Most Christians who know a little about the differences between the Catholics and the Protestants have heard that the Catholics have seven more books in their Bible than the Protestants do. Many have heard their church’s reasoning and explanation on why this is so.
While no one on either side of this longstanding debate is purposely trying to send their followers down a rabbit trail of inaccuracies, confusion and even downright untruths, there is, of course, a bottom line on what is true and what isn’t.
Here is that bottom line.
The 7 Books Missing from the Protestant Bible
1 and 2 Maccabees
Passages in Esther and Daniel.
What the Protestant Church Teaches
Protestant theology teaches that the entire canon of Old Testament scripture was finalized roughly 20 years after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. at the Council of Jabneh (or “Jamnia,” as it is referred to in Catholic literature) that is said to have convened in 90 A.D. Protestants are also taught that at the Council of Jabneh, the Jewish Rabbis got together to set criteria for inspired Scripture and to define and close the Old Testament canon. This sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Maybe reasonable but, in reality, not true.
The Catholics call the seven “missing” books in books in the Protestant Bible the deuterocanonical books. Most Protestant Bibles refer to these missing books as the Apocrypha (which means hidden).
Originally, the Jewish canon of scripture was written in Hebrew. It was later translated into Greek, and this Greek Translation is called the Septuagint. Jesus and his apostles wrote in Greek and quoted the Greek Septuagint extensively in the New Testament. Further, the quotations used in the Greek New Testament were identically aligned with the Greek Septuagint books.
A later translation, called the Hebrew Masoretic Text, differs greatly from the original Hebrew text that the Septuagint was directly translated from. The Masoretic Hebrew Text (still used today) was not even written in the Hebrew spoken in the First Century.
The Masoretic Hebrew Text
The Masoretic Hebrew Text was a translation of the Jewish scriptures that was a strong reaction to the rising momentum of Christianity. Beginning in the First Century, the early Christians were working tirelessly at proselytizing the Jews to their Christian faith.
The early Christians were disbursed throughout the Roman Empire. The non-Christian Jews of the First Century regarded both the Jewish and Gentile Christian converts to be the followers of the “cult” of Christianity. Even though the Septuagint that the Jewish leaders had put into circulation some 300 years earlier was from the original Hebrew, the Jewish leaders became incensed that their own followers were being converted from Judaism to Christianity with their Greek translation of the scripture.
Ultimately, the Jewish leaders collected the majority of the original Jewish texts and rewrote their canon to make the Septuagint appear erroneous in an attempt to win back some of the Christian converts and prevent future Jews from converting. This text is the one that Judaism uses today, and it is called the Hebrew Masoretic text. The Protestant Old Testament is translated from the Masoretic text.
Invalidating the Miracles and Catholic Beliefs
An example of the Masoretic text’s “adjustment” of scripture is the passage in Isaiah predicting the virgin birth. The Masoretic text omits the word “virgin” and replaces it with “young woman,” thereby invalidating the Septuagint’s Old Testament prophecy of Mary, the mother of Jesus. There are many, many such discrepancies and twists of scripture.
The so-called “Counsel of Jabneh” held discussions on some of Christianity’s teachings and on two Old Testament books ONLY: Eccles. and Song of Solomon. The Jews had no closed canon before 300 A.D.
Between the Seventh and the Tenth Centuries, the Masoretic Text was copied and distributed. The Masoretic Text changed many of the passages from the original Hebrew text to refute Christianity and discredit Christians. Interestingly, the Protestant Church uses the Masoretic Text as its proof text of antiquity. All of their translations — from Martin Luther to present day — were initially translated from the Masoretic Text.
The Apocrypha contained doctrines that Luther felt underminded his beliefs and contradicted his vision for the emerging Reformation church. Initially, he placed them between the Old and New Testaments, and further into the Reformation, they were removed from many Protestant Bibles entirely.
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