The Protestant Christians believe in Sola Scriptura, that is, that they should live by scripture alone. If it’s not in the Holy Bible, then it isn’t so. Nowhere in the Holy Bible says Scripture Alone. It actually says tradition and scripture. St. Paul wrote about tradition to the Thessalonians:
“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
This is why Catholics believe in Scripture and tradition. It is in the Holy Bible. Scripture alone is not. But what is scripture? What was selected to be the work of the Holy Spirit? Yes. What was selected to be the work of the Holy Spirit minus whatever we don’t agree with? No.
Which brings up the point that the Catholics have a few extra books and extra chapters in other books. The Protestants do not have these books and sometimes refer to these books as “Apocrypha” or Hidden Things. They are all Old Testament by the way. So, time to set that record straight. The Catholics and the Orthodox did not add these books to the Bible, as many Protestants are taught. I can only guess out of ignorance and not out of maliciousness. They have always been there. These are facts of history.
Martin Luther deleted them from the Protestant Bible. Why would he do that? He had, what he thought, were very good reasons. These particular books did not agree with his interpretation of scripture. He thought that they were an interesting read but did not belong in the Bible because not only did he disagree with them but the Jews had also removed them from their group of sacred books. Remember, the Bible is a library of books.
We know this from history and affirmed with the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This begs the question, “Why did the Jews remove them?” Well, that is under debate but here are some telling facts. It only happened after the Resurrection of Jesus. Along with these deletions there were changes made to the works that were left. Such as Isaiah 53, in which the foretelling of Jesus is spelled out. Isaiah 53 became known as the forbidden chapter. The Jewish Rabbis just stopped teaching it. Jewish scholars admit that they know that the scriptures have been corrupted but don’t go much farther than that. The thing of it is that the passages changed in the Old Testament seemed to be changed to prove that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah. For example, the change to the ages of the descendants of Shem so that Shem is Melchizedek, which in a long-convoluted way makes Jesus not the Messiah. This is not stellar recommendation for the deletions, if you ask me. Moreover, Jesus quoted from those books! So did the apostles!
Here are just a few examples of almost exact quotes:
“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; if you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your heavenly father forgive your transgressions.” — Matthew 6:12, 14–15
“Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.” — Sirach 28:2
“If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?” — John 3:12
“Scarce do we guess the things on earth, and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty; but when things are in heaven, who can search them out?” — Wisdom 9:16
“(The enemies of Christ persecute us), trying to prevent us from speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved, thus constantly filling up the measure of their sins. But the wrath of God has finally begun to come upon them.” — 1 Thessalonians 2:16
“Thus, in dealing with other nations, the Lord patiently waits until they reach the full measure of their sins before he punishes them; but with us he has decided to deal differently” — 2 Maccabees 6:14
These books were good enough for Jesus but not good enough for Luther? So not only is Luther telling you how to read the Bible (more on that later) but restricting what you read as well. Moreover, Luther also wanted to get rid of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation. This was also because they disagreed with his interpretation of scripture. Although, this personal judgement of Luther’s was not accepted by his followers so those New Testament books stayed. And these books actually do contradict many of Luther’s teachings that have filtered down to Protestants throughout the years.
Now, Protestants believe that everyone must interpret the scriptures for themselves. True, very, very true. But Catholics and Orthodox believe that everyone must interpret the scriptures for themselves within reason, certain logical boundaries that cross reference the rest of the Bible with each passage. For example, all Christians would say that it is wrong to interpret the part of the Bible that says that God created the world to mean that God only created the philosophical idea of a world and not the actual world itself which was created by Aliens. Why? Because that would be ridiculous and would make no sense to interpret the passage that way if the rest of the Bible is true. Which we all know is true. But Protestants also have constraints as well, Luther set them up. He is giving you his interpretations, such as Sola Scriptura — which again, is not even in the Bible.
This acceptance of some of the books and not others have, 500 years later, allowed Protestants to believe that many teachings of the Catholic and Orthodox religions are not in the Bible. But that, my friends, were because they were removed. Every teaching of the Catholic and Orthodox faiths are in the Bible!
Again, we find that this huge divide among Christians is all because of a misunderstanding. History, it clears up so much! If you are a Protestant go ahead and read the “other” books of the Bible, you will find them quite illuminating.
Peace be with you.