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Frances Johnson wrote:

Hi, guys —

Two of my student's Catholic Bibles have extra verses in Ezekiel, Chapter 5. My Bibles at home go up to verse 17, in Chapter 5. Their Bibles had about four extra verses.

  • How do I explain why their Bibles have these extra verses?

Much thanks with blessings,


  { Is there any reason why my religious Ed. students have extra Bible verses in their Catholic Bibles? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Frances —

Thanks for the question.

That's a first for me.

The Bible software from the Congregation for the Clergy in the Vatican and Bible from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops goes up to verse 17 as well.

  • Are you sure these are "extra verses" and not footnotes, or commentary?
  • What do they say?

"17 I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children; pestilence and blood shall pass through you; and I will bring the sword upon you. I, the LORD, have spoken."

Ezekiel 5:17


John replied:

Frances —

There are various Old Testament manuscripts. For starters, there is the Palestinian Canon and the Alexandrian Canon. The Alexandrian Canon is in Greek not Hebrew. It's commonly referred to the Septuagint because of the 72 scholars that did the translation from Hebrew and Aramaic.

The Septuagint which has been accepted by the Catholic Church since 382 A.D. has more books than the Palestinian Canon. In some instances, it also has additional verses and chapters to books also found in the Palestinian Canon. You will find additional verses in Esther and Daniel as well.

There is also the Orthodox Old Testament Canon which had additional books added at their Council of Jassey after the Protestant Reformation.

They seem to be working from an entirely different ancient manuscript because they have quite a few extra verses and chapters in the books common to the Catholic and Protestant Bibles.
They also added other books such as:

  • 3 Maccabees
  • Psalm 151 and
  • the book of Esdras, not to be confused with Ezra.

None of these books or verses change doctrine. In fact, we have different manuscripts for the New Testament. For instance, some manuscripts:

  • have a shorter ending to the Gospel of Mark
  • they also have verses missing from the Gospel of John, and
  • there are minor differences, a word here or a word there, as well.

For instance, in Matthew 6 Jesus says no one can add a cubit to his height by worrying.
In another manuscript, it say "add another hour to your life..."

None of this changes the inspired nature, since revelation is found in the meaning and not in the literal word. The Bible is inspired, it wasn't dictated. The authors of Scripture weren't biological word processors.


Frances replied:

Hi, guys —

Thank you for your reply. Please read the ending of chapter 5 of the book of Ezekiel. The verses are out of order. Starting after verse 12. Check it out.

See what you can do for us. God Bless you for doing these quests.

Frances Johnson
P.S. I'll try the web site you gave me next. Have a great week.

John replied:

Hi, Frances —

Again, this is all attributed to the fact that there are different ancient manuscripts. It depends on which manuscript the translators of that a particular Bible version were working from.

When you say they are out of order, you are assuming that one order is correct. I'd say it's more accurate to say that the verses are in a different order or sequence.

You need to remember that Scripture started out as Oral Tradition. Most of the Old Testament,
as we know it, wasn't written or organized until the Babylonian Captivity.

The Catholic or the historic Christian approach is to look for the Revelation in the meaning of the text. We recognize that the Bible is a Divine work done by men. It is the Word of God in the words of men. The Holy Spirit didn't choose the literary constructs, nor did He take away the author's personality, writing style, and so forth.

Revelation is the point of the text. That's what is inerrant and inspired. If you take this approach, these variances in various texts amount to nothing because they don't change the meaning,

Fundamentalists, on the other hand, struggle with differences because many of them think that the Bible was dictated word for word. They treat the Prophets as simply holy administrative assistants taking short hand.

Nonetheless, we know this is not the case from the internal evidence in the Bible itself. Take the prophet Jeremiah. He didn't necessarily write his book or any part of it. We know from his book that he had a scribe, Baruch, who recorded Jeremiah's prophecies, visions, and the actions he took.

In almost every case, the Old Testament was handed down orally from generation to generation until it was finally written down. Genesis, for instance, while traditionally attributed to Moses, wasn't probably actually written down until the time of David. We know that from the history of when Hebrew developed as a written language. That doesn't negate that Moses was the authority behind Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Leviticus. It simply means it was handed down orally in the community for centuries before it was recorded and, a long the way, different traditions developed that influenced different parts of these books. When they were recorded at different times and in different places, some minor differences in the traditions appeared in the manuscripts but the inspired meaning or the Revelation was preserved.

That said, you can rack your brains out trying to reconcile these differences. If you take a view that is too fundamentalistic, it could even rock your faith in inspiration but that's because Fundamentalists don't understand the nature of Inspiration.

Finally, the Church has never relied on Scripture alone, but on Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Church's teaching authority so for Catholics these minute differences in manuscripts have never been worth sweating about. We simply recognize them as differences in old manuscripts that don't change Church doctrine in any way.

I hope this helps,

John DiMascio

Frances replied:

Thank You John, ... Mike, Bob, Eric, Mary Ann, and Paul

This will be a great opportunity to relate to them all that you have laid before us with the history of the Scriptures, Oral Tradition and translations from different manuscripts that your previous reply entailed.

Though I am not new to the faith, you are patience with me. I love how I have a "place to go" for answers I could not get without your expertise.

Thank you all for having this resource for all people searching for help and understanding.
I hope to come to you again with other issues dealing with our faith in the Almighty God.

May God continue to gift your wisdom, knowledge, and love of His Word,

Frances Johnson

John replied:


God bless you.

Your hunger to learn more is a testament to the work the Holy Spirit is doing in your life. It is an inspiration to all of us. It is a pleasure to answer the kind questions you ask, as it is a pleasure to answer someone such as yourself, who is hungry to discuss the things of God.

May the Lord prosper whatever you put your hands to In His Name.

Under His Mercy,


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