Why Do Catholics…Part 13 – Have more Books in the Bible

“Mom?   Who wrote the Bible?”Bible3

“God did, Sweetie.”

“Did he use a computer or just write it all down?  Did it take him a long time to write it?”


Explaining how the Bible came about can be a confusing subject for an adult, let alone for a kid who has never known anything but technology.

And then when they become more perceptive, which kids inevitably do, they may ask why some friends’ Bibles don’t have as many books in them as their Catholic Bible.

All of these questions may be cause for a history lesson.  Depending on the age of the child, a simple explanation may suffice – “God used people to help him write the Bible a long time ago before computers or even before books.”  This can also be termed as divinely inspired – the Holy Spirit assisted people in writing what God wished to tell us.

But for the older, more inquisitive kids, you may have to have a few details worked out first.  So here’s your history lesson that you can tailor to your child’s age and understanding….

A very long time ago, before Christ walked on the earth, the Bible was simply a set of scriptures, never coordinated into a single work.  Originally, there were 46 books that were circulated throughout the Jewish synagogues.  In fact, these 46 books were the ones that Jesus would have learned from.

After Christ’s resurrection, the new Christians that were being converted spoke mostly Greek.  In order to worship better, the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek.  The Jewish leaders finally decided what books to include in the Torah a couple hundred years after Christ.  In part, this choice was because the Jewish leaders wanted to separate themselves from the blooming Christian population.

By this time, the Christian Church began putting together the Bible as we know it now with the Council of Hippo in the 300’s.  They included all of the books that Jesus would have learned from including the eliminated Jewish books, termed the Deuterocanonical books.  These include the books of Baruch, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Sirach (also known as Ecclesiasticus), Tobit, and Wisdom.

To choose what books belonged in the Bible, the Holy Spirit directed the men of the Council and Bibletouched their hearts to put the books together into what now exists in the Catholic Bible.

The Bible existed this way for over 1000 years, with all books intact until 1534 when Martin Luther made the choice to eliminate the Deuterocanonical books, paring the Old Testament down to only 39 books.  He did this in part because he didn’t agree with some of the teachings, especially those in Maccabees regarding purgatory.  As a side note, Luther also wanted to take James and Revelations out of the Bible because of the verses on faith versus works.  But that’s an article for another day!

For now, I hope that this helps you teach your children how the Bible came about.

Check out next week’s article – Reading the Bible

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