Comparing Catholic Bibles

The Douay-Rheims

  • This was the earliest Catholic Bible in English (New Testament published in 1582; Old Testament in 1610.)
  • It pre-dates the most famous Protestant Bible, the 1611 King James Version.
  • It is a very literal translation from St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate from 382 AD.
  • It uses archaic English words, like “thou.”

The New Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition (NRSV-CE)

  • The RSV was a translation for American readers from the original languages by thirty Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox scholars in the 1940’s & 50’s and was adapted for Catholic use in 1966.
  • It is considered a very literal & readable translation by many orthodox Catholic scholars.
  • It is often used in university or seminary courses and by important Catholic & Protestant biblical scholars.
  • The New RSV (or NRSV) was published in 1989 and has gender-neutral (or inclusive) language.

The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB)

  • The 1966 Jerusalem Bible was an English translation of a French Edition published by Dominican scholars in Jerusalem in 1956.
  • The 1985 New Jerusalem Bible revises the Jerusalem Bible directly from the original languages and contains inclusive language.
  • The NJB has a very literary style but is comparable in quality to the NRSV in scholarship.
  • This is the most widely used Catholic Bible in English outside of the United States.

The New American Bible (NAB)

  • The NAB was translated from the original languages according to the principles of the Second Vatican Council in 1970.
  • The 1980’s revised edition (the NAB-RE) restored some traditional phrasing and added inclusive language in the New Testament and Psalms.
  • The Holy See approved some use of inclusive language where the speaker or author intended a mixed audience (e.g. “brothers and sisters”, instead of the older “brethren,”) but rejected this in references to God or Christ, and to man, where the word has anthropological and theological significance.
  • Since Pentecost 2002, the revised NAB’s lectionary is the only one approved for use in U.S. English Masses, so faithful Catholics are already familiar with its readable style.

Translation Comparison of Matthew 18:15

Douay-Rheims:  “But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.”

NRSV-CE:  “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.”

NJB:  “If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.”

NAB-RE:  “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.”


Primarily Used Sources:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: