As you probably know, Catholic Bibles have 73 books, 46 in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament. Protestant Bibles have 66 books with only 39 in the Old Testament. The books missing from Protestant Bibles are: Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, Sirach, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and parts of Esther and Daniel. They are called the 'Deuterocanonicals' by Catholics and 'Apocrypha' by Protestants. Martin Luther, without any authority whatsoever, removed those seven books and placed them in an appendix during the reformation. They remained in the appendix of Protestant Bibles until about 1826, and then they were removed altogether.
Please be mindful of the fact that those seven books had been in Bibles used by all Christians from the very foundation of Christianity.
Hellenistic Greek was the language of the day during the time of Christ. This was due to the fact that Alexander the Great had conquered the region several hundred years before. The Hebrew language was on its way out, and there was a critical need for a translation of the Hebrew Old Testament for dispersed Greek speaking Jews. This translation, called the Septuagint, or LXX, was completed by Jewish scholars in about 148 B.C. and it had all of the books, including the seven removed by Martin Luther over 1650 years later. The New Testament has about 350 references to Old Testament verses. By careful examination, scholars have determined that 300 of these are from the Septuagint and the rest are from the Hebrew Old Testament*. They have shown that Jesus Christ Himself, quoted from the Septuagint. Early Christians used the Septuagint to support Christian teachings.
For the first 300 years of Christianity, there was no Bible as we know it today. Christians had the Old Testament Septuagint, and literally hundreds of other books from which to choose. The Catholic Church realized early on that she had to decide which of these books were inspired and which ones weren't. The debates raged between theologians, Bishops, and Church Fathers, for several centuries as to which books were inspired and which ones weren't. In the meantime, several Church Councils or Synods, were convened to deal with the matter, notably, Rome in 382, Hippo in 393, and Carthage in 397 and 419. The debates sometimes became bitter on both sides. One of the most famous was between St. Jerome, who felt the seven books were not canonical, and St. Augustine who said they were. Protestants who write about this will invariably mention St. Jerome and his opposition, and conveniently omit the support of St. Augustine. I must point out here that Church Father's writings are not infallible statements, and their arguments are merely reflections of their own private opinions. When some say St. Jerome was against the inclusion of the seven books, they are merely showing his personal opinion of them. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. However, A PERSONS PRIVATE OPINION DOES NOT CHANGE THE TRUTH AT ALL. There are always three sides to every story, this side, that side, and the side of truth. Whether Jerome's position, or Augustine's position was the correct position, had to be settled by a third party, and that third party was the Catholic Church.
Now the story had a dramatic change, as the Pope stepped in to settle the matter. In concurrence with the opinion of St. Augustine, and being prompted by the Holy Spirit, Pope St. Damasus I, at the Council of Rome in 382, issued a decree appropriately called, "The Decree of Damasus", in which he listed the canonical books of both the Old and New Testaments. He then asked St. Jerome to use this canon and to write a new Bible translation which included an Old Testament of 46 books, which were all in the Septuagint, and a New Testament of 27 books.
ROME HAD SPOKEN, THE ISSUE WAS SETTLED.
"THE CHURCH RECOGNIZED ITS IMAGE IN THE INSPIRED BOOKS OF THE BIBLE. THAT IS HOW IT DETERMINED THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE.
St. Jerome acquiesced under obedience (Hebrews 13:17) and began the translation, and completed it in 404 A.D.. In 405, his new Latin Vulgate* was published for the first time.
*The word "vulgate" means, "The common language of the people, or the vernacular".
The Decree of Pope St. Damasus I, Council of Rome. 382 A.D....
ST. DAMASUS 1, POPE, THE DECREE OF DAMASUS:
It is likewise decreed: Now, indeed, we must treat of the divine Scriptures: what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she must shun.
The list of the Old Testament begins: Genesis, one book; Exodus, one book: Leviticus, one book; Numbers, one book; Deuteronomy, one book; Jesus Nave, one book; of Judges, one book; Ruth, one book; of Kings, four books; Paralipomenon, two books; One Hundred and Fifty Psalms, one book; of Solomon, three books: Proverbs, one book; Ecclesiastes, one book; Canticle of Canticles, one book; likewise, Wisdom, one book; Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), one book; Likewise, the list of the Prophets: Isaiah, one book; Jeremias, one book; along Esdras, two books; Esther, one book; Judith, one book; of Maccabees, two books.
Likewise, the list of the Scriptures of the New and Eternal Testament, which the holy and Catholic Church receives: of the Gospels, one book according to Matthew, one book according to Mark, one book according to Luke, one book according to John. The Epistles of the Apostle Paul, fourteen in number: one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Ephesians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Galatians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to Timothy, one to Titus one to Philemon, one to the Hebrews. Likewise, one book of the Apocalypse of John. And the Acts of the Apostles, one book. Likewise, the canonical Epistles, seven in number: of the Apostle Peter, two Epistles; of the Apostle James, one Epistle; of the Apostle John, one Epistle; of the other John, a Presbyter, two Epistles; of the Apostle Jude the Zealot, one Epistle. Thus concludes the canon of the New Testament.
Likewise it is decreed: After the announcement of all of these prophetic and evangelic or as well as apostolic writings which we have listed above as Scriptures, on which, by the grace of God, the Catholic Church is founded, we have considered that it ought to be announced that although all the Catholic Churches spread abroad through the world comprise but one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other Churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall have loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
his list of 46 Old Testament and 27 New Testament books was reconfirmed in the Council of Carthage in 397 A.D.. St. Jerome's translation, "The Latin Vulgate"*, is to this day, the official Bible of the Catholic Church. The Bibles which Catholics use today, have the same 46 books in the Old Testament as they have had since before the beginning of Christianity.
I have not seen a Protestant writing giving recognition to Pope St. Damasus I, or of even the barest mention of his decree, or of the Council of Rome. This is more than half of the truth which is "conveniently" left out of Protestant arguments.
The Council of Hippo in 393 reaffirmed the canon put forth by Pope Damasus I...
Council of Hippo. "It has been decided that besides the canonical Scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture.
But the canonical Scriptures are as follows: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua the Son of Nun, Judges, Ruth, the Kings, four books, the Chronicles, two books, Job, the Psalter, the five books of Solomon (included Wisdom and Ecclesiastes (Sirach)), the twelve books of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Ezra, two books, Maccabees, two books."
(canon 36 A.D. 393). At about this time St. Jerome started using the Hebrew text as a source for his translation of the Old Testament into the Latin Vulgate.
The Third Council of Carthage reaffirmed anew, the Canon put forth by Pope Damasus I...
Council of Carthage III. "It has been decided that nothing except the canonical Scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine Scriptures. But the canonical Scriptures are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paralipomenon, two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach), twelve books of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees."
(canon 47 A.D. 397).
It is to be noted that the book of Baruch was considered by some Church Fathers to be a part of the book of Jeremiah and as such was not listed separately by them.
The Fourth Council of Carthage in 419 again reaffirmed the Canons as defined in previous councils...
CANON XXIV. (Greek xxvii.)
"That nothing be read in church besides the Canonical Scripture.
ITEM, that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture. But the Canonical Scriptures are as follows: Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy Joshua the Son of Nun The Judges Ruth * The Kings (4 books) * The Chronicles (2 books) Job The Psalter * The Five books of Solomon (includes Wisdom and Sirach) The Twelve Books of the Prophets Isaiah Jeremiah Ezechiel Daniel Tobit Judith Esther * Ezra (2 books) * Maccabees (2books).
The New Testament: *
* The Gospels (4 books) * The Acts of the Apostles (1 book) * The Epistles of Paul (14) * The Epistles of Peter, the Apostle (2) * The Epistles of John the Apostle (3) * The Epistles of James the Apostle (1) * The Epistle of Jude the Apostle (1) * The Revelation of John (1 book).
Let this be sent to our brother and fellow bishop, [Pope] Boniface, and to the other bishops of those parts, that they may confirm this canon, for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in church."
[This is Canon xxxvj. of Hippo., 393. The last phrase allowing the reading of the "passions of the Martyrs" on their Anniversaries is omitted from the African code.]
The Council of Florence, also called Basel, 1431-1445, was yet another Council which confirmed the Canons of both testaments of the Bible...
SESSION 11 4 February 1442:
"We, therefore, to whom the Lord gave the task of feeding Christ's sheep', had abbot Andrew carefully examined by some outstanding men of this sacred council on the articles of the faith, the sacraments of the church and certain other matters pertaining to salvation. At length, after an exposition of the catholic faith to the abbot, as far as this seemed to be necessary, and his humble acceptance of it, we have delivered in the name of the Lord in this solemn session, with the approval of this sacred ecumenical council of Florence, the following true and necessary doctrine. Most firmly it believes, professes and preaches that the one true God, Father, Son and holy Spirit, is the creator of all things that are, visible and invisible, who, when he willed it, made from his own goodness all creatures, both spiritual and corporeal, good indeed because they are made by the supreme good, but mutable because they are made from nothing, and it asserts that there is no nature of evil because every nature, in so far as it is a nature, is good. It professes that one and the same God is the author of the old and the new Testament -- that is, the law and the prophets, and the gospel -- since the saints of both testaments spoke under the inspiration of the same Spirit.
It accepts and venerates their books, whose titles are as follows. Five books of Moses, namely Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two of Paralipomenon, Esdras, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Job, Psalms of David, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel; the twelve minor prophets, namely Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; two books of the Maccabees; the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; fourteen letters of Paul, to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, two to the Thessalonians, to the Colossians, two to Timothy, to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews; two letters of Peter, three of John, one of James, one of Jude; Acts of the Apostles; Apocalypse of John."
The Council of Florence was held over 100 years before the Council of Trent, and about 80 years before the start of the reformation.
The Council of Trent 1546-1565, the longest lasting Council in Church history.
The Catholic Council of Trent, called to counter changes made by Martin Luther, again reaffirmed the canonicity of all 46 books of the Old Testament. Some Protestant reformers who attended, tried to get the Church to accept the list of books which the Jewish rabbis had chosen at Jamnia.
The Church refused and upheld her teaching from Pope Damasus I, and the Council of Florence. As a result, Protestants have the same New Testament books as Catholics, but their Old Testament differs because it does not contain the books rejected by the rabbis at Jamnia, and much later, rejected by Martin Luther.
It is interesting that for 1500 years all Christians accepted the same canon for the Old Testament. Only in the last 480 years, since the reformation, has there been disagreement from Protestants