Christianity’s Religious Texts: The Bible. Christianity combines the Jewish Old Testament with the New Testament to form the Christian Bible, which followers refer to as the Holy Scriptures. There are many noncanonical texts in the Christian religion as well. Christians believe the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Christianity’s Religious Scriptures

Traditional Christianity

  • The Bible (the Old Testament and the New Testament). The Apostolic churches (Catholicism and Orthodoxy) also include the Deuterocanonicals.
    • For Protestantism, this is the 66-book canon – the Jewish Tanakh of 24 books divided differently (into 39 books) and the universal 27-book New Testament. Some denominations also include the 15 books of the Apocrypha between the Old Testament and the New Testament, for a total of 81 books.
    • For Catholicism, this includes seven deuterocanonical books in the Old Testament for a total of 73 books, called the Canon of Trent (in versions of the Latin Vulgate, 3 Esdras, 4 Esdras, and the Prayer of Manasseh are included in an appendix, but considered non-canonical).
    • For the Eastern Orthodox Church, this includes the anagignoskomena, which consist of the Catholic deuterocanon, plus 3 Maccabees, Psalm 151, the Prayer of Manasseh, and 3 Esdras. 4 Maccabees is considered to be canonical by the Georgian Orthodox Church.[12]
    • The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (and its offspring, the Eritrean Orthodox Church) adds various additional books depending on the specific enumeration of the canon (see Ethiopian Biblical canon), but always includes 4 Esdras, the Book of Jubilees, 1 Enoch, 4 Baruch, and 1, 2, and 3 Meqabyan (no relation to the Books of Maccabees).
    • Some Syriac churches accept the Letter of Baruch as scripture.

Christian Scientists

  • The Bible
  • Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. This textbook, along with the Bible, serves as the permanent “impersonal pastor” of the church.

Gnosticism

  • Nag Hammadi library and other Gnostic texts (not from the Bible)
  • Some books of the Old Testament and New Testament
    • Cerdonianism and Marcionism
  • Only the Gospel of Marcion and selected Pauline epistles accepted

Jehovah’s Witnesses

  • The Bible (The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is their preferred translation.)

Latter Day Saint Movement

  • The Bible
    • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) uses the LDS edition of the King James Bible for English-speaking members; other versions are used in non-English speaking countries.
    • The Community of Christ (RLDS) uses the Joseph Smith Translation, which it calls the Inspired Version, as well as updated modern translations.
  • The Book of Mormon
  • The Pearl of Great Price is authoritative in the LDS Church, rejected by Community of Christ.
  • The Doctrine and Covenants
    • There are significant differences in content and section numbering between the Doctrine and Covenants used by the Community of Christ (RLDS) and the LDS Church.
  • Other, smaller branches of Latter Day Saints include other scriptures, such as the Book of the Law of the Lord used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) or The Word of the Lord used by Fettingite branches.

Native American Church

(Christian-leaning factions)

  • The Bible (among Christian-leaning factions only)

Rastafari Movement

  • The Bible (Ethiopian Orthodox canon)
  • the Holy Piby
  • the Kebra Nagast
  • The speeches and writings of Haile Selassie I (including his autobiography My Life and Ethiopia’s Progress)
  • Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy

Seventh-day Adventists

  • The Bible
  • The writings of Ellen White are held to an elevated status, though not equal with the Bible, as she is considered to have been an inspired prophetess.

Swedenborgianism

  • The Bible (several books omitted)
  • The works of Emanuel Swedenborg (not considered equal to the Bible)

Unification Church

  • The Divine Principle
  • The Bible as illuminated by more recent revelation
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