The Deutero-canonical books of the Bible: dispelling a Protestant myth.

The Deutero-canonical books of the Bible:

are yet further proof that the Bible is a Catholic, not a Protestant, book, given to the world by the Roman Catholic Church

Original Greek manuscripts of the original Greek texts of the Bible

It has been asked  why it is that the “Catholic” Bible of today includes books that are not included by the Fathers of the Church.

The following will show why. and is taken from the excellent resources of Catholic Answers founded byDr Karl Keating.

This commentary by Catholic Answers can be found here:

and has an imprimatur from the Bishop of San Diego.

Here is the commentary (incorrect American spelling is, of course, corrected):

During the Reformation, primarily for doctrinal reasons, Protestants removed seven books from the Old Testament: 1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach, Wisdom, Baruch, Tobit, and Judith, and parts of two others, Daniel and Esther. They did so even though these books had been regarded as canonical since the beginning of Church history.

As Protestant church historian J. N. D. Kelly writes, “It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive [than the Protestant Bible]. . . . It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition, the so-called apocrypha or deuterocanonical books” (Early Christian Doctrines, 53), which are rejected by Protestants.

Below we give patristic quotations from each of the deuterocanonical books. Notice how the Fathers quoted these books along with the protocanonicals. The deuterocanonicals are those books of the Old Testament that were included in the Bible even though there had been some discussion about whether they should be.

Also included are the earliest official lists of the canon. For the sake of brevity these are not given in full. When the lists of the canon cited here are given in full, they include all the books and only the books found in the modern Catholic Bible.

When examining the question of what books were originally included in the Old Testament canon, it is important to note that some of the books of the Bible have been known by more than one name. Sirach is also known as Ecclesiasticus, 1 and 2 Chronicles as 1 and 2 Paralipomenon, Ezra and Nehemiah as 1 and 2 Esdras, and 1 and 2 Samuel with 1 and 2 Kings as 1, 2, 3, and 4 Kings—that is, 1 and 2 Samuel are named 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Kings are named 3 and 4 Kings. The history and use of these designations is explained more fully in Scripture reference works.

The Didache

“You shall not waver with regard to your decisions [Sir. 1:28]. Do not be someone who stretches out his hands to receive but withdraws them when it comes to giving [Sir. 4:31]” (Didache 4:5 [A.D. 70]).

The Letter of Barnabas

“Since, therefore, [Christ] was about to be manifested and to suffer in the flesh, his suffering was foreshown. For the prophet speaks against evil, ‘Woe to their soul, because they have counselled an evil counsel against themselves’ [Is. 3:9], saying, ‘Let us bind the righteous man because he is displeasing to us’ [Wis. 2:12.]” (Letter of Barnabas 6:7 [A.D. 74]).

Clement of Rome

“By the word of his might [God] established all things, and by his word he can overthrow them. ‘Who shall say to him, “What have you done?” or who shall resist the power of his strength?’ [Wis. 12:12]” (Letter to the Corinthians 27:5 [ca. A.D. 80]).

St Clement of Rome
Polycarp of Smyrna

“Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood [1 Pet. 2:17].

. . . When you can do good, defer it not, because ‘alms delivers from death’ [Tob. 4:10, 12:9]. Be all of you subject to one another [1 Pet. 5:5], having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles [1 Pet. 2:12], and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed [Is. 52:5]!” (Letter to the Philadelphians 10 [A.D. 135]).


“Those . . . who are believed to be presbyters by many, but serve their own lusts and do not place the fear of God supreme in their hearts, but conduct themselves with contempt toward others and are puffed up with the pride of holding the chief seat [Matt. 23:6] and work evil deeds in secret, saying ‘No man sees us,’ shall be convicted by the Word, who does not judge after outward appearance, nor looks upon the countenance, but the heart; and they shall hear those words to be found in Daniel the prophet: ‘O you seed of Canaan and not of Judah, beauty has deceived you and lust perverted your heart’ [Dan. 13:56]. You that have grown old in wicked days, now your sins which you have committed before have come to light, for you have pronounced false judgments and have been accustomed to condemn the innocent and to let the guilty go free, although the Lord says, ‘You shall not slay the innocent and the righteous’ [Dan. 13:52, citing Ex. 23:7]” (Against Heresies 4:26:3 [A.D. 189]; Daniel 13 is not in the Protestant Bible).

“Jeremiah the prophet has pointed out that as many believers as God has prepared for this purpose, to multiply those left on the earth, should both be under the rule of the saints and to minister to this [new] Jerusalem and that [his] kingdom shall be in it, saying, ‘Look around Jerusalem toward the east and behold the joy which comes to you from God himself. Behold, your sons whom you have sent forth shall come: They shall come in a band from the east to the west. . . . God shall go before with you in the light of his splendour, with the mercy and righteousness which proceed from him’ [Bar. 4:36—5:9]” (ibid., 5:35:1; Baruch was often considered part of Jeremiah, as it is here).

St Irenaeus

“What is narrated here [in the story of Susannah] happened at a later time, although it is placed at the front of the book [of Daniel], for it was a custom with the writers to narrate many things in an inverted order in their writings. . . . [W]e ought to give heed, beloved, fearing lest anyone be overtaken in any transgression and risk the loss of his soul, knowing as we do that God is the judge of all and the Word himself is the eye which nothing that is done in the world escapes. Therefore, always watchful in heart and pure in life, let us imitate Susannah” (Commentary on Daniel [A.D. 204]; the story of Susannah [Dan. 13] is not in the Protestant Bible).

Cyprian of Carthage

“In Genesis [it says], ‘And God tested Abraham and said to him, “Take your only son whom you love, Isaac, and go to the high land and offer him there as a burnt offering . . .”’ [Gen. 22:1–2]. . . . Of this same thing in the Wisdom of Solomon [it says], ‘Although in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality . . .’ [Wis. 3:4]. Of this same thing in the Maccabees [it says], ‘Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness’ [1 Macc. 2:52; see Jas. 2:21–23]” (Treatises 7:3:15 [A.D. 248]).

“So Daniel, too, when he was required to worship the idol Bel, which the people and the king then worshipped, in asserting the honour of his God, broke forth with full faith and freedom, saying, ‘I worship nothing but the Lord my God, who created the heaven and the earth’ [Dan. 14:5]” (Letters 55:5 [A.D. 253]; Daniel 14 is not in the Protestant Bible).

St Cyprian of Carthage
Council of Rome

“Now indeed we must treat of the divine scriptures, what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she ought to shun. The order of the Old Testament begins here: Genesis, one book; Exodus, one book; Leviticus, one book; Numbers, one book; Deuteronomy, one book; Joshua [Son of] Nave, one book; Judges, one book; Ruth, one book; Kings, four books [that is, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings]; Paralipomenon [Chronicles], two books; Psalms, one book; Solomon, three books: Proverbs, one book, Ecclesiastes, one book, [and] Canticle of Canticles [Song of Songs], one book; likewise Wisdom, one book; Ecclesiasticus [Sirach], one book . . . . Likewise the order of the historical [books]: Job, one book; Tobit, one book; Esdras, two books [Ezra and Nehemiah]; Esther, one book; Judith, one book; Maccabees, two books” (Decree of Pope Damasus [A.D. 382]).

Council of Hippo

“[It has been decided] that besides the canonical scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture. But the canonical scriptures are as follows: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua the Son of Nun, Judges, Ruth, the Kings, four books, the Chronicles, two books, Job, the Psalter, the five books of Solomon [Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, and a portion of the Psalms], the twelve books of the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Ezra, two books, Maccabees, two books . . .” (Canon 36 [A.D. 393]).

Council of Carthage III

“[It has been decided] that nothing except the canonical scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine scriptures. But the canonical scriptures are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paralipomenon, two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon, twelve books of the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees . . .” (Canon 47 [A.D. 397]).


“The whole canon of the scriptures, however, in which we say that consideration is to be applied, is contained in these books: the five of Moses . . . and one book of Joshua [Son of] Nave, one of Judges; one little book which is called Ruth . . . then the four of Kingdoms, and the two of Paralipomenon . . . . [T]here are also others too, of a different order . . . such as Job and Tobit and Esther and Judith and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Esdras . . . . Then there are the prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David, and three of Solomon. . . . But as to those two books, one of which is entitled Wisdom and the other of which is entitled Ecclesiasticus and which are called ‘of Solomon’ because of a certain similarity to his books, it is held most certainly that they were written by Jesus Sirach. They must, however, be accounted among the prophetic books, because of the authority which is deservedly accredited to them” (Christian Instruction 2:8:13 [A.D. 397]).

“We read in the books of the Maccabees [2 Macc. 12:43] that sacrifice was offered for the dead. But even if it were found nowhere in the Old Testament writings, the authority of the Catholic Church which is clear on this point is of no small weight, where in the prayers of the priest poured forth to the Lord God at his altar the commendation of the dead has its place” (The Care to be Had for the Dead 1:3 [A.D. 421]).

St Augustine of Hippo
The Apostolic Constitutions

“Now women also prophesied. Of old, Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron [Ex. 15:20], and after her, Deborah [Judges. 4:4], and after these Huldah [2 Kgs. 22:14] and Judith [Judith 8], the former under Josiah and the latter under Darius” (Apostolic Constitutions 8:2 [A.D. 400]).


“What sin have I committed if I follow the judgment of the churches? But he who brings charges against me for relating [in my preface to the book of Daniel] the objections that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the story of Susannah [Dan. 13], the Song of the Three Children [Dan. 3:29–68, RSV-CE], and the story of Bel and the Dragon [Dan. 14], which are not found in the Hebrew volume, proves that he is just a foolish sycophant. I was not relating my own personal views, but rather the remarks that they are wont to make against us. If I did not reply to their views in my preface, in the interest of brevity, lest it seem that I was composing not a preface, but a book, I believe I added promptly the remark, for I said, ‘This is not the time to discuss such matters’” (Against Rufinius 11:33 [A.D. 401]).

St Jerome
Father of the original Vulgate Bible
Pope Innocent I

“A brief addition shows what books really are received in the canon. These are the things of which you desired to be informed verbally: of Moses, five books, that is, of Genesis, of Exodus, of Leviticus, of Numbers, of Deuteronomy, and Joshua, of Judges, one book, of Kings, four books, and also Ruth, of the prophets, sixteen books, of Solomon, five books, the Psalms. Likewise of the histories, Job, one book, of Tobit, one book, Esther, one, Judith, one, of the Maccabees, two, of Esdras, two, Paralipomenon, two books . . .” (Letters 7 [A.D. 408]).

NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

~~ ” ~~

So there you have it: the Fathers not only included the Deutero-Canonicals in the canonical texts of the Bible but liberally quoted from them and the Councils of Rome, Hippo and Carthage, which gave us the versions of the Bible that everyone uses, also included them.

The proof is conclusive.

The “Catholic” Bible is the real Bible and the Catholic Church decided which texts were in the Bible.

No Catholic Church – no Bible.

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22 Responses to The Deutero-canonical books of the Bible: dispelling a Protestant myth.

  1. toad says:

    Toad would have thought that The Bible – Old Testament at least – is such a detestable book that Catholics would be hard at work trying to “proove” it was Protestant. But what does he know?

    (Who never thought he’d read “Roman Catholic” in a CP&S sub-headline.)


  2. I am grateful for this detailed post as it is a topic that raises it’s head from time to time.


  3. Reblogged this on 1catholicsalmon and commented:
    All the facts at your fingertips.


  4. kathleen says:

    Yes, I agree with you catholicsalmon, this is an informative article that touches a subject that does indeed raise its head from time to time…..

    Just the other day, during Holy Week, I was accosted (once again!) by a Protestant neighbour of mine (from some Evangelical branch) who seems to be determined to ‘save’ me and ‘convert’ me to her faith. I always give her my time of day because she obviously likes me and means well, and all the things she comes up with anyway are pretty easy to make rejoinders to. She just seems to repeat parrot-fashion the statements she hears in the reunions with her brother evangelicals.

    This time we got onto talking about the origins of the Bible….. and do you know?….. she was completely unaware that the Bible had been put together by the Holy Catholic Church in the first place! She seemed to be under the totally mistaken impression that Catholics don’t use the Bible much, if at all!!!

    One can’t help wondering what amount of lies and false stories about the Catholic Church run around in some of these Protestant gatherings, eh?


  5. clementaustin says:

    Thanx for the informative article. Where did you gat icongraghic picture of Clement?


  6. toad says:

    “I was accosted (once again!) by a Protestant neighbour of mine (from some Evangelical branch) who seems to be determined to ‘save’ me and ‘convert’ me to her faith. I always give her my time of day because she obviously likes me and means well…”

    Muy Bad idea, Kathleen,. Toad suggests to you that you straightforwardly suggest to her that she go forth and multiply. In so many words, more or less.
    Protestants trying to convert Catholics?
    What is the world coming to?
    – Knows God.
    Nobody else does.


  7. Brother Burrito says:

    Plenty, I would guess. There’s nowt like a common enemy to unite the brethren, so spaketh brothers Adolf, Hugo, Kim, Mao, Ratko and Joe, to name but six.


  8. Gertrude says:

    Kathleen: Up to a point your evangelical friend has a bit of a point. As a lady of a certain ‘young’ age, educated exclusively at Convent schools from a very early age, we did not have ‘scripture’ lessons, or even bible study lessons. We did have (as Toad will confirm) catechism – and more catechism. So, in a way we were pretty ignorant of sacred scripture when compared with the non-conformist almost obsession with sola scripture. Thanks be to God those of a more tender age than I are much more scriptually informed than we were, but, as I always say, it’s never too late to learn!

    Toad: I deliberately left ‘Roman Catholic’ in the sub headline to distinguish the one true Church from the various ‘others’ who, in these enlightened days call themselves ‘catholic’ without any adherence to Rome!


  9. kathleen says:

    Dear Gertrude, I won’t ask you your age (that would be unforgivably cheeky of me ;-)), but I grew up in the immediate aftermath of Vatican II, and we did have ‘scripture’ lessons at my Convent school. I loved them, and I remember so clearly the sweet old Irish nun who imparted these lessons.
    Perhaps, then, this was one of the (only ?, hopefully not) good changes that came out the Council? 🙂


  10. golden chersonnese says:

    James Akin has proposed this, possibly for some disconcerting, list of clear or likely references to the deutero-canonicals in the NT.


  11. toad says:

    Toad, who is even more of a biblical ignoramus than he is regarding most things, is utterly baffled by this arcane and deutero-canonical post.
    And he suspects that, rather than spending our day trying to unravel and comprehend these obscure matters, we’d be better off washing Muslim females’ feet.

    All the saints look very stern, don’t they?.


  12. Jerry says:

    The list of quotations proves that the Deutero-canonical books were read and referred to by many early Christian writers. Has anyone ever denied this jaw-droppingly obvious fact?


  13. Jerry says:

    Patristic writers also made similar use of books which did not make it into the canon. The Shepherd of Hermes springs to mind as a common example. The logical point is this — this list of quotations could include more or less works, depending on the agenda of the compiler. Inclusion in the list of works treated as having authority by patristic writers is not sufficient to prove canonical status. The epistle of Barnabas for example was frequently read in Churches as well as extensively quoted. But it never became part of the canon. I have no problem with the Catholic canon, or the slightly larger Orthodox one. But this article proves nothing either way.


  14. toad says:

    All mighty obscure to Toad.
    And his hackles rise* whenever he reads the word “proves,” outside of a maths, or basic logic, paper.

    *(Or they would if he had any.)


  15. golden chersonnese says:

    Toad . . . is utterly baffled by this arcane and deutero-canonical post.

    Toad, as a former media person, is surely concerned about “sources”? Especially for the world’s most oft-reproduced literary work ( or so I have been told)?



  16. The Raven says:


    I’m inclined to agree with you about the Church Fathers, they quoted orthodox books like the Shepherd and Clement and the Didache quite shamelessly.

    However, if one looks to the canonical New Testament itself, the position becomes a little clearer: the references and allusions to the Deuterocanonical books are rife: we have extensive references to all of the Deuterocanon and to Sirach in particular.

    The truncated OT advocated by Luther in the sixteenth century was clearly not in the minds if the first century writers of the NT.


  17. Jerry says:


    The truncated OT advocated by Luther in the sixteenth century was clearly not in the minds if the first century writers of the NT.

    I completely agree. Perhaps my point was a bit pedantic, but since the article with its bundle of quotations finished with this flourish: The proof is conclusive. it seemed worthwhile to point out that patristic quotes do not a canon make. Actually I don’t know much about the criteria Luther used, perhaps people can explain?


  18. teresa says:

    Jerry, as long as I remember, Luther took the Jewish Bible of the 15th. century as a reference point, and thus decided that some books of the Catholic bible didn’t belong into the canon.

    Actually, the concept “deuterocanonical” was invented by a converted Jew, Sixtus of Siena. While the Catholics call the books like “Sirach” deuterocanonical, Luther called them “Apocrypha”.

    But later, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scroll proved the Catholic Church right in retaining these books in her Canon.

    The Masoretic text which Luther took for consult was edited later by the Rabbis.

    That is a rather crude account of a more complicated topic.


  19. Jerry says:

    Thanks Teresa 🙂


  20. Pingback: The Deutero-canonical books of the Bible | EARLY CHURCH FATHERS

  21. johnhenrycn says:

    During the Reformation, primarily for doctrinal reasons, Protestants removed seven books from the Old Testament: 1 and 2 Maccabees…”

    I don’t know about the doctrinal reasons for the omission, but another reason for the removal was political, because Maccabees encourages revolt against slavery. Ironic that it was left to a Jamaican Reggae Rastafarian theologian, Max Romeo, to remind us of that fact:

    You gave I King James Version
    King James was a white man
    You built I dangerous weapon
    To kill I own black man
    You sold the land God gave I
    And taught I to be covetous

    What other wicked things
    Have you got in mind?
    Tell me, what are gonna do
    To stop these daily crimes?

    Bring back Maccabee Version
    That God gave to black man
    Give back King James Version
    Belongs to the white man…


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