If God inspired the Bible, why are there so many different versions of it?
The Catholic Bible with its 73 books that include the seven books of the Apocrypha is the complete and authentic word of God, scholar Dr. Brant Pitre told an audience of about 200 at the Holy Family Community Center in Luling.
And the proof of it, he says, can found in any serious study of Judaism, Christianity and the history of both Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.
Anything less - and that includes Protestant Bibles such as the beloved King James Version that contain only 66 books - is incomplete.
Left out is a significant portion of divinely inspired material that God wanted in the Bible, says Pitre - adding that Protestants who think the seven books “were added” by the Catholic Church, are wrong.
In fact, the Apocrypha always was part of the ancient and official canon of Scripture, he says.
The belief that Protestant reformer Martin Luther, after his break with the Catholic Church in the 16th century, removed the seven books from the Bible because he felt the material wasn’t worthy is” a misconception," says Pitre.
"During the 1500s and 1600s, almost all Protestant Bibles included 73 books, not the 66 found in them today,” the scholar contends.
In fact, Pitre continues, Luther cited the books "as Scripture." But he denied their central importance - or “canonical status” - based on his own understanding of theology and personal beliefs.
In a nutshell, this amounted to “human intervention in deciding which books of the Bible were divinely inspired and which weren't,” Pitre contends.
And it’s not like Luther discredited the seven books - he didn’t.
He merely "demoted " them and, in his famous 1545 Bible, dubbed them "Apocrypha,” explaining that, to his way of thinking, they weren't equal to the Holy Scriptures, but still were "profitable and good to read."
In 1540, John Calvin, another Protestant reformer, said much the same thing
Pitre, a deft and thorough logician, uses these and numerous other historial and scriptural touchstones to make a powerful case that the Catholic Bible is the only complete Bible in use by Christians.
And he argues convincingly that Christians who reject the Apochypha that’s included in the Catholic Bible are - tragically - iignoring teachings that they ought to be paying attention to.
Even the venerable King James Version - written when England’s King James broke with the Roman Catholic Church and formed the Anglican Church over a divorce issue in the year 1611 - originally included the the 73 books found in Catholic Bibles today.
It was only after 1615 that Protestants dropped them entirely. Interestingly, that has led some Christian scholars to say the books should be put back into the King James Version for the sake of authenticity alone.
Dropping the books from Protestant Bibles was a mistake that has left hundreds of millions of Christians with Bibles that are lacking, Pitrie says.
Tragically, he notes, the Reformation that led otherwise sincere Christians to reject the Roman Catholic Church while following “Scripture alone” (and other presumed paths to salvation), has left Protestants in at least some degree of spiritual darkness.
Instead of following all of scriptural teaching and the authority of one coherent Church, he says, Christians now subscribe to the teachings and ideas of thousands of denominations that, in Pitre’s view, have, through human intervention in Scripture, and in turning a blind eye to the complete Bible, created a spiritual scenario that is confusing - and worse.
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