Why do Catholics and Protestants have different Bibles, and how are they different? There's a lot of misinformation out there, so let me give a basic primer. This isn't so much looking to convince anyone as just to establish some of the basic facts. So here are 19 points about how we ended up with two different Bibles. I don't believe that there's anything in here to which a well-informed Protestant could object...
Protestant Bibles have seven fewer books than Catholic Bibles. These seven books are called "the Deuterocanon" by Catholics, and "the Apocrypha" by Protestants (although, confusingly, they also use "the Apocrypha" to refer to several other books, ones that are rejected by Catholics and Protestants alike). So what's the basis for the Protestant rejection of these books? Matt Slick, at the popular Protestant website CARM (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry), offers six reasons, each of which turns out to rely upon lies, deceptions, or double standards.
If Protestants held every book of the Bible to the standards that they hold the books that they reject, they would end up missing a huge number of their books. And conversely, if they approach the Deuterocanon with the same charitable reading with which they approach (say) Judges, there would be no reason not to include it as part of the Scriptures. We can see that clearly by looking at 5 alleged "Biblical contradictions" in the Deuterocanon.
Protestants frequently claim that there are only 66 books in the Bible. This isn't the Bible used by early Christians, by Luther, by Calvin, or by the Catholic, Orthodox, or Coptic Churches. So where do they draw support? Strangely, they cite a single fourth century Church Father: St. Jerome. But there's a problem with that approach. Or more accurately: four problems.
How important is it that all Christians operate from the exact same Bible? You may be surprised to learn that for most of Church history, the (implicit) Christian answer was "not that important." Why was this the case? And why isn’t it the case today? Because of a major shift in how Christians approached Scripture and doctrinal orthodoxy...
Contemporary Christian groups are fond of producing "Statements of Belief" (SoBs) that serve as sort of imitation Creeds. That's a bigger problem than it might seem.
Daniel Chorny, The Bosom of Abraham (15th c.) In regards to prayer and the Saints, Catholics do two things to which Protestants tend to object: Praying to the Saints: Asking the Saints to pray for us, etc. Praying for the Saints: Praying for the dead, commending their souls to God. Yesterday, I talked about some of […]
Here’s a piece that I wrote for ChurchPOP on the Catholic connection to Hanukkah. It’s called How the Catholic Church Saved Hanukkah. Here’s how it begins: Tuesday night marked the beginning of Hanukkah. As BuzzFeed recently demonstrated, a lot of Christians are ignorant as to what Hanukkah is. That’s a shame, not least of all […]
St. Edmund Campion, S.J. Today is the feast day of one of my favorite Saints, St. Edmund Campion (1540-1581). As an Anglican, he was one of Oxford University’s brightest students, personally welcoming Queen Elizabeth during her visit to the University. He went on to become an Anglican deacon, but his seminary formation exposed him to […]
Russian Icon, The Prophet Simeon, (17th c.) Here’s an anti-Biblical myth that many Protestants hold to, without knowing it: a belief in a so-called “intertestamental period” or “400 years of silence,” in which God allegedly (and inexplicably) ceased communicating with His People between roughly 400 or 450 B.C. and the Incarnation of Christ. GotQuestions? describes […]