Help with selecting a Bible


I need help with selecting an accurate version of the Holy Scriptures for study. After searching the internet, as well as the subject here on the forums, I’m still a little confused as to which translation best represents the original text in contemporary English language. For instance, between the NRSV and the ESV, which is most accurate? The following four Bibles is what I had in mind for purchase, so if you could offer thoughts and replies, that would be great.

1.) The HarperCollins Study Bible: Fully Revised and Updated
2.) The New Interpreter’s Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version with Apocrypha
3.) A New English Translation of the Septuagint
4.) The Navarre Bible

Also, I’m not a fan of the New American Bible or the Douay-Rheims, so these translations are out of the question. I know this topic is probably discussed a lot, so I appreciate your patience.


Of the four translations you listed I would recommend the Navarre Bible. It is a good, faithful Catholic Bible. The text used is the Revised Standard Version. That is the same text used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The first two use the New Revised Standard Version which includes more inclusive language.

The third, A New English Translation of the Septuagint, is a translation of the Greek Old Testament. It does not include the New Testament. The translators used the NRSV as the base text and uses inclusive language.

My personal favorite Catholic bible is the Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition.


Are you desiring a one volume Bible containing both the Old and New Testaments? Also, do you desire more historical notes or theological ones?


Are they any that have both historical and theological notes?


I like the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (which uses the RSV-2CE text with commentary), though sadly this is only the NT (there are some OT books available individually) I don’t know anything about the NET, and while I’ve heard good things about the Navarre, 1. it’s Expensive, and 2. I have little personal experience with it.

That probably didn’t help much…


This is the number one Catholic Bible:


Have a look at the Knox Translation. Monsignor Knox included some very helpful notes. I cannot tell if the HarperCollins has complete versions of the Deuterocanonical books. Many which state “with Apocrypha” do not have full versions of those books.


For just the text of the Bible, I’d recommend the NRSV with Apocrypha. It contains inclusive-language, but almost always footnotes the original (e.g. ‘brothers’, for ‘brothers and sisters’, etc.). It’s based on more up to date textual criticism; if you want to compare with older versions, then the Authorised Version or the Douai-Rheims will show you more what pre-critical manuscripts look like.

In terms of commentary, for devotional/Catholic theological reading, I’d recommend the Navarre Bible, but this will be expensive if you’re buying book by book. For historical-critical commentary, the Oxford Bible Commentary gives a decent outline of everything.


I second this idea. Just be aware that while it’s beautiful, yet more accessible than the DR/KJV it’s still not really contemporary language either, thus making it more challenging for me to understand less familiar books of the Bible.

It can be read online at NewAdvent for free.


The New Jerusalem Bible.


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