Different Canons

In Judaism and Christianity it may surprise a new believer that there are different Bibles out there.  Though they may have seen multiple translations they may not have seen different canons.  These canons are the Jewish, Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Bibles.  While there is much content overlapping there are some difference which are still a matter of contention among Christians.

The Jewish Bible is known as the Tanakh.  It contains the writings of the Old Testament, but they are listed as twenty four books.  They are arranged as books of the Law, books of the prophets, and books of writings.  Though many other writings are used by our Jewish Brethren, such as Talmud, these are the ones considered canonical.  Unlike its Orthodox and Catholic counterpart it was written in only Hebrew. It does not include the New Testament.

The Orthodox Bible was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.  It contains the same books as the Hebrew Bible but includes the deuterocanonical books, Psalms 151, Prayer of Manasseh, 1 and 2 Esdras, and 3 and 4 Maccabees.  It also includes the New Testament among which Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants all include in their canon.

The Catholic Bible was also written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.  It also includes the deuterocanonical books, or Apocrypha, but does not include Psalms 151, 1 and 2 Esdras, and 3 and 4 Maccabees.  As stated above it also includes the New Testament.  The Old Testament is composed of forty six books.

The Protestant Bible was written in Hebrew and its Old Testament matches that of the Jewish Bible.  It also includes the New Testament as do Catholics, and Orthodox.  However Protestants do not recognize the canonicity of the deuterocanonical books and call the Apocrypha.

There are many similarities among the groups.  Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants all have the Jewish Bible in their canon.  The major difference between the three is that Orthodox and Catholics include the deuterocanonical books.  Our Orthodox brethren also include other books which Catholics do not recognize.  Among the three groups the same books of the New Testament are recognized.

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  1. With all the different Bibles and all the different languages used how do we know what is the Word of God. The words that God wants us to know so that we can know the will of God.

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