Faith

7 Missing Bible Books: Why Did Protestants Remove Them from the Bible?

Discover the shocking truth: Did Protestants tamper with the Bible? Unveiling the missing pieces and unraveling the mystery of an incomplete Protestant Bible.

Last Updated:
December 25, 2023
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Key Takeaways

  • Protestant Bible is missing seven books compared to the Catholic Bible, meaning it is incomplete.
  • Missing books are known as the Apocrypha or deuterocanonical books, including Tobit, Judith, Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Baruch, and Sirach.
  • Protestants may read these books for historical knowledge, but do not believe them to be inspired by God.
  • Exclusion of these books by Protestants has been a debate between Catholics and Protestants for centuries.
  • This article explores the reasons behind these differences, the significance of the Catholic Apocrypha, and the ongoing debate surrounding the completeness of the Protestant Bible.

Background of the Protestant Bible

The Protestant Bible, used by Protestant churches, differs from the Catholic Bible in that it excludes seven books known as the Deuterocanonical or Apocrypha. These books are Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, and 1 and 2 Maccabees.

The origins of the Protestant Bible can be traced back to the 16th century during the time of the Protestant Reformation. Reformers, led by Martin Luther, sought to return to the original texts of the Bible and rejected certain books that were not found in the Hebrew canon of Scripture.

Martin Luther, a key figure in the Reformation, believed that these seven books had less historical accuracy and theological value than the rest of the Scripture. He argued that they were not included in the Jewish Canon and were therefore not divinely inspired. Luther's decision to remove these books from the Old Testament was based on his concern for maintaining the purity of the biblical canon.

While the Catholic Church maintains the inclusion of these books in its Bible, Protestant churches continue using the canon that Martin Luther and other reformers established. Removing these books remains one of the distinguishing features between the Protestant and Catholic Bibles.

Overview of the Deuterocanonical Books

The Deuterocanonical Books, also known as the "Apocrypha," are a collection of seven books found in some versions of the Christian Bible but not in the Hebrew Bible. These books are Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, and 1 and 2 Maccabees.

"deuterocanonical" means "second canon," indicating that these books were not part of the original Hebrew canon of Scripture. Unlike the protocanonical books, universally accepted by Jews and Christians as inspired Scripture, the deuterocanonical books were disputed and varied in acceptance among different Christian traditions.

The deuterocanonical books were primarily written in Greek and were included in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. The Septuagint was widely used in the early Christian church and was often the version of the Old Testament that the New Testament authors quoted from. Including the deuterocanonical books in the Septuagint influenced their acceptance by the early Christian church.

The Council of Rome in 382 AD first provided an official list of canonical scripture, including the deuterocanonical books. Later, in the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation, these books were removed from the Protestant Bible based on the Jewish canon and arguments of their lack of inclusion in the original Hebrew Scriptures.

Historical Context

During the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, there was a movement to return to the early Christian church's roots and reform certain practices of the Roman Catholic Church. As part of this reform, Protestant leaders questioned and reevaluated various aspects of religious doctrine and practices, including the canon of Scripture. They sought to identify which books should be considered divinely inspired and authoritative.

In doing so, they looked to the Jewish canon of the Hebrew Scriptures as the basis for determining which books should be included in the Bible. This historical context of the Protestant Reformation played a significant role in removing the deuterocanonical books. Protestants aimed to align themselves more closely with the Jewish tradition and exclude books not from the Hebrew canon.

Greek Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (Septuagint)

The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, also known as the Old Testament. It holds great significance in the Protestant Bible for several reasons.

First, the Septuagint was widely used during the time of Jesus and the Apostles. Many of the quotes and references made in the New Testament come directly from the Septuagint version. This attests to its importance and influence within the early Christian community.

Second, there is an assumption within the church that the Septuagint is inspired. While not officially declared as such, the early church leaders’ acceptance of the Septuagint as Scripture and that Jesus and the Apostles referred to it adds to its credibility as divinely inspired.

Third, the development of the scientific method of paleography has allowed scholars to compare ancient manuscripts of the Septuagint to the original Hebrew texts. This has led to a better understanding of the Greek translation's accuracy, further affirming its value within biblical studies.

Jewish Canon Discussed by Church Fathers in the 4th Century

In the 4th century, there was a discussion among Church Fathers regarding the Jewish canon – which books should be included as sacred scripture. These Church leaders debated including and excluding certain books, offering varying views.

Some Church Fathers, like Athanasius and Cyril of Jerusalem, supported the inclusion of the Deuterocanonical books, also known as the Apocrypha. They argued that these books were traditionally used by the Jewish community and were read in the early Christian churches.

However, other Church Fathers, such as Jerome and Rufinus, expressed reservations about including these books. They believed the Jewish canon, established by the Council of Jamnia in the 1st century, should be followed. According to them, the Jews did not consider the Deuterocanonical books as part of their canon, and therefore, they should not be included in the Christian Bible.

These varying views among the Church Fathers resulted in disagreement and variations in the final decision on the biblical canon. Ultimately, the Catholic Church confirmed the inclusion of the Deuterocanonical books in the canon during the Council of Carthage in 397. However, the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century later rejected these books, aligning with the Jewish canon.

Reformation Period and the 16th Century

During the Reformation in the 16th century, significant changes were made to the Protestant Bible, leading to the removal of books from the canon. This period was marked by intense debate and theological differences between the Catholic Church and reformers such as Martin Luther.

One of the key debates during this time centered around the Old Testament canon. The Protestant reformers, influenced by the Jewish canon, rejected the inclusion of certain books that were considered part of the Deuterocanonical or Apocryphal books by the Catholic Church. The reformers argued that these books lacked sufficient historical accuracy and were not considered divinely inspired. They believed in a strict adherence to the Hebrew Scriptures, which they considered to be the only authoritative source.

In response to the Reformation movement, the Council of Trent was convened by the Catholic Church in the mid-16th century. This council formally addressed the canon of Scripture and affirmed the inclusion of the Deuterocanonical books, reaffirming their importance and status as part of the biblical canon.

Removing these books from the Protestant Bible during the Reformation reflected the theological differences and reformers' desire to align themselves more closely with the Jewish canon. This decision had a lasting impact on the Protestant Bible, resulting in a difference in the number and content of books compared to the Catholic Bible.

What books do Protestants take out of the Bible?

During the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, certain books known as the Deuterocanonical or Apocrypha were omitted from the Protestant Bible. These books include Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, First and Second Maccabees, and additions to the books of Esther and Daniel.

The exclusion of these books can be attributed to historical context and specific reasons during the Protestant Reformation. Influenced by the Jewish canon, Protestant reformers sought to align themselves more closely with the Hebrew Scriptures, which did not include the Deuterocanonical books. They questioned the divine inspiration and historical accuracy of these additional books and believed in a stricter adherence to the Old Testament as originally recognized by the Jewish community.

The Protestant Reformers aimed to return to sacred scripture’s true and authoritative sources. They denounced the Deuterocanonical books as not part of the original canon and therefore non-binding for Christian teachings. This decision during the Protestant Reformation influenced the formation of the Protestant Bible, which consists of the books recognized by the Hebrew canon.

Why did Protestants remove the Apocrypha?

During the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, Protestants removed the Apocrypha from the Bible. The Apocrypha is a collection of books that are considered deuterocanonical, meaning they are not found in the Jewish canon but are accepted as part of the Old Testament by the Catholic Church.

Protestants, however, chose to adhere strictly to the Hebrew scriptures and questioned the divine inspiration and historical accuracy of the Apocrypha. They believed in a narrower selection of books that aligned with the original Jewish canon. As a result, the Apocrypha was removed from Protestant Bibles, and the Protestant canon became different from the Catholic canon.

Consequences of Removing 7 Books from the Bible

Removing seven books, known as the Deuterocanonical books, from the Protestant Bible has had significant consequences. These books, included in the Catholic and Orthodox canons, consist of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, and First and Second Maccabees. Their exclusion from the Protestant Bible has resulted in differences in the biblical canon between Protestant and Catholic traditions. The removal has also impacted theological understandings, discussions, and debates within Christianity. Additionally, the absence of these books has limited the availability of certain narratives, prayers, and teachings that were part of the Christian faith for centuries. Understanding the consequences of this removal is crucial for comprehending the divergences and interpretations within different Christian denominations.

Loss of Valuable Information on Jewish Life and Practices During Intertestamental Times

During the reformation in the 16th century, Protestant leaders decided to remove several books known as the Deuterocanonical books from the Bible. These books, also referred to as the Apocryphal books by Protestants, include Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, First and Second Maccabees, and additional portions of the books of Esther and Daniel.

The exclusion of these books from the Protestant Bible resulted in a loss of valuable information on Jewish life and practices during intertestamental times. These books provided insights into the Jewish people’s historical, cultural, and religious context between the Old and New Testaments.

For example, the book of Tobit offers a glimpse into the importance of honoring parents, the role of angels in daily life, and the value of charitable acts. The book of Wisdom explores the concepts of divine wisdom and the soul’s immortality. Sirach provides practical instruction on various aspects of life, including friendship, marriage, and parenting.

By removing these books from the biblical canon, Protestants miss out on a comprehensive understanding of the historical events, religious beliefs, and cultural practices of the Jewish people during this crucial period. The exclusion of the Deuterocanonical books limits the reader's ability to fully grasp the rich tapestry of Jewish life and practices during intertestamental times.

Affect on Christian Faith and Beliefs

The removal of the seven deuterocanonical books from the Bible has significantly impacted Christian faith and beliefs. These books, widely accepted as sacred scripture in the early Christian church, contained valuable teachings and insights that helped shape the beliefs and practices of the early believers.

The exclusion of these books from the Protestant Bible has resulted in a loss of important theological teachings and historical context. For example, the book of Wisdom provided insights into divine wisdom and the soul’s immortality, influencing Christian understanding of these topics. The book of Tobit emphasized the importance of charitable acts and the role of angels in daily life, offering a deeper understanding of these aspects of the faith.

Furthermore, removing these books has affected the canon of Scripture. The Protestant canon consists of 66 books, while the Catholic canon includes seven additional books, known as the deuterocanonical books. This difference in the canon has led to variations in theological teachings and practices between Protestants and Catholics.

Frequently asked Questions

What are the deuterocanonical books and why are they not included in the Protestant Bible?

  • The deuterocanonical books, such as Tobit, Judith, and Maccabees, are not included in the Protestant Bible.
  • These books are historically and theologically significant, but not considered divinely inspired by Protestants.
  • They provide insight into the cultural and historical context of the biblical period.
  • Seeking wisdom and discernment from the Holy Spirit can help you understand and apply the truth of these books.
  • Exploring these books can help you grow in your understanding of the Scriptures.

How does the Protestant Bible differ from the Catholic Bible regarding the number of books?

  • The Protestant and Catholic Bible differ in the number of books they contain.
  • The Protestant Bible has 66 books, while the Catholic Bible has 73.
  • The difference arises from the impact of the Protestant Reformation, which saw the exclusion of certain Old Testament books known as the deuterocanonical books.
  • These differences in biblical canon reflect Protestant and Catholic denominations’ varying interpretations and traditions.
  • Generally, the Protestant Bible only contains the 66 books known as the ‘canon', while the Catholic Bible includes the additional deuterocanonical books.

Why did Martin Luther remove seven books from the Bible?

  • Martin Luther removed seven books from the Bible because he believed they did not align with his understanding of biblical doctrine.
  • His decision questioned the canonicity and inspiration of these books, creating a lasting impact on the Protestant Bible.
  • Luther aimed to emphasize the authority of the Hebrew Bible and focus on the core theological teachings that he believed were essential for salvation.
  • This decision shaped the Protestant canon and has long-term affected Christian traditions.
  • By removing the seven books, Luther sought to create a new interpretation of the Bible.

Why does the Catholic Church consider the Apocrypha inspired and authoritative?

  • The Catholic Church considers the Apocrypha to be inspired and authoritative due to its historical and theological significance.
  • These books provide valuable insights into the religious and cultural context of the period.
  • They contain teachings supporting certain doctrines and beliefs the Catholic Church holds.
  • The Church believes that the Holy Spirit guided the inclusion of these books in the canon, making them a vital part of sacred scripture.
  • Their inclusion enhances our understanding of God's message and the development of Christian faith.

What are the theological and historical reasons for the Catholic Church's acceptance of the Apocrypha?

  • The Catholic Church's acceptance of the Apocrypha is based on theological and historical reasons.
  • The Apocrypha has great significance in Catholicism, providing insight into the beliefs and practices of the Jewish people during the biblical period.
  • The Catholic Church views the Apocrypha as both inspired and authoritative, containing important teachings that complement the rest of the Bible.
  • The Apocrypha is seen as an important source of information on the context of the Bible.
  • The Catholic Church values the Apocrypha as a powerful source of spiritual truth.

Why did Protestants remove 7 books from the Bible?

The exclusion of the deuterocanonical books from the Protestant Bible is a frequently asked. During the 16th century, as the Protestant Reformation took place, a debate arose about the extent of the biblical canon. Protestants questioned the inclusion of certain books not found in the Jewish canon or the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. As a result, they decided to remove seven books, namely Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, First and Second Maccabees, and sections of Esther and Daniel. This narrower selection of biblical books became the Protestant canon, which differs from the canon used by the Catholic Church.

Why Are Protestant and Catholic Bibles Different?

Protestant and Catholic Bibles differ in the number and content of their books. The Protestant Bible includes 66 books, while the Catholic Bible contains an additional 7 books, commonly referred to as the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical books. These books are Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, First and Second Maccabees, and additional portions in the books of Esther and Daniel.

The separation of these books can be traced back to the 16th century and the time of the Protestant Reformation. During this period, Martin Luther and other reformers questioned the canonicity and authority of these books. They argued that these books were not part of the Hebrew canon and were therefore not to be considered sacred scripture. In contrast, the Catholic Church considered these books divinely inspired and included them in their canon at the Council of Carthage in the 4th century.

The exclusion of the Apocrypha from Protestant Bibles has significantly impacted the overall content. These books contain important historical and theological insights and teachings on morality and ethics. Catholic Bibles, including the Apocrypha, provide a more comprehensive view of biblical literature.

The differences between Protestant and Catholic Bibles highlight the historical context and theological disagreements that led to the separation of books in each canon. While Protestants emphasize the importance of the Hebrew canon and advocate for a stricter interpretation of scripture, Catholics recognize the importance of these additional books in understanding the fullness of divine revelation.

Do the Differences Matter?

The differences between the Catholic and Protestant Bibles in terms of the boundaries of the Old Testament canon hold significant importance. These differences not only shape the content of the scriptures but also have implications for the authority and teachings of the church.

The Catholic Bible includes several additional books known as the Deuterocanonical or the Apocrypha, which are not found in the Protestant Bible. These books, such as Tobit, Judith, and Wisdom, provide valuable historical, theological, and ethical insights. They offer a broader perspective on the development of Judaism and the early Christian era.

In contrast, Protestant Bibles follow a narrower canon, excluding these books and considering them doubtful rather than divinely inspired. This distinction impacts the authority of scripture for the respective churches. The Catholic Church, through the inclusion of these books, recognizes their validity and considers them part of the sacred teachings. The Protestant churches, however, consider the books outside the boundaries of the canon and therefore grant them less authority.

How do Protestants know that the Bible is Inerrant and Inspired?

Protestants believe that the Bible is inerrant and inspired, meaning it is without error and divinely guided. This belief is based on several factors.

Firstly, Protestants assert that the Bible itself claims to be the inspired Word of God. They point to verses such as 2 Timothy 3:16, which states, “God breathes out all Scripture.” Protestants view these passages as indicating that the Bible's authors were divinely guided, making their writings both true and trustworthy.

Additionally, Protestants argue that the historical reliability and consistency of the Bible support its inerrancy and inspiration. They highlight the numerous prophecies fulfilled and the historical accuracy confirmed by archaeological discoveries. They maintain that these evidences demonstrate the Bible's faithfulness to reality and its divine origin.

Furthermore, Protestants emphasize the internal coherence and doctrinal consistency of the Bible. They argue that despite being written by various authors across different periods, the Bible presents a unified message and reveals a consistent plan of salvation. This consistency is seen as evidence of the Bible's divine inspiration.

Which bibles contain deuterocanonical books?

Some Christian denominations include the deuterocanonical books in their Bible, while others do not. The Catholic Church is one of the denominations that includes these books in its canon. The deuterocanonical books are also included in the Orthodox Christian Bible.

The deuterocanonical books are a collection of seven books: Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, First and Second Maccabees, and additional sections of the books of Esther and Daniel. These books were written in Greek and were part of the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures widely used in the 1st century.

The Protestant churches, on the other hand, do not include these books in their canon. This is because the Protestant canon of the Old Testament is based on the Hebrew canon, which does not include the deuterocanonical books. During the 16th century Reformation, Martin Luther and other reformers argued for removing these books from the canon, considering them to have less authority than the rest of the biblical books. They also believed these books contained teachings not found in the Hebrew Scriptures or affirmed by Jesus and the apostles.

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Christian Pure Team
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