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Bern Begaso wrote:

Hi, guys —

Thank you very much for the wonderful answer on Limbo.

Let me ask a few other questions:

  • Why do Protestants keep saying that seven books of the Catholic Church are apocryphal?

I have noticed that these books, like Tobit, Sirach, and most of the seven books, are included in the Dead Sea Scrolls and have been included in the Septuagint.

  • We all agree that these oldest copies of the Bible are authentic so, if they are apocryphal, why aren't they are included?
  • Besides Maccabees 1 and 2, why don't we include Maccabees 3 and 4, seeing that they are in the Septuagint?

What do I say if someone asks:

  • Does the Catholic Church take care the original Bible? or
  • How can you be so sure that the Catholic Bible is not corrupted?

Thank-you very much!


  { Why do Protestants keep saying that seven books of the Catholic Church are apocryphal plus? }

Bob replied:


The canon of Scripture was ratified at the Council of Trent in 1546 as to clarify what Catholics verses Protestants held as the formal canon. Prior to that, there was universal acceptance of the canon since about the fifth century when all agreements were settled through several synods and councils.

Since the Reformation, however, the Protestants had dropped books from the canon because of doctrinal conflicts with what they believed and didn't believe. For example, Luther found the idea of Purgatory incompatible with his soteriology, and therefore Maccabees, which seemed to affirm it, had to go. Likewise, the epistle of James was problematic for it contradicted his faith alone doctrine. He called James an epistle of straw and wanted to drop it but had to keep it only because the backlash was too great. So, the Church reaffirmed, once and for all, what rightfully belonged to the canon. The additional books you mentioned were only apocryphal so they didn't make it into the canon of Scripture.

In short, Protestants call the seven books you mentioned apocryphal because they created their own canon so as to reject Catholic doctrine. They had no authority to define the canon. The Church had done it already by the fifth century. There were many texts that had been in circulation and were regarded as Scripture but the Catholic Church did the work of sorting it all out and had the authority to set the canon while Protestants — a collection of sects that broke from the Church — clearly did not. The best they can offer is a fallible collection of infallible books which amounts to nothing.

With respect to the certainty of the text, we have a great deal of confidence.

Thousands of ancient copies of the varies parts of Scripture have been collated and compared as to give the best rendition of the originals — which largely have been lost.

Nevertheless, there is a greater certainty for our text than ancient copies of most secular works because of the abundance of material from which there was to derive the originals.


Bob Kirby

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