St Joseph New American Bibles

Hey everyone! I want to get a personal sized St Joseph’s NABRE with a zipper cover, but I greatly dislike the illustrations in them. They remind me of a bad old cartoon that my father would have watched in the 70s. But the bible itself is nice, and it’s a great size.

Does St Joseph make any of their bibles without these illustrations? Or is there another medium small NABRE with a zipper? I know of the Oxford press zippered NABRE, but it is far too small of font to read. If not, I’m thinking of just cutting out the pictures or gluing iconography or classic paintings over them.

Thanks for any referrals to other publishers/versions

Hey, I grew up ion the 1970’s and watched those cartoons too. You don’t know good TV when you see it apparently. :smiley:

I do have the St Joseph Pocket edition (NT Only), but it is quite small, but there are no pictures.

Do you specifically want/need the leather zipper cover (can it be just leather and no zipper)? Must it be St Joseph or can it be any NABRE bible in that size?

Here is something that is not St Joseph (and I have no idea if it has funny pictures in it) and it is partially leather (no zipper though).

If you are open to the RSV-CE…


I recently got this version of the Bible. It’s nice and compact, is easy to carry. Has a nice little Immaculate Heart Medal on the zipper, it has a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, and even has a section of traditional Catholic prayers and devotions.

The only downside is the typing is very small, which is bad for people like me who have eyesight issues.

Here is a nice zipperd NABRE from Catholic Book Publishing Co. (with no pictures): It is medium size but it is thin (like a ‘thin line’ Bible). :thumbsup:

There are actually two different sizes of the exact same product. They are sold under both Oxford and Ignatius labels. The larger is much more readable. The smaller is quite difficult to read. I have read the larger one cover to cover many times.


The sample pages at that site show that it has maps.

Six pages of text are shown in the samples and every single one has at least 20% of the page used for footnotes. Two of the pages are at least 50% covered by footnotes.

All of this has to add to the thickness of the Bible.


Do you have this bible? I have one of the cheap gift and award bibles from them, and it’s very cheaply made and the pages are very thin (probably why it’s only about an inch thick). It’s not bad, but if the only difference is that the cover has a zipper, I don’t think it’d be worth $42.

If you own it or have handled it, is it good quality?

Thanks for the suggestion, Tim! I actually have one of the reader editions of the RSV that you have pictured, and it’s great! It would be my favorite bible, except that in the New Testament starting at Titus, the pages are tearing away from the binding. I contacted Oxford to get a replacement, but they said it is out of print. It’s unfortunate, because it’s such a perfect bible. I wonder why they only make the compact rsv and NABRE with a zipper? A reader edition size, like the one we have, is the most ideal and best all around. Oh, well.

Thanks again for your help!

This is a fairly thin Bible, and the maps are nice to have.

Read my post #5 for a medium sized NABRE with a zipper.

How thick is it?

@PeaceInChrist, have a look at Tim’s (not me) Catholic Bibles Blog at Maybe you can find something there.


Yes it is good quality, I Do own it. This Bible is about 1 1/8 inches thick and about 9x6 overall.

Thanks Cal Catholic! I ordered one on Amazon from adoremus. A little pricey, but if it’s good quality, it’ll be worth it. The zipper will protect it and add to its lifespan. That’s probably how I’ve messed up more books than anything: the pages getting crushed when I throw it in a backpack or bag of some kind.

I’ll let y’all know what I think of it!

I was also thinking about getting one of the NRSV gift bibles from Harper Collins. I like the translation (except for the ‘fish for people’ rendition, but even that is tolerable). If I get one, I’ll give my opinion of that, as well.

I find the NABRE in general to be very poorly done in so many ways. I prefer the RSV-CE for devotional reading and the Ignatius Study Bible for Scripture study. I also like the Hydock Bible with commentary and the newly release Knox Bible. All of which I prefer over my NAB bible. Perhaps you can trade in the NABRE and get an Ignatius Study Bible instead.

The translations you have suggested were not mentioned in the OP. I am well aware of the differences between translations and have read from several of them. I actually think the language of the rsv sounds clunky and unnatural at times, and much prefer the NABRE. I even like the flow of the nrsv more than the rsv in some instances. it’s not my reading level, either. I can understand what I’m reading when I read the rsv. I just don’t like how it flows.

Besides this, I already have a hardcover rsv, 2nd catholic edition. Ignatius only puts it out in their standard large red version and in a small New Testament and psalms version. If they made it in medium sized leather versions, maybe I’d buy one of those.

Not to hijack the thread, but to anyone who has the compact version of the Oxford NABRE: Does it include a page with the imprimatur/nihil obstat, and the indulgence? I am also interested in a compact size NABRE and was looking at both Oxford and Catholic Publishing’s versions…

I just checked my friend’s, and yes, it has the nihil obstat, imprimatur, and indulgence. The font is very small, probably 5 or 6, but it’s manageable if you have good vision. My friend has contacts and he can read it. My eyes strain too much. This is why I’m giving the Catholic Book Publishing version a try. If it’s not to my liking, I might just have to try the St. Joseph version and ignore the goofy pictures.

There’s such a shortage of variety in Catholic bibles. Take the RSV, 2nd Catholic Edition. It comes only in large, heavy paper, an even larger study version, and a tiny New Testament version. No medium leather versions, no compact, no large print, no different colors, ect. The translation is good (I don’t always like how it flows, but it’s still good), but there’s no options! Maybe it’s because there’s no market…

I have a NABRE New Testament published by Our Sunday Visitor. Why a separate “Old Testament” couldn’t have been published as well, I don’t know. It it 4x6 inches. I really want a complete NABRE that is not paperback that can stand up to being kicked around a bit in a bag or backpack as I travel. I would have taken a separate Old Testament as a mate to my New Testament. Oh well. I really like Oxford University Press, I have the Annotated RSV Expanded Edition as well, but of course that is the regular size hard cover, and not the most recent approved translation in existence. This bible is all business. Thanks for the info!

The “most recent approved translation in existence” is not necessarily a better translation.

Many feel that the RSV-2CE is a step backward from the RSV-CE. For example, the NABRE makes use of some of the more recent findings in the dead sea scrolls while the RSV-2CE ignored the dead sea scrolls entirely. One is better off with the NRSV or the NABRE in my opinion.

Addition of a zipper turns a beautiful Bible into an incredibly rugged book able to stand up to hard use. I traveled extensively with mine in a backpack and it has held up for many years. I too am a fan of Oxford.

Have y’all seen Tim’s Catholic Bibles Blog?


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