How were the books of The Bible decided? A Catholic Critique of Protestant Claims (2024)

Who decided which books belong in the Bible? How many books did they decide? Do we today as Christians have the right ones? Joe Heschmeyer covers these questions and more in today’s episode.

Transcription:

Joe:

Welcome back to Shameless Popery; I’m Joe Heschemeyer. and I want to explore three questions today. Number one, who decided which books belong in the Bible? Number two, how many books did they decide? And number three, do we today as Christians have the right ones? Jessica, over on Patreon, which by the way is in the link below, recommended that I do a response to this video from a group called Bible Animations. It’s very well put together trying to defend the 66 books of the Protestant Bible and argue against the 73 book Bible used by Catholics. So here’s a little teaser for the introduction to the video.

Bible Animations:

So after months of research, this is the true and historical story of how we compiled our 66 book Bible

Joe:

With a promise like that. How could I not want to engage with it, especially because this is, I want to give credit where it’s due. The person who made this did a great job of putting together a really nice looking product and doing his work and trying to figure out where do Protestants get their Bible from. However, unfortunately there are a lot of things that the video gets wrong that are really important and are hopefully helpful to anyone who’s actually trying to find out the truth about this question. So I want to give a little bit of the background to why he’s asking this in the first place.

Bible Animations:

However, my friend had a Trump card, a topic I hadn’t yet explored the truth behind the origin of our 66 book Bible. It’s something I’d never really considered growing up in the faith. I always trusted God’s word to be true, but I never questioned where it came from or how it was compiled. What if there were books we were missing or books that don’t belong in God’s true word? I started to wrestle and was challenged even further when my friend told me that our 66 book Bible is actually seven books short.

Joe:

Okay, so I really like this because he’s asking the right questions and I would highlight three of them. Number one, where did the Bible come from? Number two, how do you know that your Bible has exactly the right number of books? No more, no less. Is it fewer? I never know. Number three, would it be okay for somebody to come along and take books out of the Bible or add books to the Bible? And I know many of you’re saying obviously not, but as we’re going to get into the history, you’re going to see there were people who did exactly that, which is how Protestants ended up with the Bible that they have today. I’m getting ahead of myself though, so I want to give a little bit of a framework of what we’re talking about here. As he said, there are seven books that are missing from the Bibles used by Protestants today.

Those books are Toit, Judith Baruch, Sirach, wisdom One and Second Maccabees. And then in addition to those seven, you also have different versions of Daniel and Esther. The versions used by the early Christians and by Catholics and Orthodox and cops today are longer than the versions used by Protestants. And so for instance, the Protestant version of the Book of Esther doesn’t even mention God. So there are some pretty important differences. Okay, so with that said, I’m going to turn it over to his attempt to explain where does the 66 book Bible come from beginning a distinction that he says he needs to make.

Bible Animations:

I need to make a quick distinction. My friend and I likely have opposing views on what he actually believes the Bible is. Is it an authorized collection of writings or is it a collection of authorized writing? One view says that the church gives the books their authority as scripture, whereas the other view says the books themselves already have the authority. We just need to figure out which ones

Joe:

They are. This is a really common Protestant misconception of the Catholic view, and it is directly condemned by the Catholic church. The Catholic church does not teach. What he’s saying is the Catholic view, and in fact explicitly says the opposite. As far back as the first Vatican Council we’re told that these books, the books of the Bible, the church holds to be sacred and canonical, not because she subsequently approved them by her authority after they’d been composed by unaided human skill. In other words, it isn’t like the church just took the phone book and said, boom, you’re inspired scripture. Now it doesn’t work like that, but rather we’re told it’s not even simply because they contain revelation without error because you could have the phone book may have all the right names and numbers in it that doesn’t make it inspired, but rather we receive these books because they’re written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and they have God as their author, and we’re as such committed to the church.

So the church as we’re going to see still has a really important role to play in identifying authoritatively and without error, which books are and aren’t in the Bible, but it isn’t that the church is giving them their inspiration and that is never been the Catholic claim. So when you hear Protestants make that what they’re doing is giving you a little red flag that they don’t know what they’re talking about on the subject, okay, but now with that said, let’s turn back to what he has got to say because he’s got to look at the New Testament first where we actually agree and then get into the Old Testament. Let’s get into the New Testament. Now,

Bible Animations:

I found myself starting with the New Testament of all places. The reason I started there is because there’s much less debate over the 27 books written in the first century because they all have specific traits and author qualifications that set them apart from other historical documents

Joe:

In one way. I totally agree with what he’s saying here. There’s a lot less dispute about the New Testament, so it is sort of an easier place to start, but we should watch out for a couple reasons. Number one, this is Ahistorical, meaning Christians didn’t start with a New Testament and then discover an Old Testament by working backwards rather the Jews and then the early Christians received the writings that are compiled now in the Old Testament or in the Hebrew Bible in the Jewish case, and it’s into this world in which God had been speaking in many in various ways that Christ arrives and the gospel is first preached. And so beginning with the New Testament and working backwards is a historical and can lead to some faulty conclusions. The second reason I want to give a little bit of warning here is that it can be unfaithful to the historical evidence, and he actually does a better job than most in handling this.

But you’ll sometimes have people talk about the New Testament canon being settled and the Old Testament canon being settled as if the church was settling these two things at different times in different places, but rather the story is more that the entire Bible figuring out which books belong in the Bible, old and New Testament was going on simultaneously. So one in the same author will often tell us these are the books that belong in the Old and the New Testament. So I just mentioned that for the sake of clarity, but there’s still a deeper problem and that deeper problem is this. Okay, so granted modern Catholics and Protestants have the same New Testament. Maybe you could even imagine a world in which every Christian ever had the same New Testament as we’re going to see. That’s not the case, but that would still leave us with the question, well, do they have the right ones?

Do they have the right New Testament? Does a consensus of Christians automatically mean it’s the right answer? And I think this is important because if you’re going to say we can trust a consensus of the early Christians, and if they’re all saying this, then we can just trust that it’s right. Well then why not trust them on the other things? Because earlier in this video he talked about how he and his Catholic friend, he disagrees on baptism, grace and works and apostolic succession, all of which if you go back and look, you’re going to find something like a consensus on the early Christians on the Catholic side of that issue. Now that is obviously a big can of worms. I’m going to just say and leave to one side, but just to ask the question, can you trust the early Christians consensus or not? If you can, then great, you’ve got a New Testament.

If you can’t, we’re in trouble, not just on apostolic succession, baptism, grace and works, but also on the New Testament itself, okay? Now it gets even a little more hairy than that because even though there’s basically universal agreement on those issues that I mentioned on the New Testament canon itself, it’s actually a good deal more questioning and disagreement and trying to figure out the edges of which things belong in the Bible. Now, I want to be really clear here, the core group things like the Gospels were basically universally agreed though there’s no real controversy on those, but there are plenty of books around the border, if you will, where there is a question. So on what basis do we know that are New Testament? Today is right as opposed to for instance, the earliest known New Testament canon, the moratorium fragment or the moratorium canon, which he talks about as he points out. It doesn’t match up with all of the things that we find in modern New Testaments in either a Catholic or a Protestant Bible.

Bible Animations:

However, the canon wasn’t perfect. It was missing six books that we now accept to be canon and included two books which we don’t find in our modern Bibles.

Joe:

So he’s just said that the earliest New Testament attempt gets it imperfect, gets it wrong, has one book in that shouldn’t be the apocalypse of Peter. He’s going to say two books in that shouldn’t be, but we actually have wisdom of Solomon, although it’s an Old Testament book, there’s a bigger question here, whether the moratorium fragment was originally just a list of New Testament books or whether it had old and New Testament because as the name suggests, we just have a portion of it, we’ve got a fragment, but this suggests that wisdom of Solomon is being used by the Christian. I mean, it doesn’t just suggest explicitly says Wisdom of Solomon is being considered by whoever writes some moratorium fragment in the one hundreds. So how do we know modern Protestants have it right? And these guys in the old days had it wrong. He doesn’t really give us any kind of coherent view.

Now you could say eventually the Holy Spirit guides the church into clarity around the issue. That is a perfectly consistent standard. That is the place I end up myself. But if you’re going to see that as we’re going to see you end up with the Catholic Bible and not the Protestant Bible, and he’s going to give you all the pieces you need to see that. But okay, he’s going to nevertheless try to come up with a way where we can figure out which books do and don’t belong in the Bible because of the fourfold test that was allegedly used by the early Christians,

Bible Animations:

There was four main criteria the fathers looked for when searching for God’s word. One, was it authored by an apostle or someone close to an apostle? Two, is it accepted by the body of Christ? Three, does it contain consistent doctrine? And four, does it contain the moral and spiritual values that reflects the Holy Spirit?

Joe:

Okay, so just notice his criteria here. All of them depend on the reliability of the early Christians. Now, he thinks these early Christians are wrong on baptismal regeneration, on apostolic succession, on their vision of the church, on a whole number of issues, and I don’t know how you can hold these two things simultaneously. Here’s what I mean, the four alleged criteria he says the church fathers used. Now, whether they really use those or not is a big question mark. You get plenty of Protestant authors making all of these different lists about the things allegedly used, and I rarely see anyone providing even a footnote to try to support these claims, but maybe this is true. It’s not here or there, not the point of what I’m arguing right now. The point of what I’m arguing right now is let’s assume this is right, that the four things the early Christians look to are, number one, did it come from an apostle or someone with the apostles?

Number two, was it accepted by Christians meaning presumably accepted by the church? Number three, is it consistent with what exactly the Preach doctrine, the things they already knew? I mean, this is where starting with the New Testament leads to some weird spots. If you’re beginning with the New Testament, how do you know if a book in the New Testament is consistent with whatever you’re supposed to be harmonizing it with? You’re starting here and then fourth, this thing, he calls the values of the Holy Spirit. But again, how do you know what the Holy Spirit is all about and what he’s teaching and what his values are if it’s not coming from scripture? This seems to be a vague sort of appeal to apostolic tradition that even before we know which books are in the Bible, we’ve already heard the gospel preached. And so the early Christians have a reliable way of knowing not just the gospel, but even which books do and don’t belong in the New Testament, if that is his view, I’d love to hear more articulation of that and how you can harmonize that with something like Solas scriptura because it sounds like he’s saying the only way we can know which books are in scripture reliably is by trusting apostolic tradition and by trusting the consensus of the early church, he never explicitly says that, but without something like tradition or the consensus of the early church, I don’t know how are you going to know from reading a gospel whether it was written by Matthew, mark, Luke, or John.

None of the gospels tell you that. None of them say, I Luke tell you the following, and here’s who I am. I know St. Paul, we traveled together. You don’t find any of that. So how do you know which books belong in the New and Old Testament? Again, look just at the New Testament for now. How do you know which books belong there, if not from the consensus and the witness of the early church? Okay, so then what about the Old Testament? That’s the real focus of what we’re talking about here. So let’s turn to that.

Bible Animations:

Here’s where I want to pause because we haven’t yet discussed the Old Testament canon. The book on which this entire debate is hinged 450 bc. A book was compiled called the ak, the first Hebrew Bible used by the ancient Jews, but there were only 24 books included, and they were split into three sections as follows.

Joe:

So I actually just did an entire hour long video on this, so I’m going to spare some of the details. If you want the deep dive, go to the video, the Bible in Jesus’ Day, how different was it, which I explore how it’s just not true that the Jewish cannon was closed in four 50 bc. In fact, it wasn’t even closed half a millennium later around the time of Christ. But for now, I’m just going to give four quick facts to talk about where we are with the scholarship and why nobody reliable is saying the kind of things he just said. First, the scholarly consensus prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was that there were basically three different periods that as you heard, the Jewish canon is made up of three sections, law, prophets, writings. And so the view was that the law, the Torah had been settled around 400 bc, but the prophets weren’t settled for another 200 years until 200 BC and the writing section was still up in the air at the time of Christ, which is why you get all these references to the law and the prophets, not the law of the prophets and the writings.

Nobody ever says the law of the prophets and the writings at the time of Christ. But that was all before the Dead Sea Scrolls. Then discovering the Dead Sea Scrolls, we realized things are even more chaotic than that, that in fact there were groups like the Sadducees and the Samaritans who only accepted the Torah. There are groups like the ene, the Dead Sea squirrel community who seemed to have a very different kind of Bible but were still part of the umbrella of Judaism and there were disagreements well after the time of Christ. Well-documented ones about which books do and don’t belong in the Bible. So a second reason, one of the major reasons scholars believe this is because there’s just no evidence of this 24 book Bible that we’re told existed from 450 years prior to the time of Christ. The closest we’re going to get is Josephus, who is a writing after the time of Christ, and B, arguing for a 22 book Bible that has the Torah, 13 prophets and four writings, whereas the modern Jewish Bible has 24 books with eight prophets and 11 writings.

Third, you can read for yourself in the Jewish tolet about the rabbinical debates that take place for centuries after Christ over whether or not books like Esther Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes and Sirach belong in the Jewish canon. And to that last point, I would point out that the Book of Sirach is explicitly cited to as scripture in the Jewish Talmud. So in Baa 92 B, we get it quoted as scripture. Now it’s true eventually the rabbis decide it doesn’t belong in the Jewish canon. It doesn’t belong in the Jewish Bible, but the TaNaK as we know it today is not settled in four 50 bc. It’s not settled at the time of Christ and the scholarly consensus is it settled sometime well after the time of Christ. That’s going to be really important because one of the biggest arguments he makes is that we shouldn’t have these disputed books because they don’t make it into the Jewish Bible, but the Jewish Bible isn’t settled until long after those same rabbis had rejected Christ.

And so relying on them as an ongoing authority over Christians is a historically is just incorrect at the time of Christ. These books as we’re going to see were used as scripture, and one of the reasons we believe that is because the most common thing we see cited to isn’t the Hebrew scriptures at all. It’s the Greek version called the SEP two agent, loosely called the SEP two agent. But I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself because I’m very excited about this. We’re going to get into the SEP two agent, but first I want to kind of jump to where he makes four arguments for why he says Martin Luther was right to remove seven books from the Old Testament.

Bible Animations:

There were four main reasons why they weren’t included in Luther’s Old Testament. One, they weren’t in the original Hebrew Old Testament, meaning they weren’t accepted as scripture by the Jews of Jesus’ time or the early church fathers.

Joe:

So those claims that they weren’t accepted by the Jews of Jesus’ time or by the early church fathers are demonstrably untrue. Now, I’ve already mentioned how his idea about the Ock being settled at the time of Christ is wrong, but you can also see for yourself in the 100 St. Justin Martyr complaining that the Jews of his day don’t use the Sept, which as we’re going to see has those books, and you have in the two hundreds origin talking explicitly about how books like Tobit and Judith and the longer versions of Daniel and Esther are used by Christians and not by Jews in their scriptures. In fact, you don’t even need to look to any of those early church sources. He tells you himself that the first organized Christian attempt to form a Bible in the three hundreds explicitly matches with the Catholic Bible includes all seven of the disputed books and doesn’t match the Protestant Bible

Bible Animations:

393 ad thanks to Christianity. Now being legal in the Roman Empire, the synod of Hippo took place a gathering where early Christians hoped to establish an official biblical canon for the early church to use. Their New Testament was identical to our modern day collection of 27 books, but the Old Testament wasn’t so simple,

Joe:

So he’s going to acknowledge that it matches perfectly the Catholic Bible, but he’s left asking kind of like, well, why is this? Why are they not just using the Jewish schnuck which he thought was settled from the time of Christ? And he comes up with two ideas.

Bible Animations:

What jumped out to me was the seven books I’ve never seen before. Turns out there’s a gap in the Jewish timeline, four centuries in fact, where the history is seemingly missing. Well, these additional books fill that time period and recount accurate historical narrative and teaching from the time they were included in the canon, primarily because of their inclusion in the Sept, the first Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the AK compiled during those centuries of silence.

Joe:

Okay, so he’s going to make two claims there first, that there’s 400 years of divine silence in the Jewish version of history. Now, as we’re going to see that’s not true. The idea that prophecy stops for 400 years is not something that the early Christians taught, and it’s not actually something the early Jews taught either second claim is going to be correct, which is that the Sept has these books, and so he thinks of the ENT as just a translation of the Jewish AK imagining that the Jewish AK was around first and the ENT just translates it and somehow ends up adding seven books by mistake or something. But let’s get into each of those claims. First, the idea of 400 years of divine silence. This is another really common Protestant claim and is really contrary to the New Testament. Jesus says, the law and the prophets were until John, the Old Testament period of revelation continues until John the Baptist.

We have no indication from that that it stopped for 400 years just abruptly and without any roaring or explanation. And in fact, Hebrews one talks about how God spoke in many and various slaves to the prophets and now speaks by the sun. It speaks of a process of divine revelation. This idea of a 400 year interruption with no explanation is completely absent from scripture. We don’t get a whiff of it. In fact, we see the exact opposite. You have for instance, the prophetess Anna who’s in Luke two, who’s in the temple at the time. Jesus is a baby. So no, it’s just not true. That prophecy stopped for 400 years. What you in fact have later, rabbis will claim divine revelation stopped in four 50 bc, but they didn’t say it started up again 400 years later with Christ because they don’t believe in Christ.

They argued that revelation just ended then, and that is a post-Christian view that in no small was an explanation for why they don’t need to listen to Christians or these later books. That is not the case at the time of Christ. Nobody at the time of Jesus is saying anything about 400 years of divine silence, and we see prophets that work prophets. So what about the Tugen then there? I think there’s a much better case. The Tugen is a really important part of this story. So Timothy McLay in his book, the Use of the ENT in New Testament research, I like the way he frames it. He says, second Timothy chapter three, verse 16 says, all scriptures inspired by God. We were all readily acknowledge that the referent for scripture here is the authoritative writings of the Jews, but what exactly does that mean exactly?

Which writings is it asking about? Right when it says all scriptures God breathe or all scriptures inspired in context, St. Paul’s talking about the Jewish scriptures that Timothy had grown up with, what by would that have been? And so typically asks it like this, he says, well, does that verse refer to these scriptures that were preserved in the Masoretic Texas as the leader Hebrew version, which have come to be identified with the Hebrew Bible that later became the basis for the Protestant Old Testament, or does it refer to the Jewish scriptures preserved in the Greek language that later became the basis for the Catholic Old Testament via their translation into the old Latin and then the Latin Vulgate? So oversimplifying the question a little bit, in the Hebrew only version, you tend to have fewer books in the Greek version and the sub versions, you have these seven disputed books, and this is an oversimplification in both directions.

I acknowledge that, but that’s the way he frames it. I like the way he frames it, and there’s a very easy answer to the question as Floyd Filson, who is a believe Presbyterian New Testament researcher in the 1940s, points out that there is some 160 passages in the New Testament in which the Old Testament is directly quoted, not just alluded to, but quoted directly in the heavy majority of these. He says the quotation is obviously derived from the sub agent. Now he says, that doesn’t mean it’s always literally verbatim, but it’s either an exact reproduction or substantial likeness to the subagent. So if you’re wondering what scriptures would be on the minds of a believing Jew in the time of Jesus as opposed to later rabbis, after the temple’s destroyed, and the Pharisees become the dominant party for all of Judaism, if you’re asking at the time of Jesus, which is I think what the question is here, well, it’s quite clear.

It’s the Sep agent and it has these books. Now that’s a strong argument. All of the arguments of Jewish exclusion at the time of Jesus, we’d now have to turn them on their head and say, no, no, there was Jewish inclusion at the time of Jesus. In the versions of scripture, Jesus in the apostles in the evangelists are quoting, okay, we can see a couple examples of this. I’m going to give you just one because it’s not just a matter of slight shifts in the verbiage or something. I mean, as you just heard, there are seven entire books that are different. There’s also differences in the wording and passages. So it’s not just like whatever I happen to find, I’ve got the KJV over here or the NIV. I’ll just grab for the closest one. No, it’s not that. For instance, in Hebrews 10, there’s a prophecy that is taken from Psalm 40 about how when Christ came into the world, he said, sacrifice and offerings thou is not desired, but a body thou has prepared for me.

But here’s the thing, that prophecy is only found in the sub agent. The Hebrew version says sacrifice and offering that is not desired, but thou has given me an open ear, which does not seem to be a prophecy of the incarnation at all. A body I was prepared for me is clearly a christological prediction of the incarnation. In fact, the Hebrew literally says ears thou has dug for me. So I’m putting this out for two reasons. One, when there’s a disagreement, we overwhelmingly find them citing with the SubT over the Hebrew versions. And second, we don’t need to believe that the Hebrew is the original and more accurate version. It would be a mistake to assume that because it’s in Hebrew, it’s therefore more reliable and more accurate and more faithful to the original text. We can find places where the Hebrew is clearly corrupted in the Greek better preserves what happened. So I give you all of that. This is a big topic to say. The Sep is the Bible usually used in the New Testament, and it includes these books. And so an argument that assumes the opposite is mistaken. Okay, let’s go back to his arguments. Now,

Bible Animations:

Within the Torah, God tells Moses how more books will be added to the Old Testament canon. He will rise up a prophet like you, and that God himself will quote call to account anyone who does not listen to my words, that the prophet speaks in my name.

Joe:

This is a small point, but I wanted to address it because he quotes from the Torah how God’s promising a prophet like Moses, and he claims that this is a pattern we need to know for how all future prophecy is going to work for canonical writings. That’s just not what’s happening in this text at all. In fact, I’m sort of surprised to hear him use Deuteronomy 28 because it’s pretty explicitly taken in the New Testament as a christological prophecy. In one sense, it’s a prophecy of Joshua in a deeper sense. It’s a prophecy of Jesus. So for instance, in John 1 21, when John the Baptist is out doing his thing, they ask him, are you the prophet? What are they referring to? The prophet that had been foretold in Deuteronomy. And in fact, St. Peter in Acts chapter two is going to quote explicitly from this passage in Deuteronomy and apply it to Christ, how Jesus is the one. Because the Deuteronomy 28 passage says, there’ll be someone like Moses who sees God face to face. There’s a beautiful Christology to this. It is absolutely not telling you how to get books in the Bible or you’re giving you a standard for how to do that. That just not what’s going on in the text at all. Ultimately though, he’s going to raise four final arguments against why he thinks these seven books, Luther was right to remove them from the Bible. And he begins like this

Bible Animations:

One. They weren’t in the original Hebrew Old Testament, meaning they weren’t accepted as scripture by the Jews of Jesus time or the early church fathers.

Joe:

Now, as we’ve already seen, that first claim is just flatly untrue. The Jewish Bible in Jesus’ day did include those books, and the early Christians were absolutely clear in quoting from them and calling them scripture numerous times, including at places he cites himself. Here’s his second

Bible Animations:

Two. They contradicted the doctrine of salvation by faith alone, which is proclaimed strongly throughout the New Testament.

Joe:

So I actually agree with this one. The Old Testament does contradict the Protestant doctrine of justification. By faith alone, Sofie so does the New Testament, particularly you can see this in places like the Epistle of James. Now, I’m not alone in thinking that Martin Luther thought that himself. So he points out in his preface to the epistle of James that he denies the apostolic authorship of the book. He doesn’t believe it was written by an apostle. Remember earlier the criteria for inclusion in the new testimony is that it’s of apostolic origin. He thinks it wasn’t of apostolic origin, and he argues as follows. He says in the first place, it’s flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of scripture and ascribing justification to works. So he thinks it contradicts ide. Now, I think he’s misreading St. Paul here. You might be a Protestant who thinks he’s misreading St.

James. But I think we can agree that Martin Luther’s having trouble squaring passages like James 2 24, which says, you see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. The only time the phrase faith alone appears in the Bible, unless you’re Lutheran, you add it to Romans 3 28. The only time it appears in the Bible is when it says justification is not by faith alone. Now, you can try to interpret your way around then all you want, but Lutheran said, no, this just contradicts my theology. Right? And so the point I’d make here is if your theology contradicts scripture, the point isn’t to now go change scripture. Go cut out seven books of the Old Testament. Go call in question four of the new like Luther does. It’s instead to change your theology to match scripture rather than changing the Bible to match your theology. Okay, let’s get to his final two reasons.

Bible Animations:

Three. The historical basis for their inclusion wasn’t as strong as the pre-established canon of the teac.

Joe:

I don’t know what he means by that third one, whether he’s saying there’s historical discrepancies or just that they weren’t as widely accepted or something like that. It’s not entirely clear, but I would say this in first Maccabees, we get a reference to the creation of an eight day festival of Hanukkah. This is the earliest evidence we have of it this along with second Maccabees. It’s the only places in the Bible we find Hanukkah mentioned in the Old Testament at all. In the New Testament, we find Jesus celebrating or at least attending the feast of the dedication. That’s Hanukkah, that’s the before soon as the festival of life, before you get all the Tal Reinterpretations of Hanukkah. It was originally about the dedication of the temple during the Maccabean period. And so in John 10 22 to 23, we see Jesus up to Jerusalem for the feast of the dedication.

That appears to be him acknowledging the historicity of Maccabees. Now, you already heard ’em as well in this video say these books are at least he says generally reliable. So I don’t know what standard he’s articulating here. That would be a good reason to reject these books that have information that is true and accurate. Now, that’s just looking at the historical stuff. If you look at places like Wisdom two, which prophesize about the Son of God coming and being put to a shameful death that’s really explicitly christological in a way that would be very hard to predict beforehand, how did these uninspired authors allegedly know what was going to happen with the Messiah coming in, claiming to be the Son of God and being put to a shameful death by his persecutor? Difficult to argue that. Okay, let’s get to the fourth reason

Bible Animations:

And four, the New Testament never affirms any of these books as scripture.

Joe:

I want to make sure we touch on this very briefly because this is a common misconception, a common mistake that, oh, the New Testament doesn’t mention these books as scripture. In one sense, that’s absolutely true, but there’s a threefold distinction you have to make. The New Testament interacts with the Old Testament in three ways. Sometimes it alludes to a references it, sometimes it quotes it, and sometimes it quotes it as scripture. So his argument is there’s no clear places in which these seven disputed books are at that highest level of being quoted explicitly as scripture because you have stuff that gets quoted that isn’t considered scripture, right? The mere fact, something that’s quoted doesn’t automatically make it scripture. But the flip side is there are plenty of biblical books that Catholics and Protestants accept that are never quoted as scripture at all. So for instance, mark Mangano and his book, old Testament introduction mentions that while the New Testament quotes from the majority of Old Testament books, he’s a Protestant.

So the majority of ones in his Bible, he acknowledges that there are several exceptions. Joshua Judges, Ruth, second King, one Chronicles, second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, song of Solomon, Lamentations, Obediah, Nahum, and Zephaniah. So if your argument is the Deutero canonical books, which is these so-called Apocrypha books, which we find referenced in places like Hebrews 11, they’re not explicitly quoted as Scripture fine, but what argument is that by that standard, you have to throw out a lot of your Old Testament. So I mention all that to say those are not good arguments against the Bible that the early Christians had, and they’re not good arguments for the 66 books of the Protestant Bible. So to sum up the case, there’s basically two ways you can approach things once you get rid of the historical misconceptions, like settling it all in four 50 BC or this not being in the Bible, the time of Jesus, all of those things, which again, if you want a deeper dive, look at last week’s video, you’re left with this.

This is a messy process, undeniably a messy process for Judaism, for Christianity in these first few centuries after Christ. But the conclusion of this process is the Christians coming together and saying these 73 books, and this happens in several different ways. It’s actually even a little more complicated than he gives it there, but we have a clear conclusion to the process. And you have, for instance, much later at the Council of Florence, still before the Reformation, the Catholics, the Orthodox, and the Coptic Christians coming together and affirming again these 73 books. So we either trust that the Holy Spirit guided that process or we don’t. So you either are left with the Catholic Bible or nothing like just a chaotic, we don’t know if we’ve got the right books or not. I think there’s good reasons to trust in God, trust in the work of the Holy Spirit and trust in the Catholic Bible.

That is the result of that. Once you get rid of all of the misconceptions, the church gives the Bible, its authority, or the Bible was set 450 years before, those things are wrong, get rid of those wrong things, and you’re left with a very clear choice between God is at work, he’s protecting his Bible. We can trust the Catholic Bible, or he’s not, and we don’t know what Bible to trust. In closing, I want to give a couple quick acknowledgements, shout outs, church bulletin announcements, that sort of thing. Number one, this and last week’s episode were inspired by Jessica P over in my Patreon. I loved Patreon for money, but I didn’t realize what a great place it was going to be for just producing great community and content, and people are giving really good ideas. I’m really enjoying myself over there. So if you want to come check it out, I’ll put a link in the description below.

Number two, I’m trying a new format of slightly shorter episodes, but hopefully going to do two a week. I think based on people’s watch time that people tap out around half an hour or so. I have trouble keeping myself to half an hour, so we’ll cut the difference. And number three, I want to acknowledge the great work Thomas w has been doing. He’s recently hired on at Catholic Answers, and he’s really cleaned up, spruced up and professionalized a lot of this stuff visually and from an auditory perspective that both Council of Trent and Shamus Bouri are putting out. So thank you to Thomas and thank you to all of you. Who, with your donations help bringing people like Thomas aboard possible. Alright, for Shameless Popery; I’m Joe Heschemeyer. God bless you.

How were the books of The Bible decided? A Catholic Critique of Protestant Claims (2024)
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