Which Bible Do You Recommend?



This is my first ever post and the reason I found CAF. I’m excited by what I see and can’t wait to dig in!

My question is this: I am looking for a Catholic Bible with wide margins–what version and where can I get it? I know this sounds trivial, but I am really struggling with my Bible studies since my “reconversion” back to the faith.

I write to remember things and this is very difficult with St. Ignatius Bible and the tiny margins. In my wayward life, I was an assistant pastor of a non-denom church and have MULTIPLE translations (almost obscene how many translations I have!). Many Bibles have wide margins, but I’m having a heck of a time finding one with all the books of the Bible.



I suggest the Douay Rheims, the Knox Bible, or the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

I get my Bibles from TheCatholic Company online.


Thank you so much for the prompt reply!!

May I ask, do any of the ones you listed have wide margins to make comments or insights?


I have always assumed and believed that I shouldn’t write on the Bible nor use a highlight. I have no idea how I assumed that. The Bible version I grew up to read was the Jerusalem Bible and Biblia de América (Spanish with Our Lady of Guadalupe on the cover). None of them have margins to write on.


I read the “One Year Bible - Catholic Edition” every night before I turn out the light – obviously it goes by the day of the year and includes readings from the Old Testament – the Psalms – Epistles – Gospels, etc. I feel that by the end of a year I have read the COMPLETE Bible!!! – I love it!!!


Does it have wide margins?


My Bible has about an inch or so in the side margins. I have small handwriting, though, so I am able to squeeze a lot in the margins. I use pencils, both grey and colored, all over to highlight, underline, and make notes. My favorite books of the Bible are extensively written in. So yes, I think the margins are generous enough, but they are nothing like the journaling Protestant Bibles I have seen. I cannot wait until they release a version of a Catholic journaling Bible in a translation I like to use. I will be a happy Catholic!:smiley:


I like my NAB, my Catholic Womens Devotional Bible and Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, Second Catholic Edition.
My favorite is the NAB.


I would be willing to study the women’s Bible and my wife would be tickled!

Does it have wide margins?


I’d recommend the Douay-Rheims Bible. I got mine at Baronius Press, which sells beautiful copies. As for the margins, there is about 1-2 cm of space. Perhaps you could use sticky notes so that you don’t have to write on the Bible itself. I know that some sticky notes can be lined and quite large.


I never write in a Bible.


I prefer to have it written on my heart-- But it’s my mind that fails me!!

You see I have to defend constantly as I am surrounded by those who directly try malign my faith. Writing notes and hilighting passages to support the faith is paramount to defend.

Thank you for your reply.


Hey Rick, in my opinion the Knox translation reads best.


It really lends itself naturally and beautifully to Lectio Divina.




Rick, the 1966 Jerusalem Bible has large margins - being one of the largest, heaviest Bibles. The Knox, at least the late 40s to mid-50s editions have pretty decent margins. A large, but beautifully illustrated Bible with good margins is the 1953 Catholic Action Bible. Gorgeous. Which physical size are you looking for? If you do not mind a large, “family” size Bible, you have more choices, such as the Jerusalem, and Family-sized Catholic Bibles. Margins and physical size are one thing, but the text and its translation are quite another.

The Douay-Rheims is classic. The Knox is based on the Clementine Vulgate and is praised - Bishop Sheen’s favorite translation. It’s notes are thought provoking. The real sleepers are the 1941-1969 Confraternity Bibles. A beautiful rendition of the NT, with varying degrees of the Douay Old Testament combined with the OT translation that became the NAB. Excellent, confidence-inspiring notes and intros.

The downside to the Jerusalem, NAB and NAB/RE are that their translations are modern and less “Catholic.” In the NAB, Mary is not full of grace, for example, but Stephen is. Saint Paul forgave sins in the “presence” of Christ, rather than in the “person” of Christ. Things like that.

You can buy a new Bible, but I much prefer old, barely used Bibles. I have them from 1914 to 1970. I got an excellent leather-bound 1949 Confraternity Bible for $2! A lot of choice out there, but I particularly dislike the modernist notes in the NAB and NAB/RE. They suggest, for example, that Luke either made up Mary’s Magnificat, or copied it from some other Hebrew source.

Unacceptable to me.


Since you mention this, a Douay-Rheims, Confraternity or Knox are unapologetically 100% Catholic. Notice that all are based on the Clementine Vulgate. The newer translations make it more difficult to defend Catholic teaching - what’s the point?


I agree. Bibles that are as accurate as possible, especially in regard to the Vulgate, should be used to defend the Faith and to learn it.




I agree. Word choice is incredibly important, as well as sentence structure. Things such as types and prefigurement make a lot more sense using my newer Douay-Rheims Bible. I can use it side-by-side with the catechisms and religion materials for teaching, and it all makes sense in a way that never quite fit together so clearly when I was using a NABRE (or NAB).

There is one problem that I have found with the NAB Bible that I should mention. Some of the passages are translated in such a way that the supernatural aspect of a moment is lost. For example, the sun being darkened for three hours while Our Lord hung on the Cross being called a solar eclipse. A solar eclipse would have been impossible, as the Passover was fixed to a full moon, which means that the moon and the sun were not in the sky on the same side of the earth. Furthermore, eclipses don’t last for three hours. Other English translations don’t make the mistake of referring to this supernatural event as a solar eclipse. In particular, the DR Bible does not. This is not the only place that such a mistake occurs in the NAB. I think the NAB is more easily readable, but in order to get the full force of the meaning of the passage and its impact on Catholic teachings, another English translation based upon the Vulgate would be necessary.


Though only the NT you can’t go wrong with this Catholic Bible (RSV-CE) and commentary. Worth every penny:

The Navarre Bible - New Testament Expanded Edition (Wide Margin)

"This hardback edition is a larger size (apprx. 7 x 10 inches) to accommodate much more extensive commentary than in either the compact edition or the original paperback 12-volume edition. The commentary focuses in more depth and length, on a related topic, as compared with the shorter, more detailed commentary on individual verses or very short sections. It avoids repetition between Scriptural books. There is a unitary vision and explanation for each Scriptural book, more attention to the sense of the text, and the avoidance of repetition in explanations of the synoptic Gospels. The larger trim size and more ample margin allows for easier reading and note taking than in earlier versions.

Click here to see sample pages." PDF



Have you considered getting either a diary or even just a composition book/notebook and journalizing your insights by date and chapter and verse?

I no longer mark up my Bibles, but I did do that to a paperback DRB and my NAB. I do keep a journal in composition books, though not specifically about my scripture reading per se. It works for me…:shrug:

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