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154 Is the Bible truly a Catholic book? Did the Church discourage usage of the Bible? WHICH BIBLE WAS FIRST TO BE PRINTED?

Did you ever wonder why, when Jesus quoted Scripture, He never mentioned chapter and verse?  He couldn’t quote chapter and verse because chapter and verse as yet didn’t exist at the time of Christ.  In 1228, Cardinal Stephen Langdon, archbishop of Canterbury broke the Bible into chapter divisions.  In 1536 the Italian Dominican priest Santes Pagnini made a new Latin translation of the Bible, he subdivided Langdon’s chapters into verses.  In 1559, the French printer Robert Estienne, working in Geneva, adopted many of Pagnini’s verse divisions and modified others when he printed his editions. 

THE FIRST FULL BOOK PRINTED EVER PRINTED WAS A CATHOLIC BIBLE. “Printing was invented by the Catholic inventor Johann Guttenberg in 1450.  Before this, the use of paper was being perfected.  This revolutionized the copying of the Bible.  Once type was set, accuracy was guaranteed (thus removing the human errors sometimes made by the Monks in copying by hand) and the printing was fast.  The first book printed was the Bible.  It is called “The Mazarin Bible” which was printed at Mayence in 1452, at the request of Cardinal Mazarin.  By 1522, the Catholic Church had sponsored the printing of 626 editions of the Bible in different languages.  Among them were 14 complete editions in High German, 5 complete editions in Low German, 11 Italian editions, 10 French editions, 2 Bohemian editions, 1 Spanish edition, 1 Flemish edition, and 1 Russian edition. Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German in 1522, the Old Testament in 1534” (To Tell You The Whole Truth – The Bible: How the Bible was written; http://wwwscborromeo.org/truth/b3.htm). 

There are some who believe the Catholic Church did everything it could to keep the Bible out of the hands of the people.  However, THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST PERPETUATED MYTHS IN THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY; nothing can be further from the truth.  Note that all the Bibles listed above were printed by 1522.   There is this mistaken notion among some, that Luther was the first to translate the Bible in to German.  There had already been 14 complete editions in High German, 5 complete editions in Low German by the time Martin Luther’s New Testament was translated into German in 1522.   This of course begs the question; why did the Catholic Church request the Bible to be printed if the Church was trying to withhold it from the people?  Why were there so many Bibles printed in so many languages if the Church was discouraging the use of it.  These Bibles were printed because they wanted it in the hands of as many people as possible.   

Is it true the Catholic Church chained the Bible to keep it from the people?  It is true the Church chained Bibles, but not to keep them to from the people, but so that the people could have access to it.  The Bible, being a hand written manuscript, was very expensive and they didn’t want someone to walk off with it and so they were chained.  Banks today often chain pens, so that they remain there and someone does not walk off them. 

Did the Catholic Church Ban and burn Bibles so that people would not know what is in the Bible?  The Catholics did ban and burn some Bibles and the Protestants did as well, but not because they didn’t want people to have access, but because there was so many mistakes in some of the Bibles.   And so the Catholic Church rather than being the enemy was in fact the protector of the Bible.   

How was the Bible compiled and who compiled it? The first person to compile all 27 books of the New Testament was a Catholic Bishop (St Athanasius) in the year 367 AD.   These books were affirmed in later councils of the Church.  “Pope Damasus 1 directed the Council of Rome in 382 to compile the first New Testament.  The bishops at the Council of Carthage in 397 AD, under the direction of Saint Augustine, confirmed and approved Pope Damasus’s work as well as that of the 393 AD Council of Hippo.  It settled and declared the inspired books of the New Testament (NTPP, as well as the Old Testament (OT).  This OT, known as the Alexandrian Canon, included the Deuterocanonicals (Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, 1 & 2 Maccabees)”  (St Joseph Radio, PO Box 2983, Orange, CA 92859; 714-744-0336). 

These Deuterocanonical books (which Protestants call Apocrypha) were also in the early Protestant Bibles up until 1825, when Protestant Biblical societies began to remove them.   There are still Protestant Bibles printed today with these same books.  If you pick up an ORIGINAL copy of the 1611 version of the King James Bible, these books are between the Old and New Testament. 

An individual once told me there were no Bibles prior to the 15th century.  I told him he was wrong.  He said it two more times and I continued to tell him he was wrong.   Finally he said there were no PRINTED Bibles before the 15th Century and I told him he was right.  And of course there were no printed Bibles prior to the 15th century because there was no printing press, only hand written manuscripts.   

Where did these hand written manuscripts come from?  Catholic Monks continued to make hand written copies of the Bible in a room called a Scriptorium.   Many of these manuscripts still exist and Catholic and Protestant Scholars use these same manuscripts to come up with new translations of the Bible today. 

Some promote the idea that the Bible is not a Catholic document and the reading of it was discouraged.  However, this is not true and to believe it is to ignore a lot of history.   The Bible is the primary Catholic document and it is the primary document for Protestants as well. 

At the time of the Protestant Reformation there were those who wanted to do away with all Catholic trappings.  However, if you wish to get rid of all Catholic trappings you will have to throw out the Bible because of its obvious Catholic connections.  Martin Luther in his Commentary on St John, acknowledged these connections; We are compelled to concede to the Papists that they have the Word of God, that we received it from them.” 

Marcus Grodi, former Presbyterian minister and present commentator on Eternal Word Television Network made this comment about the Bible.  "I remember the strange empty feeling when I realized that the only reason that I have the Bible was the Catholic Church."  On the one hand Marcus Grodi led Catholics out of the Church to his church using the Bible.   His expression was “SHOW IT TO ME IN THE BIBLE!”  On the other hand, he remembers when he first realized the Bible owes its existence to the Catholic Church.