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:
- Additions to Esther
- 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?