Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Essays for Lent: The Canon of Scripture
StayCatholic,com ^ | 2001

Posted on 03/06/2012 9:27:54 PM PST by Salvation


The Canon of Scripture

by Sebastian R. Fama

There is a significant difference between Catholic and Protestant Bibles. Catholic Bibles contain seven more books than Protestant Bibles do. The seven books, all in the Old Testament, are Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch and 1 and 2 Maccabees. Catholics call the disputed books Deuterocanonical and consider them to be inspired. Bible Christians call them Apocryphal and consider them to be spurious.

The list of books that comprise the Bible is referred to as the canon. During Jesus' time there were two Old Testament canons in use. There was the Palestinian canon, which is identical to the Protestant Old Testament, and there was the Alexandrian canon also known as the Septuagint which is identical to the Catholic Old Testament. The reason why the Catholic Bible has the longer canon is simple. The Apostles and the early Church used the Septuagint.

Bible Christians use the shorter canon because it matches the present day Jewish canon. They will often quote Romans 3:2, which says, "The Jews are entrusted with the oracles of God." They reason that since God entrusted the Old Testament to the Jews, they should be the ones who determine which books belong in it.

This reasoning presents a couple of problems. Firstly, both Old Testament canons were received from the Jews. Thus neither canon is eliminated by this verse. Secondly, the Jews didn't settle on the Palestinian canon until at least 90 AD at the Council of Jamnia. This was well after authority had passed from the Jews to the Church (Acts 4:19). Ironically it was at the Council of Jamnia that the Jews also rejected the New Testament. Logically speaking, anyone who would consider Jamnia as being authoritative would also have to reject the New Testament.

Most Church Fathers regarded the Septuagint as the standard form of the Old Testament. When the Councils of Hippo (393 AD) and Carthage (397 AD) set the canon of the New Testament they also confirmed the Septuagint as the Old Testament. Further evidence of the Septuagint's acceptance by the early Church can be found in the New Testament itself. It quotes the Old Testament approximately 350 times. Three hundred of those quotes are from the Septuagint. Surely this amounts to an overwhelming endorsement by the early Church.

Some raise objections over supposed errors. One example is in Judith 1:1-7. Here Nebuchadnezzar is called the king of Assyria when in fact it is well known that he was the king of Babylon. But Judith is not a historical book; it's a religious novel. The combining of the Babylonians and the Assyrians is a representation of the enemies of Israel. Both had conquered Israel at one time or another. Judith means Jewess and she represents the whole of Judaism. The lesson of the book is to rely on God's way of deliverance no matter what the method. Similar objections are raised over verses in Tobit, which are likewise symbolic and not historical.

Critics will often dismiss the role of the Church in determining the New Testament. They contend that the Holy Spirit caused the books of the New Testament to fall into place on their own. They would have us believe that the Church councils that dealt with the canon were nothing more than bishops getting together to say "Wow, look at that." Once again, history tells us another story.

The book of 1 Clement was considered inspired by most in the early Church (Eusebius, The History of the Church 3:16, 325 AD). We also know that the book of Revelation was disputed by many at the time. And yet Revelation made it into the canon and 1 Clement didn't. That's because the Church set the canon of Scripture, and she did so under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Just as God worked infallibly through men in writing the Bible, He worked infallibly through men in communicating exactly which books comprised it.

And so the canon stood. Unchanged until the Protestant Reformation when Martin Luther threw out the seven Deuterocanonicals because they contradicted his new doctrines. He also wanted to throw out Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude, and Revelation. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.

In Revelation 22:19 the apostle John proclaims, "If any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book." It's true that this verse refers to the book of Revelation. However, common sense tells us that the same principal should apply to all of Scripture. Certainly God would never be pleased with us tampering with any part of His word.

Copyright © 2001 

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: bible; catholic

For Further Study

Articles - Confirming Biblical History by Chuck Colson and Defending the Deuterocanonicals (History of the Bible) by James Akin (off site)
Books -
The Historical Reliability of the Gospels  by Craig Bloomberg and The Catholic Church and the Bible by Fr. Peter Stravinskas and Making Senses Out of Scripture by Mark P. Shea
CD - Can you Trust the Bible? by Scott Hahn and Where Does the Bible Come From? by Father Mitch Pacwa
What Every Catholic Needs to Know About the Bible

1 posted on 03/06/2012 9:27:59 PM PST by Salvation
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

**Certainly God would never be pleased with us tampering with any part of His word.**


Catholic Ping!

2 posted on 03/06/2012 9:30:49 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Essays for Lent: The Canon of Scripture
Essays for Lent: Papal Infallibility
Essays for Lent: The Pope
Essays for Lent: The Church
Essays for Lent: The Bible
Essays for Lent: The Trinity
Essays for Lent: Creationism or Evolution?
3 posted on 03/06/2012 9:32:32 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Image Detail

"We are compelled to concede to the Papists
that they have the Word of God,
that we received it from them,
and that without them
we should have no knowledge of it at all."

~ Martin Luther

Essays for Lent: The Canon of Scripture
Essays for Lent: The Bible
1500 year-old ‘ Syriac ‘ Bible found in Ankara, Turkey
How we should read the Bible
St. Jerome and the Vulgate (completing the FIRST Bible in the year 404) [Catholic Caucus]
In Bible Times
Deuterocanonical References in the New Testament

Translations Before the King James: - The KJV Translators Speak!
EWTN Live - March 23 - A Journey Through the Bible
"Our Father's Plan" - EWTN series with Dr. Scott Hahn and Jeff Cavins on the Bible timeline
The Daunting Journey From Faith to Faith [Anglicanism to Catholicism]
Reflections on the Soon to Be Released New American Bible (Revised Edition)[Catholic Caucus]
New American Bible changes some words such as "holocaust"
Is the Bible the Only Revelation from God? (Catholic / Orthodox Caucus)
History of the Bible (caution: long)
Catholic and Protestant Bibles

Because I Love the Bible
Where Is That Taught in the Bible?
When Was the Bible Really Written?
Three Reasons for Teaching the Bible [St. Thomas Aquinas]
The Smiting Is Still Implied (God of the OT vs the NT)
Where Is That Taught in the Bible?
Friday Fast Fact: The Bible in English
Bible Reading is Central in Conversions to Catholicism in Shangai, Reports Organization
Verses (in Scripture) I Never Saw
5 Myths about 7 Books

Lectionary Statistics - How much of the Bible is included in the Lectionary for Mass? (Popquiz!)
Pope calls Catholics to daily meditation on the Bible
What Are the "Apocrypha?"
The Accuracy of Scripture
US Conference of Catholic Bishops recommendations for Bible study
CNA unveils resource to help Catholics understand the Scriptures
The Dos and Don’ts of Reading the Bible [Ecumenical]
Pope to lead marathon Bible reading on Italian TV
The Complete Bible: Why Catholics Have Seven More Books [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: Books of the Catholic Bible: The Complete Scriptures [Ecumenical]

Beginning Catholic: When Was The Bible Written? [Ecumenical]
The Complete Bible: Why Catholics Have Seven More Books [Ecumenical]
U.S. among most Bible-literate nations: poll
Bible Lovers Not Defined by Denomination, Politics
Dei Verbum (Catholics and the Bible)
Vatican Offers Rich Online Source of Bible Commentary
Clergy Congregation Takes Bible Online
Knowing Mary Through the Bible: Mary's Last Words
A Bible Teaser For You... (for everyone :-)
Knowing Mary Through the Bible: New Wine, New Eve

Return of Devil's Bible to Prague draws crowds
Doctrinal Concordance of the Bible [What Catholics Believe from the Bible] Catholic Caucus
Should We Take the Bible Literally or Figuratively?
Glimpsing Words, Practices, or Beliefs Unique to Catholicism [Bible Trivia]
Catholic and Protestant Bibles: What is the Difference?
Church and the Bible(Caatholic Caucus)
Pope Urges Prayerful Reading of Bible
Catholic Caucus: It's the Church's Bible
How Tradition Gave Us the Bible
The Church or the Bible

4 posted on 03/06/2012 9:34:25 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

***Catholic Bibles contain seven more books than Protestant Bible***

I just received a new catalog of various bible translations for sale today. Several of the Protestant versions DO have the Apocrypha.

5 posted on 03/06/2012 9:47:28 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ruy Dias de Bivar; Salvation

I just received a new catalog of various bible translations for sale today. Several of the Protestant versions DO have the Apocrypha.

- - - - -
They do. One of the things that eventually led to me leaving Mormonism, is the Mormon bookstore in Provo wouldn’t order a KJV Apocrypha for me (I wanted to know if any of it matched LDS doctrine and why the LDS didn’t use it since they believed in additional scripture). Since they REFUSED to order one for me, I went to the Christian (Evangelical) bookstore that was near the old downtown at the time and asked the owner and he ordered one for me without any problems or question. He had several Apocrypha but most were Douay, none in KJV.

6 posted on 03/06/2012 10:04:24 PM PST by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian "I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson