Good Study Bible Recommendations

Hey guys, here is a thread to discuss some good study Bibles. I’m looking into buying one eventually. I’m especially looking into the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament as well as well as the C.S. Lewis Bible (which is a Protestant Bible admittedly. For my particular needs, I’ll probably go for the Ignatius and study that first).

How about you guys? Any good Study Bibles you’re looking into or have read? Deuterocanonical books or not, it doesn’t matter! Discuss!

I really like the Ignatius Study Bible and can’t wait until they complete the OT (though they’be published some OT books individually and Genesis is fantastic).

That is the only one I have experience with. I am also looking at the Navarre Bible, which is frequently recommended, but that will be much more expensive.

Depending on where you are in your faith formation (I’m quite early) I recommend looking at Bibles that focus on sound Catholic commentary and not ones that assume miracles never happened or that the Gospels are figurative. It’s important that we read the Bible from the heart of the Church and build a firm foundation of understanding of why we believe what we believe. There is a lot that could be easily misconstrued out of context. Once I have that foundation, I’m open to reading other types of study bibles.

Nothing wrong if you want to do things differently, though. That’s the approach that suits me.

As a convert to Catholicism, one of the first things I looked for was a Catholic study bible similar to my NLT Life Application Study Bible. What I have found is that prior to the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, which still hasn’t been released in a complete single version, there is really nothing like that. There are commentaries avaiable from modern times back to the early Church fathers. Many of the modern ones have been influenced by modernism and the modernist historical critical method.

I would recommend getting your hands on the Haydock Bible’s commentary from the 1800s. The text is available free online, and there is a modern reprint of the Bible that costs around $100.

The Midwest Theological Forum just recently released the Didache Bible in the RSV-2CE and NABRE. This provides helpful commentary based on the Catechism.

The Navarre Bible is good. It is sold primarily in divisions. You can get the New Testament in one volume,mbut not the Old Testament. Buying up the series can get pricey. I bought the New Testament in divisions all used. I still haven’t completed the Old Testament because it costs $40 a volume used.

There is a series of commentaries called The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture covering the New Testament. It has not been fulled released yet, but it is by scholars known to be faithful to the Church’s teachings. The volumes are less than $20 new.

Also have an older commentary from the 50s known as the Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. This is a solid commentary, but is harder to find and usually expensive.

I HIGHLY recommend the Ignatius Bible you referenced. I use it all the time.

It’s also recommended by Jeff Cavins, a noted scripture scholar and Catholic convert who helped author the Ascension Press “A Quick Journey Through Scripture” Bible study program.

One of the most important things is to have a good translation, regardless of the publisher. The RSV translation is one of the best. The NAB (New American Bible) and NRSV are also good Catholic translations. The King James Version and the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) are decent non-Catholic translations.

Ignatius. Yes.

I have the Ignatius Study Bible NT and I use it a lot for reference but its just too huge to use as an all the time study Bible.

So, I just ordered the other day, the Didache Study Bible which is a more portable size and takes all its commentary from the Catechism and stuff like that. So, personally, from every review I’ve read I can recommend the Didache Bible. It should arrive in a few days so…


If you are looking for online resources, you might consider:

1859 Haydock Bible.

1941 Confraternity New Testament and Supplemental Commentary.

The Didache Bible ( either RSV-2CE or NABRE). As mentioned above, nice size (NABRE is a little fatter) theological/liturgical notes based upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 106 apologetic pages, 24 pages of maps and other study helps! I really have been enjoying this Bible!

Id agree on either Ignatius or Didache bibles, but let me suggest:

Little Rock Catholic Study Bible

Little Rock has the best and most inviting layout of any. Catholic bible, period. It has some good notes on how the liturgy integrates with the Bible. Its not as detailed as the Ignatius but still has lots of good stuff in there.

Would you (and anyone else who has the Didache) recommend it as a primary Bible as well as a study? I want to go deeper in scripture, while at the same time not being distracted by too huge of a Bible and too many footnotes. I have a New American now with all of the footnotes, but sometimes those footnotes prove to be a distraction. On an occasion, I question how accurate the footnotes are, and they are often quite lengthy or just too brief. Plus the old thing is getting kind of dirty.

Maybe I’ll get the Didache, or Little Rock, or any of the other smaller Bibles you guys recommended before getting an Ignatius, as much as I would love reading a ton of notes by Scott Hahn…

I’m going to dissent on the Ignatius product and offer an alternative.

Studying the New Testament apart from the Old Testament is an absurdity and a New Testament only Bible is of questionable value for serious study. It might be suitable for a beginner but the NT must be read in the context of the OT and a more advanced student can only get so far with out the entire Bible.

My opinion is that the RSV-2CE is a step down from the RSV-CE. I realize that others might not share my opinion. Catholic Bibles Blog has some very honest and balanced assessments of the RSV-2CE in general and the Ignatius product in particular.

The Longevity of the RSV-2CE?

[What to do with the RSV-2CE?](“What to do with the RSV-2CE?”)

Another thing to consider is what you will do with a giant New Testament only Study Bible when Ignatius finally (its been years!) produce a version containing the whole Bible? The NT only version is destined for instant obsolescence. Many Catholics will spend another $30 or $40 for the OT/NT version and I predict a glut Ignatius NT only study Bibles for $1.99 at the local Goodwill store a few months later. The honest thing for Ignatius to do is release a less expensive OT only version for those who already have a NT version - time will tell.

The Oxford Annotated NRSV with Apocrypha as an excellent alternative and overlooked by Catholics. I have longed for a 1991 version of the New Oxford Annotated NRSV w/ Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books in leather. This edition was edited by two of the greatest scholars of the 20th century, Dr. Bruce M. Metzger and Carmalite priest Fr. Roland E. Murphy. I ordered this in hardcover the other day. The leather versions are more than $120 when they can be found.

Any version of the New Oxford Annotated NRSV with Apocrypha would make a fine study Bible. I think these are overlooked by Catholics.

Someone else mentioned the Navarre Study Bible. This is an investment you will hand down to your children and its orthodoxy cannot be questioned with commentary adapted from the works of the founder of Opus Dei, St. Josemaria Escriva. You can buy individual books of the Bible or the versions below.

[The Navarre Bible - NT Expanded Edition](“The Navarre Bible - NT Expanded Edition”) @ $79.95.

The Navarre Old Testament 7-Volume Set @ $274.65.

My point is that the Igantius Bible isn’t the only game in town and not everyone shares the enthusiasm for the product that people have expressed on this thread. I found the essays to be excellent but eventually gave my copy away.


I would recommend the Didache (RSV-2CE) as a primary Bible! The RSV-2 translation is my favorite. This Bible has great notes, very theological which makes it good for devotional reading also. Add 106 apologetic pages and extensive maps and other helps in a reasonable size and in my opinion you have a good primary Bible!

Ignatius Press (according to Father Fessio) submitted the RSV-CE to the Vatican for approval for use in the Liturgy but the Vatican requested numerous changes which ultimately resulted in the RSV-2CE. So in my opinion this does not make the RSV-2CE a step down translation. In my opinion since a lot of the archaic language has been removed it is a step up. People who like the thees and thous will stay with the RSV-CE and those who don’t will think that the RSV-2CE is an Improvement. The fact the Vatican requested these changes and approved the RSV-2CE for use in the Liturgy is a big step up in my opinion!

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