Read Entire Bible...What Version?


Hello y’all,

I have been a Catholic for a good few years now and have extensively studied the Bible and Sacred Tradition but I have recently decided that the one thing I have not done since my Protestant days was to read the entire Bible cover to cover. So, I was wanting your advice, what Bible version should I use to read the Word of God in its entirety? These are some of the ones that I have.

Thank you and God bless!


I put New American only because it was translated with readability in mind, so it’s a more ‘comfortable’ read for a cover-to-cover project like this.

I actually just did this myself. Well, I’m almost done [about 1/3rd of the way through Revelation at the moment]. Just a little more to go :slight_smile: This is my second time going through the entire Scripture…my first time was as a Protestant, and it raised some of the questions that ultimately led me to the Catholic Church.

Douay and RSV-CE are both, in my opinion, better and more accurate translations…but I find them difficult to read in the ‘casual’ way that seems best suited for a project like this. The language is less ‘natural’ in favor of complete accuracy, especially in the case of the Douay.

I have read the entire New Testament in the RSV-CE though, so it’s doable. If you prefer a bit more ‘formal’ style, or are willing to sacrifice a bit of readability in favor of a more careful and accurate translation, that might be the way to go.

Whichever translation you choose, best wishes on your now-Catholic journey through the Holy Scripture! God bless.


I would recommend the New American Bible: Revised Edition.


Nova Vulgata


I favor the RSV-CE. It is accurate and uses good English.


If you can’t make up your mind, use several and switch off book to book. That’s what I did last summer.

This summer’s readthrough is being done in the Douay-Rheims.


I think I’ve read the Bible in total, but not end to end.

I’ve been studying books of the Bible along with a commentary to expand on the meaning and/or to deepen spiritual insight.

In these types of threads I usually make the same general recommendations:

Decide on a budget for your scripture study. Let’s say you pick $200. OK, get the rsv-2CE or the NAB Study Bible, The Jewish Study Bible (JSB), and the Orthodox Study Bible(OSB).

These all have interesting essays about Bible study, and it may help you to compare what others say about the Bible – how it contrasts with Catholic perspectives.

The OSB OT is the Septuagint, actually, the english translation of the Septuagint. The Sept is the Bible quoted in the New Testament, or nearly so. The JSB is the 1985 Jewish Publication Society translation of the Masoretic Text, with comparisons to other texts of the Jewish Bible.

The OSB NT is the new KJV. But, it is the most oriented towards spiritual understanding than the others named.

When the complete Ignatius Study Bible comes out, that may be the best for Catholics, including as it does, references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

So, there are Bibles of two sources here, to begin with. Then, they will differ because of their trying to avoid copyright infringement–due to copying of other Bibles’ translations. Even if you just “read” one version, whichever turns out to be your favorite, you still have the others nearby, for a comparison, when you need it.

For example. In the St. Joseph NAB Study Bible, at Psalm 16, verse 1 says “a miktam” and when you look at the footnote it says this is a word that is not understood. But, you open your OSB, which was translated from the Greek, and verse 1 says “a pillar inscription,”

So, the Jews who translated the Jewish Bible into Greek a couple hundred years before Christ, knew what “miktam” was, and there it is, “a pillar inscription.” And there are six such psalms described the same way.

Or, again, in your St. Joseph NAB Study Bible, in the Psalms, you will run across the word “selah.” The footnotes say this word is not understood. So, now you know the routine, you go to the OSB and you see that this word is translated as “pause.”

My long-standing guess was that “selah” meant to bow down in full prostration, as seems appropriate, when you see what words precede the word. But, the OSB says “pause.”

So, these are a few ideas to mull over.

Commentaries are altogether much deeper discussions of the scripture, and you may have one at your local library, called the Anchor Bible (not necessarily Catholic author of each volume).


RSV:2CE. :slight_smile:

Insofar as the Knox Bible is concerned: I realized, some time after purchasing my edition, that I wasn’t terribly fond of its dynamic equivalence style. I didn’t like the way that the Biblical languages were “Englished.”

Also, the text of the Baronius Press edition seems to cause me to have a headache. I have problems focusing on it for too long, and I don’t like the single column method of presenting Biblical text.

I therefore appreciate the RSV’s philosophy of translation, and I enjoy reading it for its clarity as well as its precision in how it reflects the original tongues. Ignatius Press’ “leatherbound” edition is simply a joy, and if there were more cross-references, would be truly something extremely special.


You can always view the Knox translation side-by-side with the Greek and Latin.

(NewAdvent just recently substituted the Knox with some commentary to boot. Check the bottom of every page.)


For someone who wants to just read the word of God and make it part of their daily life, the RSV-CE is widely accepted, very readable and accurate. I like that it still retains just a very small bit of thy and thou, but only when one of the Biblical characters prays. It makes the prayers in the Bible seem special.

The faux leather zippered thinline Bibles from Oxford University Press are the best values out there today. No notes to confuse the text, no essays which try to add to the word of God - just the word of God in a beautiful yet sturdy package. It is not designed to be studied but read and lived daily.



I recall a discussion in college in the 50’s where someone noted that while the Knox bible modernize the English to the 30’s it was already becoming obsolete in the 50’s. It was considered proof that one should not try to update language.


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