Douay Rheims Challoner Bible vs New American Bible RE


So I just recently got a Catholic app that included both of these bibles. It’s easier to read on my bible app, so I compared the two on Psalms 19. They were very different. It was like it wasn’t the same passage at all. Here’s an example:

“For the leader. A psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the works of his hands. Day unto day pours forth speech; night unto night whispers knowledge. There is no speech, no words; their voice is not heard; A report goes forth through all the earth, their messages, to the ends of the world. He has pitched in them a tent for the sun; it comes forth like a bridegroom from his canopy, and like a hero joyfully runs its course. From one end of the heavens it comes forth; its course runs through to the other; nothing escapes its heat. The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The statutes of the LORD are true, all of them just; More desirable than gold, than a hoard of purest gold, Sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb. By them your servant is warned; obeying them brings much reward. Who can detect trespasses? Cleanse me from my inadvertent sins. Also from arrogant ones restrain your servant; let them never control me. Then shall I be blameless, innocent of grave sin. Let the words of my mouth be acceptable, the thoughts of my heart before you, LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭19:1-15‬ ‭NABRE‬‬

“Unto the end. A psalm for David. May the Lord hear thee in the day of tribulation: may the name of the God of Jacob protect thee. May he send thee help from the sanctuary: and defend thee out of Sion. May he be mindful of all thy sacrifices: and may thy whole burnt offering be made fat. May he give thee according to thy own heart; and confirm all thy counsels. We will rejoice in thy salvation; and in the name of our God we shall be exalted. The Lord fulfil all thy petitions: now have I known that the Lord hath saved his anointed. He will hear him from his holy heaven: the salvation of his right hand is in powers. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will call upon the name of the Lord our God. They are bound, and have fallen; but we are risen, and are set upright. O Lord, save the king: and hear us in the day that we shall call upon thee.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭19:1-9‬ ‭DRC1752‬‬

The DRC Bible only has 9 verses compared to the 15 in the NABRE. Also, these seem like two different passages except for “a psalm of David”.

Why is this, and which Bible version should I read?


First, the Douay Rheims and Latin Vulgate (as well as the Knox and others) uses a different numbering scheme. I beleive that it’s Psalm 10 where they diverge because newer translations split the DRC Pslam 10 into Ps 10 and 11. So in your example you would need to compare Psalm 19 from the NABRE and Psalm 18 from the DRC. There are a few more where one or the others split or merge a Psalm, but I don’t remember them off the top of my head.

As to which to read? Personally I’d say both. There are certainly differences in translation since they used different source documents, but I find it helpful to look at different translations to get a better feel for what the original might have said. Each translation will very based on the translator’s choice of words and having different translations can be helpful to see past any bias (intentional or unintentional) that a given translation might have.

With regard to your poll question, one can say that the NABRE is closer to extant Hebrew and Greek framents since it includes stuff from the Dead Sea scrolls that St Jerome did not have access to when translating the Latin Vulgate.


I would recommend the Douay Rheims Challoner Bible. It’s the Bible I personally use. It has a very poetic use of old English that is still clear and easy to understand in our time.


I’m very partial to the DR. I’ve read both, fully, along with some other translations, but I always come back to the DR. Especially for daily prayer and readings. I love the way it reads, it’s 110% Catholic notes and a host of other things. (Tradition and family history using it help as well).

As far as the Psalm numbering? Do a quick Google search for more info, but here is the basic layout\difference. The link also has some good clear info:

Hebrew 1-8 = Septuagint/Vulgate 1-8
Hebrew 9 = Septuagint/Vulgate 9-10
Hebrew 10-112 = Septuagint/Vulgate 11-113
Hebrew 113 = Septuagint/Vulgate 114-115
Hebrew 114-115 = Septuagint/Vulgate 116
Hebrew 116-145 = Septuagint/Vulgate 117-146
Hebrew 146-147 = Septuagint/Vulgate 147
Hebrew 148-150 = Septuagint/Vulgate 148-150


While I’m partial the RSV, the NAB is the better choice between the two here.

Pslm 19 in the NAB is Psalm 18 in the Douay.


It is true that modern translators have access to documents that Jerome did not have access to. But Jerome may have had access to documents that disappeared after his time. Perhaps more important, Jerome lived in the same empire Jesus and the apostles belonged to. Most of that civilization disappeared soon after Jerome’s time, and most of it wasn’t written down. That means Jerome had context for what a Greek phrase might have meant that a modern scholar might not have. Greek has not changed as dramatically as English, for instance, but far more than Latin.

The NABRE translators had more technical support, obviously, than Jerome and the Douay translators! From a personal viewpoint, I am a little troubled by what seems horizontal and inclusive bias in NABRE. Some people would argue that Jerome, and Douay translators have their own bias. But it is not the bias of our own time, which is always the most dangerous bias.

So the above poster is right, consult both translations. See which one moves you towards sanctity, and virtuous actions.


Pure opinion:

The NAB and /RE are modernized, dumbed down and politically-corrected translations with some footnotes that are absolutely corrosive to faith. If you have nothing else, they are OK, but I cannot advise reading the notes unless you are aware of the manifold problems in them. Approved? Yes, but the Church can do much better.

The D-R is very traditional and a solid, approved translation.

The Knox is a beautifully written and more readable translation. Bishop Sheen’s favorite.

The Confraternity Bible (1941-1969). It was a work in progress, but the NT was completed in 1941. Very good and the notes are fantastic. The Confraternity OT, when finished, basically became the OT in the NAB. Pocket NTs are available from Scepter Publishers.

Revised English Bible w/Apocrypha. This is a sleeper, a true ecumenical Bible originating in Britain. A quite good read. Not perfect, but none is.

All of these are available very affordably in conditions ranging from fair to excellent on eBay, Amazon, Thrift Books, etc. Since all translations miss the bulls-eye by varying amounts, it is good to have a reference library of Bibles.


The NAB 2011 is an excellent translation. It’s not dumbed down at all.


The NRSV is about the most accurate translation from a scholarly standpoint. The RSV is a good alternative if the reader doesnt like inclusive language or the NABRE.

The NABRE is either close or not far behind the NRSV in terms of accuracy. Its definitely more accurate than the DR. I view the DR the same way I view the KJV. Both are a nice important piece of christian history. The KJV is an important piece of english history. Its impact was substantial. The KJV and DR belong in every english speaking christian’s home. They are nice to read sometimes. But neither the DR nor the KJV are the translations I regularly use.

The New Testament was written in common everyday greek. So I’d prefer to read a translation that is as accurate as possible and written in everyday modern english.

I dont know much about the type of hebrew the OT was written in but I assume it was also written in common Hebrew and thats how the early Jews heard it so I try to read the OT in the most accurate modern form I can find.

For these reasons, I switch between the NRSV, NABRE, and the Greek Orthodox Bible for its english translation of the Septuagint.

Maybe someday I will learn to read the Septuagint and NT in the original Koine Greek.


I have a 2011 copy on my shelf. At least it has a contemporary high-school reading level, whatever that means. Good that you like it, but it bugs me that Mary is not full of grace (Lk 1:28) while Saint Stephen the Martyr is (Acts 6:8). Little things like that. The text is only slightly altered from the original 1970 NAB, and it is not approved for use in the liturgy. To me, that is unacceptable. Enough said.


[quote=Justin61790]The NABRE is either close or not far behind the NRSV in terms of accuracy. Its definitely more accurate than the DR. I view the DR the same way I view the KJV. Both are a nice important piece of christian history. The KJV is an important piece of english history. Its impact was substantial. The KJV and DR belong in every english speaking christian’s home. They are nice to read sometimes. But neither the DR nor the KJV are the translations I regularly use.

Interesting comments.

I would not group the KJV with the D/R however since the KJV purports to translate from the original tongues (as does the RSV, NRSV, and the NABRE) So it is just a quaint English, outdated-scholarship example of those modern translations. On the other hand, the D/R is a translation from the Vulgate, representing St. Jerome’s translation of the Old Latin texts, while correcting them with the still extant original language texts he had access to. This makes the D/R and KJV apples and oranges, even though they are relatively contemporary in their origin.

As far as accuracy goes; That is something neither you nor anyone else can state, since no one has the originals. However, the Vulgate certainly benefited from the oldest competent scholarship, and extant texts, which today’s translations do not have access to. True, the dead sea scrolls and certain recently discovered codices have helped modern scholarship, but that does not necessarily put it further ahead in accuracy.

There is a modern disdain for Jerome’s Vulgate which is more prejudice than factual based. There is a very thought provoking article on “the Latin Vulgate as the Authentic Version of the Church” which should put to rest the unfair dismissal of the Vulgate by modern Biblical scholars. (Find the article link half way down the page of the Table of Contents.)


As time goes on, I love the Vulgate-based translations more and more. Tobit, in particular, is an even more heartwarming lesson in the D-R and Knox than the modern, more “mechanical” translations we see today. There is a warmth in the Vulgate that gives a clue as to the gentle Jerome hiding behind that vicious temper.


Why not read several?

The Douay is great for a whole host of reasons, mostly stemming from the fact that it is a very literal translation of (a version of) the Vulgate.

But versions like the RSV-(2)CE or the NAB(RE) put a person in contact with the Hebrew text and various Greek rescensions of the Deuterocanon.

If you like each one, then read each one.


None of the above. I read the Bible usually in French. Lately the newly released Bible de la Liturgie which is the same translation that has been used for years in the lectionary. Otherwise La Bible de Jérusalem.

When I do read in English I use the RSV-CE.


RSV-CE here.

Our parish also has a huge rolling cart of the NAB for the kids to use.


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