A gracEmail subscriber wonders whether we should use the Protestant Bible or the Catholic Bible, since they are not exactly the same. He is concerned that he have the “real” Bible.
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The Jewish scriptures (our “Old Testament” books) were first written in Hebrew or Aramaic. Beginning about 275 B.C., they were translated into a Greek version called the Septuagint. That Greek version (which New Testament writers primarily used) included several books (called the Apocrypha) not found among the Hebrew scrolls. When Jerome translated the Bible into everyday Latin (the Vulgate) about 400 A.D., he included the apocryphal books — as have Catholic Bibles ever since. When Martin Luther translated the Bible into the common German of the 16th century, he did not include the apocryphal books — and later Protestant Bibles followed Luther’s lead. All Christian Bibles today include the 66 books we know and love. Whether an Old Testament includes the Apocrypha or not will not overly disturb believers who remember two important truths.
The first truth is that Christian faith rests ultimately in a person, not in an authoritative book. Here Christianity differs from Islam, whose holy book (the Quran) is more important than the person (Muhammad) to whom Muslims believe God’s angel recited it. The Christian church was not founded on a book but on a person. Its cornerstone is Jesus Christ (Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11), whom the church proclaims to be God’s greatest and supreme revelation (John 1:14.18; 5:39-40). The Bible is very important, but Jesus is even more important than the Bible.
That is so because the purpose of Scripture is not to give life, but to point people to Jesus so they can have eternal life by believing in him. That was true of the Jewish scriptures (John 5:39-40; 2 Tim. 3:14-15). It is also true of the Christian scriptures, whether we have in mind the Catholic Bible or the Protestant Bible. No matter which Bible we read, we are looking for Jesus in every place. (For historical facts, details and charts about all this, click here (or go to www.bible-researcher.com/canon.html).