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By Mitch Finley
Question From Reader:
Why are Catholic and Protestant Bibles different ?
Ask A Catholic Answer:
While it’s true that there are differences between the versions of the Bible used by Catholics and Protestants, in fact the differences are relatively minor.
Briefly stated, Catholic and Protestant Bibles both include the same 27 books in the New Testament. Protestant Bibles, however, have 39 books in the Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures while Catholic Bibles have 46. The seven books included in Catholic Bibles are Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch. Catholic Bibles also include sections in the Books of Esther and Daniel which are not found in Protestant Bibles. Catholics call these writings “deuterocanonical.” The Catholic Church believes that these books, like all the rest of the Bible, are inspired by the Holy Spirit.
It’s not entirely accurate, however, to say that Protestant Bibles don’t include these “deuterocanonical” writings. For it’s not uncommon for Protestant Bibles to include them. Sometimes Protestant Bibles include these writings, call them “Apocrypha,” and group them together by themselves. Either way, however, both Catholic and Protestant Scripture scholars agree that these writings are of secondary importance.
Mitch Finley is the author of 30+ books on Roman Catholic theological topics and spirituality, all written to appeal to both non-academic and academic readers. Mitch holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University and an M.A. in Theology from Marquette University. He and Kathy Finley have been married since 1974 and are the parents of three grown sons. To learn more, visit his website.