Which Bible Translation -NAB or RSV?

I am a recent Catholic convert. I have a NAB, but it’s not my favorite. Which Catholic translation do you all recommend? RSV possibly?

I formerly read an NLT mostly.


I find the NABRE and the RSV-2CE to be equally readable. For study Bibles I think the Ignatius Study Bible notes are more in depth, and they use the RSV-2CE translation but they only have the NT done so far (with notes).

I would highly recommend the RSV-2CE from Ignatius Press. I love it because of its more traditional/literary language and literal translation. The NT Study Bible is fantastic, all of its notes are by Dr. Scott Hahn. I wouldn’t personally recommend the NAB, especially if you don’t like more dynamic translations, but it is the translation used for the readings at Mass.

I think the RSV-2CE is probably the best in terms of a readable but more literal rendering of the Scripture. Of course, like all translations, it is not perfect, but out of the NAB and RSV, I prefer RSV.

Since you mentioned that you used to read the NLT, I will add another possibility for you. The 1966 Jerusalem Bible. It is a dynamic equivalence Bible so it is highly readable. Many people love it (it was Mother Angelica’s favorite). This might be a place for you to start. I do not care for the **New **Jerusalem bible because it has inclusive language, but if that doesn’t bother you then you can easily buy that on Amazon or in a Catholic bookstore. The 1966 Jerusalem Bible is out of print, but you can usually pick up a copy on Ebay. Here is a link to the 1966 Jerusalem Bible so you can get an idea of how it reads.

There is also the Knox Bible, which I believe is also a dynamic equivalence Bible. Many people also love that one, but I am more used to the JB.

I use different Bibles, depending on what I’m doing. Almost always, I can get a nice “overview” of the Scripture through the JB. But for deeper study, I almost always turn to the RSV-2CE.

How about any study Bibles?

I have the NRSV-CE and really like it. christianbook.com/nrsv-anywhere-compact-thinline-bible-apocrypha/9780061827211/pd/827211?dv=c&en=google&event=SHOP&kw=bibles-0-20|827211&p=1179710&gclid=CNOz7cmmnM0CFRSFfgodGJwATw

There is the Catholic Study Bible which I have never used. Also, the New Oxford Study Bible with Apocrypha (NRSV) is very good and extremely scholarly. It is what I’ve used for my college classes.

My opinion is probably a minority, but I think the average Catholic study Bible tends to be far too uncritical of the “purely scientific” hypotheses of the historical-critical method, and that this tends to undermine the overall work by divorcing it from a hermeneutic of faith.

But this is based almost entirely on hearsay, and I am not a scholar.

If you’d like more information, though, here’s a link to some MP3s, including one on Pope Benedict XVI’s Biblical theology: scotthahn.com/listen-online.html. To find the specific talks, CTRL+F to find “Nashville.”

Without naming names, the Catholic Study Bible contains material written by what I believe to be at least one dissident scholar. This scholar, for example, is very adamant about defending the idea that Scripture condemns homosexual acts. That is very much to be appreciated in today’s climate! People very often allege that the Bible in no way intends to teach that homosexuality per se is morally evil. But on the other hand, he is just as adamant that Scripture, frankly, is wrong when it makes such pronouncements, and such a view concerns me.

Forgive me, but I don’t have confidence in either scholars of that sort, or the study Bibles they provide materials for, even if their dissident views are utterly left out of the work.

RSV-CE is what I have and often use.

I don’t use gender neutralized versions such as the NRSV, but that is more of a personal preference rather than theological.

The NAB study bibles are fine. I use the Oxford Press Study Bible. This is the version used at Mass. If the United States Council of Catholic Bishops call it the approved version of the Bible. It is good enough for me.

The Ignatius Scott Hahn version charges you individually for the books of the Old Testament. Scott Hahn refuses to sell the OT as a single volume so he can charge you $10 per book. A $200 - $300 OT. I don’t think so.

I purchased Hahns NT, and it is not superior to the 3 or 4 versions of the NAB Study Bible that I have used or seen.

So if you like paying for Scott Hahn’s vacation home in the South of France, go with Ignatious.

If you like using the preferred version of the United States Catholic Church, go NAB.

Scott Hahn’s kids can go to public school.


Don’t know if you’re being sarcastic, but that is a fairly gratuitous slam on a very good (and orthodox) Catholic apologist. If he were asking for luxury gifts on Amazon*, or saying that God would take him away if you didn’t send him money**, then that would be justified. I’ve never seen him do anything of that sort. :mad:

Scott Hahn’s NT is definitely superior to the NAB because (a) he goes further out of the way to explain traditional Catholic concepts, such as Mary as Queen Mother and Ark of the Covenant, and (b) the RSV-2CE source text is better than the NAB’s (for example, it has “virgin” at Isaiah 7: 14, unlike the NAB-RE and RSV-first edition).

I would definitely recommend the RSV-2CE as a base text. The Jerusalem is also good, but more speculative (plus, the edition with full notes is out of print.) If you’re into something more old-school, you can find terrific “Catholic Action” (Confraternity-Douay) bibles from the 1940s, in fairly good condition, on Amazon or Ebay. :thumbsup:

On another topic: I’m glad that this thread is staying civil and providing good suggestions. There once was a time when any suggestion of the NAB, NRSV or even RSV - First Edition was met with comments like “why do you want to read the Bible in English?”, “all you need is the Clementine Vulgate”, “the NRSV is Satanic” (actually, apart from inclusive language, it has very good OT-NT correlations), and even “Douay-Rheims 1582 Edition ONLY!” :smiley: I’m glad we’ve moved on from this. :wink:

  • if you’re curious, Google is your friend
    ** Pat Robertson

The RSV-2CE is not bad, but still has a little room for improvement. The NAB/RE are last on my list. I would rather read a KJV first.

Have a look at the Revised English Bible (with “apocrypha”). Not perfect, but a true ecumenical bible that had Catholic input. I would love to see a pure Catholic edition of this one.

Bibles are so cheap on eBay, Amazon and in thrift stores, that it is entirely feasible to amass a collection so as to have a variety of reference translations.

Didache Bible Ignatius Edition. It’s the RSV 2nd Ed with commentary from the catechism. I ultimately think the Ignatius Study Bible will be more comprehensive, but the Didache Bible is complete and in print.

Otherwise, go for the 1966 Jerusalem Bible as your next stop.

As a Convert I find the Didache to be even more valuable than the Ignatius study bible for one reason: Catechism references. Yes, the footnotes in the Ignatius one are great and in depth. They teach a lot of things though that I already knew from bible studies. What I was completely unfamiliar with as a convert was the Catechism. Taking the scripture I was already familiar with and tying it to the living Tradition of the Church was invaluable to me, and still is.

I eventually would recommend both. The Didache though comes off my shelf a lot more than the Ignatius one does these days.

You might also like the Catholic Truth Society’s “New Catholic Bible”.

The Bible base text is the Jerusalem Bible (1966, no inclusive language), but the notes have been revamped and are much more moderate (= less speculative.)

The Psalms are the Grail text, which is closer to the Latin and is approved for liturgical use in the UK. (They also follow the Vulgate numbering for the Psalms, hurrah! :))

It also includes a discussion of the reading cycles and brief notes on Lectio Divina and Biblical passages to use while praying the Rosary.

All in all, a very good buy.

Check it out here.

Good news, you won’t have to give up the NLT! They are coming out with the NLT-CE and it has an imprimatur! It’s already out in Indian and I believe it can be ordered online from there. I think its coming out this fall in the USA. Here is there website.


This bible is already in print without an imprimatur. I got one on ebayfor three bucks. The new editions is pretty much the same as the old one other than the Bishop’s okee-dokee. It indeed has 73 books like the older one. The Lectionary table in the back. Funny part is there is a concordance in back but none of the deuteron-cannon is listed and minimal cross references for these books. Tyndale press is the publisher (Protestant). There affiliate in India is printing the new edition. I will make it here eventually for sale check out the catholic bible blog for a review.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.