Douay-Rheims Bible vs N.A.B. as Bible for Family


:tiphat:Oh How I Wish this Thread were Resurrected!

I am a Newbie - always moved by the Spirit since a wee lass but never formally learn-ed - and now am getting…;…scholarly. Have always shied away from reading the Bible in it’s entirety (save every day necessity / as it comes through my life and to follow up with integrity by reading mostly the NKJV) for fear of not knowing how to read Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and being ‘misled’…

BUT - becoming responsible for leading my 5 children in Word now! And now am trying to choose which version…am leaning toward DR - Chancellor. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops “approves” the NABRE translation, and I want to know what I’m getting into as I forward truth in which version…I feel the Spirit leading me to BEEFEN UP “mere spirituality through pure honesty and driven integrity” (the religion of my own child rearing) with The Word (I became Catholic when I met my husband and desire to follow this for Our Children).

Any insight, advice, etc. greatly appreciated!!!


Split to allow new discussion.


The NAB and NAB/RE are functional (if somewhat weak) translations, but I believe that there are far better out there. Oh, the NAB and NAB/RE have their fierce defenders, and I expect a few to show up. That being said, the Knox Translation is absolutely fine. The Revised Standard Version - Second Catholic Edition is also fine. Along with the Knox my personal favorite is one of the various Confraternity bibles, which were produced from 1941-1969. They may be found in used book stores, or on eBay very reasonably. Their book introductions and footnotes are far superior to those in the NAB/RE. The Douay-Rheims is rock solid, but more work to read for many. The Confraternity updated the D-R to 20th century American English.

In my view, the NAB/RE will not lead a faithful Catholic away from the Church - but neither will it lead someone else into the Church.

Let the fun begin!


The fact that the Vatican has rejected the NAB/NABRE for use in the American Liturgy, to me, speaks volumes. Americans do NOT have an English Liturgical translation of the Bible. Lectors at Mass know that they must use a “work book” of the official Vatican approved English translation of the Bible for the Liturgy. But that translation is not the same one found in the NAB or NABRE.

So in effect Americans have the choice of:
*]the NAB/NABRE which is not approved for liturgical use, or
*]other English translations that ARE approved for liturgical use in countries like Canada, Australia, the UK, etc.
*]Older KNOWN orthodox translations, such as the D/R, Knox, and Confraternity.


The NAB is the translation that is used in the English speaking liturgy in the USA and a few other countries. This version is comprised of the 1970 Old Testment and the 1986 New Testament. The NABRE revised the Old Testment and Psalms in 2010.
Another good translation mentioned is the RSV-2CE by Ignatius Press. It removes much of the archaic language from the RSV-CE (thees and thous). If you prefer thees and thous in your translation then you might want to stay with the RSV-CE, the Douay Rhiems version or the above mentioned Contraternity translation.

All are good and approved by the Church, I would go to a good Catholic book store and sit down with the different options and see which one works best for you and you family. If you ask five different people on this forum, you might get five different opinions.


:thumbsup: Excellent advice!

I would mention that I remember when I first started reading the Bible on my own, I liked it when I came across a passage I remembered hearing at mass. I recognized it and was able to see it for myself in context. That might be something to think about with your children - the same version that you hear in mass might be good for them to have in the home?

At the same time, I’ve followed a “read the Bible in a year” plan several times with different versions and I’ve really learned from each one. Sometimes hearing something a little differently catches your attention!

So I’m probably no help … :blush: … just giving you more food for thought! Reading and studying the Bible is ALWAYS good and whichever you choose now, doesn’t mean you can’t choose the other at a later time. Good luck, happy reading, and God bless you! :slight_smile:


Amen! America is in great need of a clearer, more orthodox bible which accurately reflects the Apostolic Tradition which produced the NT scriptures. Oddly enough, the out-of-print Confraternity Bible does exactly this. Its only “deficit” is that it is Vulgate-based. Pius XII was quite correct in urging the original languages to be consulted. However, he in no way suggested dismissing the Tradition which directed and provided context for the translation. What we ended up with is nearly indistinguishable from Protestant translations - demonstrably worse in some cases, if you ask me. All of this after the Church long ago defined the Vulgate as a sure translation. What gives here?

As to the current approved bible (NAB/RE), even the mere suggestion that Mary never spoke the Magnificat, and that Luke either made it up or “copied and pasted” it into his Gospel should not be in any bible, IMO. After what appears to have been a flirtation with the modern world, I think the American bible needs to return fully to the guidance of Sacred Tradition which produced the scriptures in the first place.

It is a modified version which is not sold to the public. The USCCB holds the copyright to the NAB/RE and generates operating funds from its sale. I do not suppose to read hearts or minds here, but it appears that the USCCB cannot/will not copyright the liturgically approved version so as to sell it to the public. The reason? It is not good to guess.

I believe that they also hold the copyright to the 1941-1969 Confraternity Bible. Since there is a growing cry for its publication under a single cover, why would they not license it to one of the many well-known Catholic publishing houses?


I wouldnt recommend the Douay, Confraternity, or Knox if younger children are involved as the language is older and more difficult to follow (with Douay. being the worse of the two). Don’t get me wrong-I love all three just maybe not for kids. NABRE is ok as it is what is heard at mass. I’d recommend the RSV-2CE (which will feel somewhat familiar to the NKJV) or the original 1966 Jerusalem Bible (available new in a condensed reader’s edition) as the better choices for the kids.


Please do your soul a great favor and purchase a Douay-Rheims Bible. God bless you.


From today’s unpublished NAB-liturgical-variant:

"and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. "

From the D/R:

“and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

I know which one makes more sense, is more intelligible to English speaking Americans, and is spiritually true.


Several years ago the U.S. Army adopted a universal camouflage pattern to replace the desert and woodland camo patterns for their combat uniforms. The new camo worked well enough for service in Iraq but a different pattern was eventually needed in Afghanistan. What does this have to do with Bible translations? Maybe there isn’t a one size fits all Bible translation. They each have their strengths and failings. Why limit yourself to just one?


Good advise!


For a fact, the word “hell” does not appear in either the NAB or the NAB/RE. I will grant that “Gehenna” is the word that Jesus used and its inclusion in the NAB is technically correct. His audience understood perfectly what He meant. BUT. Hell is doctrine and that word is much more meaningful today, and is in accord with what our Lord meant.


This is the result of trying first to please a secular/pedantic committee rather than remaining true to Catholic tradition and doctrine, with the flock of Jesus Christ uppermost in mind.


Kindly allow me some digression here. If we consider that any and all things that occur at the human level are motivated by a spirit, one can see a pattern. We are called to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, as we are His temples, yet we retain our free wills. Still, in examining the various heresies over the millennia, it is clear that a spirit(s) waits to lead the faithful astray. In the past 50 years (arguably more than that), there is a so-called “spirit of Vatican II” whose effects are fairly easily observed.

The twisting of the meaning of VII documents and their poor implementation are examples of the leading of this spirit. Just “coincidentally”, of the two American bibles being worked on at that time, one was allowed to fade into obscurity and the other was adopted. One was as faithful an update of the Vulgate as could be expected (the 1941-1969 Confraternity), while the other was translated according to the spirit (but apparently not the letter) of Divino Afflante Spiritu, Pope Pius XII’s letter exhorting theologians to consult the original languages in scripture translation, rather than re-translating a translation (the Vulgate).

However, as we see, the new translation (1970 NAB) also seemed to have been affected by modernity and higher criticism, relying far less on the Apostolic Tradition. Thus we ended up with a hell-free bible; one in which Mary is no longer full of grace; one in which Paul did not forgive sins in the person of Christ, and various other missteps. Combine a tepid translation with modernist-influenced footnotes and you will gradually have a Church which is losing its sharp focus.

It is but part of a much larger malaise that affects the entire world - the world which is yet under the influence of its fallen prince.


ready said:

Please do your soul a great favor and purchase a Douay-Rheims Bible. God bless you.

Obviously this is a favorite topic and I could hear myself talk about it all night! However, being much fatigued at the moment, I will only echo my brother as quoted above.

Lots of pros and cons to every translation. You’ve got a good number to pick from.

But that comment says much with few words. You may have to look up an archaic word now and then. That’s OK. But when you consult the footnotes you will be educated and edified, not confused and scandalized! That’s a big thing.

I took some time this summer to read the New Testament straight through in the Douay-Rheims. I must say, having read it in many other translations, this was a rich and enjoyable pursuit.

May God bless you for seeking him in his word and guide your family study! Amen. :wink:

Great editions out there too. Between St. Benedict Press, Baronius and Loretto, you could get a paperback, hardcover or leather binding, spending between $25 and $60.


I understand your concern, but I think it is not as big of an issue as you might suppose. I know quite a few Fundamentalists who grew up hearing only the King James Version and appear to have understood the language just fine. And the Douay-Rheims is much easier to comprehend for the modern reader than the King James.

I would go with the DR over the NAB. I think both its text and its accompanying notes are problematic. The following two articles (hosted on a Protestant-owned website but authored by Catholics) catalogue some issues.


I would choose the NABRE or the RSV-2CE over the D-R as a family Bible for only one reason; the D-R uses the Latin spelling of names of people and places in the Bible. In mass and in school, the children are going to hear and read the Greek spelling and pronunciation of those same names and places and it can be very confusing. Not so much the pronunciation (which can be similar), but the spelling can really throw you off, it still does for me. This is not a problem for an adult who is studying the Bible, but for a child it can be confusing. Just my opinion.


You make a great point here and I must agree.

I too know protestants (and former protestants!) who were given a King James Version at age 8 or 9 and kept reading it into adulthood. When they encountered difficult words, they needed to ask a teacher or look them up. The result was their vocabulary grew as they read scripture.

We want to make things “accessible” these days and I can understand that. But sometimes effort is not a bad thing. We have no trouble expecting it from kids where sports are concerned!


RSV is quoted in Papal documents. Many Bible scholars prefer it over other translations.
Love Ignatius Study Bible NT. Can’t wait for the OT.
It’s a great translation.

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