Why were 7 books removed from Holy Bibles which are not Catholic?

Is it because there was some flaw in them and what is that flaw? Or where these books not revealed thru Holy Spirit as the other 66 Books? Who was the authority to remove these books and what was his jurisdiction in this?

What could be the reason for Non Catholics to hold only 66 books?

Melito - 160AD

Melito was bishop of the church in Sardis, an inland city of Asia Minor. His list gives the Hebrew canon minus Esther, and makes no mention of any of the apocryphal or deutrocannon books. This list was reproduced by Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea (in his Church History, around 324).

Origen - 185–254AD

A very influential teacher in Alexandria, the chief city of Egypt. His list (also preserved by Eusebius) After his list of canonical books Origen adds, “and outside of these are the Maccabees.”

Cyril of Jerusalem - 315-387AD

Was bishop in that city. His list was published in his Catechetical Lectures, followed by the statement, “Let all the rest * be placed outside in a second rank. And whatever books are not read in churches, neither should you read them in private.”

Athanasius - 367AD

Was the bishop of Alexandria. His list was published as part of his circular Easter Letter in 367 which is the first complete list of our current New Testament. After the list of canonical books he names the other books in the Deuterocannon (but not First and Second Maccabees) as “not received as canonical but having been appointed by the Fathers to be read to those just beginning in the faith and wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness.”

Check this list for a list of all fathers who gave biblical canon lists and it has a Graph which details which books were not included by which fathers. It is a rather complete list.


Here is a HORRIBLE copy paste from that page:


Esth. - Esther
Bar. - Baruch
Eccl. - Ecclesiasticus
Wisd. - Wisdom of Solomon
Tob. - Tobit
Jud. - Judith
Mac. - First and Second Maccabees

Disputed Books of the Old Testament
The table below shows which of the disputed Old Testament books are included in Christian catalogs of canonical books up to the eighth century. Y indicates that the book is plainly listed as Holy Scripture; N indicates that it is placed in an inferior class of books; M indicates that the terminology of the author may be construed as a reference to the book as Holy Scripture. An S indicates that the author does not mention the book in his catalog, which implies its rejection. See notes on the authorities below.

  1. Greek Authors. Date Esth. Bar. Eccl. Wisd. Tob. Jud. Mac.
    Melito 160 S S S S S S S
    Origen 225 Y M S S S S N
    Cyril of Jerusalem 348 Y Y N N N N N
    Council of Laodicea 363 Y Y S S S S S
    Athanasius 367 N Y N N N N S
    Gregory of Nazianzus 380 S S S S S S S
    Amphilocius of Iconium 380 M S S S S S S
    Epiphanius 385 Y S N N S S S
    Stichometry of Niceph. 550 N Y N N N N N
    Synopsis of Sac. Scrip. 550 N S N N N N N
    Leontius 590 S S S S S S S
    List of the Sixty Books 650 N S N N N N N
    John of Damascus 730 Y S N N S S S
  2. Syrian Greek. Date Esth. Bar. Eccl. Wisd. Tob. Jud. Mac.
    “Apostolic Canons” 380 Y S N S S M Y
  3. Latin Authors.* Date Esth. Bar. Eccl. Wisd. Tob. Jud. Mac.
    Hilary of Poitiers 360 Y M S S M M S
    Cheltenham List 360 Y M S M Y Y Y
    Jerome 390 Y M N N N N N
    Augustine 397 Y M Y Y Y Y Y
    3rd Council of Carthage 397 Y M Y Y Y Y Y
    Rufinus 400 Y M N N N N N
    Codex Claromontanus 400 Y M Y Y Y Y Y
    Letter of Innocent I 405 Y M Y Y Y Y Y
    Decree of Gelasius 550 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    Cassiodorus 560 Y M Y Y Y Y Y
    Isidore of Seville 625 Y M Y Y Y Y Y*

Athanasius of Alexandria (A.D. 296-373) was the most prominent theologian of the fourth century, and he served as bishop of Alexandria. His list of canonical books was published as part of his Thirty-Ninth Festal Epistle of A.D. 367. After the list he declares, “these are the wells of salvation, so that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the sayings in these. Let no one add to these. Let nothing be taken away.”

From his Thirty-Ninth Festal Epistle, A.D. 367.
The Greek text here is according to Johannes Kirchhofer, Quellensammlung zur Geschichte des Neutestamentlichen Kanons bis auf Hieronymus (Zürich: Meyer and Zeller, 1844), pp. 7-9. The English translation is based upon the version published in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series, vol. 4 (New York: 1892), pp. 550-5, slightly revised.

Concerning the Divine Scriptures

  1. But since we have made mention of heretics as dead, but of ourselves as possessing the Divine Scriptures for salvation; and since I fear lest, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, some few of the simple should be beguiled from their simplicity and purity, by the subtilty of certain men, and should henceforth read other books—those called apocryphal—led astray by the similarity of their names with the true books; I beseech you to bear patiently, if I also write, by way of remembrance, of matters with which you are acquainted, influenced by the need and advantage of the Church.

  2. In proceeding to make mention of these things, I shall adopt, to commend my undertaking, the pattern of Luke the evangelist, saying on my own account, Forasmuch as some have taken in hand to reduce into order for themselves the books termed Apocryphal, and to mix them up with the divinely inspired Scripture, concerning which we have been fully persuaded, as they who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word, delivered to the Fathers; it seemed good to me also, having been urged thereto by true brethren, and having learned from the beginning, to set before you the books included in the Canon, and handed down, and accredited as divine; to the end that anyone who has fallen into error may condemn those who have led them astray; and that he who has continued steadfast in purity may again rejoice, having these things brought to his remembrance.

  3. There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews; their respective order and names being as follows. The first is Genesis, then Exodus, next Leviticus, after that Numbers, and then Deuteronomy. Following these there is Joshua the son of Nun, then Judges, then Ruth. And again, after these four books of Kings, the first and second 1 being reckoned as one book, and so likewise the third and fourth 2 as one book. And again, the first and second of the Chronicles are reckoned as one book. Again Ezra, the first and second 3 are similarly one book. After these there is the book of Psalms, then the Proverbs, next Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Job follows, then the Prophets, the Twelve [minor prophets] being reckoned as one book. Then Isaiah, one book, then Jeremiah with Baruch, Lamentations and the Epistle, one book; afterwards Ezekiel and Daniel, each one book. Thus far constitutes the Old Testament.

  4. Again, it is not tedious to speak of the books of the New Testament. These are: the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. After these, The Acts of the Apostles, and the seven epistles called Catholic: of James, one; of Peter, two, of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen epistles of Paul the apostle, written in this order: the first, to the Romans; then, two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians, then, to the Philippians; then, to the Colossians; after these, two of the Thessalonians; and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John.

  5. These are the fountains of salvation, that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone the teaching of godliness is proclaimed. Let no one add to these; let nothing be taken away from them. For concerning these the Lord put to shame the Sadducees, and said, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures. And he reproved the Jews, saying, Search the Scriptures, for these are they that testify of me.

  6. But for the sake of greater exactness I add this also, writing under obligation, as it were. There are other books besides these, indeed not received as canonical but having been appointed by our fathers to be read to those just approaching and wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness: Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being merely read; nor is there any place a mention of secret writings. But such are the invention of heretics, who indeed write them whenever they wish, bestowing upon them their approval, and assigning to them a date, that so, using them as if they were ancient writings, they find a means by which to lead astray the simple-minded.

Greek Orthodox Canon

1 Esdras

Additions to Esther
Wisdom of Solomon
Epistle of Jeremiah
Song of the Three Children
Story of Susanna
Bel and the Dragon
Prayer of Manasseh
1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees
3 Maccabees
4 Maccabees
Psalm 151

Protestant Apocrypha

1 Esdras
2 Esdras
Additions to Esther
Wisdom of Solomon
Epistle of Jeremiah
Song of the Three Children
Story of Susanna
Bel and the Dragon
Prayer of Manasseh
1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees

Roman Catholic Canon

Additions to Esther
Wisdom of Solomon
Epistle of Jeremiah
Song of the Three Children
Story of Susanna
Bel and the Dragon

1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees

Brief Descriptions of the Apocryphal Books

First Esdras. This book is someone’s attempt to revise the canonical book of Ezra, supplementing it with material from the last two chapters of 2 Chronicles and the last two chapters of Nehemiah, and with an entertaining tale about three young courtiers who debate the question, “What is the strongest thing in the world?” The debate is held before the king of Persia, and the winner is to get a prize. The first maintains that it is wine; the second that it is the king himself; the third argues with some irony and humor that women are stronger than either wine or kings, but that “truth” and “the God of truth” are by far strongest. This last young man turns out to be none other than Zerubbabel, who for his prize receives generous help from the king in rebuilding Jerusalem.

Second Esdras. Also called the Ezra Apocalypse. This is a typical Jewish apocalypse, probably first written in Greek about A.D. 100. Some hold that it was originally written in Hebrew. It appears to be a composite work, compiled of two or three sources. Around A.D. 120 it was edited by an unknown Christian, and then translated into Latin. The Christian editor added some introductory and closing chapters in which reference is made to Christ, but the original Jewish composition was not changed in any important respect. This book was not included in Septuagint manuscripts, and so the Greek text has been lost. The most important witness to the original text is the Latin version, which was included in medieval manuscripts of the Vulgate. The book consists mostly of dialogues between Ezra and angels sent to him to answer his urgent theological questions about the problem of evil, and in particular the failures and afflictions of Israel. All of this is presented as if written long before by Ezra and hidden away. The book was obviously written as an encouragement to the Jews, who had recently suffered the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70). It also includes some symbolical prophecies concerning the Roman empire, in which Rome is figured as a three-headed eagle that oppresses the world and is finally destroyed by a roaring lion (a figure of the Messiah). There is a fantastic story of how the Hebrew Scriptures were all destroyed in the Babylonian exile and then perfectly restored by the miraculous inspiration of Ezra as he dictated all of the books to five scribes over a period of forty days. Along with the canonical books, Ezra dictates 70 secret books that are to be reserved for the wise. Second Esdras is presented as being one of these secret books. Martin Luther omitted First and Second Esdras from the Apocrypha of his German Bible in 1534, and both books were also rejected by the Roman Catholics at the Council of Trent in 1546. Nevertheless, they were included in the Apocrypha of the King James version.

Tobit. This is a didactic and romantic tale written in Aramaic probably around 200 B.C., and afterwards translated into Greek. Fragments of the Aramaic text were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The story is of a Jewish family taken to Nineveh during the Babylonian captivity. Tobit, the blind father, sends his son Tobias on a journey to collect a debt. On his way Tobias is led by an angel in disguise (Raphael) to the house of a virgin who had been married seven times, but whose husbands were all slain by a demon on their wedding night. Tobias marries the girl and drives away the demon by burning the heart of a certain fish in the bedroom, and with the help of Raphael. He returns home with the money and his bride, and then heals his father’s eyes with the fish’s gall. The story is sprinkled with pious observations and exhortations, and concludes with Tobias’ departure from Nineveh, which, after the natural death of Tobit, is destroyed in judgment.

Judith. Written in Hebrew about 150 B.C., and soon translated into Greek. The Hebrew text is lost. It is a story about a beautiful young widow named Judith (meaning “Jewess”) who saves her city from a military siege. She goes out to the enemy commander’s camp, allures him, gets him drunk, and then cuts off his head while he sleeps in his tent. She returns with his head and shows it to her people, exhorting the men to go forth and rout the enemy, which they do. Throughout this story she is presented as a woman who is very keen to observe the Law of Moses.

Additions to Esther. These consist of six long paragraphs inserted in the Septuagint version of Esther in several places, and are thought to be the work of an Egyptian Jew writing around 170 B.C. They are designed to provide the book with a more religious tone, and to make it clear that it was for the sake of their piety that the Jews were delivered from the evil designs of the Gentiles related in the canonical book. These additions were put at the end of the book by Jerome when he made his Latin translation because he accepted only the Hebrew text as canonical.

Wisdom of Solomon. Sometimes called simply Wisdom. This book is a collection of theological and devotional essays first written in Greek by an Alexandrian Jew about 100 B.C., but presented in such a way that they seem to be discourses of king Solomon. The author compares Jewish religion with Greek philosophy, and shows faith to be the highest form of wisdom. The book is edifying and worthy of much respect. It has often been quoted by Christian writers in the past.

Ecclesiasticus, originally called The Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach, or simply Sirach. Written first in Hebrew about 200 B.C. by a wisdom teacher named Joshua Ben Sirach, and translated into Greek by his grandson around 135 B.C. The book consists mainly of proverbs and other wise sayings about common life, strung together in short discourses or organized in topical sections. It also contains longer discourses about religious life and faith, which are well worth reading. It came to be called Ecclesiasticus (the “churchly” book) because in early times it was often read in church services, being the most highly regarded of the apocryphal books. This book should not be confused with the canonical book of Ecclesiastes.

Baruch. A composite book of five chapters, in which there are exhortations against association with idolatry, celebration of the Law as God’s “wisdom,” and encouragements and promises to faithful Jews, collected together and edited probably about 150 B.C. The material is presented as if by Baruch, the disciple of Jeremiah, during the time of the Babylonian exile.

Epistle of Jeremiah. Often printed as chapter 6 of Baruch, this short work purports to be a letter from Jeremiah to the Jews in exile in Babylon, but this is generally regarded as an imposture, or a mere literary device used by an author writing around 200 B.C. It is essentially a short tract against pagan idolatry, and makes much use of ridicule and sarcasm.

Song of the Three Holy Children (including The Prayer of Azariah). An embellishment of the ordeal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego recorded in the canonical book of Daniel, designed to be added after verse 23 of the third chapter. It consists of prayers and hymns of the sort which might have been offered to God by the three while in the furnace.

The Story of Susanna. A short story about how two lecherous old men tried to compel a beautiful and pious young wife, Susanna, to lie with them, and then publicly accused her of adultery when she refused. At a trial they give false testimony and she is condemned by the council of elders. But Daniel the prophet is divinely inspired to know the facts of the case, and he exposes the two men in a second trial, after which they are put to death. This story was inserted between chapters 12 and 14 in the Septuagint version of Daniel, and at the beginning of the book in Theodotion’s version.

Bel and the Dragon. This is a combination of two stories which were also attached to Daniel in the Septuagint, at the end of the book. The story of Bel concerns a Babylonian idol of that name, to which Daniel refused to give an offering. When he was challenged he told the Persian king that the vain idol had no need of offerings because it could not eat anything. The king then required the priests of Bel to prove otherwise or die. The priests tried to deceive the king by entering the temple of Bel at night through a secret entrance and eating the food-offerings themselves, but they were exposed by Daniel, who had spread ashes on the temple floor, revealing their footprints. The priests of Bel were then slain and their temple destroyed. In the story of the Dragon Daniel refuses to worship an actual living “dragon,” and accepts a challenge to slay the dragon without sword or staff. He feeds the dragon a concoction of pitch, fat, and hair, which causes it to burst open and die. Daniel’s enemies then cause him to be thrown into the lion’s den again, but the hungry lions are fed with abundant food brought from Israel by the prophet Habakkuk, who is transported to Babylon with the food by angels. Both of these stories were evidently written around 150-100 B.C.

The Prayer of Manasseh. This is a psalm of repentance, composed to suit the situation of Manasseh, the king of Judah who was carried captive to Babylon (see 2 Chronicles 33:11-13, where the psalm was probably intended for insertion in the Septuagint). This book was rejected by the Roman Catholics at the Council of Trent in 1546.

First Maccabees. This book was written in Hebrew about 100 B.C., and soon afterwards translated into Greek. The Hebrew text was seen by Jerome, but is now lost. It is a sober but stirring historical account of Jewish history from 175 B.C. to 135 B.C., during which time the Jews of Palestine fought for and gained national independence from their Greek overlords. It is highly regarded by historians as a source of accurate information.

Second Maccabees. This is not a sequel to First Maccabees, but a different account of many of the same events related in that book down to 161 B.C., combined with many fanciful and legendary additions. The writer’s interests are religious rather than historical, and he uses the history as a backdrop for advancing religious ideas current among the Jews of Alexandria during the first century B.C. It is generally thought to be later than First Maccabees, but earlier than A.D. 70. Some statements in this book support the Roman Catholic teachings on purgatory, prayers for the dead, and the intercessory work of glorified “saints.”

The short answer is that those seven books contained theological ideas that were counter to Luther’s ideas, prayer to the dead, etc.

A longer answer deals with the fact that some Jewish canons did not include those books as inspired while some did. The thinking in the Protestant circles was that if they Jews rejected these books, we should too. Logically then those folks should also reject the entire NT.

On a more practical note, we need to consider the fact that the seven deuterocanonical books were in place from the establishment of the canon until the Protestant revolution/reformation. So for about 1,100 years these books were not questioned. If they were truly in error, that would mean that God let his sheep go astray for 1,100 years by allowing them to receive the false Word mix in with the authentic Word.

Luther also removed the book of James and Revelation. He later added them back in, called James, ‘an epistle of straw’. If Luther had his way, the current Protestant bible would be even smaller.

Hope this helps!

A more balanced Catholic analysis of the issue was done by apologist Art Sippo (certainly no fan of Luther):


Differing opinions regarding the canonical status of the deuterocanon books were not deemed to be excommunicable heresy prior to the Council of Trent (which of course, was after Luther’s death), because the Vatican sent Cardinal Cajetan as its emissary to deal with Luther, and Cajetan was on record as believing they were of lesser status.

It must also be pointed out that
Luther removed no books from the Bible. Luther translated and included all 73 books that were common in the western Bible.
It is significant to point out that he made great efforts to translate the D-C books, which indicates that, while he thought them not to be on a level of canon (a position held by many prior to him), he clearly held them in high regard.


Orthodox Christian Bibles contain 76 books in the Bible.

27 New Testament Books as determined by Church Council(s)

49 Old Testament Books as were in the original Greek Septuagint (LXX) the Canonical ordering of the Orthodox Old Testament comes from the “The Old Testament According to the Seventy” which is the version that used used by Christ and all Jews from about 200 years before Christ & used until the Council Jews had shortly after the final destruction of the Temple in the mid-1st Century

Why do Catholics only have 46 Books in their Old Testament?

Why do Protestants only have 39 Books in their Old Testament?

Actually the Orthodox Old Testament Canon includes:

1 Kingdoms
2 Kingdoms
3 Kingdoms
4 Kingdoms
1 Paraleipomenon
2 Paraleipomenon
1 Ezra
2 Ezra
Esther (the full Original Greek version from about 200 yrs before Christ, not the Newer Hebrew Translation from the mid-1st Century that is missing entire sections)
1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees
3 Maccabees
Psalm (all original 151 as per the Original Greek, not the Newer Hebrew that’s missing the ast one)
Proverbs of Solomon
Song of Songs
Wisdom of Solomon
Wisdom of Sirach
Lamentation of Jeremiah
Epistle of Jeremiah
Daniel (the complete book of Daniel as in the original Greek, not the newer Hebrew version which is missing entire sections)

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