September 25, 2015

New Catholic Version for all Christians

My current study of Psalms caused me to do an online search for separate editions of the book, which led me to discover the New Catholic Version Psalms, Saint Joseph Edition that’s been around since 2002, but I didn’t know existed. Once I’d made that glad discovery, I immediately requested a copy for review, which the Catholic Book Publishing Co. kindly sent me.

Along with the Psalms, the publisher sent an almost pocket-sized paperback of the newly published, © 2015, New Testament, New Catholic Version (NCV) also in a St. Joseph Edition, which the Preface describes like this:

“The St. Joseph Edition is an editorial sytem developed over a span of fifty years. It consists in a series of features intended to ensure that a text (particularly a biblical or liturgical text) is user friendly, leading to great readability and easier understanding.”

In the NT, those notes have been placed after each book, whereas they’re treated as footnotes in the edition of Psalms.

Both books include the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur to show approval by the Catholic church, but I highly recommend these editions for all Christians and students of the Bible, not only because of the study notes but also because of the clear translation of the NCV.

For example, the NCV translates Romans 8:14-17 like this:

“Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery, leading you to fear; rather, you received the Spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God. And if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, provided that we share his sufferings so that we may also share his glory.”

Then, at the end of the book, the notes about that passage say:

“Because of the Holy Spirit’s presence in them, Christians possess a new life as well as a new relationship with God. They have become adopted children of God and heirs through Christ, sharing both in his sufferings and in his glory.”

Although suffering is not to be sought, the New Testament tells us it’s to be expected. The book of Psalms shows this, too, as about a third of the poetic prayers express some type of lament.

Whether a cry to God or a prayer of thanks, the Psalms belong in the category of Hebrew poetry, which this edition discusses in the Introduction. More importantly, in the Preface, we read:

“The Psalms may be looked upon as the prayerbook of the Holy Spirit” as “…the Spirit of God inspired the psalmists (typified by King David) to compose magnificent prayers and hymns for every religious desire and need, mood and feeling. Thus, the Psalms have great power to raise minds to God, to inspire devotion, to evoke gratitude in favorable times, and to bring consolation and strength in times of trial.”

Also in the Preface, the section “Jesus and the Psalms,” reminds us that Jesus prayed the Psalms, quoted them, and knew them well. Likewise, the Psalms knew Him!

“This Messianic meaning was fully revealed in the New Testament and indeed was publicly acknowledged by Christ the Lord when he said to his apostles: ‘Everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled’ (Lk 24:44).”

Since Jesus “inhabited the Psalms,” this edition encourages us to begin “Praying with the Psalms in the Name of Christ,” “Praying with the Psalms in the Name of the Church,” and “Praying with the Psalms in Our Own Name.”

For example, “By bringing our own experience of life to the praying of the Psalms we makes these ancient prayers our own.” Also, “Because our life is constantly changing, we bring something fresh to the Psalms every time we pray them.”

Furthermore, “In praying the Psalms this way, we must realize that God not only speaks to us but also inspires our response,” making the experience a unique opportunity to grow ever closer to God – and also to one another in Christ Jesus our Lord.

© 2015, Mary Harwell Sayler

New Catholic Version, Psalms, Saint Joseph Edition, leatherlike cover

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