I understand that Catholics came into existence first and then later the Protestants. The Catholic’s Bible has additional material such as extra chapters of Esther and extra books like 1 Maccabees, unlike the Protestant Bible with 66 books. This causes me to think that Protestants removed the additional books and chapters from the Bible that were earlier in the canon.  Am I right? If Catholics came first their Bible has additional material compared to Protestant Bibles. So here is my question: which Bible has the correct books and how do we know it?


You should do the research on the history of the canon and decide for yourself (which is what you are doing!).  The historical fact is that God entrusted the Jews to select the Hebrew Scripture/Old Testament.  The Jews have NEVER included books like Wisdom, Tobit, Judith, additions to Daniel, Baruch and 1 and 2 Maccabees.  Almost by definition, these books are not part of the Old Testament and therefore not part of the Hebrew canon of Scripture.  If you study the history of Jewish discussions of their canon, these books were never considered for inclusion.  Most of them were not even originally written in Hebrew.  These deuterocanonical books were never included by any of the Jewish sects–not ever.

So, how did the the additional books we call the Apocrypha end up in the Orthodox, Coptic and Catholic Old Testaments?  Here is what happened.  The early church read the Greek Septuagint.  This was the Old Testament of the early church.  When New Testament authors quote the Old Testament, they almost always quote from the Greek Septuagint.  Apparently, by the second century AD, some Greek Jewish documents that we call the Apocrypha were circulating along with the Septuagint.  By the second century, it was rather common for the Christians to use these books in preaching and teaching.  No New Testament author quotes from Wisdom or Baruch or Tobit because they were not Scripture, but by the fourth century, Christians used these books extensively.  The deciding factor in the West is that when Jerome made his definitive Latin Vulgate translation, he did NOT want to include these extra books, both because they were not in Hebrew and because they were not in the Jewish canon.  Unfortunately, he gave in to pressure and translated the Apocrypha.  This is why it became part of the Catholic canon.  It was already part of the Orthodox and Coptic canons.

History says that the traditional Old Testament of the Jews and of most Protestants is the correct Old Testament canon.  1 Maccabees, Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, etc. are not part of the Old Testament.  By the way, the very earliest Protestants did not remove the Apocrypha.  It was a couple of generations later, around 1600, that Protestants removed the added books from their Bibles.  History is clear on this question, in my opinion. It is true that the Orthodox and Catholic churches came first, but being older does not a priori make one correct.  That is a logical fallacy.  We need to look at the facts and the history.  If we do, the answer for which is the correct list of books is rather clear.

I cover this in my book Daniel, Prophet to the Nations, in which I point out a number of statements in Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus which are in rather obvious contradiction to the New Testament.  The quality of Tobit or Judith or 2 Maccabees is clearly below that of Leviticus or Isaiah.  Just read these books and you will see this for yourself.  However, my principle argument is not the clearly lower quality of these writings, or even the apparent contradictions with canonical books.  It is the historical argument which is a slam dunk, in my opinion.

John Oakes

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