Catholic Bible without footnotes an issue for devotional reading?


Hey, all. :smiley:

Long time no chat… finally managed to make into a pre-catechumenate. :slight_smile:

Anyway, I’ve since purchased a beautiful pocket Jerusalem Bible in Spanish that zippers up. This Bible is very neat, and though it is a pocket Bible, it’s still slightly bulky because of the introductions and numerous footnotes.

However, another pocket Bible exists out here, by the Spanish priests Alberto Colunga Cueto O.P. and Eloíno Nácar Fuster, known simply as the Nácar-Colunga Bible.

This Bible has no introduction per book, as far as I know, and no footnotes, so it’s a lot less bulky and a lot more portable.

My question was, although this is a Catholic Bible with the full canon and either an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat, or approval of the Spanish Bishops Conference (I can’t remember which), would it be an issue to use it for devotional reading during commutes/traveling due to its lack of footnotes? I’ve read the Early Desert Fathers roamed the desert with copies of the Scriptures (presumably with no footnotes or anything) and meditated on them, to grow in holiness.

I’m just concerned I may subconsciously develop incorrect interpretations not in accordance with the Magisterium and Tradition of the Church. :confused:


There’s no requirement at all to use a Bible with footnotes. And since you also have one with footnotes, you could always look up anything that may raise questions for you.

Or, hey, you could come here and ask! :smiley:


It’s fine! Like you said, the early Christians read and meditated on the Bible without footnotes. Just don’t be afraid to research something if you do have a question!


I wish I could find a pocket-sized Catholic Bible with no footnotes. The best I’ve been able to find is a NAB New Testament (with footnotes) that just barely fits in my pocket (it’s at least 3 times the size of the pocket size New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs that Gideons gives away).


Footnotes are not part of the Bible. Footnotes are things men added to the Bible to help us understand the Bible better but they are not the inspired, breathed word of God.

The prayerful reading and meditation on the Scriptures is called Lecctio Divina. Lectio was the original basis for all theology long before philosophy was introduced into western culture.



Oh, I do know there’s no actual requirement… but the worry was still there, you know. It’s clear what happens when one develops their own private interpretations. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, I guess I do have my larger Bible published by the Spanish Episcopal Conference for study purposes.

Have you looked at this? I’ve seen it recommended many times on the forums. :smiley: I do not know if it has footnotes or not (probably it does)…

I can try and see if the Nácar-Colunga pocket edition is published in English, and like the Spanish edition, without footnotes.

Those are very good links, thank you! Just two days ago I was watching a documentary on YouTube on Benedictine monks. They mentioned how the monks meditated on the Scriptures after the morning hours. I wish I could remember its exact title, I can’t seem to find it now… oh, well.


It is good to look to the monastics. Prayerful reading and meditation on the Scriptures was the basis for theology for the first 1100 years of the Church. Please post the link to the video if you find it.

The best book on the subject of Lectio is Sacred Reading by Michael Casey OCSO.

Casey also has a wonderful paper on the topic titled The Word Became Text and Dwelt Among Us. This is worth reading.



The recommendations you have read probably come from me. I own that Bible in two different sizes. It is the RSV-CE sold under both Oxford and Ignatius imprints but they are the exact same product. My review of it is at I have read the larger one cover to cover five times and this was my go-to Bible for a long time.

It has very few notes and these are at the ends of the OT and NT. There are no notes on the pages containing the actual Biblical texts and I have used this Bible for lectio often.



As requested, here is the link :smiley: It’s in French, but it has English subtitles.

:eek: Those are awesome Bibles, they look very handy and portable. The medal zipper is also a neat touch. Now that I think of it, yes, probably it was you who I saw the recommendations from. :slight_smile:

I will most definitely try and get that Nácar-Colunga Bible soon, I just hope its paper is thick enough for scribbling on with a pencil in case I want to take brief notes or highlight a verse I want to look up later…


Have a look at gel highlighters and gel pens. These will not bleed, fade or ruin the pages.

I love this pen…



Oh, yes, good call. I do have some Pilot G2’s, love them.


Yes, I have. I have the NABRE Bible, that same size, from the same publisher. But that is not pocket size (or, more accurately, it is exactly the size of my pocket, meaning it is very difficult to get it into or out of a pocket, it would be extremely uncomfortable if I attempted to walk with it in my pocket, and I would have no room for everything else I keep in my pocket if I had that in my pocket).

This is what I typically carry around with me, and you could easily make a complete Bible around that size by using the same font size as the Gideons pocket NT and leaving out the introductions and footnotes, but as far as I can tell, there is no English-language Catholic Bible anywhere near that small.


You can’t really have a Bible without footnotes because there are different sources that must be annotated. For example, the renditions in the Aleppo Codex vs The Septuagent are generally both given in the footnotes for completness. It would be remis to leave them out.


Bah, shame then… maybe I should take a picture of my Spanish Jerusalem Bible and show how relatively small (still a bit bulky) it is. It’s not exactly a pocket Bible per se, but fits comfortably in one of those sling bag things.

Hi, thanks for answering! I’m not quite sure I get you – are you saying Bibles must have footnotes to state the source manuscript? If not, I’m not quite sure what you meant.


Footnotes can be very helpful or misguiding, it all depends on who added the notes. If you have a smartphone that you can look up passages for some commentaries then the bare Bible is sufficient. Reading the Scripture alone is never harmful but actually beneficial because there is no real doctrine developed enough in any given passage. As long as you understand that and understand that doctrine is based upon the Bible as a whole and the Traditional of the Church then single passages will not lead you into error. When you run onto passages that sound like they counter Catholic doctrine then that is when you consult a good Catholic commentary.


Sounds like a good rule of thumb. :thumbsup:


Hi, thanks for answering! I’m not quite sure I get you – are you saying Bibles must have footnotes to state the source manuscript? If not, I’m not quite sure what you meant.

Sorry, what I meant is It needs to footnotes to show the differences in the actual Scripture texts themselves. I wasn’t talking about commentary, you can do just fine without commentary, but it’s important to see the variants in the actual Scripture text.


Ah, I see. Well, I’m not aware of any Bibles here that do that. I guess for that you just need to get different Bibles and compare them. :stuck_out_tongue:


There is Bible software (and Bible apps) for that kind of thing. It’s getting a lot cheaper, too. I think Logos has a Catholic version with a lot of good stuff, but I’ve never used it.

More casually, you can compare different Scripture versions at It’s a Protestant site, but it does have a lot of nice comparison features (including Greek stuff for the New Testament and Hebrew stuff for the Old Testament). Obviously it’s missing the Catholic Books of the Bible (or rather, they treat them as apocrypha).

If you get really serious, you’ll also want to find some sites with Greek Septuagint versions of the Old Testament.


I’ve heard of Logos. I need to look into it and see if there’s a version for Android or something.

I guess for comparison, a website will probably be good enough. I’m assuming there’s other Bible gateways online that do have full Catholic Bibles with the accepted canon.

As far as the Greek versions of the OT, I don’t speak Greek, let alone Koine Greek or whatever dialect they’re written in so that’s going to be an interesting experiment. :smiley:

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