Picking a Catholic Study Bible

Hi everyone. With the money I get for Christmas, I’d like to buy a Catholic study Bible. Anyway, I don’t want to spend more than $50 for a Catholic Study Bible. I saw this one at Catholic Free Shipping and thought it might be good. The version is NAB. What do you think?


Anyway, I am needing a Bible that is good for beginners or intermediate readers. I want a Bible that has the study notes built in. What recommendations do you all have? :shrug::confused:

That one looks like a good choice from what you have posted.

I have an older edition of the Catholic Study Bible. I bought it (on ebay) because our pastor recommended it for the footnotes when we started a Bible Study class. I like it alright, but I don’t necessarily know if I would buy it again. I do read the footnotes, but I haven’t really used the hundreds of pages of introduction before the actual scriptures. The size of the font is something that would be important to me, if I was buying a new BIble, but I am over 40, and print starts shrinking at that point.

Something else that is useful is tabs so that you can turn to a specific book in the Bible. I bought mine seperately and put them on myself.

Do you have a Catholic bookstore nearby where you can actually LOOK at the inside before you buy?

My 2 cents.

I’ve heard terrible things about the footnotes to the NAB, in that some of them are borderline heretical. I’d investigate this version further before I got it, since I’m not sure that the comments refer to this exact Bible.

Double-check the intro and footnotes – I have a NAB “Catholic Study Bible” which is terrible. Its chapter on inspiration of Scripture sounds heretical. I flipped thru looking at some of the footnotes and they seem to consistently “de-sacrilise” the text.

I have basically the same bible you are considering. I would NOT recommend it, primarily because of the reader’s guide at the beginning. The readers guide considers that the entire bible is fairy tales, made up after the fact to justify how the Jews got to where they are. The plagues of exodus, no big deal. There were plagues in Egypt all the time. etc.

That readers guide is like an anti-Bible hooked to the front of a real bible. Instead of providing spiritual insight or direction, it seems intent on guiding people away from God.

That being said, the NAB has a lot of footnotes, which is good. But some of the footnotes seem to be written by the same mindset that produced the readers guide. Overall, the NAB without the reader’s guide isn’t so bad. You could do worse.

The best bibles IMO are the Navarre Bible - which you buy in sections and is expensive, and the Ignatius Study Bible, for which only a few portions are done (so you also need to buy it one book at a time).

I have the New Jerusalem Bible which is pretty good.

I have to agree about the NAB. I also have one and I quit using it and started searching for something else. The RSV-CE is also really good as is the Douay Rheims. For devotional reading I prefer the Douay.

I’ve heard great things about both.
It would be really great if they could get together and produce an e-Bible that would let you click on both Navarre and Ignatius commentary for each chapter/verse.

There is a Google group, Catholic Faith List: groups.google.com/group/catholic-faith-list?hl=en which has the daily Mass readings with Navarre commentary if you’d lioke to see what it is like.

I subscribed to the rss feed for a while, but unsubscribed. I do a lot of rss & email reading on my ipod touch, and the rss feed merely linked to a web page with the real stuff. That’s very inconvenient for my ipod touch. If they came up with a way to email the daily commentary by email, that would work better for me.

Go to the group’s page and on the right side is a link “Edit My Membership” which gives options for receiving by e-mail.

I know several people here have said this is not a very good study Bible but I am using it and find it to be excellent in the perspective it brings to the text. It’s main purpose is to give you the point of view of 1st or 2nd century christians and how they would have understood the text.

It also illuminates the shortcomings of the written Greek and Hebrew and gives you the different possible interpertations of those words (or lack thereof).

All the aforementioned study Bibles would do fine for beginners while this one might be for those a bit more historically oriented.:twocents:

Thanks, I’ll give that a try!

It’s main purpose is to give you the point of view of 1st or 2nd century christians and how they would have understood the text.

Really? How much information on Scriptural exegesis do we have from the first and second century? I didn’t think we had much more than the NT books themselves (examining their use of the OT books), some Apostolic Fathers, the Apologists, some suspicious Apocryphal and Gnostic writings, and Irenaeus. The NT canon wasn’t even settled in the main until the end of the 2nd century.

It also illuminates the shortcomings of the written Greek and Hebrew and gives you the different possible interpertations of those words (or lack thereof).

I don’t understand you here, Brap.


I encourage you to investigate the basic issues that face Catholics in the area of Scriptural exegesis. A great place to start is with the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church,” which outlines various approaches to Scripture and briefly describes their uses and limitations.

In short, spiritual sense interpretations of Scripture, including the exegesis of the Fathers, and personal spiritual and moral reflection are essential. But no less essential are historical-critical exegesis and other related modern, scholarly methods of interpretation.

As such, I encourage you to use a variety of sources in studying Scripture. I truly believe that the Navarre Bible, which is heavily indebted to the Fathers, and Scott Hahn-esque conservative sorts of commentaries (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible; Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture) have valuable contributions to make. However, I encourage you to also investigate the mainstream of Catholic historical-critical scholarship, like the footnotes in the NAB and the work of Fr. Raymond Brown and similar scholars. Don’t let some of the posters on CAF convince you that those sources are ultra-liberal and unfaithful; they are not. They represent sober scholarship.

The Magisterium encourages Catholics to make use of modern methods of exegesis. That means making use of them honestly and fully, even when they seem to lead to conclusions that stand in tension with our traditional Catholic faith. Jump into the tension and the issues, honestly and fully.

I agree 100 percent. Thank you for extending my point (and quite well said at that). I do not recommend using this version only (if my meaning was not clear).

To your 1st point: It is not how much we had then, it is now that is addressed. The early christians most likely got their biblical knowledge from the oral (tradition) rather then the written word.

To your 2nd point: Even today, written words can be misinterpereted, have several meanings and do not tell you the tone of the speaker. Dead languages present themselves in written form only and the reader has only their understanding of the written word to guide them.

If the Bible texts were written in plain english some words and phases (that have dual meaning or a meaning lost) would still be open to interpertation (see the second amendment of the Bill of Rights).

Finally, I do not present myself as a scholar of biblical studies or make any claim that I have extensive knowledge of the breath of each and every study Bible. I mearly wanted to defend a study guide I found quite well reseached and written. As I said it’s just my :twocents:

I’d recommend the Douay, or the Confraternity. Safest and best guiding for the soul.

Most Catholic in the language of the translation too, unlike later more Protestant friendly translations.

NABs have some bad/misguiding footnotes mixed in with the good ones, and in general, rather than having spiritual footnotes quoting the fathers (like the Haydock) that help one improve one’s spiritual journey, instead it has modern historical-critical debates about what might or might not have happened, been written, been meant, etc.

Stuff which the fathers either often guidance on or settle, or if in doubt, the reader isn’t going to figure out either.


I fear I may have belittled you in my post: I didn’t check your post count or public profile, and so I assumed this was your first serious foray into Scripture study. I’m sorry if I was wrong and you are just looking for another good study Bible to further your study.

I stand by my recommendations, though. The Church tells us to use historical-critical and other modern methods of exegesis, so be sure you balance pre-modern exegesis and conservative Scott Hahn-esque exegesis with works of modern scholarship.

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