NAB Bible


I just would like to know what some of you think about the NAB Bible. Particularly the NAB St. Joseph Edition… I have yet to come across anyone who actually “Likes” it.
I myself enjoy the way it reads, just not so much the Psalms and I don’t pay very much attention to the footnotes…
But all the negative feedback is starting to make me feel like I should NOT make it my primary Bible. Any thoughts?


The actual translation from Greek is not bad. Dr. Scott Hahn uses it among other editions.


You’re going to get a disproportionate number of negative comments about the NAB here on CAF as compared to the general Catholic population.

Is the NAB my favorite translation? No. Do I have some issues with it? Yes. Do I have any trouble recommending it to people as a good Catholic translation to read? Not at all.

No translation is perfect. They all have strengths and weaknesses. It is a modified version of the NAB that we hear at Mass every day in the United States (most of the modifications are minor ones that correct some of the aforementioned weaknesses). We wouldn’t be reading it at Mass if there was some grave problem with it.

The best translation is the one you’ll read. If you are enjoying the way it reads, then keep reading it. :thumbsup: There is no need for minor quibbles over Isaiah 7:14 or Luke 1:28 to spoil the whole thing.


Some of the translation choices are a bit wonky; others are truly beautiful.

In the 1986 and later NT in John 18, Jesus says “I AM” (rather than “I am he” in other translations), which gives a nice context why the mob sent to arrest him fell backwards - he uttered the Divine Name (as revealed to Moses in Exodus 3).

And I might get shot for saying this, but the original NAB (pre-1991) translation of Psalm 23 is actually I think one of the best (if you find a 1986-1990 version, it would have the revised NT but still keep this version of the psalm).

I don’t think people on here have so many issues with the translation itself, but rather the footnotes. They are not heretical, but they don’t always lead to an old-school interpretation of the text.

Honestly, if the translation speaks to you, use it! The best Bible is the one you’ll actually read.


The 2011 revision of the NAB is greatly improved over the older 1970 edition. The Psalms were revised in 1991 and were horrible, but the 2011 Psalms are much better.

I wouldn’t have any trouble with you buying a 2011 NABRE. Just take the notes with a grain of salt but the translation, I believe, is excellent.


Thank you all for taking the time to comment… I truly appreciate it.
These few replies have inspired me more than you know… Finally some positive feedback regarding the NAB!! Thank You! :thumbsup:


I like the NABRE and use it every day along with the RSV-2CE. I like the new NABRE psalms better than the Revised Grail Psalms that will be used in the future revised liturgy in the USA.


I have read the NAB for years and am not familiar with the 2011 revisions.

The notes in the St. Joseph edition are fairly helpful, and my parish study group studies the introductions to each book and to the more important footnotes.

A more perfect study bible would have cross-references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and perhaps more specific insights from the early church fathers, for example.

I have other bibles on my shelf: The Jewish Study Bible, The Orthodox Study Bible, The NIV study bible, the (anti-catholic) Ryrie Study Bible, The Jewish Annotated New Testament, and I have a lot of Jewish Publication Society commentaries on individual books of the Bible, which are 1) biased towards Jewish interpretations in many places but 2) are often very helpful because they go into line-by-line analyses. 3) they are expensive. 4) they by no means answer all questions about the Hebrew Bible, but there are interesting essays accompanying the commentary. E.G. in the Hebrew Bible, what is the significance of the red heiffer? What is the significance of the holiness code in Leviticus (I think)?

The Catholic perspective is that the focus of all scripture is Jesus Christ.


The NAB Old Testament including the Psalms were revised and was published in 2010 (available for purchase in 2011). The NAB is now called the NAB (Revised Edition) or NABRE.

Ignatius Press is releasing a new Bible called the Didache Bible in October. It will use the RSV-2CE translation and the commentary notes will be based upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church!


On the whole I like the NAB translation. It’s very readable without being overly ‘colloquial.’

I like reading a variety of translations, but if I were going to a Catholic scripture study I’d probably pack my NAB. I find the notes are extremely helpful in terms of providing theological and historical context.

I have the 1986 edition, which is nice because the Psalms hadn’t been ‘neutralized’ yet.

Like a couple of people said, the best translation is the one you’ll actually want to read. :thumbsup:


I use my NAB St. Joseph’s Edition for general reading of the Bible. I do not use it for in-depth study. I will be honest with you. For in-depth study I turn to my Logos Bible Software.


The 1986-90 editions of the NAB uses the 1970 OT and 1970 Psalms and the 1986 NT which are used in the English Mass in the US. So if someone wants a version of the NAB that they hear in church, this would be it. In 1991 the NAB Psalms were re-translated (which over gender neutralized) which I did not care for. Fortunately in 2010 when the OT was revised, the 1991 Psalms were revised into the ones that are currently being used in the NABRE, and in my opinion they are the best yet.

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