Why does the Catholic Bible contain 73 books while the Protestant Bible has only 66? Also, with both claiming to have the complete word of God, which one should be believed and why?
The difference in number of Catholic Bible books versus Protestant Bible books (73 versus 66) is the deuterocanonical books. These are Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch.
Protestants consider these books part of the more complete list of 14 apocryphal writings. These books that separate the Catholic from the Protestant Bibles contain books included in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament.
Some of the books within the Apocrypha were majorly popular in the first century, Jesus’ day. Jude quotes from the book of Enoch, one of the other apocryphal books. They help us to understand the world of first century Palestine and what the Jews believed.
Many of these books provide historical information about the time between the Old and New Testaments. The issue Protestants have with these books is that they were considered canonical or inspired by the Jews. They were supplemental material aside from the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible.
In that sense, Protestants maintain 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books, comprising 66 total. They don’t consider these extra books in the Catholic Bible inspired by the Holy Spirit. Aside from this, no one knows who wrote these extra books.
The books of the Bible are inspired by the Holy Spirit and the authorship is verified by the church. Through different councils and scholars in the early centuries of the church’s life, the 66 books were affirmed.
The other books of the Catholic Bible don’t hurt anyone. As I said, they help us with historical understanding. The Catholic Church confirms its belief that these are inspired and canonical. I guess it comes down to how you feel about these books. If you grow up with them in Catholicism you think nothing of it. If you are Protestant, you may not even be aware that there are other books in the Catholic Bible.