Is this Bible ok?

I have been doing some research and there are many saying to stay away from the NABRE because of the Holy See not liking it.

So far it seems to be the one that I am leaning towards though. I really do not like the other ones that I have found. The Douay–Rheims Bible is like the KJV was to me in that the language is archaic and if my wife is going to one day follow along with study, than it will be too hard for her because of her multiple sclerosis impairing her cognitive thinking. The RSV-CE just isn’t jumping out at me like the NABRE is.

Whether you choose NAB or RSV is a matter of preference, but I will point out the major difference. NAB (pre-RE) is used liturgically in the Mass. The Lectionary is an edited rendition of passages in the NAB translation. The RSV is popular for Bible study. It is a very literal translation, while the NAB is more dynamic.

I can tell you that I have been attending sessions of the Great Adventure Bible study by Jeff Cavins et. al. for several years now, and this series exclusively uses the RSV-CE. I began by purchasing a St. Joseph NAB, but eventually I came around and added the RSV-CE so I could accurately follow the study, and I have not been disappointed by the new choice. Now I never pick up my NAB anymore.

However, the NABRE is approved and promoted by the USCCB among others. I have not heard that the Holy See disapproves. I have heard that some assorted Catholics object to certain things such as the decision to render “almah” as “young girl” in Isaiah, rather than the traditional “virgin” translation. I have not heard of any glaring or obvious errors in the NABRE, and personally I feel that the “almah” controversy is a tempest in a teapot, but I am still happy with my own RSV-CE with no plans to purchase the NABRE, although I do make extensive use of the USCCB’s online version, which may be useful to you if you wish to preview this before purchase.

You would do best getting an original Douai-Rheims. But if it is too hard, it’s hard to say what to suggest…

I enjoy reading the New American Bible. It is my favorite translation and makes sense to me, so I live it! I don’t see anything wrong with it at all.

You know, I just looked this up in my Bible, and noticed that my translation still says “he will be born of a virgin…” My New American Bible is the pre-Revised Edition and is definitely better than the newer one, which I also have for school, but never ever use. Even ehen I purchased that one, I didn’tlike the way it looked with the configuraion and such, but the translations aren’t as good as the regular New American Bible, which is my favorite translation.

I like the Ignatius Bible. Many people at my church use the New Jerusalem Bible. If the translation is too difficult, I think one might be less likely to sit often with the scriptures.

I use the RSV-CE for my daily reading but there are deficiencies. Every once in a while I come across somethingin the RSV-CE that just doesn’t seem right. It is nice to have the NAB as an alternative.

I too use the USCCB’s website quite a bit. For the RSV online, I use


I use the NAB, the Orthodox Study Bible (apparently Greek Catholics use this and the archpriest of the Eparchy of Phoenix stated they used it for Bible studies), the NJB, the RSV Catholic Edition, and the NRSV Catholic Edition. I’ve had Catholics quote to me from the NIV.

This one’s the Orthodox Study Bible.

Try both out, either online or from your local library (parish or public). Whichever you feel more comfortable, go with it. If one struggles with the language, they are less likely to keep reading/studying, so being comfortable with the language should be high on the list (if you don’t like thees and thous and haths and dosts, do not get the Douay-Rheims). The RSV-CE has a few of them when talking with God, the 2nd CE from Ignatius doesn’t (except I think in a couple places of familiarity such as the Our Father). The NRSV-CE might also be one to consider (although it has a lot of inclusive language).

I have several NABs, as well as an “RE” but only for reference.

Jimmy Akin refers to the NAB as a “squishy” translation, and I must agree with him. The RSV is not perfect, but I will take it over the NAB. The RSV or NRSV is quoted in the second edition of the catechism. The NAB/RE that is sold to us is not the same version used in the liturgy. What we hear is a modified form that the Vatican would accept for liturgical use only after the rampant gender-neutral language and other issues of the NAB were sufficiently fixed.

A few of my beefs with the NAB:

Mary is not full of grace in the NAB. Luke 1:28
Mary’s soul does not magnify the Lord Luke 1:46
Paul did not forgive sins in the person of Christ in the NAB. 2 Cor 2:10
The word “hell” does not appear in the NAB. Nope.
Elizabeth praises Mary (Luke 1:45) not because of her faith, but only because Mary believed that God would do what He said He would do. Excuse me, but that just sounds goofy.

Compare Luke 1:45:

Knox Bible (Bishop Fulton Sheen’s favorite)
Blessed art thou for thy believing; the message that was brought to thee from the Lord shall have fulfilment.

**And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
Confraternity Bible (:thumbsup:)
And blessed is she who has believed, because the things promised her by the Lord shall be accomplished.

Each of the foregoing blesses Mary for her belief, and at the same time is also a testament to Elizabeth’s belief.

Look at the NAB:
Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”*

We know that God can neither deceive nor be deceived. What is so blessed about taking God at His word?

And look at the NAB footnotes regarding Mary’s magnificat (underlining mine):

  • [1:46–55] Although Mary is praised for being the mother of the Lord and because of her belief, she reacts as the servant in a psalm of praise, the Magnificat. Because there is no specific connection of the canticle to the context of Mary’s pregnancy and her visit to Elizabeth, the Magnificat (with the possible exception of v 48) may have been a Jewish Christian hymn that Luke found appropriate at this point in his story. Even if not composed by Luke, it fits in well with themes found elsewhere in Luke: joy and exultation in the Lord; the lowly being singled out for God’s favor; the reversal of human fortunes; the fulfillment of Old Testament promises. The loose connection between the hymn and the context is further seen in the fact that a few Old Latin manuscripts identify the speaker of the hymn as Elizabeth, even though the overwhelming textual evidence makes Mary the speaker.

Are you kidding me? Luke made it up? He just threw it in there because it sounded nice? These modernist commentators appear to assume that Luke essentially copied and pasted Hannah’s Canticle (1 Samuel 2:1-10) in his Gospel where it would sound good. Ugh. Enough deconstruction.

Some in the American Church cry out for a better translation.

Sounding like a scratched CD, I highly recommend any of the Confraternity Bibles in print from 1941-1969. All versions have a simply excellent NT translation with clear and confidence-inspiring intros and notes. The Confraternity OT began as the pure Douay version, with updated translations added through the years. In fact, the finalized Confraternity OT heavily influenced the OT of the NAB. The best part is that Confraternity Bibles can be had for a song in thrift stores and on eBay. I believe it is the best-kept secret in scripture translations.

Here’s a suggestion: if you like the NABRE, read it by all means, but ignore the footnotes. Most of the “problems” (i.e. scholarly speculations that may shake those facing uncertainty about the Faith) are in the annotations, rather than in the text.


  1. Read the original (1970 or 1986) NAB.
  2. Try the New Jerusalem Bible. It’s historical-critical, but not overly so.
  3. Try the original Jerusalem Bible. Not too many footnotes, and few problems.

First off, the NAB-RE is the bible used on the Vatican’s website.

Second, yes, the NAB-RE can be very hard for a lot of us who like our comfort zones to reinforce our image of what the Bible says. Definitely, it shook me. Definitely, I cursed profanities out of disbelief for what I considered the irreverent way they treated a lot of things I thought should have been treated differently.

But at the end of the day it equips us to be more open to discuss issues with non-Catholics.

For example, the “did not have relations until…” portion that modern Prots mistakenly assume means that Joseph and Mary had relations after the birth of Jesus. The footnote says “it neither precludes nor intimates that they did have relations afterwards”.
WHAT?! I said. How could you say this?! Are you implying they MAY have had relations afterwards? There’s similar footnotes about Jesus’ brothers and sisters, that say the text is ambiguous as to whether or not they are blood brothers. I couldn’t believe it. What a heretical book this was! But lo and behold, I was the fool. Because those passages are ambiguous about whether or not they are his blood brothers, and my ignoring that reality will wind up humiliating me in debate.

I was angry. But I was stupid. They are simply stating facts. Any Catholic who walks into an argument blindly relying on translations in the Bible is going to pay for it. Because it doesn’t necessarily mean that. And if you base all of your arguments off of the word “virgin” instead of “young girl,” you’re gonna pay for that, too; because it could swing either way (I assume).

Catholics need to be more aware, not less aware, of what the reality is surrounding their faith. If you are weak in the faith and will be shaken, stay away from the NAB-RE. But if you can look past your anguish like I did, you can grow a lot from it.

Mary never did have relations with Joseph. That’s a truth. We know it. The Church teaches it. But it’s not precluded in that verse. That’s not an assault on our faith, that’s a simple fact: the verse neither precludes nor intimates that Mary had relations later.
Of course they are not his full brothers. That is a truth. We know it. But it is not told us there.

:thumbsup: Exactly, we as Catholics (unlike many Fundamentalists) don’t rely on the Bible alone to explain every teaching of Church doctrine (see John 21:24-25). We (along with the Bible) have the Sacred Tradition that has been passed down from the apostles, confirmed in Church councils, the teaching and commentary of the Early Church Fathers and the guidance of the Catholic Church’s Magisterium over the last 2000 years.

I am not a big fan of the ‘thees and thous’, but I recently bought a very nice copy of Douay-Confraternity Bible (New Catholic Edition) published in 1954 by Catholic Book Publishing Co. What caught my eye on e-bay about this Bible is that it had a genuine Morocco Leather cover as was in very good condition for $19.99, so being the Bible nerd that I am I had to buy it.
It is very nice! I like the size of this series of Bibles from CBPC0 (8 1/2 x 5 1/2 x1 7/8"). The Morocco Leather cover is in excellent condition, it has a beautiful gold cross on the from cover and gold trimming around the outer edge of the front cover and along the inner edge of the whole leather cover.
So I have decided to immerse myself for the next week in this Bible, using it for all my daily lectionary readings and using it with my LOTH (morning and evening prayers). Maybe the ‘thees and the thous’ will grow on me! :thumbsup:

Another good recommendation. The later the publication, the less archaic language. I think it breaks down like this:

A. 1941-Douay OT, Conf. NT (for all, so I won’t re-type this)
B. 1948?-Douay OT, but with a new translation of the new Latin psalms (pius XII psalms)
C. 1950-Conf. Psalms, rest of OT in the Douay
D. 1953-First 8 books Conf., rest are Douay (may have either Conf. Psalms or Pius XII psalms)
E. 1957-First 8 and 7 Sapiental in the Conf., rest are Douay
F. 1961-First 8, 7 Sapiental, and 18 Prophetic books are Conf. Rest are Douay.

Don’t take this as gospel for all dates & publishers, as there appeared to be some variation as to who offered what in what year. Also, as I recently found out in another thread, there are several variations on the translation of the Pius XII psalms.

Thank you to those that replied.

I am going to go with the NABRE as it’s the version that the educational director for my church recommends.

Since you are using the NAB/RE, I would suggest that you accompany it with a copy of Catholicism for Dummies - even if you have been Catholic your entire life. It is an excellent reference book that clearly explains Catholic beliefs and practices, as well as the reasons behind those beliefs and practices. In a sense, it is an easier-to-read catechism. Since the scriptures are ambiguous (in many places, we find out), we must also rely on Church authority and the Apostolic tradition to fill in the blanks. Unlike bible alone faith communities, Catholics do not have to guess at the remainder of our beliefs. The Catholic Church has the teachings of the Apostles that have been handed on to us as well as the “Acts 15” authority to decide matters of faith and morals.

I hope you really enjoy reading your new Bible, lonegreywolf. Remember, if you have questions, come here to ask about them! The comments of the NAB-RE can be a little confusing at points. If you find yourself asking “Do Catholics believe Mary was Ever Virgin? It seems like this might be implying otherwise,” then you’ve misinterpreted the comments and better turn here!

Remember, Catholics read the Scriptures in light of the teachings of the Church (just like the Bible orders! It tells us specifically the Scriptures are difficult, and suggests we have the guidance of our elders)

Rather, I think he has understood the comments exactly as they were meant. Remember that many modernist, secular theologians greatly contributed to the NAB/RE. I think it is best to disregard those notes completely, as some may be fine while others (check those for Luke 1:45 and following) seem designed to deconstruct the faith as we know it. As with all fine print, the devil is in the details.

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