Catholic Bible Vs. Protestant

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Sweet Pea, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. I've always wondered about the differences between what Protestant Christians and Catholics believe.

    Why does the Catholic Bible have additional books? Did the Roman Catholic Church add these, or did the protestants remove them? Why? How do we know these books aren't really supposed to be there?
  2. I've also heard their ten commandments are different... they don't have the one about making images and bowing down to them, but someone else said they do have that one.
  3. The answer is that it's complicated. Let me start from the beginning. The Jewish canon (Tanakh) has 39 books — or 24 depending on how it is counted, since some Jews consider all the minor prophets to be one book. The Early Christian communities had a considerably larger canon than we have today. So, for example, St. Irenaeus considered the Shepard of Hermas to be a sacred text. The Roman Catholic deuterocanonical books/apocrypha are books that were widely read by the Early Christians but that were not considered to be a part of the Jewish canon. In other words, books like Tobit and Sirach were popular amongst Christian communities but not amongst the Rabbinical Jewish communities. Roman Catholics include these books within our Sacred Scripture because they were revered by the early Church. Protestants make the argument that since the deuterocanonical books were not accepted by the Jews, they should not be accepted by Christians. Protestants usually view the deuterocanonical books as an infection of tradition upon sola scriptura. Therefore, it is not so easy to say whether the Roman Church added these or whether the Protestants removed them. Perhaps we can say that the Early Christians added the deuterocanonical books to the Jewish canon and then the Protestants removed from the Christian canon. It is crucial to keep in mind that until the 4th century there was no official biblical canon for Christians. Manuscripts were scarce so a given Church might only possess a singular gospel book.

    The Roman interpretation of the Ten Commandments does differ from the Protestant interpretation, and both differ from the Jewish interpretation. What we have to keep in mind that the ten commandments are never numbered. If the number ten were not mentioned, there could be as many as fourteen separate commandments contained in the passage in Exodus 20. The main difference between the Protestant and Catholic readings is that Roman theology reads" "You shall have no other gods before me.You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth," as the first commandment. Protestants object and say that this is a ploy by the Roman Church to justify their saint statues and prayers to saints. Protestants interpret these as two commandments with the second being about statues. In other words, Catholics read these passages as condemning making false idols, not all religious imagery and Protestants (by reading the passages separately) read it as a condemnation of all religious statues. Roman Catholics point to passages in the Old Testament where the Jewish people were instructed to build religious statues to defend their reading of the ten commandments: "And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat" (Exodus 25:18). I am not entirely sure how Protestants justify their position. I am not nearly as learned in Protestantism as I am in Roman Catholcism.
    RosaVera and pete say Amen and like this.
  4. The Catholic Bible has 73 books and the Protestant Bible has 66. Those books absent from the Protestant Bible are Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, Sirach, and First and Second Maccabees.

    In the 4th century, St. Athanasius came up with a list of 73 books for the Bible that he believed to be divinely inspired through the Holy Spirit. This list was finally approved by Pope Damasus I in 382 AD, and was formally approved by the Church Council of Rome in that same year. Later Councils at Hippo and Carthage ratified this list of 73 books. In 405 AD, Pope Innocent I wrote a letter to the Bishop of Toulouse reaffirming this canon of 73 books. In 419 AD, the Council of Carthage reaffirmed this list, which Pope Boniface agreed to. The Council of Trent, in 1546, in response to the Reformation removing 7 books from the canon (canon is a Greek word meaning “standard”), reaffirmed the original St. Athanasius list of 73 books.
    John Ryan likes this.
  5. Thank you for the reply! Makes a lot of sense. I would say that Protestants think it's okay to have statues, but not to bow down to them or worship them. That's always what I have thought. I mean, my mom bought this statue of a little girl because it reminded her of me when I was a little girl. That's fine... no biggie. She didn't bow down to it or worship it.
  6. I've read that the extra seven books are full of historical errors and teach things that are not biblical (that the Bible forbids in other areas).
  7. Such as?
  8. I think something about someone dying a death in three different ways. Another person supposedly was around for an event, but in another place it said he died way before that. The teaching of lying if it's for a godly reason is okay (Judith). I'll look for the website and post it.
  9. Also, in the book of Tobit the angel Raphael lies about who he is, stating he is a relative of the senior Tobit. Using fish parts to chase away evil spirits and to heal blindness is another thing.
  10. Let me clarify. Protestants generally believe secular statues are allowed, but not religious statues. The decisive issue Roman Catholics believe in theosis. We believe that those in Heaven become partakers of the Divine Nature. St. Athanasius wrote, "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God." The Saints in Heaven are deified and therefore we find it fitting to pray to them.

    The deuterocanonical books are not any less consistent than the other 66 books of that compose the biblical literature. The Gospel of St. Matthew Judas commits suicide by hanging himself, but in the Acts of the Apostles he falls and rips his abdomen open, where his blood and guts pour out onto the field in a poetic sense. Also, the Book of Judith does not teach anything that the Book of Joshua does not already teach. Rahab the prostitute lies to the authorities to safeguard the Jewish spies and is adopted by the Jewish people as one of their own. St. Paul even references her great faith in his Letter to the Hebrews.
  11. Thanks for providing these links, Sweet Pea. It's appreciated and I'm glad I got to look through them. :)

    There seems to be some errors with what these links are presenting, or at least misunderstandings in some cases.

    Looking back right after Christ ascended into heaven and the Holy Spirit came upon on the disciples, and the Christian Church was born. Many Jews and Gentiles were converting to Christianity. In their church services, they were using the Jewish scriptures. This didn't sit well with the Jews, so they held a council. They met to go through their scriptures and determine which ones were authentically inspired by God.

    In Palestine, the scriptures were recorded in Hebrew. In the Alexandrian territory, they were recorded in Greek, the common language of the time -- that was also the dominantly used version. The Jews in their pursuit to find true, authentic books, they only looked at the scriptures recorded in Hebrew. Any books that were not in the Hebrew were thrown out (First and Second Maccabees, Wisdom, etc.).

    Throughout the early Church, these books continued to be used from the Greek. When they started to write their own letters and gospels, they were referring to this Greek text -- the Greek version of what we call the Old Testament. In 393 and again in 397, the Catholic bishops gathered and held a council to figure out which writings were truly inspired by the Holy Spirit -- especially what we now call the New Testament. Up until that time, they didn't have a cannon that included the NT. As they went through the readings, they got rid of the ones that were not inspired by the Holy Spirit and kept the ones that were. So every Bible today, NT cannon, was given to us by the Catholic bishops. Anyone who puts their faith in the Bible, especially the NT, puts their faith in the ability of the Holy Spirit to direct the Catholic bishops to lead us to the truth -- in this case, on the cannon of scripture.

    That cannon was held to be the true cannon of scripture all the way up to the Protestant reformation in the 1500s -- so we had over 1000 years where we operated on that cannon of scripture. At the time of the reformation, Martin Luther broke away and began to change dogmatic and doctrinal teachings, and also wanted to change the cannon of scripture. At this time, the Catholic Church definitively stated that this was the true authentic cannon of scripture given to us by God. However, because some of the books didn't support Martin Luther's theology, he wanted to change the cannon. He wanted to get rid of the book of James because it explicitly states that we are not saved by faith alone. Of course that went against his theology which was that faith alone is sufficient.

    We all know at this point that he even had to change Roman 3:28 by adding the word "alone." Today, Bibles don't have that translation printed anymore, but this is still Protestant theology. He also wanted to get rid of the Maccabees books because it referred to purgatory. He was able to accomplish that one because the Jewish version of the OT did not hold that and several other books in it so he held the position that that was the true, authentic cannon, while the one that hadn't been used for the past 1500 years was not the true, authentic cannon. So at that point, he changed the cannon. This is why the Protestant Bible does not have the full cannon of scripture. Again, the NT that they do hold as authentically from God was given to them by the Catholic bishops.
    RosaVera likes this.
  12. The responses of LysanderShapiro are so much more elegant and knowledgable than mine.
  13. That was incredibly kind of you to say -- thank you :)
  14. #15 Man-ofGod, Jan 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014

    I think this is somewhat of a simplistic way of looking at it. In the King James 1611 bible, the scholars correctly positioned the books after the old testament and before the new testament and categorized this as Apocrypha -- which are statements or claims that are dubious in authenticity. One of the reasons why they came to this conclusion is that none of the statements in the apocrypha are mentioned anywhere or are quoted from any other portion of scripture. For example, none of the new testament authors make any references to the apocrypha. Also the Jewish community at large rejects the Apocrypha as authentic. Furthermore, Philo never quoted from the Apocropha, and Josephus explicitly rejected it.

    Even the Catholic Church did not accept the Apocropha as canonical until the council of Trent in 1546, over a millennium and a half since the books were written and was a counter reaction to the protestant reformation. The "church fathers" rejected it as canonical, Jerome referring to it as quasi-scriptual books (1), along with Origen, Cyril, and Anathisius rejecting its canonicity.

    I agree with them and I agree with this line of reason. Proper biblical hermeneutics applied show that these books do not belong in the canon. The extent of there usefulness is to get some historical incite to what was occurring at the time they were written, like in the book of the Maccabees. But they are definitely not divinely inspired, especially when you investigate the false teachings provided therein. I will save that for another time.
  15. It's simple, but it's not simplistic.

    The Council of Trent was held in response to the reformation. So they definitely addressed the subject of scripture, but this wasn't a call to change the original canon, but to reaffirm it. The Protestant approach to the scripture went strictly by the writings in Palestine, not in Alexandria. These 7 books are called the "deuterocanon" (meaning Second) by Catholics, and "apocrypha" (meaning hidden/obscure) by Protestants. However, Councils Hippo and then 5 years later Carthage did ratify the 73 books of the OT -- that was from 393 to 397.

    St. Athanasius provided the list of the 73 books for the Bible as Ginspired by the Holy Spirit. This list was approved by Pope Damasus I in 382 A.D. This over 1000 years before the Council of Trent and reformation.
  16. #17 Man-ofGod, Jan 13, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
    I say again, that "church fathers" such as Jerome labeled them as apocrypha. So this is not strictly a protestant term for the "deuterocanon". The Council of Trent then looks at two regional councils,for which little documentation about what took place in those councils is available, as the Catholic churches official endorsement of the dueterocanon . Even if one is willing to accept such a vague affirmation, this hardly is an endorsement from the church universal (that is the church/state entity) as is the case in the Council of Trent a whole millennium later.

    Of course it is also my contention that the church/state religion, let alone any regional councils, never had authority under God to begin with but there was in every age a people God used that never aligned with the church/state doctrine of Rome but stood fast to the Word of God, which did not include the Apocrypha. You might call this the protestant version of the apostolic succession.
  17. I am not convinced that St. Jerome or any of the Church Fathers actually rejected the deuterocanonical books. While St. Jerome makes a statement that seems to reject the deuterocanonical books, the weight of his other writings suggest otherwise. St. Jerome continually quotes from the deuterocanonical books as Scripture, as do the other Church Fathers. I suggest reading "Did Some Church Fathers Reject the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture?".

    The problem is that your position is logically incoherent. Somebody has to decide what is and is not biblical canon and what is to be considered the Word of God. There is simply no indication that St. Paul ever believed his writings would be revered as the Word of God. The list of canon had to be discerned by somebody. If the councils or the Church never had any authority then how is it that we even know what to consider Scripture? The problem with Protestant theology in general is that it tries to remove Scripture from all history and context. It approaches Scripture analytically. You make claims without any support. You a priori assume that the Bible includes only 66 books and then label anybody who does not agree with that based on historical evidence as heretical Romans who perverted the truth. It is circular logic.
  18. The idea that the 7 books were added at the Council of Trent is one of the five most common myths that surround them.

    St. Jerome. In his later years did indeed accept the Deuter-ocanonical books of the Bible. In fact, he wound up strenuously defending their status as inspired Scripture, writing, "What sin have I committed if I followed the judgment of the churches? But he who brings charges against me for relating the objections that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the story of Susanna, the Son of the Three Children, and the story of Bel and the Dragon, which are not found in the Hebrew volume (ie. canon), proves that he is just a foolish sycophant. For I wasn't relating my own personal views, but rather the remarks that they [the Jews] are wont to make against us"

  19. My comment is not that councils do not have authority, but that the councils acting on behalf of Rome were not the voice of God. In addition, my argument is that those early conferences are regional, not universal like the Council of Trent was a whole millennium later.

    God Bless,

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