Posts Tagged ‘bible’

Is it True that Bible na Bible?

January 14, 2014

Over the years, there has been a growing controversy over the use of the Bible in the church. Last Sunday the Parish Priest launched a New Year campaign for Parishioners to bring their bible for Sunday masses. Events after that have shown a gross misunderstanding of what the bible is by many modern Catholics. I heard someone say: “Bible na bilble, why does Father insist on the one that has Maccabees?” But is it true that “Bible na bible”?

Clarification of misconceptions

It is pertinent for every Christian to know that the bible as it is did not drop from heaven nor did God dictate its content to the authors. It is also important to note that the bible was not originally written in English.

Catholic and Non-Catholic Bibles

There are 73 books in the Catholic Bible – 46 in the Old Testament and 27 in the new. Generally most protestant bibles have 66 books- 39 in the old and 27 in the new. The discrepancy arises from the fact that the protestant Old Testament draws inspiration from the Canon postulated by the Jewish Rabbis at the council of Jamnia in 95AD. Some books such where removed by the Rabbis due to their Hellenistic origins. The Catholic Old Testament books are inherited from the Septuagint of 250BC. It is important to note that Christ and the early apostles made use of the Septuagint in their ministry because the Jamnia canon did not exist in the time of Christ and the apostles!

The Problem with the Protestant Bibles

Technically, Protestants have no bible of their own. What they have today is an edited version of e\what they inherited from the Catholic Church. Martin Luther, the father of Protestantism admitted this much in one of his commentaries: “we are compelled to concede to the Papists ( the Catholic Church) that they have the original word of God, that we received it from them and that without them we should(sic) have no knowledge of t at all.

The major problem with the protestant old testament is that the history of the Jews fro about 400 years before Christ is completely excluded. Important events in Jewish history such as the Maccabean revolts are not included. In fact the feast of the dedication of the temple attended by the Lord in Johns’s gospel 10:22 cannot be traced anywhere in the protestant old testament but can only be found in I Macabees: 36-59.

The Canon of the Bible

There was no canon of scripture in the early Church; there was no Bible. The Bible is the book of the Church; she is not the Church of the Bible. It was the Church–her leadership, faithful people–guided by the authority of the Spirit of Truth which discovered the books inspired by God in their writing. The Church did not create the canon; she discerned the canon. Fixed canons of the Old and New Testaments, hence the Bible, were not known much before the end of the 2nd and early 3rd century but there was a constant history of faithful people from Christ’s time through the Apostolic and Post Apostolic Church.

  • Melito, bishop of Sardis, an ancient city of Asia Minor (see Rev 3), c. 170 AD produced the first known Christian attempt at an Old Testament canon. His list maintains the Septuagint order of books but contains only the Old Testament protocanonicals minus the Book of Esther.


  • The Council of Laodicea, c. 360, produced a list of books similar to today’s canon. This was one of the Church’s earliest decisions on a canon.


  • Pope Damasus, 366-384, in his Decree, listed the books of today’s canon.


  • The Council of Rome, 382, was the forum which prompted Pope Damasus’ Decree.


  • Bishop Exuperius of Toulouse wrote to Pope Innocent I in 405 requesting a list of canonical books. Pope Innocent listed the present canon.


  • The Council of Hippo, a local North Africa council of bishops created the list of the Old and New Testament books in 393 which is the same as the Roman Catholic list today.


  • The Council of Carthage, a local North Africa council of bishops created the same list of canonical books in 397. This is the council which many Protestant and Evangelical Christians take as the authority for the New Testament canon of books. The Old Testament canon from the same council is identical to Roman Catholic canon today. Another Council of Carthage in 419 offered the same list of canonical books.


  • Since the Roman Catholic Church does not define truths unless errors abound on the matter, Roman Catholic Christians look to the Council of Florence, an ecumenical council in 1441 for the first definitive list of canonical books.


  • The final infallible definition of canonical books for Roman Catholic Christians came from the Council of Trent in 1556 in the face of the errors of the Reformers who rejected seven Old Testament books(Tobith, Baruach, Judith, wisdom, Eclesiasticus, Maccabees I and II, some additional chapters of the book of Esther and Daniel.) from the canon of scripture to that time.

Canonical books are those books which have been acknowledged as belonging to the list of books the Church considers to be inspired and to contain a rule of faith and morals. Some criteria used to determine canonicity were

    • special relation to God, i.e., inspiration;
    • apostolic origin;
    • used in Church services, i.e., used by the community of believers guided by the Holy Spirit.

The madness called Bible translations

Several attempts have been made by individuals and group alike to modify the Holy Scripture to suit their whims, all under the “guidance of the holy spirit”.

In fact the message of scripture has been perverted by some of these protestant versions that one can easily be mislead. One example is John 1:1, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.” The new world translation readers this text thus: “in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was a god”. Can you beat this? This is the version used by Jehovah’s witnesses who do not believe in the divinity of Jesus. As a matter of fact, the name Jehovah is a result 0f erroneous translation of Yahweh, he sovereign God of Israel.

Also not pleased with St Paul’s doctrine “we are justified by faith”, King James “inspired by the Holy Spirit added “only” after St Paul’s words making the sentence read; “we are justified by faith only” and so it reads in many protestant bibles. There are several other such discrepancies in Protestant bibles. This is why the Church, the Mother and teacher of all Christians has over the centuries taught that only scripture approved by the Magisterium are to be read at masses and other Liturgical celebrations.


Accoding to Greg Witherow, “There is only one way we know whether a book is divinely inspired. And it is not because a book claims to be inspired. It is not because Christ or the Apostles quotes from it. It is not because we think we know who the author is. It is not because the Holy Spirit has guided history to ensure a consensus amongst Christians. Rather, it is because the Church is the only entity with the authority to define what the received books are. Christ did not hand us a New Testament when he ascended to heaven. But he did leave us a Church with a Magisterium to make decisions that are binding on earth and also binding in heaven. It is the Church that is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim 3:15). The Catholic Church has consistently declared the Deutercanonicals to be divinely inspired from her earliest councils. And as such these books have been part of the Bible for 2,000 years. At the time of the Reformation the Protestant sects rejected these portions of scripture that for 1,500 years had been part of the Christian Bible. And as such they claimed to have the authority to do so base on the right of private judgment (and a fallible judgment, as they concede.” R.C. Sproul is a highly regarded contemporary Reformed theologian. He summarizes the Catholic vs. Protestant debate on the canon of scripture in the following manner:

“The Catholic Church believes in an infallible list of infallible books while the Protestant churches believe in a fallible list of infallible books”.


Namse Udosen


%d bloggers like this: