Question:

In your article "The Extra Catholic Books," I had a question. In all of the Catholic Bibles I have seen I have not seen the book Ecclesiasticus.

I do however see another book that is not in the KJV or the NKJV or any other version I've seen except the Catholic Bible and that is the book Sirach.

Please help me to understand this discrepancy.


Answer:

The book goes by several names, Ecclesiasticus is one. In the Greek manuscripts it was called "The Wisdom of Jesus, the son of Sirach." It is often shortened to "The Wisdom of Sirach" or sometimes just plain "Wisdom" or "Sirach." Those in the Roman Catholic Church gave the book Latinized names, one of which is Ecclesiasticus, which is a Greek word with a Latin ending. It came from the phrase liber ecclesiasticus which means "preacher's book." The later name is the one most often used in Latin Roman Catholic Bibles. [Ecclesiasticus].

Thank you very much for answering my e-mail and for clearing that up. I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, but have a lot of problems with some of their teachings. I think the infallibility issue is their key problem. Because of that claim it is very difficult for them to change because doing so would usually mean that they were in error. Clearing up all of the other problems with their doctrine hinges on that problem. We (all Christians) need to pray for God's intervention and help. I'm sure there are many true believers like myself that see the same things I do and do not know what to do.

The answer to all such problems is turning people back to the teachings of God. "For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls" (I Peter 2:25). God has told us what to teach and He expects us to stand firm for the truth.

"But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle" (II Thessalonians 2:13-15).

One of the interesting things I've seen in the Roman Catholic church is that it is such a large organization that it holds a wide variety of beliefs which are often contradictory. There is one set which is the official currently held beliefs, there is another set of doctrines being considered, and then there are all sorts of fringe beliefs. When the church sees the need to change a belief, it can reach into this large pile of beliefs and find someone who taught whatever they need to change their beliefs to. They can then claim that they actually taught this for centuries. Such was recently done when the Roman Catholic church changed its stance on limbo [see "Did you hear that the Catholics voted away limbo?"]. So while it claims infallibility on certain issues, it manages to shift beliefs at a slow pace while giving the impression of standing still.

"Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain" (Philippians 2:14-16).