1. What does the word "Bible" mean?
The word "Bible" means "book."
2. From what language is the word derived? (Etymological definition)
From the Latin "Biblia," which in turn comes from the
3. Is the Greek word for what we call the "Bible" in the
singular or in the plural?
In the plural, which means that it should be translated "the books".
4. Why did the Greeks use the plural form?
They used the plural form because the Bible is not one book
but a collection of books.
5. Is the Latin word for what we call the Bible in the
singular or in the plural?
It is in the singular and, therefore, should be translated "the
6. Why does the Latin use the singular form?
Because the Bible is the most important book there is, since
it is the Word of God.
7. What does the Bible contain?
The Bible contains chiefly a history of God's Revelation to
8. What does the Bible give us in addition to the history
of God's dealings with mankind?
In addition, the Bible gives us instructions in faith and
9. Does the Bible give other instructions?
Certain books give detailed instructions for the carrying out
of religious worship in the Old Law.
10. Did the Bible, as some seem to think, fall from heaven?
No; the Bible was written by man.
11. If the Bible was written by man, why do we say it is the
written word of God?
Though written by man, we can truly say it is the written word
of God, because it was written under the inspiration of God.
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Inspiration Of The Bible
1. Must we believe in the inspiration of the Bible?
Yes, the inspiration of the Bible is an article of Faith which
cannot be denied without sin.
2. What is meant by inspiration of the Bible?
Inspiration of the Bible means, in the first place, that those
who wrote the Bible were impelled to do so by God.
3. What else is meant by inspiration of the Bible?
Principally that those who wrote the Bible were protected
from error while writing what God impelled them to write.
4. Is there a special name for that protection of the writer
Yes, it is called "biblical inerrancy." It means that there are no
errors in the Bible.
5. What proof have we that the Bible is inspired?
The Catholic Church, which is infallible, teaches us so.
6. Does not the Church itself rely on the Bible for proofs of
Besides those found in the Bible, the Church has many other
proofs for its infallibility.
7. What general proof have we for the inspiration of the
Besides many others, we have Our Lord's constant references
to the Old Testament as the word of God, while the early
Christian Church testifies to the inspiration of the New
8. Are all the parts of the Bible inspired?
"For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and
canonical are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts,
at the dictation of the Holy Ghost ..." (Leo the XIII in
Providentissimus Deus, E.B. 124, 127)
9. Does the inspiration apply to the originals only, or to the
Both: It applies absolutely to the originals, and to the
translations insofar as they are faithful to the originals.
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Dates And Division Of The Bible
1. When was the Bible written?
The Bible was written during a period covering more than
2. When was the first book written?
The exact date is not known, but it must have been some
fifteen hundred years before Christ, since its author was
3. When was the last book written?
The last book was written about the year 93 A.D.
4. What period of time does the Bible, as a book of history,
As a history, the Bible covers a period of many thousands of
5. Name the event with which the Bible, as a book of
The creation of the universe.
6. What events bring the Bible, as a book of history, to a
The life of Christ and early spread of Christianity.
7. How is the Bible divided?
The Bible is divided into the Old and New Testaments.
8. Is the division into Old and New Testaments suitable?
It is, since the Old Testament deals with the span of time
before Christ's first coming with the expectation for the future
Savior, while the New Testament treats of His life and work
in this world, or the realization of that hope.
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The Old Testament
1. How many books does the Old Testament contain?
It contains from forty-five to forty-seven books, depending
on how the books are divided.
2. Into how many classes may these books be divided?
3. Name these classes.
Didactic or Doctrinal, Historical, and Prophetic books.
4. Is there any reason for this classification?
Yes, the very matter contained in them suggests this
5. What are the Didactic or Doctrinal books?
There are the books that contain the teachings of God to
6. How many Didactic books are there in the Old
Seven: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticle of
Canticles, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus.
7. Why are others called "Prophetical Books"?
Because they treat of the Messiah and His life, passion, and
death in a prophetical manner.
8. Are all the Prophetical books of equal importance?
No; four of these books are called the Greater Prophets
because they are greater in length and deal with more
important matters, generally, than the other twelve which are
called the Lesser Prophets.
9. Why are the remaining books classified as "Historical
The remaining books are so classified because they narrate the
history of the People of God and the history of our salvation.
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The New Testament
1. How many books are there in the New Testament?
There are twenty-seven books in the New Testament.
2. When were these books written?
These books were written during a period extending from
35 A.D. to 93 A.D.
3. By whom were they written?
They were written mainly by the Apostles.
4. Why do we say "mainly"?
We say "mainly" because some books of the New
Testament were written by men who were not the Apostles,
i.e., St. Mark and St. Luke.
5. How may the books of the New Testament be classified?
Like those of the Old Testament, the books of the New may
be grouped into three classes.
6. Name these three classes.
They are the same classes as with the Old Testament:
Historical, Didactic, and Prophetical.
7. Name the Historical Books.
The Historical Books are the four Gospels and the Acts of
8. Name the Didactic Books.
The Didactic Books are all the Epistles.
9. Name the Prophetical Books.
There is only one Prophetical Book i? the New Testament,
namely, the Apocalypse of St. John.
10. What do we learn from the New Testament?
From the New Testament we learn the principal events in the
Life of Christ, many Christian beliefs and practices, as well as
much history of the early Catholic Church.
11. Was the New Testament written primarily to convert
No, conversion was done by preaching. The New Testament
was written to strengthen the Faith of the people already
12. Can we prove it?
Yes: "It seems good to me also, ... to write to thee in order,
most excellent Theophilus, that thou mayest know the verity
of those words in which thou hast been instructed" (Lc. I, 3-4).
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Canon Of Sacred Scripture
1. How many books does the entire Bible contain?
Seventy-two or seventy-four, depending on the way they are
2. How do we know with certainty that the Bible contains
only these books?
We know with certainty that the Bible contains only these
books because the number is fixed by the "Canon of the
3. What is meant by the word "Canon"?
"Canon" is a Greek word that means a standard or rule.
4. What is meant by the "Canon of Scriptures"?
Originally, the Canon of Scriptures meant the qualifications
required of a book before admittance into the number of
recognized inspired writings; now it means the very collection
of these books recognized as inspired.
5. Who decides which books belong to the Bible and which
The Catholic Church decides.
6. By what authority does the Catholic Church make this
By that of Christ, Who has made her the infallible teacher of
faith and morals by both the oral and the written word.
7. What special mark was required of a book before its
admittance into the collection known as the Bible?
The special mark required was clear proof of its inspiration.
8. By whom was the first list of the books of the Bible drawn
Pope Damasus, at the Roman Council of 382 A.D.
9. By what name are those books, whose authenticity was
never questioned, known?
They are known as the Proto-Canonical Books.
10. Why are they so called?
They are so called because from the beginning they were
recognized as Scriptural; the Greek prefix "proto" has the
signification "from the first" or "originally," hence the use of
the term "proto-canonical" to describe those books.
11. By what name are the disputed books known?
They are known as the Deutero-Canonical Books.
12. Why are they so called?
They are so called because their recognition as Scriptural
came "afterwards"; the Greek word "Deutero" used as a
prefix has the signification of "second" or "later."
13. Name the Deutero-Canonical Books.
Tobias, Wisdom, Baruch, Ecclesiasticus, Machabees (I &
II), Judith, Esther (Ch X. v. 4 to end), Daniel (Ch. III, vs.
52-93). The Protestants call them "Apocryphal" Books.
14. Why did the Hebrews not admit these books as part of the
As a whole, the Hebrews stopped admitting these books after
the second Century A.D., because they were written in
languages other than Hebrew, or were of uncertain authorship.
15. Did the Hebrews ever formally rejected these books?
On the contrary, even if they did not accept these books as
part of the Bible, they were always held in the greatest
reverence by the Hebrews.
16. Under what guidance does the Church declare which
books are canonical and which are not?
Under the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
17. How do we know that she has this guidance?
We know that she has this guidance because Christ promised
assistance to His Church until the end of times
18. Has the Church made use of human means in drawing up
the Canon of Scriptures?
Yes; she investigated carefully whether the doctrine taught in
the book was in harmony with Tradition and whether the book
was of apostolic origin.
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The Bible And Tradition
1. Do we not have in the Bible books written by authors,
other than the Apostles?
We have, but these authors lived in apostolic times and merely
recorded the words and deeds of the Apostles themselves.
2. Why does the Church not admit any books except those of
The Church does not accept any book not of Apostolic origin
because the Deposit of Faith was completed with the death of
the last Apostle (St. John).
3. Why does the Church require that a book should be in
harmony with Tradition?
She requires that a book be in harmony with Tradition because
the Gospel had already been preached before a word of the
New Testament was ever written.
4. Are there in the Bible any books whose inspiration was
doubted by some for a time?
Yes, the Second Epistle of St Peter, the Epistle to the
Hebrews, and the Apocalypse.
5. Are there any books not found in the Bible today which
for a time were thought by some to be inspired?
Yes, namely the "Gospel of St. James," the "Gospel of St.
Thomas," the "Acts of St. Paul," amongst many others.
6. What happened to these books once thought to be inspired?
They were rejected as spurious. It does not mean necessarily
that these books are bad; it simply means that they are not part
of the Bible because they were not inspired by the Holy Ghost;
they are what we Catholics call "Apocrypha" or "Apocryphal
books." The Protestants erroneously give the name
"Apocrypha" to the Deutero-Canonical books.
7. What does this attitude of the Church prove?
This attitude proves, amongst other things, that the Church
sifts everything carefully before approving or rejecting.
8. What do we mean by Tradition?
By Tradition we mean that body of doctrine which has been
handed down to us, alongside the doctrine clearly taught in the
9. Who has handed down Tradition?
The Church, through her teaching office (Also called
"Magisterium"), has handed down Tradition.
10. What guarantee have we that Tradition is not false?
We have the guarantee of Christ in His statement that the
Church would not err in teaching.
11. Does the Bible then, not contain all Christian revelation?
No, and it was never intended that it should.
12. What proof do we have that the Bible does not contain
the complete Deposit of Faith?
There is the fact that Christ commissioned His Apostles to
"Preach and teach" (Mt. 28, 19), whereas no mention of
"Writing" is found; furthermore, the Gospel was widely
spread before a single word of the New Testament was ever
13. What further Scriptural proof have we that the Bible does
not contain the complete Deposit of Faith?
The words of St. John that conclude his Gospel, "But there
are also many other things which Jesus did; which if they
were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be
able to contain the books that should be written" (Jn. 21, 25).
14. What view do Protestants hold about the Deposit of
Protestants hold that all things necessary for salvation are
found in the Bible. To quote Luther: "The Bible and the Bible
15. Do Protestants ignore Tradition?
Totally, and in this they are illogical, for it is by Tradition that
we know what the Bible contains.
16. What is the Catholic view of the Bible and Tradition?
That, while the Bible is the chief source, it is neither the only
nor the original source of our knowledge of Revelation.
17. To what may we compare the relation between the Bible
We may compare it to a professor's textbooks and his lectures;
as a professor's lectures in the classroom, and his textbooks
clarify each other, so does the Bible clarify Tradition and is
clarified by it in turn.
18. Has Tradition aided the Bible in other ways?
Yes, it has preserved the Bible and has helped the Church to
sift the true from the false, and has kept us from false
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The Languages Of The Bible
1. Were all the books of the Bible originally written in one
No, besides Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic were used.
2. What books were written in Hebrew?
Almost all the books of the Old Testament.
3. What books were written in Greek?
In the Old Testament, the Second Book of Machabees and the
Book of Wisdom; in the New Testament, all books except the
Gospel of St. Matthew.
4. What books were written in Aramaic?
The Gospel of St. Matthew.
5. When were the books of the Old Testament, that were
originally written in Hebrew, translated into Greek?
About 220 years before Christ.
6. Why was the translation from Hebrew into Greek made?
Because the Jewish people was dispersed into countries where
the Greek tongue predominated, and so it gradually forgot the
mother tongue, speaking only Greek. Hence the wish to have
the Bible in the Greek tongue.
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The Septuagint Version
1. Who were the translators of the Old Testament?
The translators of the Old Testament were Jewish scholars
well acquainted with both the Hebrew and the Greek
2. By what name is this translation known?
It is known as the Septuagint Version.
3. Why is it called by that name?
It is called by that name because it was commonly supposed
that seventy scholars were employed in the work of
4. Was it known by any other name besides that of the
It was known as the Alexandrian Version to distinguish it from
the Hebrew or Palestinian Version.
5. Why was it known as the "Alexandrian Bible?"
Because this translation was made in Alexandria, Egypt, which
had the biggest and most vibrant Jewish community outside of
6. Is there any other difference between the Septuagint and
the Palestinian version, besides their language?
Several; The Septuagint contains more books than the
Palestinian version and is about three hundred years older.
The Palestinian Version originated approximately around 106
A.D. and is different from the Hebrew texts that were the
basis for the Septuagint translation.
7. Why does the Septuagint have more books than the
The translators had a well-founded belief that these books
8. Were these added books accepted by the Hebrews?
Yes, but only up until 106 A.D., when the Palestinian, known
also as the pharisaic version, became the norm.
9. Was the Septuagint Version much in use in Our Lord's time?
It was used not only by the Greek-speaking Jews but also by
the Palestinian Jews; Our Lord and the Apostles frequently
10. Did this Greek translation of the Bible help to spread
It helped very much, because Gentiles, particularly the Greek
philosophers, had ?ead it, and had knowledge of the
prophecies referring to the Messiah, with the result that when
St. Paul preached to them, many converts were made.
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1. Name again the languages of the Old Testament before
the time of Christ.
Hebrew and Greek.
2. In what languages did the Apostles write their Gospels
They wrote their Gospels and Epistles in Greek, except St.
Matthew, who wrote his Gospel in Aramaic.
3. How did translations in languages other than Hebrew and
Greek come into existence?
As Catholicism spread among peoples of different languages,
the demand for the Bible in their various languages grew.
4. Name some of the earlier languages into which the Bible
Armenian, Syrian, Coptic, Arabic, and Ethiopian.
5. Was the Bible translated into Latin?
Many translations into Latin were made during the early
6. Were these Latin translations satisfactory?
No; many inaccuracies existed, due to errors of the copyists,
or errors of translation caused by a poor understanding of the
7. Which of the Latin translations was the best known?
The best known Latin translation was either the "Old African"
or the "Old Italian" (Vetus Itala).
8. What was the result of the general dissatisfaction with
these Latin translations?
Pope Damasus (Pope from 366 to 384) commissioned St.
Jerome to make a new and accurate translation.
9. How did St Jerome go about this work?
He studied carefully the Hebrew and Greek versions, and from
these made his new translation.
10. By what name is the Latin translation of St. Jerome
It is known as the Vulgate Version. Vulgate means common
or vulgar in Latin and it was called so because Latin was the
common tongue of the Western Roman Empire.
11. Does the Vulgate have the Church's special approval?
The Council of Trent (Italy) in 1546 declared it to be the only
authentic and official version for the Latin Rite: " The same
Sacred and Holy Synod ... hereby declares and enacts that the
same well-known Old Latin Vulgate edition ... is to be held
authentic in public readings, disputations,sermons, and
expositions, and that no one shall dare or presume to reject it
under any pretense whatsoever." (DZ. 785). It is still the
official Catholic Bible today.
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The Douay Bible
1. Is there a Catholic translation of the Bible in English?
Yes, it is the translation known as the Douay-Rheims Version.
It was translated from the Latin Vulgate.
2. Why is it called "Douay-Rheims"?
Because it was begun at Rheims and finished at Douay in
1582-1609 by a group of English priests exiled in France.
3. What happened in the sixteenth century to cause the
publication of a reliable and accurate translation?
During the Protestant "Deformation" in England many false
translations had been made, hence there was great necessity of
placing in the hands of Catholics a reliable and accurate
4. Is it true that the Bible was never translated into
vernacular languages before the Protestant Deformation?
It is not true; the first translation known in England was the
translation into Anglo-Saxon made by Venerable Bede in the
eighth century. There is a Gothic translation, made by a
certain bishop Ulfilas around 1380. The first German
translation predates Luther by a good fifty years.
5. Why do Protestants assert that the Bible was never
translated before the Deformation?
Through a mixture of ignorance and bad faith.
6. What is the most well known of the false?English
It is the version called the "King James," named after the King
who commissioned it in 1604. It was finished in 1611. It is
still the most popular of the Protestant Bibles in the English
7. What is wrong with the "King James" version?
Like all the Protestant Bibles, it is incomplete and poorly
translated. It is a "Pick and choose" version. Such is the real
lack of respect of the "Reformers" for the word of God!
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The Bible And Science
1. Is the Bible a book of science?
The Bible is not a book of science, and was never intended to
answer the purpose of a book of science.
2. Does the Bible teach anything that has to do with science?
Yes, the Bible mentions many things that have to do with
3. Name one biblical account that touches on science.
The account of the Creation in the Book of Genesis touches
on many branches of science.
4. Does not the Bible contain many things that science has
Since God is the author of the Bible and also, the foundation
of true science, the Bible cannot err when it touches on
5. How, then, are we to account for the apparent
contradictions between the Bible and science?
In many ways, for example: some so-called scientific findings
are false; others are mere unsubstantiated theories (Evolution);
while still others, when properly examined, do not contradict
the biblical narrative.
6. Is not the Bible statement that the sun stood still in the
heavens (Jos. 10, 13) an example of obvious error?
No, we must remember that the Bible was written in every-day
language of the time, not in scientific terms. Even to this day,
for example, we speak of sunset even though the sun is not
setting anywhere and we know that the Earth is orbiting
around the Sun and not vice-versa.
7. Can one be a great scientist and still be a firm believer in
Yes, there have been and are now many great Catholic
scientists, believing firmly in the Bible.
8. Name some scientists who, at the same time, believed
firmly in the Bible.
Copernicus (a priest), Pascal, Gauss, Ampere, Pasteur,
Marconi, to name just a few.
9. Does the Catholic Church discourage the study of science
as being opposed to the Bible?
Nonsense; on the contrary, the Catholic Church has always
encouraged science; some of her most eminent children have
also been leaders in science.
10. Can science be of any help to Bible study?
True science can help Bible study in interpreting some
11. Is the Bible helpful in the study of science?
As a lighthouse helps a ship at sea, so does the Bible help
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The Bible And History
1. Is the Bible an historical book?
The Bible is not an historical book per se; it is primarily a
religious book; but it does contain a certain amount of
historical teaching, which benefits from inerrancy, like all the
rest of the Bible.
2. Why would historical teachings benefit from inerrancy?
A great number of historical facts are intimately united to our
Faith in such a way that one cannot deny the historical facts in
the Bible, without denying the Faith.
3. Give an example of such a connection between our faith
The historical fact of the Resurrection of Our Lord cannot be
denied without denying our Faith at the same time, for: "... If
Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your
faith also is vain ..." (I Cor. XV, 14).
4. How are we to account for the apparent contradictions
between the Bible and history?
There are several reasons which account for these apparent
- Most of the time the apparent contradiction is due, either to
a poor understanding of the text, or to a poor understanding
of the context.
- When this is not the case and we have historical sources
which contradict the Bible, it is the Bible which, time after
time, is finally proven right.
5. Give an example of the Bible being proven right against
Barely two hundred years ago, most of the non-Catholic
historians denied the existence of the Assyrian and Babylonian
empires, because the only known historical references of the
time came from the Bible. The archaeological excavations of
the last century not only proved the existence of both empires,
but located their capital cities: Babylon and Ninive.
No self-respecting historian will doubt the existence of these
6. So the Bible is always historically correct?
Yes, it is undoubtedly better to take God at His Word, than
any self-proclaimed "Expert historian." Most of the historians
who cling to an historical interpretation which contradict the
Bible, do so because of their religious prejudices, and not for
any serious historical or scientific reasons.
7. Can history be of any help to the study of the Holy
Yes; a good historical background is very useful for a proper
understanding of many parts of the Bible.
8. Is the Bible helpful in the study of history?
Yes: both as an historical source and as a guideline to avoid
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Interpreting The Bible
1. Is the meaning of the Bible so clear that anyone reading it,
can readily understand it?
The Bible is by no means so easily understood: St. Peter
himself tells us that it contains many things: "... hard to be
understood ..." (II Pet. III,16).
2. Whom do we have to interpret the Bible for us?
The Catholic Church interprets the Bible for us.
3. Is it natural that we should have a guide in interpreting
Quite natural, just as in America, we have the Supreme Court
to interpret the Constitution of the United States. The
difference is that the Church is infallible and the Supreme
Court is not!
4. So the Church cannot make mistakes in interpreting the
No, for she is under the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
5. How does that guidance manifest itself?
Through Tradition, the teachings of the Fathers, the Doctors
of the Church, and of learned men.
6. Do Protestants acknowledge the interpretation of the
Church or of any other authority?
No; Protestants hold that anyone who reads the Bible in the
proper spirit will be guided by the Holy Ghost in
7. Is this belief of Protestants a sensible one?
No; it is against the Bible, against Tradition, against reason.
8. How is it against reason?
Because the result of this belief has been that, as many
interpretations exist as there are individual thinkers, and many
of these interpretations contradict each other; since the Holy
Ghost cannot contradict Himself, He cannot be the guide of
these interpretations, and therefore, this belief of these
Protestants is false.
9. How is it against Tradition?
The constant Tradition of the Church since Apostolic times is
that the proper interpretation of the Word of God belongs to
the Church founded by Him, i.e., the Catholic Church; and as
St Paul tells us, we have to: "... stand fast: and hold the
traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our
epistle. ..." (II Thes. II, 14).
10. How is it against the Bible?
St. Peter warns us that in the Bi?le, there are: "... things hard
to be understood, which the unlearned and the unstable
wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own
destruction. ..." (II Pet. III,16). Now, if the Holy Ghost was
inspiring personally, every individual reader of Scripture, what
St Peter tells us would be impossible, because obviously, no
one can read the Bible for their own destruction, and be
inspired by the Holy Ghost at the same time. Since it is
certain that St Peter was inspired by the Holy Ghost when he
wrote that, it means that there is no personal inspiration from
the Holy Ghost while reading the Bible; and that this
Protestant belief cannot be true, since it contradicts the Bible.
11. Is the accusation that Catholics have no freedom of
interpretation in biblical matters true?
In a material or literal sense, it is true, exactly as in any
well-regulated society, nobody has the "freedom" to kill, maim, and
loot. In a spiritual sense, it is quite the opposite, for St. John
reminds us that: "... the truth shall make you free ..." (Jn.
VIII, 32), and thanks to the vigilance of the Church, Catholics
do enjoy freedom from error, which cannot be the case with
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Reading The Bible
1. Are we under any obligation to read the Bible?
We are under no obligation to read the Bible.
2. Are Catholics forbidden to read the Bible?
By no means; on the contrary, all Catholics are urged to read
3. Besides ordinary benefits, what do those gain who read
portions of the Bible every day?
"A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who with the
veneration due to the divine word make a spiritual reading
from Sacred Scripture. A plenary indulgence is granted, if this
reading is continued for at least one half an hour."
(Enchiridion of Indulgences. Authorized English edition.
1969. Catholic Book Publishers. New York. Page 68. # 50)
4. Is the Bible ever read for Catholics?
During every single Mass of every single day, portions of one
of the Gospels and of some other book of the Bible, often the
Epistles, are read. Many of the prayers of the Missal come
from the Bible.
5. Who is bound to read the Bible daily?
All those who have received Major Orders, and those
belonging to certain orders of monks or nuns, are bound to
read parts of the Bible daily.
6. What is such reading called?
It is called "saying the Holy Office" or "reciting the Breviary."
7. What portions of the Bible are read by those who are
bound to it?
In the course of the week the complete Book of the Psalms is
read, while in the course of the year a good part of the Bible,
together with commentaries of some parts, is read.
8. Is the reading of the Bible profitable?
The reading of the Bible is most profitable, for such readings
elevate our thoughts and lift them nearer to God.
9. In what spirit should the Bible be read?
It should be read in the spirit in which it was written, i.e., not
out of idle curiosity or for the sake of the language and
literature, but humbly and devoutly, for instruction and
10. May Catholics read any version of the Bible they choose?
No; Catholics are forbidden to read false versions, just as they
are forbidden to read bad books. The same principle is to be
applied by analogy to many so-called "Modern Catholic"
versions of the Bible because they depart considerably from
the only official Bible of the Church, which is the Vulgate,
and they were written with a Modernist and Ecumenical
motivation, more aimed at pacifying Protestants than for the
edification of the Catholic faithful.
11. How is the Bible read most profitably?
Either under a professor's guidance or with the aid of a reliable
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Differences Between Catholic And Protestant Versions
1. Does the Catholic version of the Bible differ from
Yes, in many ways.
2. What is the most noticeable difference?
The most noticeable difference is the absence of seven whole
books and parts of two others from the Protestant versions.
3. What books are not contained in the Protestant version?
The Deutero-Canonical Books (See lesson 6).
4. Why are the Deutero-Canonical Books Omitted by
Because the Protestant versions of the Bible follow the late
Palestinian version of the Bible, which also omits these books
(See lesson 8).
5. Name another difference between the Catholic and
Many important arbitrary changes are found in the texts of the
Protestant Bible. According to some scholars, the most
popular Protestant Bibles have literally hundreds of
mistranslations, additions and omissions.
6. To what do such changes of text lead?
They lead to an entirely different interpretation from the one
intended by the Sacred Writer.
7. Give an example of this change of text.
In Ephesians 2:8, St Paul says, "For by grace you are saved through faith ...",
and the New King James version reads, "For by grace you have been saved through faith ..."
8. Why were the Reformers so anxious to change texts?
They were anxious to change texts to give force to the
particular doctrine of their choice.
9. Should that behavior of the Reformers raise some
questions in our mind?
Yes, what did they believe exactly concerning the Bible?
Either they did not believe it was the Word of God, and
therefore felt free to change it any which way; or if they did
believe it was the Word of God, it took a lot of pride and
presumption to correct God's word. In either case, they
should be called "Deformers" rather than Reformers.
10. Name other differences between the King James version
and the Douay version.
The King James version has a preference for words of Anglo-Saxon
origin whereas the Douay version freely uses words of
Latin origin. The Douay version latinizes the name of
some books while the King James gives what they thought at
the time to be the Hebrew name. Many Protestant versions other
than King James omit the Epistle of St. James.
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Materials Used In Composing The Bible
1. What has become of the original copies of the Bible?
They have been either destroyed or lost.
2. What were the causes of destruction or loss?
Many, particularly persecution and the fragility of the
materials used, which did not withstand the ravages of time.
3. How was persecution a cause for the loss or destruction of
Sometimes the Christians themselves destroyed the original to
prevent profanation at the hands of the pagan persecutors;
some other times they were found and destroyed by the
pagans. The persecution of Decius (Roman Emperor from
249 to 251) was particularly vicious in this regard.
4. If the originals have been lost, how do we know whether
what we possess now are accurate copies?
We know from Tradition, History and the teaching authority
of the Church, that we possess accurate copies of the
5. What material was used in the writing of the Bible?
Before the invention of paper, papyrus, and vellum or
parchment were used.
6. What is papyrus?
Papyrus is the substance made from reeds of bull-rushes; a
plant particularly abundant in the valley?of the Nile in Egypt.
Two layers were placed at right angles to each other and glued
together. It was used mainly before the Christian era.
7. What is parchment or vellum?
The skin of animals, preferably goats and calves, especially
prepared for writing.
8. What was used in lieu of a pen?
For writing on papyrus, reeds were used, and for vellum, a
stylus or metal pen.
9. Were the books of the Bible bound as are our books?
No, they were rolled around a stick, hence we read of Our
Lord rolling and unrolling the Scriptures in the Temple. When
documents are in that form (rolled), they are usually called
10. What style of writing was used?
Up to around the third century A.D. only capital letters were
used. There was no separation between words, no division
between chapters, and no division between verses. This style
was call the Uncial style.
11. What style was used after the third century A.D.?
The style known as the Cursive style. There was still no
spacing between words, but capitals were introduced at the
beginning of sentences.
12. When were the books divided into chapters?
This was done by Stephen Langton (+ 1228). Chancellor of
the University of Paris until 1213, when he became
Archbishop of Canterbury (England).
13. When were the chapters divided into verses?
Even more recently; this was done by the French printer
Robert Estienne (1503-1559).
14. What was the first book printed after the invention of the
The first book printed around 1455 by Gutenberg, the
inventor of the printing press, was the Catholic Bible in Latin
(Vulgate). It has been a best-seller ever since.
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