Monday, October 12, 2009


There are a number of points that I'm going to bring up in this post that can and will be elaborated upon as separate posts in the near future. They all revolve around the difference between the "Catholic" Bible and the "Protestant" Bible.

The first thing that I would like to discuss is the concept of "The Word of God." Is the Bible the Inerrant Word of God or is it the Inspired Word of God? Believe it or not, there is a huge difference between these two phrases, and the implications are endless when it comes down to how you view and read the Bible.

The Inerrant Word of God philosophy basically assesses that the Bible is, word for word, written by God through man. This Bible is to be understood as flawless, it is to be quite literal in its translation to our everyday lives, and it is unwavering in application and definition.

People who assert the Inspired Word of God believe that God wrote the Bible through man. Man was inspired to write the Bible but interpretation of what was written should take into account the times in which it was written, the audience it was written for, the type of literature (whether it was a history or a literary book) the book was meant to be, and the skill of the author in crafting stories with allusions, allegories, etc.

The two views of the Bible aren't new. They've been around for a long time -- since the beginning of the church. They were especially brought to light when the Church was trying to establish the Holy Canon, or the collection of books that would comprise the Bible. Seven books were the seat of controversy. They are called the Deuterocanonicals. You won't find these books in a Protestant Bible anymore, but you will find them in a Catholic Bible. In fact, they were in all Bibles for about 1800 years until many Protestant Bible makers in the 1800s took them out altogether because they wanted to make a bigger split away from the Catholic Church.

But, before then, though, understand that these books were part of every Bible in the world. Even Protestant Bibles since Luther. However, Luther and Protestants did not believe these books were inspired by God. They just believed that they told a good moral and did not want to remove them.

The question about these books was, are they the Word of God? Certainly, Church tradition made it so, but these books weren't part of the final Hebrew Bible, they contained errors that many people knew about, and the New Testament never quoted from them.

However, if you look at the Bible as the Inspired Word of God, much of the issue can be explained away in favor for these books.

To begin with, they were part of the Hebrew Bible but were later rejected after Christ's death. The fact that the Hebrews originally had them is found in the fact that they were included in the Hebrew Septuagint, which was the Greek translation of their Bible.

Yes, there are a few errors in a couple of books in regards to people and places. However, those were not history books. The message wasn't one in which the facts were dependent upon. In fact, when Jesus stated that the mustard seed was the smallest of seeds, he wasn't giving a lecture about Botany, he was using it as an example for a greater truth. The fact that the mustard seed isn't the smallest seed doesn't take away from His purpose. The same is true in these books.

Finally, the New Testament didn't quote from them, but the Apostles did allude to them several times. In addition, there were several Old Testament books that the New Testament didn't quote from. Should they be taken out too? Since Matthew alluded to the Book of Tobit, it goes to show that it was considered in the early days of the Church an important book in the Old Testament.

So, as I move through these issues into detailed points later on, just remember some of the generic principles I've brought out today.

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