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Sebastian Sheldon wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am new to Catholicism and I am excited to learn more about the Bible and the faith. I bought the Catechism first and am now looking to get my first Study Bible. After some research I've been partial to the RSV (Revised Standard Version) New Oxford Annotated Bible With Apocrypha.

My questions are:

  • Is this a suitable Bible?
  • Is it recognized by the Church?
    If not, why, and what is a better alternative?

I am familiar with the Bibles that the (USCCB) United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approves, but I'm confused as to what they recommend. Several other on-line sources seem to contradict what they say.

Any help would be much appreciated,

Thank you!

Sebastian

  { What would be a good Study Bible, recognized by the Church, for someone new to Catholicism? }

Paul replied:

Dear Sebastian,

I am a little partial to the Didache Bible, which is an RSV translation with good footnotes directly taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; as well as the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, which presently contains only the New Testament.

I'm sure my colleagues will have other preferences.

Peace,

Paul

John replied:

Dear Sebastian,

The RSV (Revised Standard Version) is a good translation so long as it's a Catholic Edition. If it is referring to the Deuterocanonical books as Apocrypha, it might not be.

Here is the issue with the RSV:

It uses a different Greek manuscript for the New Testament. Scholars pretty much agree that it is an older manuscript. However it's missing texts in the New Testament. For example, the Gospel according to Mark is missing any account of the Resurrection. It's intact in the other three Gospels but Mark ends abruptly with the burial of Jesus. Also, in the Gospel of John, Chapter 8 is missing the account of the women caught in adultery.

This isn't anything deliberate by the translators to change doctrine. It's simply that they are using a different manuscript and only one manuscript.

Now if it's a Catholic Edition of the RSV, it should contain those passages so I would check your Bible for those texts. Otherwise, it's Protestant translation with the seven Deuterocanonical books put back in. Another tell tale sign will be that those books are grouped together in one section between Malachi and Matthew and treated as a separate group.

I use the RSV periodically. There are Catholic editions available from Ignatius Press or Scepter Press. I'm not familiar with the Oxford.

Finally, a word in general about translations. Translations will vary, which is why I rely on several however you will still get the gist of the text in 99% of the translations.

I'm not a fan of more recent translations, especially the Catholic ones. There has been a move towards inclusive language and they will often dilute the text's meaning, so I would avoid those.

I use the Catholic Edition of the RSV: the (RSVCE) Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (Study Bible|Amazon Search) or I'll use the New King James . . . even though it's Protestant and is missing some Old Testament books. Those books while inspired, are rarely used liturgically.

If I want to read or study them, I'll use the (RSVCE) Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition.

John

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