Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My First Catholic Bible

My First Catholic Bible

I am so excited because yesterday, I went to purchase my first Catholic Bible. Now you may be thinking, "What is so cool about a Catholic Bible?". Well here, let me tell you...

Growing up Protestant, I was always taught the importance of Scripture. My faith was one that was based on Scripture Alone, so of course I held Sacred Scripture in the highest regard - and still do I might add. So much, in fact, that our house has many different versions of the Bible - King James, New King James, New Living Translation. I started to get curious about the collection of Books in the Bible, and how the collection of Books were selected as Holy Scripture. That was the first time that I had heard of something called the Apocrypha. Evidently, these are the books in the Bible that were not part of the original cannon....or so I was taught.

How were the books of the Bible formed? Who chose which Books were from the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and which ones were not? The more important question was, why were there additional books and passages found in the Catholic Bible, that was not a part of my Bible?

Never would I have ever considered that my Bible may not be complete. I justified the additional books of the Bible contained within the Catholic Bible as a heresy. How dare they add to Scripture? After doing some research, I discovered that I was wrong. It was not the Catholics who added books from the Holy Scripture, it was the Protestant Reformation that removed the Books.

The books in question are all found in the Old Testament. So, if this is the case, and the argument that these books were always considered to be Sacred until the Reformation, then we can assume that these books would have been believed by Jesus, his Apostles and the Early Church Fathers. Is there evidence found in Scripture and the Early Church Fathers? Wow, is there ever...

Scriptural Evidence
Early Church Father Evidence

Here is a copy of the Complete Bible on-line if you are interested.


Belteshazzar Mouse said...

I heard a reference in a presentation that mentioned that Paul refers to these books more often than the other books of the old testament. I will see if I can find the reference and site it here.

These books are also sometimes referred to as the "Apocrypha" (a misnomer) and consist of complete books and additional texts that were left out of some of the recognized books of the Old Testament. The Books of Ester and Daniel are complete only in Bibles containing the Deuterocanonical books.

The removal of these books from the canon has some precedent in Jewish history _after_ the death of Christ. I will see if I can find the citation on that as well.

I read a couple of good books on how we determine the canon of books in Christianity. I will see if I can find them and post the names here.

stilltrackin said...

I looked briefly into your claim that that Catholics did not add books to the Bible, but rather the protestants took them out. This is what I found (according to this site):

The Apocrypha did not receive full canonical status by the Roman Catholic Church until AD 1546 at the Council of Trent.

The Jewish people never accepted the Apocryphal books as divinely inspired.

Jesus and the apostles quoted hundreds of times from the Old Testament, but they never quoted from any of the books of the Apocrypha. Jesus affirmed the prevailing Jewish view that the Old Testament was made up of "the law, the prophets, and the Psalms" (Luke 24:44), which was the common manner of referring to the three-fold division of the 39 books of the Old Testament.

The final and official decision to include the deuterocanonical books was quite late and motivated by a desire to safeguard certain doctrines that the Roman Catholic Church had come to practice.

It was not until the Council of Florence (1439-43) that the pope made a pronouncement (a papal bull) on the Apocrypha - he included the deuterocanonical books in his list of Old Testament Scriptures.

There is even disagreement among the bishops of Rome. Pope Innocent I, sent a letter in 405 to a Gallican bishop. In this letter he reaffirmed the canon and it contains all the deuterocanonical books, without any distinction from the rest of the Old Testament. But Pope Gregory the Great (540-604), in his commentaries on Job (Lib. XIX. Cap. 16.), expressly wrote "First Maccabees is not canonical."

But in spite of the pope's pronouncement, disagreement continued into the Reformation era. Many Roman Catholic scholars and church leaders in the Reformation period rejected the Apocrypha. Luther and the Reformers should not just be viewed as outsiders. They were originally part of the church. When they rejected the canonicity of the Apocrypha, they were often speaking as priests, doctors, and scholars still within the church. They believed that in doing so they were returning to the Jewish view of the canon, which Jesus shared (Luke 24:44).

The disagreement over the Apocrypha was wide spread and included even the members of the Council of Trent which met to combat the Protestant Reformation. After Luther's departure from the church, the council of Trent issued a definitive statement on the contents of the Bible. This was the first time that a general council of the church made the Apocrypha an absolute article of faith and confirmed it by anathema. On April 8, 1546, by a vote of 24 to 15 with 16 abstentions, a decree (De Canonicis Scripturis) was issued and the Apocryphal books received full canonical status by the Roman Catholic Church. Passages in the Apocrypha could be used to buttress doctrines like purgatory (2 Maccabees 12:39-46), praying to saints, and salvation by almsgiving (Ecclesiasticus 3:30).

Carlus Henry said...

stilltrackin...welcome to the dialogue. Who would have thought that we were possible of anything outside of developing software ;)

I would invite you to read the following article, by James Akin titled Defending the Deuterocanonicals. Here you will find an explanation of what happened during the formation of the Bible and Holy Scripture.

Now, here lies the problem. You share one website that says one thing, and I share one website that says another thing. How do we know what is truth? To be honest, I am not really sure. I do know, that it was not beyond Martin Luther to remove books and change scripture. I think that this is a point that we can agree upon. Beyond that, I don't know the best way that we can come to an agreement.

I guess it really comes down to faith.

Peace be with you.

Belteshazzar Mouse said...

The Jewish people never accepted the Apocryphal books as divinely inspired.

The Jewish people had a different view on what constitutes "canonical" writings. It was the Greek Jews, who were eager to reject the scripture Greek Christians accepted, the Septuagint, translated between 3rd and 1st century BC. This rejection of books and passages of books occurred in 90 AD. So, to say that they never accepted these books is not true. They were certainly worthy of translation and use for quite some time.