How is a Catholic Bible different from a Protestant Bible?
Isn't a Bible a Bible?
As I grew older and travelled and conversed with other people (Catholics & non-Catholics) about the Bible, more and more I came across people who didn't have a clue about three (3) of my favourite Books in the Bible that I would often speak about or quote from - Tobit (also called Tobias), Wisdom and Sirach (also called Ecclesiasticus).
In some instances, I would myself be shocked since those persons professed to have such good knowledge of the Holy Bible. So I then began searching different Bibles for the reason why some people didn't know about my favourite Books in the Bible which contain such profound knowledge for every human being on how to live everyday life.
Then I found it! I didn't even know this myself growing up as a Catholic all these years even though I read the Bible regularly. A Catholic Bible contains seven (7) additional Old Testament Books - Tobit (Tobias), Judith, 1st Maccabees, 2nd Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) and Baruch - as well as some additional texts in two (2) other Old Testament Books - Esther and Daniel.
I want you to read those Catholic Books in the Holy Bible for yourself. So in the remainder of this article, I will just give you a sneak peek into each of those seven (7) additional Books in order to pique your interest and encourage you to gain the bountiful wisdom that each of them holds for the reader.
I won't deal with the Books of Esther or Daniel since they are in the Protestant Bible but just have some additional texts in the Catholic Bible.If you'd like more details as to WHY the difference came to be, you can visit the EWTN Online Library to read Father William Saunders' detailed account.
Bible Poll No. 1
Did you know that a Catholic Bible has 7 additional books before today?
Catholic Bibles (Book & Kindle Versions)
More Wisdom for Everyday Living!
Sneak Peek into Holy Bible Book No. 1 - Tobit
Since I love fables and allegory, this Book of Tobit has always been rather appealing to me. Tobit contains 14 chapters and focuses on four (4) main characters - Tobit, Tobias, Sarah and Archangel Raphael.
Tobit is a Jew who was captured from his hometown in northern Israel and brought into captivity in Assyria along with his wife Anna and his son Tobias. By all accounts he is a very faithful Jew who observes all of the Laws of Moses and remains faithful to his faith and religion while in captivity and throughout many hardships.
Tobias, who is Tobit's only son, sets out on a difficult and long journey to another town in order to recover some money that his father Tobit had left 20 years earlier with a man called Gabael.
Sarah is a young woman who has been married seven (7) times but who suffers the misfortune of each husband being killed even before they have time to consummate their marriage. She eventually marries Tobias and they live happily ever after.
Archangel Raphael appears on the scene in answer to the prayers of both Tobit and Sarah who are praying in separate places about their individual troubles. Through the help of Archangel Raphael and God's Divine Order and intervention things turn out well for all four (4) of the main characters in the Book of Tobit.
Bible Poll No. 2
Which of these Archangels is your favourite?
Sneak Peek into Holy Bible Book No. 2 - Judith
As a woman, I am particularly intrigued by the Book of Judith because it is 1 of 3 Books in the entire Old Testament where a woman is prominently featured. That's significant considering that there are 46 Books in the Old Testament.
There are 16 chapters in the Book of Judith. The first 7 chapters focus on a war between the King of Assyria and the King of Mede (now North-western Iran and south-east Turkey), the King of Assyria's revenge on the nations that did not assist him during that war and the Israelites' defense plans against an oncoming attack from the King of Assyria.
Then the heroine of this Book - Judith - takes over the story from chapter 8 right through to chapter 16. She meets with the town officials and imparts her wisdom on how things should be handled. She receives a strong nod of approval from the town officials who add, "Everything you have said makes good sense, and no one can argue with it" (Judith 8:28).
Again this is huge because in Old Testament times women were not considered capable of giving advice of any sort and certainly not about military tactics!She devises a secret plan - yes, she even tells the town officials "...you must not ask me what I am going to do; I will explain it to you when it is all over" (Judith 8:34) - that saves the Israelites. In the Bible's own words, "For the rest of her life she was famous throughout the land of Israel" (Judith 16:21).
ALL the Women in the Bible! - The Good Girls & The Bad Girls
Sneak Peek into Holy Bible Book No. 3 - 1st Maccabees
If you think that guerrillas and guerrilla warfare was invented by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, then you’re in for a big surprise!
First Maccabees showcases six (6) famous guerrillas; Mattathias and his 5 sons, John, Simon, Judas, Eleazar and Jonathan.
As background to why these Old Testament guerrillas were born, you need to understand what was happening at that time. It was around the time of ruthless leaders such as Alexander the Great, who was known for having “created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to Egypt and into present-day Pakistan” (Alexander the Great, Wikipedia ) through his famous conquests.
The Jews in Israel were also being persecuted and forced to abandon their faith. When Mattathias dies, his son Judas takes over the cause of fighting for Israel and the Jews and he is supported by his other brothers and some loyal followers.
And would you believe it! When Judas dies in battle, his brother Jonathan bravely takes over as the leader of the band of guerrillas and he has many successful victories himself.
There are 16 nail-biting chapters in this book. Go read them for yourself!
Sneak Peek into Holy Bible Book No. 4 - 2nd Maccabees
In the 15 chapters of Second Maccabees, there are more Jewish persecutions, invasions, wars, attacks on Jerusalem, political intrigue, plots, betrayal, court trials, suicide, murders, letters back and forth and ruthless tyrannical leaders such as Antiochus Epiphanes.
He gave himself this name which, when translated means “God Manifest" (Antioch IV Epiphanes, Wikipedia ), when he ascended to the Throne as King. Does that tell you enough about his arrogance?
The most heart-rending story of all, though, is that of a mother who loses all of her 7 sons in 1 day as they are tortured and killed one by one in the most horrific ways, while she is forced to look on by Antiochus Epiphanes. I don’t think that you can find a better thrilling page-turner anywhere!
Sneak Peek into Holy Bible Book No. 5 - Wisdom
This is one of my favourite Old Testament Books in the Holy Bible!
There is sound advice for leaders, the great responsibility they have as leaders and how they should dispense with their duties as leaders.
There are examples of the results of wisdom and lack of wisdom for several renowned Bible personalities such as Adam, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Joseph and Moses.
Some of the chapters review particular events related to the Israelites escape from bondage in Egypt from a different perspective, the fate of the Egyptians, God’s providence for the Israelites while in the desert etc.
Sneak Peek into Holy Bible Book No. 6 - Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)
Now this is one of the creme-de-la-creme Books in the Holy Bible! While reading through the 51 chapters in the Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), everyone can gain wisdom to last for a lifetime in every situation and throughout the changing seasons of their lives.
It is a Book that you will find yourself coming back to again and again and again... Well you get the picture. There is advice about self-control, begging, giving to the poor, generosity, kindness, charity, sincerity, self-confidence, relations with others, using common sense, pride, humility, self-respect, appearances, responsibly using wealth, self-examination, loose and inappropriate talk, knowing when to speak, laziness, taking oaths, sin, betrayal, hypocrisy, resentment, loans and repayment, guaranteeing debt, home and hospitality, bringing up children, problems caused by money, behaviour at dinner parties, independence, interpreting the law, choosing a wife, false friends, controlling one’s appetite, sickness and medicine, work, mourning for the dead, death, the joys of human life, the results of evil etc.
There is even advice for parents, children, women, men, leaders, fathers and daughters. It also highlights various qualities of a good friend , and gives sound advice about how to choose friends and avoid false friends.
Did I leave out anything? Well I am sure that you will find it somewhere in the Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)! That’s how comprehensive this Book is.
Sneak Peek into Book No. 7 - Baruch
The Book of Baruch is very short; 6 chapters taking up only 4 pages in the entire Holy Bible. It quite appropriately follows the Book of Lamentations which poetically but sorrowfully describes the destruction and fall of Jerusalem (circa 586 B.C.) as well as the demolition of the magnificent Temple built by Solomon, which was the pride and joy of the Israelites.
We shouldn’t have done it! Baruch is a tearful admission by the Israelites in exile that their sins against God is what led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and them being held in captivity by the Babylonians. Only the poorest of the poor are left behind in Jerusalem and the Israelites living in exile send on some money for their countrymen left behind as well as a Book to be read.
The exiled Jews from Israel and Judah make a public confession of sin and urge their countrymen back in Judah and Israel to do the same. They also offer up a public plea to God asking for deliverance from their misery in exile.
Baruch, who was secretary to the Prophet Jeremiah, tells the people that they “will remain there [in Babylon] in exile for many years, as long as seven generations” (Baruch 6:2) but he comforts them in the same breath, quickly pointing out, ...then God will lead you peacefully home from Babylon”.
Small comfort, though, but some comfort all the same, given that it meant they would be in captivity for at least 140 years; since a generation is considered roughly between 20 to 25 years. A really sad end to a very great nation!
So you see? Whoever said that the Bible was boring to read is a liar!