Canon of Scripture

Q. I do not accept the Catholic Bible because there are seven extra books in it that Jesus never quoted from.

A.Why is the Canon of Scripture not a man made tradition? There is no Table Of Contents anywhere in scripture. The fact is both Protestants and Catholics accept TRADITIONS but Protestants are so comfortable with their own Traditions that they don’t even recognize them or know they have them.

The assertion that Jesus and the apostles never quoted from the 7 books removed by Martin Luther is supposed to prove that these books were, therefore, rejected by both Jesus and the Apostles. So, they should NOT be in the Canon of Scripture. But please examine the scriptures to see if this is true JESUS NEVER QUOTED FROM THE APOCRYPHA.

But this hermeneutic proves too much. Because, Jesus and the apostles DO NOT QUOTE from Ecclesiastes, Esther, Obadiah, Zephania, Judges, I Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations, Nahum, or the Song of Songs. To be consistent Protestant would need to remove these books from their OT. It is inconsistent to criticize the Catholic Canon for including nonquoted OT books when the Protestant Canon also includes nonquoted OT Books.

A further problem with this idea that Quotation=Canonicity is that the apostles DO quote uncanonized books from the OT period. Should they, therefore, have been canonized? Jude 1:9 quotes from The Assumption of Moses because the story he cites is not found anywhere in the OT. Also, in Jude 1:14-15 the author quotes from the Book of Enoch and declares it prophetic. The Book of Enoch is not in the OT Canon either.

To make matters even worse using this hemenutic: Quotation=Canonicity, St. Paul quotes the pagan poets: Menander in I Cor 15:33, Aratus (300BC) in Acts 17:28 and Epimenides in Acts 17:28 and Titus 1:12. Since no one is advocating the canonization of these Pagan poets of what use is the principle of: Quotation=Canonicity? Or is it just a handy club to beat on the Catholic Church.

To go even further it must be asked,

“Is it even true that Jesus and the apostles do not quote anything from the 7 books removed by Luther?”

For the answer please see my post Jesus Never Quoted from the Apocrypha.

Q. Many great leaders of the early church spoke out against the apocrypha-Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Athanasius.

A. The fact is that before the Church makes a final decision about something like, “Which Books are inspired?” discussion and disagreement will exist. There is nothing heretical or wrong with it. In the 400 years between Jesus’ death and the final closing of the canon of scripture there was agreement on most of the books but disagreement on a handful of other books. You might want to see my post…Who Decided Which Books Should Be in the Bible?

As long as there is general agreement about a doctrine, a Church council does not need to define it dogmatically. But when confusion grows beyond the ability of local priests and bishops to clear it up a Church council will be called or the Pope will issue a declaration and solemnly define the dogma that must be believed by the faithful.

For instance the faithful had always believed in Mary’s Immaculate conception. But after the Reformation and by the mid 19th century confusion needed to be cleared up so Pope Pius IX defined it as dogma in Ineffabilis Deus on December 8, 1854.

Jumping ahead to our own time we see the institution of marriage being undermined by our culture in many ways. For instance, Christians have always and everywhere believed that Marriage was between one man and one woman. However, this has never been dogmatically defined by the Catholic Church. But, today the Christian definition of marriage is under severe and unrelenting attack. Most Christians are still pretty clear about this but there may come a time when the faithful become so confused that the Church will need to solemnly define a Dogma of Marriage.

In the cases of the Immaculate Conception and the definition of Marriage there is a history of belief. The Church KNEW what had always been believed. But, in the case of the canon there was honest disagreement and discussion about exactly which books belonged in the Sacred Scriptures, because it had NEVER been decided before.

That is why Origen et al. voiced their opinions.
Q. Jerome rejected the apocrypha and would not include it into his Latin Vulgate translation. He eventually translated a few after being pressured by Augustine.

A. It is very true that Jerome argued against accepting the seven books into the canon. His argument was worthy of consideration. These were his opinions and input right at the time when the canon was being decided. However, once the Church and the Pope, by the power and authority of Christ, decided and closed the canon of scripture, Jerome, by the virtue of humility, accepted the decision and translated ALL of the OT books into Latin.

For more click–>Five Myths about the Seven Books


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