Christian missionaries often tell me that the Bible contains 66 books. And it is true that modern Evangelical Bibles do contain 66 books of the Old Testament and New Testament. However, reliable witnesses from the ancient church such as the celebrated Bishop and theologian St Augustine bear witness to a different number of books. Bizarrely, Christian Bibles in use today range from the 66 books of the Protestant canon to 73 books of the Roman Catholic Church to 81 books of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church canon! So who is right?
What was the practice of the ancient universal Church? Which Bible did Christians accept as authoritative for faith? The complete canon of the Bible is listed in the book On Christian Teaching by the great Christian leader St Augustine who was born in AD 354. The list of Bible books is identical to the 73 books of the modern Catholic Church. I have taken pics of the relevant passages as evidence.