The Catholic Bible?

Question
Why is the Bible called the Protestant Bible? Why the word "protestant"? Is the Latin Vulgate a true Bible?
Answer

Galatians 6:16 And as for all who walk by this rule [kanon], peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

The Protestant Bible

The word "protestant" was not invented by Martin Luther to describe the Reformation church or believers. In the 1582 Douay-Rheims Version of the Bible, the RCC translates Ephesians 6:12 as:

quia non est nobis conluctatio adversus carnem et sanguinem sed adversus principes et potestates adversus mundi rectores tenebrarum harum contra spiritalia nequitiae in caelestibus.

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood: but against Princes and Potestates, against the rectors of the world of this darkness, against the spirituals of wickedness in the celestials.

In the Catholic mind, the word "Princes" refers to the German princes who aided Martin Luther in the work of the Reformation. The word "Potestates" is Latin for "powers" and is meant to infer evil powers. So, in essence, the word "Protestant" derives from the so-called evil protests made by German princes at the Diet of Speyer in 1529. It is not meant as a kind word, but those in Christ gladly accept it, as they protest that which against "the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

This aside, the Protestant Bible is composed of 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New. These, and only these 66 books, compose the living Word of God (Jer 23:28-29; Luke 16:27-31; John 6:63; Acts 7:38, 1 Pet 1:23-25; Heb 4:12-13).

The Catholic Bible

While the 66 books of the Protestant Bible are also found in the Catholic Bible, the Catholic Bible also contains other books and additions to individual books. The Catholic Bible contains a total of 73 books: 46 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.

The additional 7 books in the Catholic Bible are known as the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha is made up of the Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), and Baruch. The Catholic Bible also includes additions to the books of Esther and Daniel. These additional books and additions are not the Word of God.

The Apocrypha

Should the Apocrypha be included in any Bible? Absolutely not!

The Hebrew Canon today contains 24 books. However, according to Josephus, the Hebrew Canon had only 22 books. However, these are the same books, just arranged differently. These 22 books are divided into 3 sections: (1) The Law (Torah, 5 books): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; (2) The Prophets (Nevi'im, 7 books): Joshua, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah-Lamentations, Ezekiel, The book of the twelve (Hosea-Malachi); and (3) The Writings (Ketuvim, 10 books): Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth-Judges, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles. In the Protestant Bible, Samuel becomes 1 and 2 Samuel, Chronicles becomes 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah are separate books, as are Ruth and Judges. So, 24 = 22 = 39 = the same books just arranged differently.

Many of the Early Church Fathers (and others) saw a connection between the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet with the 22 books of the Hebrew Canon. So, these naturally did not include the Apocrypha as being canonical. Among these were: (1) Melito (170 C.E.), (2) Origen (210 C.E.), (3) Hilary of Poitiers (360 C.E.), (4) Athanasius (365 C.E.), (5) Cyril of Jerusalem (386 C.E.), (6) Gregory of Nazianzus (390 C.E.), (7) Epiphanius (400 C.E.), (8) Rufinus (410 C.E.), (9) Jerome (410 C.E.), (10) Isidore of Seville (600 C.E.), (11) Leontius (610 C.E.), (12) John of Damascus (730 C.E.), (13) Nicephorus (9th century C.E.), (14) Jesudad, Bishop of Hadad, (15) Syria (852 C.E.), (16) Hrabanus (9th century C.E.), (17) Moses of Chorene the Armenian historian (c. 1000 C.E.), (18) Peter of Cluny (1150 C.E.), (17) John of Salisbury (1180 C.E.), (19) Hugh of St. Victor (12th century), and (20) Richard of St. Victor (13th century). The Manual of Discipline in the Dead Sea Scrolls, also rejected the Apocrypha as being inspired.

More importantly, Christ affirmed the Hebrew canon of his day (Luke 11:51) as being 39 books (24/22 in Hebrew). Nowhere did he affirm the Apocrypha as being the living Word of God. Jesus describes the Hebrew Canon of his day as being: (a) "from the blood of Abel" (Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible) (b) "to the blood of Zechariah" (Chronicles, the last book of the Hebrew Bible). This destroys any possibility that the Apocrypha (written during the 400 years of silence from Malachi to Matthew) of being in the Canon.

The Latin Vulgate was largely the work of Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius (AKA: Jerome). In 382 AD, he was commissioned by Pope Damasus I to revise the Vetus Latina (Old Latin), a collection of biblical texts in Latin. In translating the Old Testament, Jerome understood that the books the Jews regarded as Scripture did not include the Apocrypha. Jerome made it absolutely clear that the Apocrypha books were only liber ecclesiastici (religious books to be read for edification), as opposed to the fully inspired liber canonici (canonical books to establish doctrine) - see Jerome's Prologue (Prologus Galeatus) to the Books of the Kings (A.D. 391). However, he was told to include them anyway.

The RCC affirmed the Vulgate as its official Latin Bible at the Council of Trent (1545-63 AD). The most common bibles among Catholics today are: New American Bible, the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, and the New Jerusalem Bible. However, let us stress again that these additional books and additions are not the Word of God.

Apocrypha's Heresies:

There are numerous reasons why the Apocrypha is not considered to be inspired. Many of its doctrines are in complete detail of what is written in the true 66 books of the Bible. The Apocrypha contains heresy:

(1) Doctrine of Salvation by Works: Tobit 12:9; 14:11 and 1 Maccabees 2:52 teach salvation by works. Salvation by works is contrary to what the Apostle Paul taught in Ephesians 2:8-10 and Titus 3:4-6, et. al.

(2) Doctrine of Purgatory: 2 Maccabees 12:41-45 teaches the false doctrine of purgatory. On the other hand, the Bible teaches that, upon death, one either goes to be with the Lord or one goes to Hell - there is no middle place (2 Cor 5:8; Heb 9:27).

(3) Doctrine of Prayers for the Dead: Baruch 3:4 teaches that God hears the prayers of the dead. However, the Bible teaches that those who are saved (Heb 5:8-9) enter immediately into the presence of the Lord after death (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor 5:6, 8). What need do those in Heaven have for the prayers of people upon the earth? As Paul says, " I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better" (Phil 1:23). And clearly prayers do not assist those in Hell (Luke 16:19-31).

(4) Doctrine of Pre-existent Souls: Islam, Hinduism, Baha'i, Scientology, and Mormonism all teach a form of pre-existent souls. Wisdom 8:19-20 in the Apocrypha teaches a similar doctrine. However, the Bible teaches that every human being is a unique creation of God (Gen 2:7; Zech 12:1; Jer 1:5). This begins at conception (Psa 139:13-16; Isa 44:24) and continues throughout eternity, as human beings are created as eternal beings (Gen 9:6; Isa 40:28; Psa 102:27; Matt 25:46, etc.).

(5) Doctrine of Creation from Pre-existing Matter: Wisdom 11:17 teaches creation out of pre-existent matter. However, the Bible teaches that God's creation was out of nothing (Heb 11:3, ex-nihlo).

(6) Doctrine of the Evil Body: Wisdom 9:15 teaches the Gnostic belief that the body is evil and weighs down the soul. However, when God created the body he declared that it was "very good" (Gen 1:31). Wisdom 9:15 implies that Jesus is evil since he had a real body (cf. Luke 24:39; John 20:27; Heb 2:14-17).

Therefore, the Apocrypha embraces a false doctrine of salvation, death, prayers, humanity, creation, and Christ. Seeing these errors and others the writers of the Westminster Confession of Faith wrote, "The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings" (WCF 1.3). We should not add to the 66 books of the Bible (Deut 4:2; 12:32; Prov 30:5-6; Gal 1:6-9; Rev 22:18-19). We should only follow the "rule" or "canon" (Gal 6:16) given to us in the 66 books of the Bible as given to us in the Old and New Testaments (see WCF 1.2).

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What is the Immaculate Conception?
What is the Perpetual Virginity of Mary?
Praying the Rosary?
Catholics and Justification?
Is Purgatory Biblical?
Hahn's Hersey: The Four Cups?
Pre-Apostolic Succession ???
Can Catholics be Saved?
Are all Protestants going to Hell (Catholic Dogma)?
Was Peter the First Pope?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).