Who had the final say on which books are inspired?

Who had the final say on which books were inspired by God and should belong in the Bible canon?

I read on an orthodox christian forum that we originally had the same Canon as them but for some reason at a later date the Catholic church took them out. Is this true? and if so why?

God Bless

You will have to be more specific than that.
Exactly what books were alleged to have been taken out?

The Catholic Church gave the world the Bible which is unchanged by the Church.
Protestants took some books out and the Orthodox (schismatic part of the Catholic Church) added some books.

You will also have to be more spacific when saying “Orthodox” canon. There is no one Orthodox canon.


The Jews had the final say on the Old Testament and the early church on the New. Of course, the Catholic OT does not correspond to the Jewish OT (though the Protestant OT does). Those that are theologically inclined would obviously say that God controlled the entire process.

Without a doubt the Jewish scripture of Jesus time is the OT of the Catholic bible. The Masoretic texts that the Protestant OT uses are from 1000 AD. Many quotes from the NT are word for word from the Septuagint, the OT that the Catholic Church uses, and quite obviously also the OT that the NT writers used. Also without a doubt, Luther would have had no problem with the Septuagint if the books contained in it did not point to Purgatory.

Here is a link that shows NT quotes from the OT with the Masoretic and Septuagint texts all side by side.


The Catholic Church did not “give the world the Bible.” The Catholic Church only compiled the canon of Scripture.

From a practical standpoint, over two thirds of the Bible - the Old Testament - existed before the Catholic Church.

The Church herself acknowledges that she received the Bible as a gift and is its steward, that she serves the Scriptures, no the other way around. Ultimately the Bible is a gift to mankind from God.


Thank you for the information and link. Where can I read bout the Masoretic text being from 1000AD ?

God Bless

That means gave the world the Bible!!!

This is deja vu all over again. :stuck_out_tongue:

We have been on this merry-go-round before. Nowhere does the Church take credit for giving the world the Bible except here on CAF and maybe over at that seafood website.


are there any official catholic links, answers that explain how we got our official canon?

The Church came before the Bible. There was no Bible in the time of Jesus on earth.
The Church, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, determined what writings were inspired and would be compiled into what we call the Bible and given to the world.

There were Sacred Scriptures before the Church. These were inspired by God before the Church. The word Biblios/Biblos was first used by Augustine to describe the canon of Scripture, not the sacred writings themselves. The best we can say is that the canon of scripture came from the Church.

Round and round we go. Where she stops, nobody knows!!!

You have the last word.


Canon of Scripture
The doctrine of inerrancy flows very naturally from the Church’s teaching that Scripture is the Word of God. The Holy Scripture of the New Testament was Authoratitively first declared inerrant by and as a result of the Decree of Pope St. Damasus I at the Council of Rome in 382 A.D.

The Decree of Pope St. Damasus I, Council of Rome. 382 A.D…

***It is decreed: Now, indeed, we must treat of the divine Scriptures: what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she must shun. ***
***The list of the Scriptures of the New and Eternal Testament, which the holy and Catholic Church receives: of the Gospels, one book according to Matthew, one book according to Mark, one book according to Luke, one book according to John. The Epistles of the Apostle Paul, fourteen in number: one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Ephesians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Galatians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to Timothy, one to Titus one to Philemon, one to the Hebrews. Likewise, one book of the Apocalypse of John. And the Acts of the Apostles, one book. Likewise, the canonical Epistles, seven in number: of the Apostle Peter, two Epistles; of the Apostle James, one Epistle; of the Apostle John, one Epistle; of the other John, a Presbyter, two Epistles; of the Apostle Jude the Zealot, one Epistle. Thus concludes the canon of the New Testament. ***
Likewise it is decreed: After the announcement of all of these prophetic and evangelic or as well as apostolic writings which we have listed above as Scriptures, on which, by the grace of God, the Catholic Church is founded, we have considered that it ought to be announced that although all the Catholic Churches spread abroad through the world comprise but one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other Churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall have loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

The Council of Hippo in 393 reaffirmed the canon put forth by Pope Damasus I…

AD 393:
Council of Hippo. "It has been decided that besides the canonical Scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture. (canon 36 A.D. 393).

The Third Council of Carthage reaffirmed anew, the Canon put forth by Pope Damasus I…

***AD 397: ***
Council of Carthage III. "It has been decided that nothing except the canonical Scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine Scriptures. (canon 47 A.D. 397).

This Council of Carthage affirms the Decree of Damasus, sending its affirmation and the rest of the canons adopted at its proceedings to Rome for ratification.

418: Pope Boniface I ratifies the canons of the Council of Carthage and sends copies to the sees of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, resulting in informal acceptance of the canon world-wide.

419: The Fourth Council of Carthage re-affirms the actions of Pope Boniface. Canonical discussions remain mostly settled for the next three centuries.

787: The Second Council of Nicea formally ratifies the canon for the Eastern Churches.

1546: The Council of Trent again re-affirms the Scriptures traditionally recognized by the Church. __________________


I note your sarcasm. Very charitable!

The Church came BEFORE the Bible.
The Church, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, determined which sacred writings would be put together to form the Bible.
The Church gave the Bible to the world.

Do you disagree with that?

Not true at all. The OT Scripture of Christ’s time is the Jewish canon, aka the 39 books of the OT as the Protestants have today. Please see amazon.com/Canon-Scripture-F-Bruce/dp/083081258X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418083902&sr=1-1&keywords=bruce+canon+of+scripture&pebp=1418083905942

This is not true. For starters, virtually every OT scholar will tell you that the MT is the most reliable version of the OT. The Septuagint is almost always only used when the meaning of the MT cannot be ascertained. The MT also actually goes back to the Dead Sea Scrolls which are long before 1000 A.D.:


Critical scholars questioned the accuracy of the MT, which formed the basis of our English versions of the Old Testament, since there was such a large chronological gap between it and the autographs. Because of this uncertainty, scholars often “corrected” the text with considerable freedom. Qumran, however, has provided remains of an early Masoretic edition predating the Christian era on which the traditional MT is based. A comparison of the MT to this earlier text revealed the remarkable accuracy with which scribes copied the sacred texts. Accordingly, the integrity of the Hebrew Bible was confirmed, which generally has heightened its respect among scholars and drastically reduced textual alteration.

Most of the biblical manuscripts found at Qumran belong to the MT tradition or family. This is especially true of the Pentateuch and some of the Prophets. The well-preserved Isaiah scroll from Cave 1 illustrates the tender care with which these sacred texts were copied. Since about 1700 years separated Isaiah in the MT from its original source, textual critics assumed that centuries of copying and recopying this book must have introduced scribal errors into the document that obscured the original message of the author.

The Isaiah scrolls found at Qumran closed that gap to within 500 years of the original manuscript. Interestingly, when scholars compared the MT of Isaiah to the Isaiah scroll of Qumran, the correspondence was astounding. The texts from Qumran proved to be word-for-word identical to our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted primarily of obvious slips of the pen and spelling alterations (Archer, 1974, p. 25).


Furthermore, the scrolls did not utterly transform our image of the original Hebrew Bible text. Indeed, one of the most important contributions of the scrolls is that they have demonstrated the relative stability of the Masoretic text. ]


While there are some differences between the MT and the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Scrolls in fact do confirm that the MT is the official Jewish version of the OT, not the Septuagint.

I am aware that most of the NT quotes are from the Septuagint because that was the common version of the day. However, the fact that the Apocrypha were also translated by the Septuagint translators in no way means they are divinely inspired. They should not be regarded as divinely inspired for the following reasons:

  1. The Jews never regarded them as divinely inspired
  2. They are never mentioned as Scripture in the NT or quoted from in such a way as to indicate that they are divinely inspired, as other books of the OT are

Please show the citations where these books point to Purgatory; I am unaware of this.

With respect you are very wrong.


It’s clear only in hindsight that books prior to Christ should be included, but not the whole, of Scripture at all. The early Christian community was divided, with some saying ONLY pre-Christ writings being inspired; others that ONLY writings written after Christ being inspired; and a third group, that included both, what the Magisterium later called an Old and New Testament. The Magisterium (not consensus) determined that an Old Testament and New Testament should exist, as Scripture, for Christians. That determination by the Magisterium is what Catholics and Protestants follow today.

The majority of the early, post-Jesus Jewish scholars did not find 1 Maccabees, for instance, to be Scripture. *They also did not find Mathew, Mark, Luke and John to be Scripture, either. *

We should not take for granted that the NT Canon is safe and secure. There is a movement of Protestant church leaders and scholars to add books to the New Testament; for instance, a few groups are starting to include the Gospel of Thomas before the Gospel of Mathew, not only for study but for worship services. Actually it’s only the Magisterium that determined that the NT Canon is “closed”; if you reject the authority of the Magisterium, sure you can add books, which they are doing now. You can also subtract books, which they will no doubt be doing soon.

I think the best way to describe it is: God created the Bible; all Christians are recipients of the Bible. The Church did not create the canon, but it - or rather the Magisterium - is the visible human instrument, created by God, that identified which books are in, and not in, the Canon. If the canon had been chosen by consensus of “the Church” - the mass of ancient Christians, in hundreds of different communities, following many familiar and some strange theologies, with scholars who disagreed - had chosen the Canon, it would likely have had 1000 books, and would not have been closed. Who knows how many books it would have today.

So it was one specific entity within the Church - the Magisterium - that identified a very small Canon. And closed it. People today talk as if there was only one Canon, but there were several different canons, each claiming to be Christian. The Gnostic Christians didn’t claim to be heretics, they claimed they - and their canon - to be Christian and apostolic. Essentially the Magisterium’s Canon is the one we know about, only because the Catholics united to the Magisterium overcame the other Christianities - all of which claimed to be part of the Christian Church.

Not true. I can quote just as many scholars that argue that the Septuagint was the OT that was used in Jesus’ time. I can also give links to books sold by Amazon that argue differently than the link you gave me.

The fact that those books are in the original Septuagint surely points to the fact that the Jews who were translating thought them to be inspired. If they didn’t, why include them?

Jesus and the Apostles do quote (not verbatim) from those seven books as this link shows. catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/apologetics/5-myths-about-7-books.html . Interestingly enough if Jesus does NOT quote from a book, does that make it non-scriptural?

Here is another link for you. blog.oup.com/2013/07/septuagint-christianity-bible-dead-sea-scrolls/ . I can give many more.

The important question is really not whether the Jews of Jesus time thought they were inspired, after all they thought He was a blasphemer, and crucified Him. But did Jesus and His Apostles think they were inspired? Here is something for you to consider. This is from another website:

Why, then, would or should we trust an institution that put curses on Christians and repudiated the Messiah and his liberating teachings, in order to know what belongs in the Bible? It makes no sense. Furthermore, if we trust the Jews concerning the Scriptural canon, we must be consistent, and thus we should also throw out all the books of the New Testament, since the Jews believe the New Testament has not been written yet (contains zero books therefore). Yet no Protestant does that. Indeed, Protestants want it both ways. They want to have only 39 books in the Old Testament (relying on the Jews for that decision), but yet also wish to have their 27 New Testament books (NOT relying on the Jews this time). Why this inconsistency?

Luther and second Maccabees. piercedhands.com/purgatory-prove-it/

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