Why I Don’t Use A ‘Catholic’ Bible

The idea of segregating the Bible and its valued books into Christian Denominations is funny to me because Christianity (as well as Islam) both stemmed from Judaism, which should make our Old and New Testaments set in stone as God’s word. There shouldn’t even be a ‘Catholic’ Bible (or a ‘Protestant’ Bible, or a ‘Methodist’ Bible, etc.)

I was born and raised in a Catholic family, but I don’t use a Catholic Bible. I never have, actually. As a matter of fact, I spent a good 20 years of my life believing that The King James version WAS the official Catholic Bible. Turns out I was dead wrong.

So Why don’t I use a Catholic Bible now?

It’s actually quite simple. The ‘Apocrypha’. Also known as the Deuterocanonical books, 7 in total, added to the Bible during the protestant reformation. These include:

  • Tobit
  • Judith
  • Additions to Esther
  • Wisdom
  • Sirach/Ecclesiasticus
  • Baruch
  • Additions to Daniel
  • 1 Maccabees
  • 2 Maccabees

These books were never acknowledged as sacred by the the Jewish Church and were canonized in 1546, hundreds of years after the 66 books were made official by the Catholic Church. There is also argument that these books were not inspired.

One great argument is that the Church Councils at Hippo and Carthage, who accepted the 66 books, also accepted the Apocrypha. BUT, and this is a big one, The New Testament was set from the 1st Century and never quotes any of the Apocryphal books.

A common misconception is that Catholics were the deciders of which books were Holy and Sacred, and therefore added into the Bible. But if the New Testament was set from the 1st Century, then these books would have been referenced.

More importantly these books were not a part of the Hebrew canon. Why? Because they were never written in Hebrew, which is considered to be God’s Word.

More importantly, according the Merriam-Webster, the word ‘Apocrypha’ is defined as “writings or statements of dubious authenticity.”

Dubious – questionable of suspect as to true nature or quality

I personally believe that the KJV is the closest translation we have to the Hebrew Canon. I use the English Standard Version and the New Living Translation to help clarify what I read, as the KJV can get confusing and dense.

I’m not saying that Catholics don’t receive wisdom and value from the Apocrypahal books, as that is God’s will. However, I cannot say that I trust them to BE God’s word.

If I were to place them anywhere, I’d have to put them with the other lost books of the Bible, which may not be God’s word but can give incite to the history of the times they were written in.

That’s my personal view based on the Hebrew translations of the Bible and the historical context we have access to. What’s yours?

-MB

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10 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Use A ‘Catholic’ Bible

  1. Oh, my gosh. I don’t even know where to begin. Can you site your sources, please? KJV is one of the worst translations around. It sounds pretty, but as translations go, it’s poor.

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  2. Actual we use a Catholic version; the King James Version was given to you father by a friend.
    thus the reason you may have thought that.

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  3. Why do you think it’s the closest to the Hebrew? And why is the Hebrew superior? How does the Septuagint play into Jewish and early Christian ideas of holy scripture? At what 1st century council was the canon set and which books were included? KJV isn’t a good translation, but nothing beats it in the Peanuts Christmas movie. 🙂

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  4. Very interesting blog. I am no biblical scholar, that is for sure. Joan is the one who has done a ton of reading on the subject. I tend to look at most things from a historical perspective. There are oodles and oodles of things written about the development and history of Christianity. Much of it (like most writing) comes from the writer’s specific point of view, beliefs, etc. Like anything else, it can be difficult to determine what the real facts are. I’m not talking about religious beliefs, but rather the history of the development of Christianity. When the Bible was first put into writing ( Old Testament- Hebrew, New Testament- Greek, I think), the development of the different versions since then, the acceptance and rejection of certain books of the Bible throughout history, Imho, having a solid knowledge of the history of Christianity in all its forms would be a great place to start, when exploring the different versions of Christianity.

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    1. Anon, exactly. There are so many misconceptions and outright lies about the Catholic Church and Christian history that are passed on as facts. And yet there is so much solid information out there, easily found, written for non-theologians. With a bit of healthy skepticism to pick up on things that just aren’t logical, Google, and a library card, you can resolve the discrepancies with a little time and effort.

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    2. For example, the argument that the 2nd canon shouldn’t be included in the OT of a Christian Bible, because those books weren’t written in Hebrew. (Below) So we can throw out that objection. And the objection that the books aren’t in the Hebrew canon, settled later. The Apostles etc referenced the Greek Septuagint in the NT. So it’s clear that they were using the Greek texts. It’s a difference in language – Jews there spoke Greek not Hebrew. If the argument about languages stands, all English-language (All non-Hebrew) translations would invalid. And there is the issue that some of the NT may have been originally written in Aramaic. What do we do with that?! NT texts written in different languages. Uh oh. 🙂 But the truth is that the canon was not settled, for Jews or Christians when Christ was born. Look at when the Jews settled it and what was going on at the time.

      “Some scriptures of ancient origin are found in the Septuagint but are not present in the Hebrew. These additional books are Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach, Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah (which later became chapter 6 of Baruch in the Vulgate), additions to Daniel (The Prayer of Azarias, the Song of the Three Children, Susanna and Bel and the Dragon), additions to Esther, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, 1 Esdras, Odes, including the Prayer of Manasseh, the Psalms of Solomon, and Psalm 151.

      Despite this, there are fragments of some deuterocanonical books that have been found in Hebrew among the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran:

      Sirach, whose text in Hebrew was already known from the Cairo Geniza, has been found in two scrolls (2QSir or 2Q18, 11QPs_a or 11Q5) in Hebrew. Another Hebrew scroll of Sirach has been found in Masada (MasSir).[36]:597 Five fragments from the Book of Tobit have been found in Qumran written in Aramaic and in one written in Hebrew (papyri 4Q, nos. 196-200).[36][37]:636 Psalm 151 appears along with a number of canonical and non-canonical psalms in the Dead Sea scroll 11QPs(a) (named also 11Q5), a first-century AD scroll discovered in 1956.[38] This scroll contains two short Hebrew psalms which scholars now agree served as the basis for Psalm 151.[39]”

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  5. Whoever told you that the New Testament was set by the first century? Most of it wasn’t even written until after the first century A.D. No wonder you have doubts! The history of how the Bible came to be what it is today — and the many documents that were rejected in the process — is widely available from a variety of sources.

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    1. Oh no no, I meant to convey that the Old Testament was set by the time of Jesus’s coming, because those were the scriptures he taught by. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

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