Catholic Bibles and Bible Studies
All Bibles are not the same. The Catholic Bible contains seven books of the Old Testament which are not found in Protestant Bibles. These books include:
• 1 and 2 Macabees
• Portions of Esther
• Portions of Daniel
These books are sometimes referred to as the “Apocrypha” by Protestants or the “Deuterocanonical” books meaning “also canonical” by Catholics.
During the early centuries of the Church there was plenty of debate and discussion about which books actually were authentic and inspired Sacred Scripture. The early Church councils of Hippo (393) and of Carthage (397) both declared that the books currently contained in the Catholic Bible (the canon of Sacred Scripture) were the inspired Word of God and belonged in the Bible.
During the Reformation, Martin Luther and other Protestant leaders removed these books from the Bible. Luther even argued that the Letter of St. James and the Book of Revelation (The Apocalypse) should be removed from the Bible! The Council of Trent in 1546 reaffirmed what the councils of Hippo and Carthage had proclaimed over 1000 years earlier: that the texts found in the Catholic Bible are all the authentic Word of God and comprise the complete canon of Sacred Scripture.
Catholic Bible Translations
There are several different English translations available for the Catholic Bible. The primary ones include:
• Douay Rheims – This is the oldest English translation available and is frequently compared with the King James version because of its use of “Thee”, “Thou” and other older forms of words. This translation is considered highly accurate but can be more difficult to read for some people.
• Revised Standard (RSV) – This was a joint translation project between American Protestants and Catholics with the Catholic Church completing the translation of the Apocrypha. This translation is considered the most accurate modern translation but still contains “Thee” and “Thou” when referring to God. This translation along with the New American Bible was approved for liturgical use in the United States.
• Revised Standard 2nd Edition – This version is almost identical to the regular Revised Standard but updates the language by getting rid of “Thee” and “Thou”.
• New American Bible (NAB) – This version is the most common American translation. It was written for an eighth grade reading level and contains the most “modern” language of the primary Catholic translations. The New American Bible is available in more versions than any other Catholic Bible.
• New American Bible – Revised Edition (NABRE) – This edition was released in 2011. It combines the New Testament from the New American Bible with a completely revised Old Testament translation.
• Jerusalem Bible – The Jerusalem Bible, completed in 1966, is very similar to the Revised Standard Version 2nd edition in that it is a modern English language translation. It was produced under the direction of the Dominican scholars at the reknowned Ecole Biblique de Jerusalem.