Why are Catholic and Protestant Bibles different?

This question raises the issue of the biblical canon. Originally, a canon (from the Greek kanon) meant a rod or stick that one used to measure length, and hence a criterion or standard.

Catholics and Protestants accept the same 27 inspired books as making up the New Testament. But when we turn to the Old Testament, some significant differences emerge.

The decision finally determining the exact number of books accepted as inspired Scripture for Catholics was not made until the Council of Trent in 1546. The Council fathers accepted 46 Old Testament books, following what appeared to them as a firm tradition of the Church from ancient times. The leaders of the Protestant Reformation, on the other hand, rejected some books agreed upon at Trent.

The seven disputed books are: Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch and 1 and 2 Maccabees. There are also some sections of Esther and Daniel not considered inspired Scriptures by Protestants. Protestants call these seven books the apocryphal books. Catholics, however, call these same disputed books deuterocanonical.

Fortunately, today, modern translations of the Bible are published in Catholic editions. These translations will include an imprimatur (assurance of a Catholic bishop that the text is in line with Catholic teaching) and the seven deuterocanonical books.

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