The New English Bible


Does anyone use this version of the bible? I recently came across a like new Oxford Study Version of this bible with the Apocrypha. It also appears to have been given an imprimatur by the Most Reverend Bernard J Flanagan, Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts.

I’m not very familiar with this translation, I’ve googled some info about it and was surprised to hear that Bishop Fulton Sheen preferred this translation for his devotional reading and I even watched an old video where it shows him reading a verse from this bible while giving a talk.

I’ve yet to read through it completely, but it appears to be a decent translation. However, there are a few passages that gave me pause. Such as John 10:33, where it says “…claim to a god” instead of the traditional God.

Thoughts on this translation???


Gave mine away years ago. Bought it for a “Bible As Literature” class in college. The NEB is a poetic version of scripture, and some of the Psalm renderings are beautiful, but it paraphrases too much for my taste. Scripture experts call the mechanism of its translation “dynamic equivalence.” It is a product by and for the churches of the United Kingdom, and Protestant theology creeps in now and again. It has been cast aside these days by those same churches in favor of a “gender neutral” version. I am astounded that a bishop of the Catholic Church, even Bishop Flanagan, would give it imprimatur; check your sources on that.


I do not have the NEB, but the updated edition, called the Revised English Bible (w/Deuterocanon-Apocrypha). As it was with the NEB, the REB was produced in cooperation with the Catholic Church in England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. The stated intent was to remove denominational bias which, in the UK, certainly linger against the formerly banned Catholic Church. I find the REB to be an excellent daily reader. It has corrected various verses from the NEB, to include John 10:33. It is still not perfect - the oddest rendering I have found being Genesis 14:18, in which Melchizedek “brought food and wine.” It is the only English translation I am aware of that uses this peculiar translation.

However, in almost all other respects, it is quite good as for defending Catholic belief. A few examples: While Luke 1:28 is not the expected “full of grace”, it does read “most favored one” which is an acceptable parallel. In 2 Corinthians 2:10, Paul forgave sins “with the authority of Christ” which is a good parallel to “in the person of Christ” as Catholic bibles should read. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 reads “…hold fast to the traditions you have learned from us by word or by letter” etc.

All in all a very good bible and sad as it is, in my opinion, quite a bit superior to the NAB or NAB/RE. Another plus is that they are very economical to purchase in hardcover format. ThriftBooks, for example, has good condition copies for less than $4.

Still, the NEB is a good reading copy and valuable to have as a reference.


The translation used by the Jehovah Witnesses has a verse similar in which you described:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god


Yes I was surprised as well. I read the words verbatim in the editors preface, however they said he gave his imprimatur to the this particular Oxford Study Edition. Whether or not that applies to the original New English Bible without the Apocrypha, it doesn’t specify.


Yes, I’m finding that this bible isn’t too bad, as far as dynamic translations go. It’s similar to the Jerusalem Bible, but a little more free in it’s rendering of certain verses.

In reference to 2 Cor 2:10, this version reads “…as the representative of Christ”.

The history of this bible is rather interesting as well. It was praised for it’s translation by many scholars of its time, but not without its criticisms as well. I was rather fortunate to find this edition. I think I snagged it for just over $20, on Ebay. It’s has a genuine leather cover and it appears nearly brand new! I wish Bishop Fulton Sheen, could have elaborated on why he choose this particular translation, to be one of his personal favorites. I’m always curious as to why certain Catholic theologians favor one translation over another. I guess in the end it just comes down to personal preference.


My bad here. I was quoting from the Catholic Living Bible. The Revised English Bible still reads “as the representative of Christ” as does its predecessor, the New English Bible.

As to that leather cover, try a little Lexol leather conditioner on it. A few minutes in a warm oven (100º) and the leather should be as supple as new. Depending on the type of leather, it might need two treatments, but will be worth it.


I think it’s a great example of British Protestant biblical scholarship. It along with the RSV had Catholics involved and both received an imprimatur. Their idea seems to be to translate and capture the books in their original styles.

“John 10:33, where it says “…claim to a god” instead of the traditional God.” - The footnote here says
34 You, a mere man, claim to be a god.'36.34
[36.34] Or claim to be God.

If it’s anything like the Protestant “The New Oxford Annotated Bible With The Apocrypha” RSV, I’ll buy it from you sight unseen. :slight_smile:

Some non random quotes from the NEB Preface-Introduction.
At a much later stage the hierarchies of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Scotland accepted an invitation to appoint representatives, and these attended as observers.
It should be said that denominational considerations played no part in the appointment of the panels.
Each member brought his view about the meaning of the original to the judgement of his fellows, and discussion went on until they reached a common mind. There are passages where, in the present state of our knowledge, no one could say with certainty which of two (or even more) possible meanings is intended. In such cases, after careful discussion, alternative meanings have been recorded in footnotes, but only where they seemed of sufficient importance. There is probably no member of a panel who has not found himself obliged to give up, perhaps with lingering regret, a cherished view about the meaning of this or that difficult passage, but in the end the panel accepted corporate responsibility for the interpretation set forth in the translation adopted.

The NEW ENGLISH BIBLE: NEW TESTAMENT - Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, 1962. - © The Delegates of the Oxford University Press and the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press 1961. - Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram 2009.

COMPANION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT - The New English Bible. By A E Harvey. - © The Delegates of the Oxford University Press, The Syndics of the Cambridge University Press. 1970. - Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram 2009.


I’ve had it for a while now and the more I read it the more I enjoy it. Sorry I can’t part with it. :smiley: I had been looking for a good copy for awhile and I guess I got lucky when I stumbled across this one! It’s almost exactly like my RSV Oxford Annotated Study Bible with Apocrypha, which is why I’m so fond of it.

I never hear much talk about this version, which prompted me to get some feedback on it. Like any translation, it has its pros and cons, but I do prefer it to my NAB and I’ve been using it more and more in my daily readings.


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