Difference Between Catholic and Protestant Bibles

In the article What Is the Difference Between a Catholic and a Protestant Christian are listed some differences between Catholics and Protestants believes and what they have in common. Today I will explain the difference between Catholic and Protestant Bibles.

Difference Between Catholic and Protestant Bibles

What is the Catholic Bible?

Many Christians may be so surprised to realize that the Catholic Bible has certain differences from the Bible generally used by Protestants. Though all Sixty-six (66) books found in Protestant Bibles are also present in the Catholic Bible, however, the Catholic Bible contains other books and additions. The Catholic Holy Bible contains a sum total of Seventy-three (73) books, having 46 in the Old Testament (39 in the Protestant Bibles) and twenty-seven (27) in its New Testament (same in Protestant Bible).

Deuterocanonical Books

The additional books in the Catholic Holy Bible are popularly called the deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha. They are named as follows:

  • Tobit
  • Baruch.
  • Judith
  • 1st Maccabees,
  • 2nd Maccabees,
  • Wisdom
  • Sirach (Ecclesiasticus),

The Catholic Bible also made additions to the books of Esther and Daniel.

Its worthy to note that, the Apocrypha was not officially made a part of the Catholic Bible, until the Council of Trent, in response to the Protestant Reformation. The early Protestant Reformers, in conjunction with Judaism, ruled out the Apocrypha from the Bible, thereby removing it from the Protestant Bibles.

One of the most popular English translations of the Catholic Bible today includes the following;

Against popular opinions, aside from the inclusion of the Apocrypha, every Bible translation was adequate, decently and accurately done i.e., how the text was translated into English.

Summarily, the Catholic Bible is the version of the Bible that is solely promoted by the Roman Catholic Church and used by the majority of Catholics all over the world. Apart from the inclusion of the Apocrypha books, the Catholic Bible is identical to Protestant Bibles in relation to the canon (the books belonging in the Bible).

Protestant Bibles

King James Bible In the 1500s, Protestant leaders agreed to organize the Old Testament material in line with the official canon of Judaism rather than that of the Septuagint. They moved the Old Testament which was not included in the Jewish canon into a totally different section of the Bible known as the Apocrypha. Hence, Protestant Bibles included all same materials as the earlier Bible, however, been divided into two sections: the Old Testament and the Apocrypha.

Protestant Bibles initially included the Apocrypha up until the mid1800s, originally published in the King James Version. Later as time passed, the Apocrypha was considered less important and was dropped by Bible publishers from all Protestant editions.

The books of the Apocrypha are also referred to as the deuterocanonical books.

Here is The Difference Between Catholic and Protestant Bibles

The Protestant Bible comprising various versions is seven books shorter than the Roman Catholics bible. But Protestants didn’t just take out books; they used a different standard of what should be in the Bible.

The Hebrew Bible has 24 books. This list was approved by the Councils of Jamnia in A.D. 90 and 118. The Protestant Old Testament has exactly same content but re-organized into thirty-nine (39) books. Example, the Hebrew Bible has one book of Samuel, while the Protestant Bible has 1st and 2nd Samuel—same book of the Bible, but divided into two parts.

In addition to these thirty-nine (39) books, the Catholic Old Testament includes Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), Baruch (includes the Letters of Jeremiah), 1st and 2nd Maccabees, and few additions to the books of Daniel and Esther as pointed out above.

These books were added in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of a different Hebrew canon. Early church leaders relied on the Septuagint because they could read Greek not Hebrew; oftentimes quoted these books as Scripture.

During the Reformation era, Protestants came to a decision that, because the additional books weren’t in the Hebrew Bible, they shouldn’t be in the Christian Bible as well. However, Catholics at the Council of Trent (1546), decided to keep the “deutero-canonical” books intact.

Notably, Protestants and Catholics use the same New Testament, having contents defined by Athanasius in 367.

Few Protestant Arguments Against The Deutercanonicals

1. Some Church Leaders questioned the Deutercanonicals

St Jerome and a number of other Church leaders always questioned the inspiration behind the Deutercanonicals. But they were in a minority and eventually the opinions of Saint Augustine and the majority of the Church heads prevailed. Luther accepted this minority position, one that had been rejected by the Church.

But if Christians were to cast out all the books that have been opposed at various occasions (according to Luther’s reasoning) then the books of Revelation, James, Jude, Hebrews and 2nd Peter would also be omitted from the New Testament as they were amongst the disputed books in the New Testament. But individual Christians do not need to argue or debate over this matter anymore because the early Church has taken her decision on it with her binding authority given to her by Christ.

But individual Christians do not need to argue or debate over this matter anymore because the early Church has taken her decision on it with her binding authority given to her by Christ.

2. Deuterocanonical Was Rejected By The Council of Jamnia

Councils of non-Christian religions have no authority to define the Christian faith. In the 4th century, three Church councils (Rome, Hippo, and Carthage) ruled on the matter. In opposition, one Jewish council ruled on the matter.  A Jewish council convened after the establishment of the Church has no doctrinal authority to define Church teaching. How can this even be disputed?

3. The Deutercanonicals contain teachings which are inconsistent with the Christian faith and Teachings.

4. Christ and the Apostles never quoted from the Deutercanonicals.

5. The books of Deutercanonicals are Not seen as scriptures.

To summarize. The main difference between Catholic and Protestant Bibles is the number of a book in Old Testament.

Please drop your thoughts, opinions or questions in the comment section below.

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