Kim asked:

Why does the Catholic bible have more books than the Protestant bible?

Fr. Dave Dwyer replied:

"... the disputed seven books, and actually parts of a few other books ... Daniel for instance ... that are accepted in the Catholic canon, which is essentially the word means this is the inspired word of God ... the difference did happen at the time of the Protestant reformation ... for fifteen hundred years or so the Church, meaning all of Christians who were using the bible both Catholics ... and Orthodox Christians would have agreed on the quote canon of scripture. Meaning that there would not have been disputed books for fifteen hundred years ...

Primarily Martin Luther, there were obviously a lot of other people involved in the reformation, ... he was a Catholic priest ... what he did is he looked back ... he found some books that weren't jiving with his theology ... One of the books that Luther really had a disdain for is the letter of James. Because the letter of James in the New Testament is one of the primary places where we talk about a distinction between faith and works and so Luther really raised up a strong, still today, Protestant and Evangelical Christian theology that we are saved by grace alone, by our faith in Christ and not by the works that we do ... we would not say as Catholics that as our theology that it is our works that grant us our salvation, absolutely not. It's only Christ's sacrifice on the cross ...

What Luther found out in the middle of the 16th century was that fifteen hundred years before there was a council of Jewish leaders that decided that certain books of what we would call the Old Testament, so these only seven disputed books are only found in the Old Testament ... around the year 100 had made a decision based on what books they had actual original Hebrew manuscripts for in their archives and which things they only had Greek translations. So Greek essentially was the language of the known world and just like we here in America would take some very important work that was maybe written in German or French a couple hundred years ago and we'd make sure to translate it into English so that our people could read it and understand it, they had done that for all the important works of literature for that Greek speaking world and had kept most of the originals but somehow ... had lost some of these transcripts of some of these books of the bible. And the Jewish leaders at the time said now we know in our heads and in our tradition that we did have these, we're pretty sure that some Greek speaker didn't make this stuff up, but we gotta stick to our guns and say that if we're gona call this the inspired word of God, for us as Jews we must have the original transcripts in Hebrew. And so we're gonna officially say in the year 100 ... they decided to not include in the Jewish canon of scripture these certain books, and that decision was not made by the Jewish Christians and other gentile Christians as the Church was so new ... but they continued with the tradition of considering those books ... to be the word of God and continued doing that for another fifteen hundred years.

So applying the same spiritual logic, the Council of Trent some what around the time of the Protestant reformation, in response to Luther and the reformers saying hey what about these things ... they said you know what, God has allowed us to continue proclaiming those books as scripture as his word for fifteen hundred years, so even if those Jewish leaders did make that decision hundreds of years ago and Martin Luther found that as an issue, we gotta hold to our guns in the same way that they held to their guns ... so the decision was made to keep those seven books in and they've remained for the last five hundred years."


© 2014 Busted Halo®

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Show air date: July 21, 2014

Name of show: Podcast 412

Guest comments by: Fr. Dave Dwyer

Question appeared in show: 7:28

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