Dear Friends in Christ,
In my preaching and teaching, I urge all Catholics to read and study the Bible regularly, and from those who accept that invitation, I often get this question: Which Bible should I use? Today I write to suggest three different books, each containing the same translation of Holy Scripture.
The Bible has been translated into English many times in the past five centuries, and each translation has its own advantages and disadvantages. The translation that I use for my own prayer and study is called the Revised Standard Version – Second Catholic Edition, and this is the text I recommend to others. Inside our eBulletin this week you’ll find ordering information on three different Bibles which contain this same translation, and if you are looking for a new Bible for your prayer and study, any of these would be a good choice.
The first book is published by Ignatius Press, and it is called simply The Holy Bible (Revised Standard Version – Second Catholic Edition). This Bible contains a few notes on most pages to connect verses in one book to those of another, but it is not a study Bible. This text is primarily for personal reading and prayer, particularly lectio divina. Of special interest locally, the cover of this Bible is the art work of Christopher Pelicano, a parishioner of St Mary’s.
The second book is published by the Midwest Theological Forum in concert with Ignatius Press, and it is called The Didache Bible (Revised Standard Version – Second Catholic Edition). The Didache is an ancient catechetical text, and this publisher puts out a complete series of instructional books as part of their Didache series, of which this Bible is part. In addition to the Revised Standard Version – Second Catholic Edition, this Bible also contains numerous commentaries from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and it is a very useful text for study.
The third book is published by Ascension Press, and it is called the Great Adventure – Your Journey Through the Bible (Revised Standard Version – Second Catholic Edition). This text contains color coded tabs and timelines designed to help the reader connect the dots of salvation history, and there are also historical and theological essays scattered through this edition of the Bible to assist the reader in understanding the Sacred Page more deeply.
Any one of these three books would be a splendid resource for beginning your own study of Holy Scripture, and there are many other good translations available as well. The most important thing is not which tool you use but that you begin to read and pray with the written Word of God in the Bible. For Christians, of course, the texts of the New Testament are of greatest importance, but the New Testament is unintelligible without the Old, and so a well educated Christian must have some knowledge and understanding of the entirety of the Holy Bible. As Saint Augustine heard from the voice of a child at the time of his conversion: Take and read!