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Learn why Catholics and Protestants have different versions of the Bible. Up until about two hundred years ago, both Protestant and Roman Catholic Bibles contained the same books. – When the Protestant Reformation came along, Protestant scholars were also rediscovering the importance of the original Hebrew Old Testament and of the Hebrew language in which it was written. The Old Testament of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions are not exactly the same list of writings either! It is not clear what prompts their arrangement. Catholics view the Bible as having equal authority with the Church and tradition, whereas, Protestants view the Bible as the supreme authority for faith and practice. The primary difference between the Catholic Bible and the Protestant Bible is to be found in the Old Testament. For unknown reasons, its ordering of the books differed from the Hebrew Bible; the Septuagint also included deuterocanonical books, but their number was never fixed. They include such books as Tobit, Judith, 1 … The New Testament however, has 27 books in both. That is why they initially included them. The view of Scripture is at the root of many, if not all, of the differences between Catholics and Protestants. do not. Protestants call them apocryphal books. Like the original Hebrew scriptures, the Greek texts, which were known as the Septuagint, were not in a codex or book form as we're accustomed to now but were handwritten on leather or parchment scrolls and rolled up for ease in storage. (For more detailed information, see the entries on Wikipedia:  "Development of Old Testament Canon", and "Deuterocanonical Books". The books of Tobit and Judith are placed between Nehemiah and Esther, while 1 and 2 Maccabees follow Esther. The New Testament canon of the Catholic Bible and the Protestant Bible are the same with 27 Books. The basic reason is that the Protestant leaders chose to accept only the books of the Old Testament accepted as canonical in Judaism, which they assumed was the Bible used by Jesus and the earliest Christians. So, as long as you choose an edition that does not add explanatory notes opposed to a Catholic perspective, any reputable translation of the New Testament is fine. St. Jerome saw the Hebrew translation of the Old Testament as the inspired word of God, while St. Augustine accepted a later Greek translation as God’s word. Is our Old Testament the same as a Jewish Bible? The designation of 'second canon', however, does not mean that these books were regarded as less canonical. After the Reformation though, some Christians decided to accept translations into Latin then English only from the Hebrew texts that the Jewish Bible contained, so the seven additional books in the Greek translation became known as the Apocrypha, meaning "hidden." Catholic and Orthodox Bibles The Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches did not follow the Protestant revisions, and they continue to base their Old Testament on the Septuagint. They are interspersed throughout the Old Testament. Actually, Catholics have eight more books (Tobit, Judith, 1-2 Maccabees, Ecclesiasticus or Wisdom of Ben Sira, Wisdom of Solomon, Baruch and letter of Jeremiah) and two additions (additions to Esther and additions to Daniel), totalling 47 books and two additions. A caller named Jackie asks if the Catholic Bible should be interpreted differently from the Protestant Bible. © Copyright 2020 Catholic Exchange. Moreover, it divides its list of Old Testament books into four (Pentateuch, Historical books, Poetry/Wisdom and Prophets) rather than the three Jewish divisions of the Torah (Pentateuch), Nevi'im (Prophets) and Kethuvim (Writings). Answer: The difference between the Catholic version of the Bible and other translations is that it has additional books contained in the Old Testament that other translations (NKJV, NIV, etc.) By comparison, the books of the Catholic Bible include all 66 in the previous list plus seven extra books. King James Bible is the Protestant bible. A third difference is the arrangement of the books (see below). Early Protestants thought these books did not carry the authority of the other books of the Bible though they were still worth reading. The Protestant canon follows the Jewish canon which has twenty-four books, but it orders and counts them differently. Discussion: The most noticeable differences occur in the number of books included and the order in which they have been arranged. into Greek. Help us continue by donating here. They help fill out the story of the Jewish community during this time. In the third century BC, the Hebrew Bible began to be translated into Greek. Difference between Catholic and Protestant Bibles. In order to print very inexpensive Bibles that everyone could afford, they dropped the books which we call the deuterocanonical books (the second canon). Catholics call the books included in the Catholic Bible and not the Protestant Bible the deuterocanonical books. While all 66 books in Protestant Bibles are found in the Catholic Bible, the Catholic Bible includes other additional books known as the deuterocanonicals/Apocryph. But later copyists neglected or omitted his prefaces, and pretty soon Jerome’s whole Latin translation was considered of equal authority. We have 7 more books within the OT than do Protestant Bibles. As it happened, some more late Jewish books were written not in Hebrew, but in Greek, because by then it was the common language of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Latin Bible (called the Vulgate, “common text”) was brought to order by the church father Jerome; it remained the common Bible for over a millennium and included the deuterocanonical books. The reason for the Protestant/ Catholic difference here goes all the way back to the Old Testament, first written in Hebrew (and Aramaic, a related language), and then translated about 200 B.C. However, Protestant bibles contain 66 books while Catholic bibles include 73. But even Catholics with an extensive knowledge of the Bible — and there are many now —have not always found it easier to discuss the Bible with Protestants or to state the biblical basis for Catholic beliefs. The main reason for this is because Catholics and many Protestants have different starting points for interpreting the Bible. Books of wisdom and histories about the period were added, too, eventually becoming so well known that Jesus and the earliest Christian writers were familiar with them. The Protestant canon contains 7 fewer books than the Catholic canon. Why are Protestant and Catholic Bibles different? The books of Wisdom (or Wisdom of Solomon) and Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus, not to be confused with Ecclesiastes) are similar to the book of Proverbs; they have been placed after the Song of Songs. Both the Jewish Bible and the Hebrew canon in a Protestant Bible (aka Old Testament) contain 39 books, whereas a Catholic Bible contains 46 books in the Old Testament. The important thing to note is that the differences between Catholic and Protestant Bibles has to do with the content of the Old Testament. The Catholic Church is the one which wrote 2 Tim 2:15 and follows the instructions of Scripture, … Both the Jewish Bible and the Hebrew canon in a Protestant Bible (aka Old Testament) contain 39 books, whereas a Catholic Bible contains 46 books in the Old Testament. All of the Deuterocanonical books emerged in the Jewish community in the pre-Christian era. A Protestant Bible is a Christian Bible whose translation or revision was produced by Protestants.Such Bibles comprise 39 books of the Old Testament (according to the Hebrew Bible canon, known especially to non-Protestants as the protocanonical books) and 27 books of the New Testament for a total of 66 books. Why the difference in Bibles? In this short essay we will briefly cover the differences between the Catholic and Protestant Bibles and the reasons … The differences between the Catholic and Protestant bibles took shape in the 4th century AD with a disagreement between two early saints. Naturally enough, these late books, written in Greek, were included not in the original Hebrew Old Testament, but only in the Greek translation of it (called the “Septuagint”). Consequently, many of them accepted not the Greek additions, but only the original Hebrew books of the Old Testament. Protestants call the same books 'the Apocrypha'. Question: What's the difference between a Catholic Bible and a Protestant one? As the Catholic version includes seven books that the … While all Christians have the same twenty-seven New Testament books, they disagree regarding the number of books in the Old Testament canon. The Protestant Bible consists of 66 books which are considered to be divinely inspired. All of the books were written in Greek or Aramaic from the start. He grouped the seven deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament under the title "Apocrypha," declaring. Thus, the difference is only prevalent in the Old Testament, with 39 books in the Protestant Bible and 47 books in the Catholic Bible. They are Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus and Baruch. For the New Testament, it's a different story — and short. Hello Lataka, please know that the Catholic Bible IS the TRUE Bible. Our difference lies in the contents of the Old Testament where we have Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch and additions to Esther and Daniel. Because of this authentic find from antiquity, many publishers in the twentieth century added back the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, First and Second Maccabees, as well as additions to Esther and Daniel. EIN: 04-2104698, The Reason Goes All the Way Back to the OT, Protestant Canon Follows the Jewish Canon. This translation, called the Septuagint (from a Latin word meaning seventy, because 70 [or 72] translators were thought to have done the work, also referred to as LXX), took several centuries to complete. The book of Baruch, the secretary of Jeremiah, follows Lamentations. The books of the Bible were written as individual books or writings. A third difference is the arrangement of the books (see below). Both the Jewish Bible and the Hebrew canon in a Protestant Bible (aka Old Testament) contain 39 books, whereas a Catholic Bible contains 46 books in the Old Testament. These differences among existing Bibles stem from the complex history of how our Bible came to be the way it now is. While Protestant and Jewish Bibles have thirty-nine Old Testament books, the Bible used by Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians include the thirty-nine books and several additional writings. The status of the extra books remained somewhat fluid in early Christian history, but most Christian writers used an Old Testament that included extra books until the time of the Reformation (sixteenth century). Why do Catholics have 2 books in their Bible that Protestants do not have? In addition, the Greek Orthodox, or Eastern Orthodox, Church accepts a few more books as canonized scripture. But that term is inexact and conveys a sense that is not very helpful. Essentially, the Roman Catholic Church’s denial of sola scriptura and its insistence that both the Bible and tradition are equal in authority undermine the sufficiency, authority, and completeness of the Bible. Almost all Christians believe in the truths found in the Bible, but there are two different lists of what belongs in the Old Testament – the list used by the Catholic Church (and most Eastern Orthodox) and the list used by most Protestants. The Well-Worn Path to Truth Leads to Catholicism, Christmas is a Time to Celebrate the Truth About God, Away in a Manger: St Francis and the Nativity. The Roman Catholic Bible also has additions to the books of Esther and Daniel. Other factors were at work as well, such as the theological perspective that was present in some texts of the extra books. It was rather a recognition that they were considered canonical at a subsequent stage. The difference is in the Old Testament. Perhaps no area in Catholic-Protestant apologetics involves as many outright falsehoods as the history of the Bible. Thus to this day Catholic Bibles include the Old Testament Apocrypha, strictly Protestant Bibles exclude it, but certain “ecumenical” Bibles (such as The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha: Expanded Edition) include it as an appendix. The Protestant Bible, of which the NIV is one version, is seven books shorter than the Bible used by Roman Catholics. Though their Bibles vary somewhat, they may include: the prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, 1 and 2 Esdras, and 3 and 4 Maccabees. In addition, the Greek Orthodox, or Eastern Orthodox, Church accepts a few more books as canonized scripture. It might be said that Protestants have a kind of hybrid Bible – the same number of books as the Jewish Bible but the order of books that are in the Greek and Latin Bibles. Catholic Exchange is a project of Sophia Institute Press. Thus, for example, the very first edition of the King James Bible included the Old Testament Apocrypha; but after some Protestants objected, the second and subsequent editions excluded the Apocrypha. Around 100 BC in Alexandria, the Greek Emperor, Ptolemy II, commissioned 71 Jewish leaders to translate the Jewish scripture into Greek. These books are collectively called 'Deuterocanonical books' and are authoritative. The Protestant Old Testament contains 39 books, while the Catholic Bible contains 46 books. The Roman Catholic Old Testament contains seven extra books, plus additions to the books of Esther and Daniel. Indeed, the oldest copies of the Bible now known to exist are the Dead Sea scrolls of the Septuagint. Suspicious of church tradition and the authority of councils and ecclesiastical figures, Protestant leaders thought it best to go with the books they thought were canonical before the church. Only non-Catholic Bibles call Yahweh God, Jehovah. While all 66 books found in Protestant Bibles are also found in the Catholic Bible, the Catholic Bible also contains other books, and additions to books. One effect of this interest was a separation of those books that were known to be originally written in Hebrew from those that were not. Copyright Massachusetts Bible Society © 2020    Registered 501(c)(3). After a while, Jewish scholars wanted to make the Bible accessible again, so they translated Hebrew scriptures into the Greek language commonly spoken. The Catholic New Testament canon is identical to that of the Protestants other than some minor translation differences. The differences between Catholic/Protestant approaches to the bible is that both camps err by not RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD of TRUTH (2 Tim 2:15), Not true. Interestingly, the leather scrolls had been carefully wrapped in linen cloth, coated in pitch, and placed in airtight pottery jars about ten inches across and two feet high where, well-preserved, they remained for many centuries. If not, why? She points out that she knows that the Catholic Bible has more books, but wonders if the meanings of the words change as well. We go through the history of how the bible was changed to a Protestant Bible. While Protestant and Jewish Bibles have thirty-nine Old Testament books, the Bible used by Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians include the thirty-nine books and several additional writings. Father Dave responds, “So interestingly, she uses the phrase ‘Catholic Bible.’ • One remarkable difference between Catholic Bible and King James Bible is the content. And so, these extra books are now usually referred to as the deuterocanonical books, that is, a “second canon” (in Greek, deuteron means second). Some Protestants use Bibles … Later on, when St. Jerome translated the whole Bible into Latin (the common language of the Western Roman Empire), he translated the Greek New Testament and the original Hebrew Old Testament into Latin, and then also translated the Greek “Apocrypha” into Latin with prefaces indicating that they were not part of the original Hebrew Old Testament. It is said that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew language, whereas, the disciples of Jesus wrote the New Testament in Greek. Although some debate occurred about which Gospels or Epistles should be included, all Christians eventually accepted all of the same 27 books in the same order. Eventually, the Jewish exiles were allowed to return to Jerusalem where they renovated the Temple. For one thing, a scholarly interest emerged regarding the original languages of the Bible and issues of Jewish origin. THE BIBLE: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CATHOLIC BIBLE AND THE PROTESTANT BIBLE. As to why the Catholics have more books, it is a matter of ecclesiastical history. Then, in A.D. 70, warring peoples almost completely destroyed the sacred structure, which has never been rebuilt. To be sure, there are lots of theological topics on which Catholics and Protestants disagree, but for sheer number of popular Protestant arguments that are explicitly and undeniably false, nothing tops the question of where the Bible … In addition, the Greek Orthodox, or Eastern Orthodox, Church accepts a few more books as canonized scripture. The differences between Protestant and Catholic translations of the Bible are in the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures. The Roman Catholic Bible contains seven books that do not appear in most Protestant Bibles. The reasons are complex. The Bibles of the Eastern Orthodox churches also include these additional books, but they contain still other books, also a part of the Septuagint. Sometimes these extra books are called the Apocrypha, a word meaning “secret, hidden,” that is, not intended for public reading. These books and additions were written during the three centuries before Jesus. Since the books themselves were no secret, the word seemed ironic or, perhaps, prophetic because, in 1947, an Arab boy searching for a lost goat found, instead, the Dead Sea scrolls, hidden in a hillside cave. The Catholic Bible contain the 73 Books of the original Canon which the early Church (4th century) included as part of the Bible. Get started with Bible study here. It is comprised of two the COMPLETE Old Testament and the New Testament. Some inclusive Bibles, both Catholic and non-Catholic, have adopted the term “Lord” or “LORD” instead of Yahweh as the name of God. These extra books are usually called the “Apocrypha” (meaning “hidden books”), or “Old Testament Apocrypha” (since they are all included in the Catholic Old Testament), or “deutero-canonical” books (since they have only secondary authority), and include such books as I-II Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Baruch, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, I-IV Maccabees, etc. Catholic vs. Protestant Bibles By Greg Witherow Catholic Bibles contain Old Testament books not found in Protestant Bibles and as such Catholics are sometimes asked to explain this discrepancy. The Old Testament of the Roman Catholic tradition, and also the Eastern Orthodox tradition includes a several writings more than in the Hebrew (Jewish) Bible or the Protestant Old Testament. At that time, the Reformers chose the shorter Old Testament, while the Roman Catholics decided (in 1546) for the larger canon. What is the difference between . 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