How Many Books in Catholic Bible vs Protestant

How Many Books in Catholic Bible vs Protestant: A Comprehensive Comparison


The Bible is a sacred text that holds significant religious and spiritual importance for millions of people worldwide. However, it is worth noting that the composition of the Bible differs between various Christian denominations. One of the most notable differences is found in the number of books included in the Catholic Bible compared to the Protestant Bible. In this article, we will explore the variations in the number of books, the reasons behind these differences, and address some frequently asked questions regarding this topic.

The Catholic Bible

The Catholic Bible consists of two main parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament contains 46 books, which are further divided into the Pentateuch (the first five books, namely Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), the Historical Books, the Wisdom Books, and the Prophetic Books. The New Testament consists of 27 books, including the four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles (letters) of Paul, the Catholic Epistles (letters of James, Peter, John, and Jude), and the Book of Revelation.

The Protestant Bible

In contrast, the Protestant Bible comprises 39 books in the Old Testament and the same 27 books in the New Testament. The Protestant Old Testament is divided into the same categories as the Catholic Old Testament, but some books are missing. The excluded books are commonly referred to as the “Apocrypha” or the “Deuterocanonical” books. These include Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, and First and Second Maccabees, as well as additional sections in the books of Esther and Daniel.

Reasons for the Differences

The differences in the number of books between the Catholic and Protestant Bibles can be attributed to historical and theological factors. During the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, Martin Luther and other reformers questioned the inclusion of certain books in the Bible, including those now known as the Apocrypha. They argued that these books lacked Hebrew originals and were not part of the Jewish canon. Consequently, these books were ultimately removed from the Protestant canon.

On the other hand, the Catholic Church, during the Council of Trent in the 16th century, reaffirmed the inclusion of the Apocrypha as part of the canon. The church considered these books to be inspired and valuable for doctrinal and devotional purposes. The Council of Trent’s decision solidified the Catholic Church’s position regarding the number of books in the Bible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are the omitted books in the Protestant Bible considered less important?

A: No, the excluded books were not regarded as less important by the Catholic Church. The decision to exclude them from the Protestant canon was based on different theological considerations.

Q: Do the differences in the number of books affect the core teachings of Christianity?

A: No, the variations in the number of books do not affect the core teachings of Christianity. The essential doctrines and teachings are found in both the Catholic and Protestant canons.

Q: Can Catholics read Protestant Bibles and vice versa?

A: Yes, Catholics can read Protestant Bibles, and Protestants can read Catholic Bibles. The shared books contain the fundamental teachings of Christianity, and the differences lie in the additional books present in the Catholic Bible.

Q: Are there any other differences between the Catholic and Protestant Bibles?

A: Apart from the variations in the number of books, the Catholic and Protestant Bibles may also differ in translation choices and slight variations in the wording of certain passages.


The Catholic and Protestant Bibles differ in the number of books included in their respective canons. While the Catholic Bible contains 73 books, the Protestant Bible comprises 66 books. The differences arose during the Protestant Reformation, with the exclusion of certain books deemed as the Apocrypha by the Protestant reformers. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the essential teachings of Christianity are found in both versions of the Bible. Understanding these differences can help foster interdenominational dialogue and enhance one’s appreciation for the rich diversity within Christianity.

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