Bible Question:

What is the difference between a Catholic and a Jew? How can I know about other religions?

Bible Answer:

The primary difference between Catholics and Jews is that Catholics believe that Jesus is the Messiah who died to forgive our sins so that we can live with God eternally. But our dear Jewish friends do not believe that Jesus was their promised Messiah. There are many secondary differences. We will cover only a few of these secondary differences.

The Sacred Books 

Protestants, Catholics, and Jews believe the Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh) or the Old Testament is the Word of God, but our Jewish friends reject the New Testament which is about Jesus Christ. Catholics believe that the Apocryphal books were written by God and therefore they include them in their Bible, but neither the Jews nor the Protestants accept these books as inspired. Followers of Judaism also regard the Talmud as sacred and Roman Catholics accept “ex cathedra” statements by the pope as sacred. Protestant Christians regard only the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible as sacred Scriptures.

Concepts of Salvation

Our Catholic friends believe that God will look at your good and bad deeds and then determine if you will go into heaven. That is, they believe a person is saved by works. But Christ and the apostles taught that we are saved only by faith in Jesus Christ. For an explanation visit “Is salvation by grace through faith alone?”  Therefore, they teach that faith plus works, baptism, penance and a host of other activities are essential to earning salvation.

Our Jewish friends believe that works is also essential to going to heaven, but their list of works is different. Modern day Judaism teaches that being good is its own reward. They believe we should have a healthy relationship with God and others. Judaism is not about being saved. Both Catholics and modern day Jews believe that one’s moral life here on earth will determine the degree of punishment one will experience in the afterlife. However, Protestants believe that a person goes either to heaven or to hell which is the lake of fire. One’s future destiny is determined by what one believes about Jesus.”

Central Issue Is Jesus Christ

The central issue here is what you believe about Jesus Christ. It is important to realize that the Old Testament contains many prophecies which prophesy the coming of Jesus Christ. One prophecy foretells the exact week in which He would die. A detailed discussion of the prophecy is given in Daniel. Ancient historical documents written by secular historians reveal that Jesus existed and they report many amazing things that He did. When we realize that prophecy and history speak to the existence and miracles that Jesus performed, then we should listen to Him. Let me encourage you to start reading the studies at the series called “Solid Roots.” We should be finishing the series within about one month. If you have questions, just send us an email. Remember the Bible was written by God.

Books to Be Read

There are several books that you may want to read which will give you greater understanding. The first book is titled, The Roman Catholic Controversy and the author is James R. White. It discusses the differences between Protestants and Catholics. The second book is the Bible. You are encouraged to read the gospel of John. The third book is written by a man who has been exploring various religions. His name is Ravi Zacharias. The title of the book is Jesus Among Other Gods. The publisher is Word Publishing.

Conclusion:

May God’s Holy Spirit speak to you as you search for Him. We will be praying for you.

Suggested Links:

Was Noah a Jew? If not, where did he come from?
Who is a Jew according to the Bible?
Why is it that our clergy persist in calling Abraham and Jesus Jews?
What is the Tanakh and Talmud?
How is the Jewish Bible or Tanakh different from the Bible?
What are the additional books of the Bible in the Catholic religion?
Is the Roman Catholic Church the pillar and defender of the truth?
Is salvation by grace through faith alone?
What is the Lake of Fire in Revelation 20:10-15?
Solid Roots