Friday, February 05, 2016

Why do Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians use different Bibles?

It's an important question, especially since there are non-denominational and fundamentalist Christian churches that claim to base their faith only on the Bible (and some only on King James Version) and not on historical church teachings or traditions (although they all have their own traditions which govern polity, sacraments, music, Sunday School, etc.)  Technically, there was no Bible for the first almost 400 years of Christianity, but there was written sacred scripture of the Jews, and that was primarily in three languages, Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. So Jesus read and preached and taught from a "Bible" we Protestants don't use--the Septuagint, or Greek Old Testament. That scripture includes the following:
  • Tobit (or Tobias) emphasizes the importance of the sanctity of marriage, parental respect, angelic intercession, as well as prayer, fasting, and alms giving for the expiation of sins, as noted in the Archangel Raphael's speech in Tobias 12:9.
  • Sirach offers both moral instruction and a history of the patriarchs and leaders of Israel.
  • First and Second Maccabees are historical works which describe the end of persecution by the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes through Mattathias and his sons the Maccabees. And so began the independent Hasmonean Dynasty of Israel from 165 to 63 BC. The Rededication of the Temple by Judas Maccabeus (1 Maccabees 4:36-59, 2 Maccabees 10:1-8) is commemorated yearly during the Feast of Hannukah. First Maccabees was first written in Hebrew, but only the Greek version has been preserved. In addition to its historical value, Second Maccabees affirms the theology of martyrdom and resurrection of the just (7:1-42), intercessory prayer of the living for the dead (12:44-45), as well as intercessory prayer of the saints for those still on earth (15:12-16).
  • Judith describes the deliverance of the Jews from the hands of Holofernes, general to Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
  • The Book of Wisdom is witness to the trend in late post-exilic Jewish thought that looked forward to life after death: immortality is a reward of the just (3:1-4, 19). The book also notes that all living creatures reflect the perfection of the Creator (Wisdom 13:5).
  • The Book of Baruch, the scribe to Jeremiah, describes the prayers of the Babylonian Exiles and includes the Letter of Jeremiah.
    Martin Luther in his 1534 translation differed from St. Augustine and considered the Apocryphal books "good for reading" but not part of inspired Scripture. The King James Bible of 1611 included the Apocrypha but in a separate section. While there are no direct quotations in the New Testament from the Apocrypha, there are also no direct quotations from Judges, Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Ezra, Nehemiah, Obadiah, Nahum, or Zephaniah. http://biblescripture.net/Canon.html

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