Why did protestants delete books of the bible?

The table of contents in Luther’s Bible shows that he segregated four books – Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation – into an appendix at the end. The other books are numbered from 1 to 23, while these four are left unnumbered.


80% of the quotes in the NT referring to the OT, are in the Septuagint, which is why the Church kept it as the OT canon rather than switching to the Hebrew translation.

But the bottom line is that this is why Protestant Bibles have 7 less books than Catholic Bibles.

At least that’s what I’ve read from a credible source, “Catholic Answers to Fundamentalist Questions,” by Phillip St Romain.

So the underlying question which is often lost in the discussion of the deuterocanonical books has to do with authority.

It doesn’t really matter when they were written or in what language. They were available to the early church leaders who, after prayer and consultation, were guided by the Holy Spirit to include them in the Canon.

The question which needs to be asked is: what revelation and authority did the Holy Spirit provide to Luther and Protestants directing them to remove the sections which have been removed?

Another way to ask is: what made Luther more inspired and authoritative than the combined knowledge the Church fathers and theologians during the previous 1500 years?

We know Luther removed, in addition to the deuterocanon texts, texts everybody else sees as belonging in the canon. Secondly this revelation was revealed by a single man without affirmation from the Church universal. Since his time has only been adopted by a relatively small percentage of the church.

Taking these two points into consideration, it is ok to call into question, or disregard, Luther’s abridgment of the canon.

Yes, and all 80% of these quotes in the NT that cite the Septuagint are from the books contained in the Hebrew Bible. As Trent Horn correctly pointed out, there is not even a single quote from the Deuteros in the NT. There are allusions to them - just as there are allusions, and even quotes, to other non-Protestant books in the NT (like 3 & 4 Maccabees, 3 & 4 Esdras, the Prayer of Manasseh, the Psalms of Solomon, 1 Enoch, the Assumption of Moses, etc). But only the books in the Hebrew Bible, which were translated into the Septuagint by the first century AD, are specifically quoted in the NT with certain phrases, like “It is written,” “Have you not read?,” “the Scriptures say,” “the Law & the Prophets,” etc. which validate they are OT books. There are about 300 of these NT metonyms to describe these OT books. 100% are from the books from the Hebrew Bible. None are from the Deuteros, and other non-Protestant Biblical books. This is why Protestants don’t accept them. As Catholic author Gary Michuta (“Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger”) pointed out, the Septuagint kept getting added to after the first century, which is why you find books in addition to the books from the Hebrew Bible in it. This is one of the reasons Jerome, Luther, and later Protestants rejected those books.

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If you are referring to the epistle of James & other NT books, this is historically incorrect. Luther questioned them - just as many early church fathers questioned some of these books (see Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History for examples). However, unlike them, Luther included not only all 27 books of the NT, he also included the deuteros too, in his German translation, just in a separate uninspired section.

The problem is that we don’t have an officially “defined” Biblical canon until 1546 at Trent. The ECFs in the first few centuries, including Doctors of the Church, did not universally agree on the Biblical canon. Irenaeus supported the “smaller” canon Protestants embrace, and he included Wisdom & the Shepherd of Hermas in his New Testament canon, not the Old, which demonstrates as late as the late second century, Wisdom was still not in the Old Testament.

None of the fourth century councils included Baruch or the epistle of Jeremiah. They would not be added to later versions of the Vulgate until sometime in the 9th Century AD. The Councils of Hippo (397) & Carthage (397) “added” the additions of Ezra, which were not in the earlier Council of Rome (382). And Carthage removed Revelation, because it was rejected by many Eastern Church Fathers (which then got added back in the 5th Century Council of Carthage, because it was included in Jerome’s Latin Vulgate in 405 AD).

You don’t get an Ecumenical Council with the same books in Catholic Bibles until Florence (1441), and even then, there were many who questioned some of the Deuteros, like Sirach well-after Florence. Even after Trent, Cardinals like Cajetan & Ximenes (and even Erasmus) preferred the “smaller” Biblical canon of the Reformers, despite rejecting the Reformation movement.

So, the history of the Biblical canon isn’t as “consistent” throughout church history as one might think.

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That’s terrible and all, and it can be mentioned. But the point is not that it’s insulting to say someone had mental illness: the point is that it’s illegitimate to reduce everything a mentally ill person does to their mental illness. They can have different reasons for different actions, and we need to address all of those.

It’s fair to mention evidence that someone had a medical condition that may have affected their judgement in specific ways. It’s not fair to pretend that a person’s intellectual arguments should be ignored or unaddressed just because they also had a medical condition. That’s ad hominem, and it actually makes people more likely to assume the mentally ill person probably had a point, if the worst critique a person can make is about the person, not the argument. So make sure to always mention the problems with the arguments, not just hypothetical medical conditions of the person.


Yes. Please note that it was not I who suggested Luther was suffering from mental illness.

At least not to a Protestant.

To a Catholic it has ALWAYS been consistent, since Apostolic Times. Protestants look through a “canon” hermeneutic at the Bible. They have NO Church, at least not in the sense of a Visible, Authoritative one that has Apostolic Authority to bind and loosen. Therefore the Canon is the sine qua non of all Biblical questions. It is actually the ONLY thing Protestants can agree on about the Bible!

But for Catholics it is a Liturgical book first and always. It was because of the Liturgy that the Catholic Church enumerated the books of the Bible, for use within the Sacred Liturgy (especially in the primitive Church.) It was NEVER considered a handbook/teacher, since Catholics already have Apostolic Teachers. The Bible is indeed Sacred to Catholics as the inspired word of God (Which Luther deemed correct.) However, HOW and WHY the Bible is read is what changed with Luther. That necessarily caused him to review and abridge the Bible’s canon.

As a Catholic, do you believe every book of the OT is God-breathed - the inspired word of God? If so, since you believe it has “been consistent, since Apostolic Times,” when do you find the exact same list of books that make up the Catholic OT today in antiquity? IOW, can you give a list and an approximate date of the 46 books of the Catholic OT that mirror the Catholic OT of today?

The reason Protestants only accept the 39 books (which exclude the deuteros) is because they believe Jesus affirmed the OT canon of the Pharisees in Luke 16:14,29, which Jimmy Akin from Catholic Answers stated contained the same books that are in Protestant OTs today.

This is because of how Protestants understand the concept of the “church” different from Catholics. For many Catholics, “the Church” is an ecclesiastical hierarchy with the Pope & the Magisterium at the top, followed by Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, etc. For Protestants, the word “church” in the NT means “assembly,” & it is only used to describe either a local assembly of believers, like the 7 “churches” of Revelation, or it refers to all genuine believers in Christ collectively, not just the clergy at the top of a hierarchy. IOW, Protestants don’t believe the church is a hierarchy, because they can’t find this concept of the church in Scripture. But since this thread is about why Protestants reject the deuteros, not what the church is, let’s not go off on an unrelated tangent that is irrelevant to the OP, and stay on topic.


Of note here is that about 90% of the OT quotations in the NT have their origins in the Septuagint collection. This includes statements made by our Lord.

For a Christian to rely on the collection retained by the descendants of the Pharisees (Re: Matthew 23) strikes me as surreal.

SteveLy mentions ML’s depression. According to ML’s close personal confidant Philipp Melanchthon, ML also had manic stages. I will let you draw your own conclusions.

The 90% figure is grossly exaggerated. Jimmy Akin has stated it is closer to about 2/3. And when you look at the quotes from the Septuagint it cites, all of them are from the books within the boundaries of the Hebrew Bible, but not any of the deuteros (see my reply in #24 above).

While Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their unbelief, He never rebuked them for their canon. In fact, Jimmy Akin (Catholic Answers) stated Pharisees & later Protestants shared the exact same books in the OT, and Jesus affirmed the canon of the Pharisees (Luke 16:14,29). That is what made their rejection of Him as their promised Jewish Messiah so heinous, because they possessed the very OT canon that was entrusted to them by God. When Jesus said “they have Moses & the Prophets,” this means they “have possession” of the OT canon, which means they should have been able to know alone from Scripture how to avoid the torments of Hades, as well as know Who Jesus was. But they had added so many of their man-made “traditions” that were not found in their canon (“Moses & the Prophets”) that they ended up rejecting their Messiah & ended up in the torments of Hades.

When you read the early writings of Luther, he arguably took his early Catholicism extremely seriously, because he was so afraid of ending up in Hell if he committed a serious enough “mortal sin” that he would not end up in Purgatory, but Hell. If anything, he took his Catholicism to its logical extreme - the uncertainty that no matter how much penance & how many good deeds he did, including indulgences, he could never be certain it would be enough to merit Heaven. This early seriousness of how he took his Catholicism gives a much more objective understanding of what contributed to his depression, as opposed to simply saying he suffered from depression & had “manic stages” which doesn’t explain why he had them, or what contributed to them.

  1. Dueling apologists here. You are arguing with Dr. David Anders. Call him if you disagree.

  2. You drew your own conclusion. Good. Others have theirs.

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Fair enough, which is allowed on this forum. And others who read our comments, they can draw their own conclusions, based on whose conclusion is supported more by the words of our Lord in His God-breathed word.

Many Protestants DO find the concept of heirarchy in the Bible. It is just your little splinter group that has trouble.

Are you quoting Martin Luther, or is this another little idea your splinter group came up with? If it is the former, please provide quote, if the latter, never mind.

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