Before entering the Catholic Church I had been an ordained Baptist and Lutheran minister. To say I was anti-Catholic would be an understatement. I believed everything I was told about the Catholic Church, such as they worshipped idols and were the whore of Babylon. One day I set out to prove that the Catholic Church’s claim of being the church Christ established was false. To do this I scoured the writings of four men: St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Irenaeus, St. Jerome, St. Polycarp, and St. Justin Martyr. Part 1 of this series on the fathers would be dedicated to St. Polycarp whose writing rocked my very foundation.
As a Protestant, I held firmly to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, or scripture alone. I held to the standard Protestant view that there were only 66 books in the Bible, and that the other seven added by the Catholic Church were added after the Protestant Reformation had started. In my mind if I could prove that these other seven books were never mentioned in the early church it would be justification to prove that the Church was not as advertised. Then I read St. Polycarp’s Epistle to the Philippians. In this letter, St. Polycarp writes, “Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood [1 Pet. 2:17]. . . . When you can do good, defer it not, because 'alms delivers from death' [Tob. 4:10, 12:9]. Be all of you subject to one another [1 Pet. 5:5], having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles [1 Pet. 2:12], and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed [Isa 52:5]!" (Epistle to the Philippians 10 [ca. A.D. 135])”.
Up to this point in my journey I had heard of Tobit, but never read a line out of it. In my mind it was not scripture so why should I bother. I mean no disrespect when I write this, but it was my thought at the time. To be honest, many of our separated brethren feel the same way. The fact that the highly respected St. Polycarp directly quoted Tobit came as a shock to me. Just a few weeks earlier, I had a seminary professor describe Polycarp as a “good Baptist.” What was going on?
I was confused, shocked, and a little dismayed. One of my heroes just quoted an “apocryphal” book as scripture. I then researched St. Polycarp a little more and found that he was a disciple of the Apostle John. A radical thought entered my mind, “Polycarp surely would not quote Tobit unless the Apostle John told him it was scripture.” I then discovered that Jesus and the Apostles primarily used the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament. It was no coincidence that the seven books not in my Protestant Bible were included in this version of the Old Testament.
This version of the Old Testament was used by the Church from the beginning. This realization made me start to question if there is something else missing from the Bible I normally read. This discovery alone was not enough to make me leave Protestantism, but it made me start asking questions and to study Church history further. It was the start of a long journey to the fullness of the faith in the Catholic Church.
 Jimmy Akin, The Fathers Know Best: Your Essential Guide to the Teachings of the Early Church (San Diego, CA: Catholic Answers Press, 2010), 354.
 "Polycarp of Smyrna," Christian History Institute, accessed July 18, 2015, www.christianhistoryinstitute.org/?study/?module/?Polycarp/.