Old Testament Canon

Below are quotes from the early Church Fathers from books not in the Protestant Bible, but that are in the Catholic Bible.  In one quote from St. Augustine, he even lists the canon of the Old Testament and it includes the books that are considered apocryphal by Protestantism.




"Since, therefore, Christ was about to be manifested and to suffer in the flesh, his suffering was foreshown. For the prophet speaks against evil, `Woe to their soul, because they have counseled an evil counsel against themselves' (Isaiah 3:9), saying, `Let us bind the righteous man because he is displeasing to us' (Wisdom 2:12)."  St. Barnabas, "Epistle of St. Barnabas" c. 70-100 A.D.


"By the word of his might God established all things, and by his word he can overthrow them. `Who shall say to him, 'What have you done?'' or who shall resist the power of his strength?' (Wisdom 12:12)."  St. Clement of Rome, "Letter to the Corinthians" c. 80 A.D.


"Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood (1 Peter 2:17). . . . When you can do good, defer it not, because `alms delivers from death' (Tobit 4:10, 12:9). Be all of you subject to one another (1 Peter 5:5), having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles (1 Peter 2:12), and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed (Isaiah 52:5)!"  St. Polycarp of Smyrna, "Letter to the Philadelphians" c. 135 A.D.


"In Genesis it says, `And God tested Abraham and said to him, "Take your only son whom you love, Isaac, and go to the high land and offer him there as a burnt offering . . . "' (Genesis 22:1-2) ... Of this same thing in the Wisdom of Solomon it says, `Although in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality . . .' (Wisdom 3:4). Of this same thing in the Maccabees [it says], `Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness' (1 Maccabees 2:52)." St. Cyprian of Carthage, "Treatises" c. 248 A.D.


"The whole canon of the Scriptures, however, in which we say that consideration is to be applied, is contained in these books: the five of Moses . . . and one book of Joshua [Son of] Nave, one of Judges; one little book which is called Ruth . . . then the four of Kingdoms, and the two of Paralipomenon . . . . There are also others too, of a different order . . . such as Job and Tobit and Esther and Judith and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Esdras . . . . Then there are the Prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David, and three of Solomon. . . . But as to those two books, one of which is entitled Wisdom and the other of which is entitled Ecclesiasticus and which are called `of Solomon' because of a certain similarity to his books, it is held most certainly that they were written by Jesus Sirach. They must, however, be accounted among the prophetic books, because of the authority which is deservedly accredited to them."  St. Augustine of Hippo, "Christian Instruction" c. 397 A.D.


"We read in the books of the Maccabees (2 Maccabees 12:43) that sacrifice was offered for the dead. But even if it were found nowhere in the Old Testament writings, the authority of the Catholic Church which is clear on this point is of no small weight, where in the prayers of the priest poured forth to the Lord God at his altar the commendation of the dead has its place."   St. Augustine of Hippo, "The Care to be Had for the Dead" c. 421 A.D.


Printed with permission from Catholic Defense.