What Bible Versions can you Suggest that I Read in Studying the Catholic Faith and Why?

I suggest the New Revised Standard Version or New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition as well as the New American Bible: Revised Edition.

The NRSVCE and NABRE use the Dead Sea Scrolls in their modified translations.

Scholars choose the New Revised Standard Version as the overall best translation. It was translated by excellent Protestant, Jewish, and Catholic scholars under the aegis of the (USA) National Council of Churches, and, if you want, there is a NRSV Catholic Edition — the translation is identical, but it has the deuterocanonical books within the Old Testament in their Catholic order (as opposed to many editions of the NRSV which indeed include the “Apocrypha” but in a section separate from the Old Testament). Another good translation is the Catholic New American Bible: Revised Edition, the recent (2011) translation by the Catholic Biblical Association of America.

Many Catholics know that our official bible is the Douay Rheims Bible. The Catholic Church endorses the NRSVCE as a translation of the faithful in original text.

Both the USA and Canadian bishop conferences officially endorsed the NRSVCE as the Catholic Bible and for use in the Liturgy. The D-R translation is from the Latin Vulgate, which in the 17th century was the official Catholic Bible. But by mid-twentieth century everyone, including Catholic bishops, knew that the translation should be from the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek.

What is the difference between NRSV and RSV?

The RSV (1952) was a revised English translation of the OT and NT in the line of the KJB of 1611. In 1977 an expanded edition of RSV included the Apocrypha/Pseudepigrapha, and was endorsed by Protestant, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Greek Orthodox churches.

The NRSV was a revision of the RSV with revisions of better-known lexical words (from inscriptions), Qumran and LXX preferable textual variants, and gender-neutral language. There were Catholics and one Jew on the revision committee, and it was accepted by the Catholic Church. The NRSVCE was issued—identical with the NRSV except that the books were arranged in the Catholic order.

The NEW RSV (1989) is a more up-to-date (after the DSS) revision of the RSV (1953). The same group of translators a generation later (me included) did the revision, using advances in knowledge of inscriptions, DSS, and archaeology since 1953. Use the NRSV.

Can We Trust the Jerusalem Bible version?

The Jerusalem Bible was originally done in French by a group of eminent Dominican Biblical scholars, and was meant to use all the discoveries of modern historical criticism to produce a version of the Bible that was up to date. The English version was produced in the 1960s by a committee of Catholic scholars, based on the French. It aimed at being readable in English, so it often paraphrases the original text rather than just translating it – but the footnotes are good! 

If you are serious in studying the Bible, there is no problem if you consider various versions. However, I wish to encourage the original language of the Old Testament which is in Hebrew and the original language of the New Testament in Greek. Through this approach, you can compare each account carefully and determine which one presents the most factual and what is written in that version.

1 thought on “What Bible Versions can you Suggest that I Read in Studying the Catholic Faith and Why?

  1. With those already mentioned above, another favorite Bible versions I have is the Haydock Bible, 1859 Edition which is based on the Douay-Rheims. It includes useful notes: critical, historical, controversial, and explanatory, selected from the most eminent commentators, and the most able and judicious critics, by the late Rev. Geo. Leo Haydock…


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