Many laud the Revised Standard Version - Second Catholic Edition, and it is a good bible, almost completely corrected of its protestant translation errors. The Knox bible is 100% Catholic, as are the various iterations of the 1941-1969 Confraternity bible. In the Confraternity, Knox and Douay-Rheims, for example, Mary is still full of grace, her soul magnifies the Lord, and Paul forgave sins in the person of Christ. No other Catholic bibles that I know of meet these translational/doctrinal criteria.

I do not favor the NAB or NABRE, as their footnotes and book introductions contain much modernism and revisionist theology that can lead to confusion and doubts about the faith. The word “hell” does not appear in them. Mary is not full of grace, her soul does not magnify the Lord, and Paul forgave sins only in the presence of Christ, whatever that means. As well, the NAB/NABRE are squishy translations, almost protestant in their tilting toward ecumenism. IMO, it is the Pillsbury Doughboy of bibles.

Is the NABRE the officially approved US version? Yes - by the same organization which gains operating funds from its sale. This does not seem right to me.


Try the introduction to the Book of Tobit in the NAB. It is available online at the USCCB website…

Although the Book of Tobit is usually listed with the historical books, it more correctly stands midway between them and the wisdom literature. It contains numerous maxims like those found in the wisdom books (cf. 4:3–19, 21; 12:6–10; 14:7, 9) as well as standard wisdom themes: fidelity to the law, intercessory function of angels, piety toward parents, purity of marriage, reverence for the dead, and the value of almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. The book makes Tobit a relative of Ahiqar, a noted hero of ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature and folklore. Reference

I believe that Luke borrowed the theme of scales falling off Tobit’s eyes (Tobit 11:13) when he spoke of scales falling off Paul’s eyes (Acts 9:18). If I am correct then it is an important reference which should not be ignored.



Well the reason it’s on the Bible today is because it has been in the Bible.

First, Sadducee test Jesus by asking about the woman with seven husbands who died,
wondering to whom she would be married after the resurrection. Obviously from TOBIT!!!
That’s the most relevant as I can get, but some more information below:

Before and During the time of Jesus, there were different Jewish sects, each with their own par-
ticular canon, and the matter was never settled by the Jews until LONG after the Ascension of
Christ. By then, the Jewish leaders (after the Temple was destroyed) were understanding that
early Christians were using their own writings, particularly well also, to prove that Jesus is the
Messiah and even God.

In response to this, leaders such as Rabbi Akiva, who were particularly antichrist (1 John2:22),
started to reform Judaism, no more sacrifices for lack of Temple, no more High Priest also lack-
ing the needed genealogical records, and even changing the Scriptures. It was by that time that
Judaism had their OFFICIAL canon, excluding the Deuterocanonical books, especially Wisdom
which probably is the most clear Old Testament witness to the coming of Jesus (See Chapter 2).

Not only were books rejected, but some things that were kept were ALSO CHANGED!
Take Psalm 45:Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre
of thy kingdom is a sceptre of uprightness.
– ( Psalm 45:6)
That was a prophetic verse foretelling of the Messiah, but Jews didn’t like the idea
that their Messiah would be God, so they changed it (perhaps unintentionally) to :Thy throne given of God is for ever and ever; A
sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
– (Psalm 45:7 - JPS Tanakh 1917)
(Also):Your throne, O judge, [will exist] forever and ever; the scepter of equity is the scepter of your kingdom.
– ( Psalm 45:7 - From
Too late though, because we have the more ancient and unedited
manuscripts saying different, corroborated in the New Testament:But to the Son: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever:
a sceptre of justice is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
– (Hebrews 1:8)
We also have David saying in one of his psalms (110) that:The Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou at my right hand: Until I make thy enemies thy footstool.
– (Psalm 110:1)
The most ancient manuscript containing that verse uses the word Adonai in
both cases of “Lord”, Adonai referring most often to God. Again, Jews didn’t
like the idea that the Messiah, to which Psalm 110 was referring, being God.
So modern Jewish versions will read not “Adonai and Adonai”, but "Adonai
and “ADONI”, “Adoni” being a lesser to “Adonai.”

When is reads “Adonai spoke to my Adoni,” in modern Jewish versions
again it should truly read “Adonai spoke to my Adonai,” and this is cor–
roborated by the Dead Sea Scrolls.

So after discussing the reformation of Judaism, reformulation of Scripture, based in part
from antichrist-based attitudes towards the growth of Christianity, and especially the ed-
iting of the Tanakh to take the Divinity of the Messiah away, you may want to do some
more research on this yourself before sharing, see if I got everything correct for you.


This is a very good point. The Sadducee’s question about the 7 husbands in the afterlife could very well be a reference to Tobit. Excellent.



Yes! As well, the Archangel Raphael says (Tobit 12:19 D-R) “I seemed indeed to eat and to drink with you: but I use an invisible meat and drink, which cannot be seen by men” which closely parallels our Lord’s words in John 4:32 “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”

From the introduction to Tobias in a 1950 Confraternity bible:

“This book takes its name from the holy man Tobias, whose wonderful virtues are herein recorded. It contains most excellent documents of great piety, extraordinary patience, and a perfect resignation to the will of God. His humble prayer was heard, and the angel Raphael was sent to relieve him; he is thankful and praises the Lord, calling on the children of Israel to do the same. Having lived to the age of one hundred and two years, he exhorts his son and grandsons to piety, foretells the destruction of Ninive and the rebuilding of Jerusalem; he dies happily.”

A very sad fact of the 16th century rebellion is that, at that time (and before), some had questioned the canonicity of seven OT books, including Tobit. The reformers (no names here, to avoid the inevitable hate mail) immediately segregated the seven books, relegating them to the class of apocrypha, which was a pejorative term. Once segregated, the foundation was laid for their disappearance from the protestant bibles. Trent settled the question of canonicity for all time, but the reformers would have no part of it. Lacking any and all Church authority, no protestant can or ever will never know if these books are inspired or not. Shouldn’t that leave one with a slightly unsettling feeling?


This is true but most NIV’s and KJV’s and Protestant Bibles in general don’t come with apocrypha


No such thing in the NIV, or in virtually all protestant bibles. A tiny percentage of KJVs have the Deuterocanon (“Apocrypha”), but the vast majority do not.


A quick search of reveals that, of all available english language versions, only the D-R, the Common English Bible, the Good News Translation, and three editions of the RSV (out of 46 bibles) have the Deuterocanon. And, three of them are Catholic editions.


Thanks for that advice I will take a look. :slight_smile:


It is a little harsh actually although I do understand what you are saying, a Catholic should read a Catholic bible. However, I think people should read the version that speaks most to them or one they understand. Thank you for your explanations they are helpful.


Thank you for those suggestions. I like commentary because it is helpful to understand the passages or a tradition that is mentioned.:slight_smile:


Just to clarify: BibleGateway (while an outstanding resource) does not actually have all English Bible translations (for example they seem to no longer have the Knox).

With that said to respond to an earlier post about the NIV having the Apocrypha. While it is the true that the KJV and other Protestant Bibles used to contain the DC books in an appendix, the norm is now to exclude them completely except in Catholic or Orthodox editions, or in editions that state “with Apocrypha”. This practice was a cost saving measure implemented by a Bible Society a long time ago and it’s become the common practice. Some versions, including as far as I know the NIV, don’t even publish Catholic editions or editions “with Apocrypha”, so it’s very possible that there’s no NIV Bible in existence that includes the Book of Tobit. On a personal note: I like the NIV, though as I move deeper into Catholicism I can see why many dislike it. As a Catholic you would do well to read a Bible approved by the Church as your primary Bible, and perhaps use non-approved versions only sparingly for reference and comparison if you are of a scholarly persuasion.

To get back to the OP, the introduction to the Book of Tobit in the NAB has some useful information (but as with all commentary in the NAB, it should be read with discernment), and apart from that some general information about the DC books can be found here at Catholic Answers as well as in articles such as this one by Jimmy Akin, this one by Mark Shea, this website, and this page on John Salza’s website. Haydock’s commentary is also a good resource for understanding what the Scriptures mean.

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