Bible in French...?

I just got signed up for my freshman classes for high school! Hooray! What’s more, my mom (a staunch Baptist who as of yet has refused to allow me to be received into the Church) has paid for a good, Catholic education at one of the best schools around: Pope John Paul II.

I just finished Voltaire’s Candide, and in doing so have rediscovered my love of the French Enlightenment movement. Also, after reading about the appearance of Our Lady of Lourdes, and hearing Thomas Merton’s recollection of his life in France–I decided to transfer from my Advanced Latin I class to Advanced French I.

I was wondering if there were some good French translations of Scripture out there. I know of the original Jerusalem Bible. Is this probably my best bet? It’s such a beautiful language, and what a great way to absorb it.

Thanks in advance!

HI Aloysius,

La Bible de Jérusalem is not only the best French translation; it is thought by some to be the best translation in any language with the possible exception of the Vulgate.


That’s great!

I can’t wait to get a copy. Where do you thing one should go about looking?

Is it used in the Liturgy today in France?

Hi Aloysius,

You can order it by going to

This is Amazon’s Canadian site. You get more choice for this than you do on the American site.

For the liturgy, In French-speaking areas, we use a special translation done specifically for the liturgy. It is not La Bible de Jérusalem.


Some people say that the French Jerusalem Bible is poetically on pair with Luther Bible in German and AV1611 in English, plus more accurate as a translation to those Bibles.

I wouldn’t want something too bulky, or unattractive…

I’m having a tough time deciding which one I like the best. It would almost definitely be the first one were it not for the writing on the cover.

Any thoughts?

Go for the most recent revision. The opening lines of Genesis read “… un souffle de Dieu …” rather than “…un vent de Dieu…” But be sure to read the footnotes; they’re incredible!

Has the *Bible de Jersualem *undergone some kind of update then, if the wording has changed?

I must admit, “breath” is much closer to the Hebrew–and more beautiful and poetic, besides–than merely “wind.”

I’ll keep an eye out.

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