Ask a Franciscan

Books Not in Protestant Bible

Q: I have heard that there are seven Old Testament books that are not found in Protestant Bibles. The Second Book of Maccabees is the only one that I can name. What are the other six?

A: The seven books are 1 and 2 Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Sirach, Wisdom and Baruch. In addition, the Books of Daniel and Esther are slightly longer in Bibles used by members of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Why? Up until the 16th century, most Christians accepted the older Alexandrian canon (list of inspired books). When he translated the Bible into German, Martin Luther decided to follow the newer Palestinian canon, which includes only books originally composed in Hebrew or for which a Hebrew text was available in the late first century A.D. The King James version follows Luther on this matter.

After the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed, rabbinic Judaism as we know it took shape; the rabbis accepted as inspired only books written in Hebrew. The Alexandrian canon contains seven books written in Greek and parts of two others.

Some Protestant Bibles print these seven books under the heading “Apocrypha,” not recognizing them as inspired in the same sense as the other Old Testament books. Only in 1546, at the Council of Trent, did the Catholic Church decree that the longer list must be accepted and used.

Ask a Franciscan


5 thoughts on “Books Not in Protestant Bible”

  1. I find it interesting that fundamental Christians believe the bible is the only source for religious truth and denounce Catholics as having lost the way without realizing that it was Catholic bishops that got together to determine what books were deemed inspired enough to be included. Martin Luther only accepted those books that were written in Hebrew. Did he think God was not multilingual? I find it hard to believe that God has had nothing to say in the last 2000 years. With millions praying to him or meditating to him ( on him) He could answer. Though in the Old Testament if God to speak to someone He did regardless of what they were doing.

  2. …Only in 1546, at the Council of Trent, did the Catholic Church decree that the longer list must be accepted and used.

    This last sentence could lead someone to think the Catholic Bible’s 73 books were not established until the 16th century, but it was settled in the 4th century.

    On the Catholic Canon (Bible) as explained by Catholic Answers:

    …The process culminated in 382 as the Council of Rome, which was convened under the leadership of Pope Damasus, promulgated the 73-book scriptural canon. The biblical canon was reaffirmed by the regional councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397), and then definitively reaffirmed by the ecumenical Council of Florence in 1442).

    Finally, the ecumenical Council of Trent solemnly defined this same canon in 1546, after it came under attack by the first Protestant leaders, including Martin Luther.

    Mark Mulholland

  3. Sadly, the Roman Catholic hierarchy continues to not abide by the precepts Jesus (the Living Word) spoke of in both 73 & 66 versions of His Bible…. Making the Roman Catholic Church the largest cult in religious history.
    Read the Vatican Papers carefully and compare it to the intentions written in Scripture to grasp that reality.

  4. Vinh-Linh Nguyen

    To engage in meaningful dialogue, one should avoid the general practice of nominalism, which is what is being used in this comment. Give clear supporting evidence to your statements please. Most basic intellectual principal.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Skip to content