About the actual book[edit | edit source]
In the Catholic Church the version used is the Douay-Rheims Bible consisting of 73 books. In the Protestant church only the 66 books approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1885, which today is known as the Authorized King James Bible, are used. No other books, neither the Apocrypha, which was included in the original King James Bible, nor the 22 books mentioned or quoted in the King James Bible, are considered inspired.
There was no specific list or accounting of all the books that made up the Bible until the commission of the first Bible by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century AD.
The number of books originally considered for inclusion in the Bible is uncertain. We do know Constantine ordered 50 copies of the Bible to be produced by Eusebius in 325 AD to end any dispute over this, which basically left this important decision to Eusebius alone. This collection set the standard. The first ecclesiastical councils to classify the canonical books were both held in North Africa-at Hippo Regius in 393 and at Carthage in 397.
Constantine began what was to become a centuries long effort to eliminate any book in the original Bible that was considered unacceptable to the new doctrine of the church. At that time, it is believed there were up to 600 books, which comprised the work we now know as the Bible. Through a series of decisions made by the early church leadership, all but 80 of those books, known as the King James Translation of 1611, were purged from the work, with a further reduction by the Protestant Reformation bringing the number to 66 in the "Authorized" King James Bible. What we now have in Bible-based religion, whether labeled as "Catholic", or Protesting Catholic, known as “Protestant", is unrecognizable from either the Hebrew religion, now known as the Jewish religion, or the church established at Jerusalem by the Apostles and disciples of Jesus.