What do Christians consider as scripture?

I know Christians consider the NT as scripture. But what about the OT? I’m getting the impression that people Chery pick sections from the OT where it suits them but reject it when it doesn’t. So what is the deal here? What is regarded as scripture and what isn’t?

All of the books canonized by the Catholic Church are considered Scripture, both Old Testament and New Testament. People not only cherry pick from the OT, they cherry pick even more from the NT. Sacred Scripture is made up of many books which tell the one story of salvation history. Both the OT and NT are absolutely necessary.

I should add that there is some variation between Catholic and Eastern Orthodox canons.

What the Catholic Church says is the canon of the Bible or defined in Ad393 or so…which includes both the ot and nt…

The NT is the fulfillment of the OT…and there is a distinction between the moral laws (like the 10 commandments) that apply even to this day versus the dietary laws that no longer apply to christians today.

The OT is considered Scripture, with a few variations. Protestants (and LDS, and JWs) don’t consider Tobit, Judith, 1&2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, or Baruch Biblical because Luther removed them during the Reformation. And, to the best of my understanding, LDS don’t consider Song of Songs Biblical either.

Note about that last one: Its full title is the Song of Songs which is Solomon’s where “X of Xs” is an ancient way of saying “the best X”. Catholics (and Orthodox?) typically abbreviate it to Song of Songs*, while everyone else abbreviates it to* Song of Solomon.

Now all that being said. A lot of the rules that you see in the OT are in Leviticus, as part of what’s called Mosaic Law. And mainstream Christianity, at least, believes Jesus fulfilled that part of the law in dying on the cross. (Notably, he did NOT abrogate the Ten Commandments) However, we still keep Leviticus in the Bible because it’s part of salvation history. It may be dry, but it still prefigures some of the stuff in the NT. For example, the ancient Israelites would make finite sacrifices for the remission of a finite amount of sin. In contrast, Jesus was the perfect, infinite sacrifice for the remission of an infinite number of sins.

peace_at_last, Muslims, too, “cherry pick” the O.T. Example: pointing out only passages that refer to God’s unity, and passing over references to the Trinity, or at least to plurality in God (e.g. Let us make man in our image–Gen. 1:26). But that’s a whole other discussion. :wink:

Sacred Scripture is the Holy Word of God: all of it, both Old Testament and New Testament, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

I obviously know them, but to facilitate this, from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website:

Books of the Bible in Canonical Order

Old Testament
:black_medium_small_square:1 Samuel
:black_medium_small_square:2 Samuel
:black_medium_small_square:1 Kings
:black_medium_small_square:2 Kings
:black_medium_small_square:1 Chronicles
:black_medium_small_square:2 Chronicles
:black_medium_small_square:1 Maccabees
:black_medium_small_square:2 Maccabees
:black_medium_small_square:Song of Songs

New Testament
:black_medium_small_square:1 Corinthians
:black_medium_small_square:2 Corinthians
:black_medium_small_square:1 Thessalonians
:black_medium_small_square:2 Thessalonians
:black_medium_small_square:1 Timothy
:black_medium_small_square:2 Timothy
:black_medium_small_square:1 Peter
:black_medium_small_square:2 Peter
:black_medium_small_square:1 John
:black_medium_small_square:2 John
:black_medium_small_square:3 John

You are struggling with the difference between discipline and doctrine. The Bible contains a lot of doctrine but it also contains descriptions of things which happened in a different historical context than the present day. When we see the death penalty being prescribed for certain crimes in the OT, for example, that was Israel’s leadership decreeing laws for the people of Israel in the time of Israel. It was not eternally binding doctrine upon all God’s people.

The Mosaic Law, which we see implemented in the OT, is part discipline and part doctrine, but it is all based on Divine and Natural Law. Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic Law by his Incarnation, suffering, death and Resurrection. He gave us a new covenant. He gave His Church the power to bind and loose. Therefore the Church operates in the context of the New Covenant and the disciplinary laws which she enacts are only binding as long as they are not changed.

The fundamental difference between Islam and Christianity that you must understand is that the Catholic Church does not purport to wield universal secular temporal authority. In the past, the Church had some temporal authority in her territories, this is no longer true except for Vatican City. The Church defers to secular rulers and governments and expects them to enact laws and penalties that are based in justice and mercy. The Church gives wide latitude to these rulers and makes it a matter of prudential judgement which kinds of laws and penalties are enacted. The bishops, especially united in one voice in an Episcopal Conference, attempt to guide the government in choosing just laws and penalties, but they never dictate them and they have no real power to enact their preferred legislation because they simply do not have temporal power.

The Church invites secular rulers to govern and guides them gently. Islam conquers secular rulers and dictates the laws and penalties which are to be enacted through Sharia.

It’s interesting that the Catholic Church is the only institution that accepts the Apocrypha as scriptural. Yes, Jews celebrate Chanukah which is found in the book of Maccabees but still, they don’t accept that book as God inspired scripture.

Yep, so long as we remember the difference between doctrines (like the natural and moral law propounded in the 10 commandments) and disciplines (like dietary laws and feast days, and even clerical celibacy), we won’t be confused as to what applies now and what does not.

Doctrines never change, but disciplines can and do change to help us live the gospel to the fullest in the time and place in which we live.

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)

Right so that is why no Pope could ever proclaim that the Eucharist is a symbol. However, it was perfectly OK when Pope John Paul II decided to allow female altar servers back in the early 1990’s.

Minor detail I forgot. Protestants (and LDS and JWs) also reject the Greek parts of Esther and Daniel.

We aren’t the only ones. We’re the only ones in Western Christianity, but Orthodox Bibles have everything in the Catholic Bible and more. The various Orthodox Churches have varying numbers of books, but the Orthodox Tewahedo Church (Ethiopia and Eritrea) takes the cake. 45 books in the OT alone. Catholic + Jubilees, Enoch, 3 Maccabees, 2 Ezra, Proverbs in 2 books, and Josippon. And an extra 8 NT books: Serata Seyon, Te’ezaz, Gessew, Abtelis, 1&2 Covenant, Ethiopic Clement, and Ethiopic Didascalia.

Hello, peace. I am not an expert on explaining Christianity, but I will attempt to add to the replies here.

I think your question is a common one among Muslims. The Old Testament in the Bible generates confusion and misunderstandings by Muslims because they view the Bible in much the same manner they view their Quran. The Bible and Quran are very different kinds of books. The Old Testament (which is the Christian version of the Jewish scriptures) provides the background story to the New Testament. It is NOT a set of rules, just – in some/many cases – general information and/or guidance. At least for Christians. After all, we are not Jews.
It might be helpful if you gave some examples of what is “cherry picked.”
Here are some links that might be useful for you.


“Even though they contain matters imperfect and provisional,” the books of the Old Testament bear witness to the whole divine pedagogy of God’s saving love: these writings “are a storehouse of sublime teaching on God and of sound wisdom on human life, as well as a wonderful treasury of prayers; in them, too, the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way.”

Catholics use both the Old Testament and the New Testament we could never understand Salvation History without the Old Testament.


Catholics are not people of the book we are people of the Word who is Jesus. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God then He came to dwell among us. When we gather at mass, and receive the Eucharist the Word is with us body blood soul and divinity. Jesus is the only religious figure who who asks man to believe in Him not teachings but in Him.

The books of the old and New Testament are considered scripture.

In addition, the content of Sacred Tradition is the Word of God. So as has been said, we are not people of the Book, we do not put our faith in a dead tree. Our faith is in the Tree of Life, the Cross. Our teachings come to us in living tradition, passed down from one Apostle to another through the ages, in an unbroken line.


I don’t believe that at all, but for the purpose of the this thread I don’t feel the need to debate over that point.

The Catechism says we are not people of the Book but of the Word.


There is no cherry picking going on. Within the historic Church, there has always been opinions and variances as to which books are considered canon. Even the term canon, meaning “rule”, regarding scripture can be viewed in different ways.

From a Lutheran perspective, our confessions do not provide a list of canonical books, which means, essentially, that we generally receive the books brought to us historically by the western Church, even though we hold that the deuterocanon is not equal to the protocanon.


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