What about those 7 books you added to the Bible?

A common misconception held by Protestants is that the Catholic Church added 7 books (they call these books "The Apocrypha", while Catholics call them the "Deuterocanonicals") to the Old Testament. These disputed books are:
  1. Baruch
  2. Judith
  3. 1 Maccabees
  4. 2 Maccabees
  5. Serach (Ecclesiasticus)
  6. Tobit
  7. Wisdom

The official Catholic teaching is that the Old Testament canon "includes forty-six books" and the New Testament contains "twenty-seven" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #120).

The Beggar King Website tells us a little about the history of the Bible:

"Scripture, the written record of the early church, circulated widely but slowly when the Church was in its infancy. While the Church recognized Scripture as divinely inspired, it was not always easy to tell which of the many gospels and letters in circulation were Scripture. What was needed was a definitive canon ("list"). Mileto, bishop of Sardis, an ancient city of Asia Minor, c. 170 AD created the earliest list of books identical to the Roman Catholic canon today. Following this Pope Damasus, 366-384, in his Decree, listed the books of today's canon. The Council of Hippo, a local north African council of bishops listed the books of the Old and New Testament in 393 AD, the same as the Catholic list today. The Council of Carthage did the same four years later and again in 419. Down through the ages Christians used Bibles, always with the Deuterocanonical books included. In fact, the Gutenberg Bible, the first Bible to be mass printed, contained these books and followed the Catholic canon. Finally, the Council of Trent DID reaffirm the traditional canon in the face of the errors of the Reformers who rejected seven Old Testament books from the canon of Scripture at that time."

The early Christians accepted these deuterocanonical books because they were a part of the Septuagint (the Greek edition of the Old Testament which the apostles used to evangelize the world).

In fact, the Apostles even referred to the deuterocanonical books in their writings. In Hebrews 11:35, the author encourages us to emulate the heroes of the Old Testament. We read "Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life." There are a couple of examples (even without looking in the deuterocanonical books) of women receiving back their dead by resurrection. In 1 Kings 17, you can find Elijah raising the son of the widow of Zarepheth. But you can never find (without looking in the deuterocanonical books) someone being tortured and refusing to accept release for the sake of a better resurrection. To find it, you must read 2 Maccabees 7 (a deuterocanonical book):

"It happened also that seven brothers and their mother were arrested and were being compelled by the king, under torture with whips and cords, to partake of unlawful swine's flesh. . . . [B]ut the brothers and their mother encouraged one another to die nobly, saying, 'The Lord God is watching over us and in truth has compassion on us . . . ' After the first brother had died . . . they brought forward the second for their sport. . . . he in turn underwent tortures as the first brother had done. And when he was at his last breath, he said, 'You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life'" (2 Macc. 7:1, 5-9).

One by one the sons die, proclaiming that they will be vindicated in the resurrection. "The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Though she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. She encouraged each of them . . . [saying], 'I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws,'" telling the last one, "Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God's mercy I may get you back again with your brothers" (2 Macc. 7:20-23, 29).

As can be seen by this reference to the deuterocanonical book 2 Maccabees, the Apostles not only included them as part of the Bible they used to evangelize the world, but also referred to them in the New Testament itself, citing the things they record as examples to be emulated.

Other examples: Quotations from Wisdom occur in 1 Clement and Barnabas. Polycarp cites Tobit, and the Didache [cites] Ecclesiasticus. Irenaeus refers to Wisdom, the History of Susannah, Bel and the Dragon [i.e., the deuterocanonical portions of Daniel], and Baruch.

The earliest leaders of the Christian Church (Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian and Clement of Alexandria) frequently quoted the deuterocanonical books side-by-side with "procanonical" Scripture (books accepted by Protestants today).

Now that we see that the early Christians did accept the deuterocanonical books as Scripture, we must now ask why Martin Luther and the rest of the Reformers removed these books from the Bible! James Akin tells us:

"The deuterocanonicals teach Catholic doctrine, and for this reason they were taken out of the Old Testament by Martin Luther and placed in an appendix without page numbers. Luther also took out four New Testament books -- Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation -- and put them in an appendix without page numbers as well. These were later put back into the New Testament by other Protestants, but the seven books of the Old Testament were left out. Following Luther they had been left in an appendix to the Old Testament, and eventually the appendix itself was dropped (in 1827 by the British and Foreign Bible Society), which is why these books are not found at all in most contemporary Protestant Bibles, though they were appendicized in classic Protestant translations such as the King James Version.

The reason they were dropped is that they teach Catholic doctrines that the Protestant Reformers chose to reject. Earlier we cited an example where the book of Hebrews holds up to us an Old Testament example from 2 Maccabees 7, an incident not to be found anywhere in the Protestant Bible, but easily discoverable in the Catholic Bible. Why would Martin Luther cut out this book when it is so clearly held up as an example to us by the New Testament? Simple: A few chapters later it endorses the practice of praying for the dead so that they may be freed from the consequences of their sins (2 Macc. 12:41-45); in other words, the Catholic doctrine of purgatory. Since Luther chose to reject the historic Christian teaching of purgatory (which dates from before the time of Christ, as 2 Maccabees shows), he had to remove that book from the Bible and appendicize it. (Notice that he also removed Hebrews, the book which cites 2 Maccabees, to an appendix as well.)"

For more in-depth information on this subject, please read "Defending the Deuterocanonicals" by James Akin.