Old Testament [120-123, 138] i
The Roman Catholic Old Testament is about 20% larger than that of non-Catholic Bibles. The additions, over 4,000 verses, come from a group of fifteen writings known since antiquity as the Apocrypha, meaning hidden or hard to understand.
The Apocrypha contains valuable historical information of the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments. Early Christian writers quote the Apocrypha; and some, such as Augustine, considered portions of it to be inspired Scripture. Fourth century A.D. manuscripts of the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament made in the third century before Christ, also include the Apocrypha. When the Apocrypha was appended to this translation is unknown.
In 1546, the Roman Catholic Church officially declared that God had inspired twelve of the fifteen writings of the Apocrypha, specifically, seven books:
The Roman Catholic Church’s claim that these writings of the Apocrypha are inspired must be rejected for the following reasons:
The Apocrypha does not present itself as inspired
The Jews of Palestine
never accepted the Apocrypha as part of sacred Scripture
Jesus and the New
Testament writers did not treat the Apocrypha as inspired
The early church
as a whole never accepted the Apocrypha as inspired
Roman Catholic Church did not dogmatically
declare the Apocrypha to be inspired until the Council of Trent in
the sixteenth century
The books of the Roman Catholic New Testament are the same as those of the Protestant Bible and the translations are generally reliable. However, some verses are translated with a noticeably Catholic slant. For example, the Catholic New American Bible translates a warning of Jesus to the Jews as saying: "But I tell you, you will all come to the same end unless you reform" (Luke 13:5, NAB). Here the Greek word metanoeo, meaning to change one’s mind or to repent, is translated to "reform," meaning to change into a new and improved form. Making matters worse, the chapter title to Luke 13 added by the editors of the Catholic New American Bible reads: "Providential Calls to Penance."
Adapted from The Gospel According to Rome by James G. McCarthy, Harvest House Publishers, © 1995.
i. This article is indexed to the numbered paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The paragraph numbers are in brackets.
ii. H. J. Schroeder, translator, Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, 178) p. 17, footnote 4.
iii. For a candid discussion of the Apocrypha by Roman Catholic Scholars, see Raymond E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., Roland E.
Murphy, O. Carm., editors, The Jerome Biblical Commentary (Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice Hall, 1968), vol. 2, pp. 523-524.