Additional Books of the Catholic Bible
If you’ve ever perused through the books of the Catholic Bible vs. the Protestant Bible you may have noticed some additional books in the Catholic Bible.
The Protestant Bible consists of 66 books which are considered to be divinely inspired. 39 books are contained within the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament.
By comparison, the books of the Catholic Bible include all 66 in the previous list plus seven extra books. The additional books in the Catholic Bible are found in the Old Testament and include: Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus / Sirach, Baruch, and 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees bringing the total to 73 books.
Table of Catholic Books vs. Protestant Books
*Catholic books in red
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Why the Difference?
The difference between the two lists has to do with how each branch of Christianity defines their divinely inspired books.
In the third and fourth century, church councils met to determine which books were to be considered divinely inspired. At the time, the Jewish Old Testament had already been decided upon by Jewish leaders and included the 39 books which are part of both Catholic and Protestant Bibles (Old Testament).
However, at the time, there was also a Greek Old Testament in circulation (known as the Septuagint). This Greek Old Testament contained all of the books in the traditional Old Testament, plus additional books that had been written in between the time of the Old and New Testaments. Among them, were included the seven additional books in the Catholic Bible.
The Septuagint was the Bible that the New Testament writers used and quoted from. Thus, when the church councils met to determine the divinely inspired books, these additional seven books were also chosen to be included in the books of the Catholic Bible (Old Testament).
We should mention that the first official pronouncement of the list of Catholic books was at the Council of Trent (1500s), though they affirmed earlier less authoritative councils at Hippo (393) and Carthage (397).
Protestants of the Reformation are credited with removing these additional seven books from the Protestant Bibles. Here they argued that these seven books were not contained in the the Hebrew Bible (the 39 books of the traditional Old Testament) and thus should not be a part of the Christian Bible.