Friday, January 19, 2007

How Many Books Does the Bible REALLY Have?

Catholic apologist Mark Shea wrote an excellent essay on the 'deutero-canonical' books (or so-called apocryphal) books of the Catholic bible which appeared in Envoy Magazine in 2001.

In it, he addresses the "5 myths about 7 books" (the seven that the Catholic Bible has which the Protestant versions do not):

Myth 1
The deuterocanonical books are not found in the Hebrew Bible. They were added by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent after Luther rejected it.

Myth 2
Christ and the Apostles frequently quoted Old Testament Scripture as their authority, but they never quoted from the deuterocanonical books, nor did they even mention them. Clearly, if these books were part of Scripture, the Lord would have cited them.

Myth 3
The deuterocanonical books contain historical, geographical, and moral errors, so they can't be inspired Scripture.

Myth 4
The deuterocanonical books themselves deny that they are inspired Scripture.

Myth 5
The early Church Fathers, such as St. Athanasius and St. Jerome (who translated the official Bible of the Catholic Church), rejected the deuterocanonical books as Scripture, and the Catholic Church added these books to the canon at the Council of Trent.
Reformed theologian R. C. Sproul once said that the canon is "a fallible collection of infallible books". In contrast, Mark Shea said:
The only basis we have for determining the canon of the Scripture is the authority of the Church Christ established, through whom the Scriptures came.
If you're fuzzy on the issue and not sure why the 7 should or shouldnt be included in the canon, I would highly recommend reading the whole article.

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