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131 Who added books to the Bible? Was it the Protestants or the Catholics? Were books ever removed?


August 20, 2012 at 8:10pmcheckmarkcaution-solid

"If Catholics added the deuterocanonical books in 1546, then Martin Luther beat us to the punch.  He included them in his first German translation, published the Council of Trent. They can also be found in the first King James Version (1611) and in the first Bible (Catholic) ever printed, the Guttenberg Bible (a century before Trent)"   (Jason Evert; How to defend the Deuterocanonicals). 

Some claim that “Rome has even added a section of uninspired books to the Bible called the Apocrypha.”   The allegation that the Church added books to the Bible at the council of Trent is for me one of the most interesting of accusations against the Catholic Church for two reasons. First of all the Church never added books to Bible and the early Protestant Biblical societies never removed them. In fact they remained in the Protestant Bibles up until 1825 when Protestant Biblical societies began to remove them. And then they still included these books in the larger pulpit Bibles up until the end of 19th century. 

Luther’s Bible had the deuterocanonical books at the end of his Bible and the King James had these books between the old and New Testament. Pastor Wayne Dobratz, a Lutheran minister acknowledges that Martin Luther’s Bible had the deuterocanonical books in them. 

He is right Luther downgraded them, but why would Luther include them if he didn’t regard them as canon? The answer is simple, because they have always been in the Bible since the council of Rome in the year 382. I appreciate both Pastor Wayne’s honesty and his knowledge of history. There are some others who are not quite so knowledgeable. 

For example Dean Cooper says; “The Roman Catholic Church did not officially canonize the Apocrypha until the Council of Trent (1546 AD).” There are a couple of problems here first of all he accepts a tradition that changed the name of these books from deuterocanonical to apocrypha. Apocrypha means false. Perhaps the thinking of Luther and others was this, if we call these books, false books then maybe we can convince people that these really are false books. 

The 2nd problem with this is that it makes a false assumption that the Church canonized these books at the Council of Trent which is false. A publication called “The Bible and Roman Catholicism” says this, “Rome has even added a section of uninspired books to the Bible called the Apocrypha.”  If these books were not even added to Bible till the Council of Trent, then how did Luther add these so called false books to his Bible, prior to the council of Trent. 

It is true that at Trent the Church continued to affirm these deuterocanonical books that had been in the Bible all along. However, it is a total fabrication that the Church added books to the Bible at the council of Trent.  Actually the Old and the New Testament Canon was first affirmed by the Church at the Council of Rome in the year 382. Yes, those books were in there. Here are the councils where these books were affirmed; Rome 382, Hippo 393, Carthage 397-419, II Nicaea 787, Florence 1442, Trent 1546.  

Furthermore, if Catholics added the deuterocanonical books in 1546, then Martin Luther beat us to the punch.  He included them in his first German translation, published the Council of Trent. They can also be found in the first King James Version (1611) and in the first Bible (Catholic) ever printed, the Guttenberg Bible (a century before Trent). 

In fact, these books were included in almost every Bible until the Edinburgh Committee of the British Foreign Bible Society excised them in 1825. Until then, they had been included at least in an appendix of Protestant Bibles. It is historically demonstrable that Catholics did not add the books, Protestants took them out” (Jason Evert; How to defend the Deuterocanonicals). 

Here are some interesting questions that I came up with while studying this issue. Why did Luther add these books to his Bible before the council of Trent? The word apocrypha means false. If these were false books why did Luther add them to his Bible? Who gave Luther and others the authority to change the name of these books from deuterocanonical to apocryha? 

Who gave Luther the authority to interfere with the Bible by down grading these Books and saying there are not canon? If these were false books why did the original 1611 King James edition of the Bible include them? These books were in Protestant Bibles up until 1825. 

Why did Protestant Biblical societies begin to remove them in 1825? Why did the Protestant pulpit Bibles continue to include these books in the larger pulpit Bibles after 1825? Why are copies of the original 1611 edition still published today with these so called false books? 

At the same time Martin Luther didn’t get everything wrong. One of the things he got right was to affirm that the Protestants received the Bible from the Catholics. “Which deserves our trust? Martin Luther makes a pertinent observation in the sixteenth chapter of his Commentary on St. John "We are obliged to yield many things to the papists [Catholics]—that they possess the Word of God which we received from them, otherwise we should have known nothing at all about it" (Jason Evert; How to defend the Deuterocanonicals). 

I would like to repeat my initial point; the Church did not add books to the Bible at the council of Trent. And the Protestants did not remove them but included them as well, only down grading them.  If anyone would like to challenge me on this all you have to do is pick up your own copy of the original 1611 King James Bible and see for yourself.  The deuterocanonical books are in there.  Protestant Biblical societies began to remove these books in 1825.