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MIR Staff.

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Which Bible?

Did you know there are two different Bibles available? I don't mean the different brands, but Bibles that have different books and translations in them. The two different types are Protestant and Catholic.

When the Protestant reformers established their own church in centuries past, they adopted the Jewish books, which make up the Old Testament, that were established by the Synod of Jewish Rabbis in 100 A.D. The Synod had revised its books to exclude some previous inclusions.

After the Synod, the Catholic Church determined to continue with the same books that previously made up the Old Testament. Their rationality was that these were the same books from which Jesus taught; so, they must have been correctly included.

Which Books?
There are seven (7) books in the Catholic Old Testament that do not appear in the Protestant Old Testament. They are:

  • Tobit
  • Judith
  • First Book of Maccabees
  • Second Book of Maccabees
  • The Book of Wisdom
  • Ecclesiasticus (also called The Wisdom of Sirach, for the author Ben Sira)
  • The Book of Baruch

But There's More ...
In addition to having seven additional books, the Catholic Old Testament also has longer versions of The Book of Daniel and The Book of Esther.

Different Translation
The books are the same in both Protestant and Catholic New Testaments; however, the way certain words were translated into English from the original language in which they were written can be different. When my daughter and I talk faith, we'll both pull out our Bibles. We occasionally run into problems, since she is Protestant and I am Catholic. She'll read me a passage from the New Testament, and I'll say, "Okay, that's not what mine says. It says ....." This makes for an interesting discussion. Here's a sample of what I'm referring to:

Catholic Bible: The New Jerusalem Bible
Matthew 19:9
      "Now I say this to you: anyone who divorces his wife — I am not
       speaking of an illicit marriage — and marries another, is guilty
       of adultery."

Protestant Bible: The New International Version
Matthew 19:9
      "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital
       unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

This difference in the passage above is why the Catholic Church doesn't allow for divorce, except under certain conditions. Their version does not allow for divorce for unfaithfulness (note: an illicit marriage is the sin of fornication between two unmarried persons, which could be two people living together and/or having intimate relations).

Which is correct — that is not for me to say. I can only say which is correct for me. I just wanted you to see that there is a difference between the Bibles. So, ensure you purchase the right Bible for your belief system; otherwise, you may feel lost when reading along with your pastor in church.

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