I love books. My wife would say I have a “problem”. My book shelves would probably agree.
I love browsing new Catholic book catalogs like some people enjoy clothing catalogs. But there’s one category of book that I typically don’t get that excited about. Bibles.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the Bible. I’m actually 34% through the one-year Bible reading plan on my Verbum phone app that I started at the beginning of 2014. But when I see an announcement about some new Bible with a special theme I typically just think “Meh”.
When I first saw the announcement from Ignatius Press about the new Didache Bible. I wasn’t that interested. It has “commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” Yawn. “More than 100 apologetic explanations that help to answer common questions about the faith.” That’s a little more interesting.
And then I actually opened a copy.
After just a few minutes of leafing through the Didache Bible I have decided that I need to buy one even though we already have several different Bibles in our home. I sometimes buy new books just because I have open space on my shelves. This isn’t one of those purchases.
A quick note about the page samples: The pages do have burgundy highlights on the titles and lines separating the text from the commentary but my scanner decided that color was not on the menu today.
The Catechism integration with the Bible replaces the standard Revised Standard Bible footnotes and the change is fantastic. While not overwhelming each page with commentary, the notes do a wonderful job of expounding on the text while tying in themes from the Catechism.
Each book of the Bible has a brief introduction explaining the historical context and themes and those apologetics notes that I mentioned before? Those are fantastic. Whether you need clarification about the place of Mary in the Church, the necessity of the liturgy or speaking in tongues, there’s a one-to-two page essay on the topic (and dozens of others). Each essay has copious citations to Bible verses and the Catechism.
The one thing that I always loved looking at in Bibles, apart from old family records, were the maps. Geography and history, especially war, have always been a fascination of mine. Growing up, I probably devoted a couple of years to drawing pictures of D-Day and the Little Bighorn. The maps in the Didache Bible are not your standard maps. Of course there are maps showing the location of the twelve tribes and the trips of St. Paul but there are also maps showing the journeys of Lot, Jacob and Rebekah, Abraham and the Exodus. All are in full color.
The back of the Bible also contains an extensive glossary, primarily of proper names, and a subject index.
All in all, I am thoroughly impressed with the supplementary content of this Bible and highly recommend it to anyone who wants a Bible with helpful tools but isn’t quite ready to tackle a full study Bible like the Catholic Study Bible series from Ignatius Press.
He lives with his lovely wife and eleven kids in northern Colorado.