What is the difference between a Catholic bible and a Protestant bible?

Do you know? Fr Paul Staes asked this question over the weekend, and here is his answer:

The Catholic bible...

...is always covered with dust..
and a Protestant bible...

...you can smell it.
(just imagine where it is held usually)

It's funny because it's true!

Fr Paul also asked another question: What is your favourite verse or chapter in the bible? Try answering it before reading on.

Too often we don't have one, or don't know what chapter or verse it is. The moral is that we should learn to use the bible much more. We must use it as a reference; there really is no reason why not. Our bibles really should be dirty and 'smelly'! How can we know God better without knowing the bible?

What is the difference between Protestant and Catholic Bibles? For the actual answer a simple web search will do: e.g., http://www.twopaths.com/faq_bibles.htm:

At the time the Christian Bible was being formed, a Greek translation of Jewish Scripture, the Septuagint, was in common use and Christians adopted it as the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. However, around 100 A.D., Jewish rabbis revised their Scripture and established an official canon of Judaism which excluded some portions of the Greek Septuagint. The material excluded was a group of 15 late Jewish books, written during the period 170 B.C. to 70 A.D., that were not found in Hebrew versions of the Jewish Scripture. Christians did not follow the revisions of Judaism and continued to use the text of the Septuagint.

Protestant reformers in the 1500s decided to follow the official canon of Judaism for the Old Testament rather than the Septuagint, and the excluded material was placed in a separate section of the Bible called the Apocrypha. Protestant Bibles included the Apocrypha until the mid 1800s, but it was eventually dropped from most Protestant editions.

The Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches continue to base their Old Testament on the Septuagint. The result is that these versions of the the Bible have more Old Testament books than Protestant versions. Catholic Old Testaments include 1st and 2nd Maccabees, Baruch, Tobit, Judith, The Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), additions to Esther, and Susanna and Bel and the Dragon which are included in Daniel. Orthodox Old Testaments include these plus 1st and 2nd Esdras, Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151 and 3rd Maccabees.

The Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox New Testaments are identical.


Br Lawrence, O.P. said...

"Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ" said St Jerome. While this is very true, I would not want to over-emphasise the point either.

To ask "How can we know God better without knowing the Bible" begs the Catholic answer of "Through the Church, her Sacraments and Liturgy." In a nutshell, one might say, we come to know God via the Sacred Tradition given us of which the written word, the Scriptures, is a part.

The Scriptures are the books of the Church and are always subject to her interpretation and living Magisterium. But of course, "This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed." (Dei Verbum, 10)

It is my conviction that good faithful Catholics know the Bible very well - through a thorough-going ecclesial sense, they come to imbibe the Scriptures, especially through the Liturgy. They may not know it by verse and chapter but neither did the Fathers of the Church! Augustine and others frequently just said "It says somewhere in the Scriptures..." Such Catholics don't know the quotations by rote but by golly, they have the Faith and a sound knowledge of the Living Word, who is the Person, Jesus Christ!

Finally, Dei Verbum, 8 says: "The words of the holy fathers witness to the presence of this living tradition, whose wealth is poured into the practice and life of the believing and praying Church. Through the same tradition the Church's full canon of the sacred books is known, and the sacred writings themselves are more profoundly understood and unceasingly made active in her; and thus God, who spoke of old, uninterruptedly converses with the bride of His beloved Son; and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel resounds in the Church, and through her, in the world, leads unto all truth those who believe and makes the word of Christ dwell abundantly in them (see Col. 3:16)."

This would suggest to me one can come to know and love God through the Church and her teachings who herself always draws upon the treasury of the Scriptures in guiding her children.

I stress again, that I am not in any way discouraging Catholics from reading the Scriptures and indeed, I agree that we ought to read and meditate upon the word of God more readily. Indeed, it should be part of our 'daily bread' and those of us who pray the Office and Mass daily will see how central a role the Scriptures have in our Catholic Liturgy.

However, I think it is inaccurate and unfair to suggest or even imply that people who don't know how to quote Scripture in the Protestant manner may be ignorant of God. The lives of the saints and indeed many good ordinary Catholic parishioners are evidence of how false that impression is!

Anonymous said...

I am preparing a teaching for RCIA on "Deeper knowledge of Christ our Savior," This article was very helpful. Any other ideas????