Ask a Franciscan

Books Not in Protestant Bible

Man reading a bible | Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Q: I have heard that there are seven Old Testament books that are not found in Protestant Bibles. The Second Book of Maccabees is the only one that I can name. What are the other six?

A: The seven books are 1 and 2 Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Sirach, Wisdom and Baruch. In addition, the Books of Daniel and Esther are slightly longer in Bibles used by members of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Why? Up until the 16th century, most Christians accepted the older Alexandrian canon (list of inspired books). When he translated the Bible into German, Martin Luther decided to follow the newer Palestinian canon, which includes only books originally composed in Hebrew or for which a Hebrew text was available in the late first century A.D. The King James version follows Luther on this matter.

After the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed, rabbinic Judaism as we know it took shape; the rabbis accepted as inspired only books written in Hebrew. The Alexandrian canon contains seven books written in Greek and parts of two others.

Some Protestant Bibles print these seven books under the heading “Apocrypha,” not recognizing them as inspired in the same sense as the other Old Testament books. Only in 1546, at the Council of Trent, did the Catholic Church decree that the longer list must be accepted and used.


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35 thoughts on “Books Not in Protestant Bible”

  1. I find it interesting that fundamental Christians believe the bible is the only source for religious truth and denounce Catholics as having lost the way without realizing that it was Catholic bishops that got together to determine what books were deemed inspired enough to be included. Martin Luther only accepted those books that were written in Hebrew. Did he think God was not multilingual? I find it hard to believe that God has had nothing to say in the last 2000 years. With millions praying to him or meditating to him ( on him) He could answer. Though in the Old Testament if God to speak to someone He did regardless of what they were doing.

  2. …Only in 1546, at the Council of Trent, did the Catholic Church decree that the longer list must be accepted and used.

    This last sentence could lead someone to think the Catholic Bible’s 73 books were not established until the 16th century, but it was settled in the 4th century.

    On the Catholic Canon (Bible) as explained by Catholic Answers:

    …The process culminated in 382 as the Council of Rome, which was convened under the leadership of Pope Damasus, promulgated the 73-book scriptural canon. The biblical canon was reaffirmed by the regional councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397), and then definitively reaffirmed by the ecumenical Council of Florence in 1442).

    Finally, the ecumenical Council of Trent solemnly defined this same canon in 1546, after it came under attack by the first Protestant leaders, including Martin Luther.

    Mark Mulholland

    1. Tina Marie Anderson

      Thank you, for the clarification Mark. I had the same thoughts when I was reading this reply.

    1. No books were “removed” by the church. The NT canon is the same 27 books for all Christian denominations. The differences occur with OT books, and so would have nothing to do with Mary.

  3. Sadly, the Roman Catholic hierarchy continues to not abide by the precepts Jesus (the Living Word) spoke of in both 73 & 66 versions of His Bible…. Making the Roman Catholic Church the largest cult in religious history.
    Read the Vatican Papers carefully and compare it to the intentions written in Scripture to grasp that reality.

    1. Sadly, you know nothing of the Catholic faith, and the apostolic lineage and yet you choose to spout these tired myths.

      Jesus founded the Catholic Church.
      Everything else is just a religion.

  4. Vinh-Linh Nguyen

    To engage in meaningful dialogue, one should avoid the general practice of nominalism, which is what is being used in this comment. Give clear supporting evidence to your statements please. Most basic intellectual principal.

  5. Jesus had nothing to do with the Catholic Church. Remember It was Jesus who was conceived by immaculate conception not Mary. Mary was a poor sinner chosen by God to deliver the Christ Jesus. Nothing Holy about her.

    1. You really have no idea about Catholic doctrine. If everyone is born with the stain of original sin, God needed the “perfect vessel” for His Son to be born. That was Mary, who was born without it and was the Immaculate Conception.

      1. Mary IS the Immaculate conception. This was declared by Pope pious the IX in 1854. Immaculate conception means born without sin. This was made so by a singular grace granted by God. Mary was the first ….born again Christian, so to speak. It makes sense to me that a Holy God would require a perfect vessel to inhabit. Therefore Mary was prepared for Him. It is now possible for us to possess Him by faith and the power of His blood that covers us.
        The scripture clearly states these words pronounced by mary ….All generations shall call me blessed, for He who is Holy has done great things for me …Luke1: 46-55
        Please use scripture use great reverence and respect and don’t forget REASON, we Catholics use both. Combine Word with reason and don’t forget Tradition!
        Be blessed

        1. Mary, the mother of Jesus, had an earthly father and and earthly mother who were both born in sin under the original sin of Adam. Therefore, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born in sin as well because she was a product of her sinful parents. Nowhere in scripture is there any reference that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was immaculately conceived. Jesus, was, and is, the only human immaculately conceived by the Holy Spirit. If he were not, there would be scripture backing up your claim that would state that the Holy Spirit visited Mary’s, the mother of Jesus, mother to conceive her. The reason Mary, the mother of Jesus, is Blessed among women is because God the Father chose her to give birth to the God-Man Jesus; just as the Hebrews are Blessed because they were Chosen by God to be his people through whom the savior of all mankind would be born into. It wasn’t because they were anything special as a people. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born a sinner, just as we are, and the only way she gets to heaven is by believing on her son, Jesus Christ, because no one comes to the Father but through him. Not even his earthly mother, Mary. She cannot intercede on anyone’s behalf because there is only one intercessor between God and man and that is Jesus.

      2. Read Romans 5 And you will see why Mary had nothing to do with The Perfect Jesus – Jesus was Perfect NOT BECAUSE of Mary but because of the Perfect SEED of God. Mary was born of Adams seed. Then there is that Script No one is Good NO NOT one! Psalm 53:1-3 All have sinned and fallen Short if the Glory of God!!

    2. Tina Marie Anderson

      Jesus is the Catholic Church. His body. His Blood. John Chapter 6. If you are going to take every word of the Holy Bible literally, you must accept this chapter as well. It is not a symbol. Do not be one of the many who walked away because “this saying is too hard”.
      As for Mary, perhaps it is that you do not have a clear understanding of Grace. God declared her holy when He sent His angel to her and said “Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee”. Learn what the true meaning is of “Grace” and being filled with it.

      Filled.

      No one else has ever been filled with the Grace of God, except God.
      If you attack without full knowledge is not in the spirit or with the intention of gaining understanding. No one loved Mary more than Jesus, nor will anyone ever love the mother more than The Son. She is the daughter of The Father, The spouse of The Holy Spirit and the mother of The Son. No one else in history has that distinction – yes she was personally chosen, by God Himself. That’s a pretty high honor by anyone who believes in Christ Jesus. To not believe that would be to say that God’s choice was random and thoughtless.
      We honor her as she is the first, greatest, and most humble of all disciples of Christ who ever lived. She always said yes to God. Do you? Can we really put ourselves in par with her? We can try for the rest of our lives to be saints, but we were not chosen by God Himself to conceive, carry and bear The Christ. She had the chance to say no and she did not. Jesus saw her as being holy enough to leave his church (symbolized by his most beloved disciple) to Mary, and she to him (us), at the foot of the cross – and He chose that particular time to do it. He could have talked to them before hand and done this in private or at the last supper, but He chose the moment of the climax of His sacrifice to be remembered for all eternity, but you lack understanding of the how and why. Actually I can understand as most Catholics misunderstand as well. We do not “worship” Mary or any saint for that matter. They are not God or equal to God in any respect. We venerate or highly respect them as holding up to “hearing the word of God” and keeping it, having it change them so much they completely turned their entire lives to love and serve only Our Lord. They were not perfect. They are human beings like us, that demonstrate that yes, even WE can change and completely turn our lives to God, no matter what our past held. They give us examples and hope to look up to, and a family to belong to – God gave us that.
      If you want to know what Catholics believe, after The Bible, a great place to start is the book The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas A Kempis.
      Listen, we are all human. We are called to Love The Lord with our whole mind heart and strength, and to love one another as we love ourselves, not catch each other on word snares. We are all seeking Christ and we all falter along the way. We all make mistakes. No one should be so filled with pride as to think he has all the answers. We don’t, we never will here, but we do have everything we need to search for Him and to love one another. Let’s do that – encourage and build each other up, not tear each other down.
      God is much bigger than all of us and in His infinite Wisdom no doubt foresaw all of this. Despite the fact that He knew we’d never agree on anything (it’s human nature to form cliques and reasons to war – even when we are discussing the Most High God), He loves us anyway. Thank Our God and Merciful Savior and Lord Jesus Christ that He knows us, our hearts, our true intentions and desire to truly conform to His Will better than we know ourselves. He sees us turning (and returning) to Him constantly seeking understanding and help. Conversion is a constant process as we continue to learn, gain insight and are Blessed with revelations as we can handle them – according to His timing and Holy Will for our lives. God is Good – All the time, most especially when we aren’t.
      If you truly want to know why Catholics believe what they believe, Orlando find out factually what we believe, please find a very devout one (not necessarily a priest), and have some open conversation. If you’ve always been taught what Catholics believe from people who hate Catholics, you probably don’t have a factual understanding- just unjustified hate. Even if a person was raised in the Catholic Church, that does not make him/her knowledgeable about the church- one has to seek with a sincerely open heart in order to gain true understanding. Most people seek with an agenda of their own – biased to find their will, not God’s Will.
      Most people are rebels by nature, but God will bring us where we need to be when we seek His Will with an open heart. He loves us all. It’s not about a name, it’s about Him. Catholic just means “universal”, “for all”. And Jesus’ sacrifice is for all – he does not want to lose one of us.
      The most learned among us knows but a drop in the ocean. Keep seeking my friend.
      May The Peace and Love of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ be with you always. ❤️

  6. Alot of people thinks that Mary was pure in every way possible even the Baptist believes it along with mother denominations . Because that’s how they where taught for the first day the started to understand the bible I’m a Catholic from the time I was old enough to start schooling but was kicked out for being hell on wheels and in trouble every other week for one thing or another also but f you never been to or raised up in a Catholic school then you sure do not know that much about about the religious side which is they are a very organized cult . So if anyone wants to say or try to convince me they are not then prove it in every way you think is possible.

    1. Lowfay, you confused me. I was baptized Catholic, went through catechism and completed first holy communion, and reconciliation. I was young and more upset that I had to miss morning cartoons on the weekend. I learned nothing. When I got older, I thought to myself, “I didn’t get nothing out of the Catholic Church, so let me try a born again Christian Church” because I listened to all others condemn and criticize the Catholics that it is a cult, a false religion, etc., and I fell for it. It’s not until I did a year of born again, that something profound hit me. “Yes, I was born Catholic but I knew nothing about it. I didn’t study it. I didn’t understand it, but yet I am saying that I am Catholic.” Well, guess what, after trying other churches, and now that I am older, I am NOW studying the Catholic faith and it’s making more sense. I have a ways to go, but I cannot comment on Catholics until I learn what they teach and what they believe. So far I am loving it.
      Maybe you need to try and study it first, before listening to others whose only agenda is to get you to their church, then you can make a better argument for your side. If you are comfortable being in a different religion, then feel good about it, if it is making you a better person and helping you live a more spiritual life. But if you’re still thinking that you need direction, study your Catholic faith first. My best wishes that God fills your heart with love, guidance and knowledge. Remember, one of his most important commandments is “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Every person around you is your neighbor. Good luck.

  7. Sarah Schmidt

    I attended Catholic school from Kindergarten through 5th grade and it most certainly was NOT a cult. Dominican nuns taught all our classes; we had daily Mass and wore uniforms so that there was no “class struggle” to be “cool”. I loved Catholic school and when I was sent to public school in the 6th grade I disliked it right away for its secularism, its surface values (everyone had to dress a certain “cool” way to be accepted), and there was not even morning prayer before the day began.

    While attending Catholic school I loved to see the statues of the Saints, especially Mary, the Mass, the incense, the holiness that was encouraged by the Nuns, and our Priest, who would come to our classes sometimes to give us a blessing. I feel privileged to have been able to get my early years in Catholic school. I also received an excellent education to that point, but as soon as I entered public school, I lost my zeal for learning, since they taught evolution and almost everyone was so materially oriented, not spiritually oriented.

  8. William Gulliford

    Interesting that the Orthodox and Catholic churches even with some differences are very much aligned in dogma, doctrine and liturgy. They all trace their origins back to the time of the apostles, and that which has been handed down from the apostles is called tradition. From that time from ancient texts and recorded practices there has been little change in those traditions. The Protestants trace their origins to the 16th century. So were the apostles wrong and the Protestants right?

  9. It’s all about faith in Jesus Christ, not what group you associate yourself with. I you believe that any group will have favor over another in our dear Lord’s eyes, you have missed the point.

    1. Tina Marie Anderson

      That was not William Gulliford’s question.
      The apostles had to follow the traditions (things Jesus said/did – See the last few versus of John chapter 20, and the last few versus of John 21 by the way – because it is so important to understand this that it is included twice), that Jesus laid down, because the Bible was not composed (NT) and compiled until almost 400 years after Christ’s death.
      That’s 3 1/2 to 4 CENTURIES later. They (the foundation of the church as appointed by Christ himself), had only tradition to follow at the origins of the church, and there were reasons for this. Men fight over words and meaning of words – they are important. The traditions of a Christ – not of men (we do muddy that up) are of great importance- they are the action vs the words of men. The reverence and the intention – the demonstration of the heart. God can read what is real. Because some men fake things or act for their own reasons is not justification for not upholding His tradition. Gid knows all and sees all. This is the reason Jesus continued to go to Temple throughout His life on earth.
      It was in fact the Catholic Church that did discern and determine what books were considered inspired enough to be in The Holy Bible. We do not have a right to remove books. “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:16-17.

  10. As Christians are we not all followers of Christ and as such, do we not aim to be as Christ like as we can?… Imagine to view this particular page through a perspective that’s as close as possible to that of the eyes of Jesus. Regardless of Christian denomination, in serving God how can one not perceive this topic to be anything other than a distraction? Is it truly putting God first if such topics or disagreements are so concerning to oneself? We must always put God first and foremost, and do so in absolutely all aspects of our lives. If the time and energy used by Christians arguing with Christians was instead redirected towards serving God its unimaginable how much we could achieve together.

    1. Tina Marie Anderson

      God Bless you dear Benyamin. Amen, Amen. Oh, what we could achieve – I believe that is the “…Your Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven” part. That’s what we are supposed to be striving for. Again ai will recommend the book The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas À Kempis.

  11. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 1 Corinthians 12:15
    The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 1 Corinthians 12:21
    that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 1 Corinthians 12:25
    But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Galatians 5:15

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