Bible translation for personal use


So, I have been reading a lot in these forums on Catholic Answers and have seen many people prefer other English translations rather than the NAB or NABRE. I switch between the RSVCE and NABRE when reading for personal use and I find that for myself, there is a better flow in the NABRE (PLEASE NOTE THIS IS SIMPLY HOW I FEEL AND NOT WHAT OTHERS SHOULD BELIEVE). But, I know that the NABRE has a lot of inclusive language and that people have said the psalms are not good. So, my question is:
Should I base my decision on which one I use primarily on the non-inclusive language and accuracy of the RSVCE OR on the easy flow of ideas and understanding for myself of the NABRE?? Any help would be appreciated.


Both are good translations. Go with the one that helps your prayer life the most.


Go with the one you enjoy reading. The NABRE is a fine translation. The Psalms were updated in 2011 and are far better than the previous edition. In regards to inclusive language, it doesn’t use a lot. Compared to others, it would be regarded as using moderate inclusive language. While the NABRE is not as literal as the RSV, it is still on the literal side and is fine for reading and study.


I use both the NABRE and the RSV-2CE interchangeably everyday. When I prepare for Bible study class, I use the NABRE because everybody in the class has a NAB or NABRE. In my RCIA class I use both the Lectionary (which is based off the NAB) and I use the RSV-2CE as a classroom text Bible because I use the ‘Truth and Life’ Audio New Testament a lot for special readings (like the Passion narratives, scrutiny Gospels, etc.). Each of the translations have their strong point and weak points, and I like and recommend either one!


Of course, you can always do a side-by-side Latin comparison or do your own personal translations if you know some Latin. Bible Latin isn’t that difficult, compared to say, reading Cicero or Canon Law.


The best version to have is the one you will read!


Entire bible or New Testament?


Try a Confraternity Douay Bible with a New translation of the New Latin Psalms authorized by Pope Pius XII–Light of the World Edition–1954.

It is my opinion that its Psalms are the best of any Catholic bible.

The RSV-CE2 is the best Catholic polished Protestant translation there is–and the NABRE’s Psalms are the most improved that version has ever had.

If you don’t like all of the NABRE’s notes then get The New African Bible. It is the NABRE with different notes from African contributors.


If you enjoy the NAB-RE, then use it. :slight_smile:


The Confraternity New Testament is simply excellent. Excellent used bibles are so affordable that having several translations on hand for comparison is not a major investment.

Currently, I am spending the most time between the covers of the Knox and the Confraternity. Hard to go wrong with either.


Why would study of Latin be helpful? Neither the NAB nor the RSV were translated from Latin (like the Douay) but from the original languages (Hebrew and Greek).

On the other hand, you might get a kick out of reading a Greek interlinear with your RSV and NAB nearby, to see the different ways in which they render New Testament verses. That’s what I did when I first began using the NABRE and what I found was that very often it translates more closely (or formally) than the RSV.

Overall, my respect for the NABRE continues to grow the more I use it in casual reading and for close study/lesson preparation. It’s a good translation. Even in the cases of verses that draw the harshest complaints, if you check the original languages, the NABRE is not “liberal” or “inclusive” but just truly honest and accurate, in my opinion.

I’d have to agree with the first few responses here. Being that it is a fine translation, despite all the critics, use the one you enjoy reading because that will lead to MORE Bible reading, always a good thing! :wink:

(PS. If you haven’t read much about translations, you may be interested to know, many translations are little more than an updated King James. KJV, NKJV, RSV, ESV, NASB… all good translations and ALL essentially KJV revised with consideration of some newer textual criticism and research. The NAB is a fresh, new translation directly from the Hebrew and Greek. I prefer that myself.)


Since words have several definitions, each and every translation must be interpreted through the lens of tradition via the magisterium of the Church. “Full of grace” is far more complete and accurate than “favored one” for example. Many in the bible are “favored”, yet Mary far exceeds any and all of them. “…in the person of Christ” is more accurate than “…in the presence of Christ” for another.

The NAB and NAB/RE are approved in America and probably elsewhere. They are “sufficient”, but I want more than that. I find both of them terribly dumbed down, much like the NIV. And, I have copies of all three on the shelf.


Interesting. Your verse (2 Cor 2:10) is translated “presence of Christ” in most translations, the RSV and NRSV included. Interestingly, the KJV (a true protestant translation) does translate it “person of Christ,” which may be due to the King James translators consulting the Vulgate in difficult passages. I agree that where the Greek could go either way (presence or person) one would expect a Catholic translator to consider the understanding of the church (persona christi, sacrament of reconciliation) and go with “person.”

Oh well. I guess I too am a translation “junkie.” I have way too many Bibles! :blush:


I would guess that the Greek used can go either way, but Paul clearly had the authority to forgive in the person of Christ. Notice that he does not name any sins that he has forgiven, which is consistent with the seal of the confessional.


Actually the Greek and Latin with their inflections translate into languages like Polish better than they do into the English. English is hardly the ideal Bible language. If you’re going to go with the Greek, which incidentally has not been as well preserved as the Latin, then learn a lot of Scriptural Greek and learn multiple possible meanings of those words. Learning only one meaning of the word is hardly a serious study of any language. And if you know better than St. Jerome, who was a Greek scholar at that, more power to you.


We’re so blessed to have so many fine Bibles to pick from! :smiley:


From the 1941-1969 time frame, do you have a Douay-Confraternity bible or Confraternity New Testament? A Monsignor Ronald Knox Translation? On eBay, I managed to find a 1952 Confraternity New Testament by the Catholic Book Publishing Company. Awesome notes and book introductions. Confidence-inspiring. Newer bibles pale in comparison, IMO.



I have a Douay-Rheims (Challoner?) that is a blast. As you say, the footnotes are “confidence-inspiring” or “faith-building,” unlike the more critical, worldly notes in our NAB.

A friend is bonkers over that Knox bible!

The only Confraternity NT I have is contained in a very old family bible a friend grabbed for me from a used book sale. I haven’t spent too much time with it.


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