The Importance of the Deuterocanonical Books

Revelations 22:19, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, Wisdom 2:12-20

Yesterday, we talked about the number of books in a Catholic bible. Why is it so important to have the full text? Well, I have a story to share.

It’s 393 A.D., and Pope Damasus asked a guy named Jerome (now St. Jerome) to translate all of the books of the Bible into Latin – the current language at the time. St. Jerome took the task and studied with some 70 Jewish rabbis who helped him do the translation from Hebrew to Latin. When St. Jerome came to these 7 books the rabbis stated, “We don’t have those in Hebrew. They’re only in Greek. They must not be inspired by God!”.

St. Jerome told the Pope about this. Pope Damasus looked at the Oral Tradition of the Church, “Therefore brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours”(2 Thess 2:15) and said to Jerome,

“No, I respect the rabbis’ opinions, but we have Tradition going back in all the Churches that these books have been read in all the Churches, and are inspired!”.

So, St. Jerome translated them into Latin. 

Martin Luther argued that we should not include the seven books because, like the Jewish rabbis stated, we had NO Hebrew originals of these books, so they are not truly inspired.  But guess what?! In 1947, a little boy looking for a lost goat in a cave near the Dead Sea had an amazing archeological find! He found the original seven deuterocanonical books, written in HEBREW!

Isn’t God good? Back in the 390s, we listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and translated the “missing” or “non-inspired” books for our now modern day bibles. As a Church, we’ve been defending our call by the Spirit since. And in 1947, God considered it time to show that He truly inspired those seven Deuterocanonical books and that we do have the full and complete bible.

Did Wisdom, chapter 2, vs. 12-20 give you chills? Oh my goodness! What an amazing prophesy of Our Lord’s passion. Chills.

And to think, this book was asked to be “left out” …