Showing posts with label Catholic Bible. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catholic Bible. Show all posts

January 15, 2016

THE Bible for Catholic Christians

My title for this review makes a rather bold statement, especially since I’ve reviewed some wonderful editions from various Catholic Bible publishers over the years. As I recall, I recommended each one in earlier posts, which you can read by scrolling through this blog and finding ones that interest you.

However, the title - The Didache Bible - surely did not sound interesting to me! Although the word “didache” labels something as instructive, it’s generally used in the negative sense of getting preachy. If, therefore, someone says, “Your writing is very didactic,” they’re probably not giving you a compliment and might even be saying, “B-o-r-i-n-g!”

So, why do I hold The Didache Bible in such high esteem that I purchased a hardback covered in leather as shown below?

Besides being published in the beloved RSV (Revised Standard Version) text with all of the deuterocanonical (aka apocryphal) books included, this Bible has footnote-commentaries from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), which brings you the full Bible and the teachings of the church in one priceless book.

Let’s take, for example, the footnote for Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth:

This simple statement that initiates the first book of the Old Testament reveals that God is eternal, i.e., his existence transcends time, and all time is eternally present for him. Second, God is omnipotent. Everything that exists originated with him. By his Word, he brought all of creation into existence without the use of pre-existing materials. Finally, God alone is the Creator, and he has authority over all creation. We affirm God as Father and omnipotent Creator when we pray the first lines of both the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed. (CCC 268, 279-280, 290-295)”

To give you an example from the New Testament, I flipped open the book and saw the short but profound note for Matthew 7:3-5:

Failure to see our own faults leads invariably to harsh and unfair judgment of others. (CCC 1861)”

Naturally, I had to look up that number in my copy of the CCC, where I read then read again with bold emphasis:

Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of santifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offence, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

Deep! So it could take a lifetime to get the full value of this Bible and commentary. If that sounds overwhelming, take heart! The front matter has pages to ease our study and research, for example, by giving us a brief description of each book of the Bible followed by chronologies of the Old Testament and the New.

Other upfront pages list the parables and miracles of Jesus with back pages providing maps, a brief concordance, and a helpful glossary that’s like a mini-dictionary of Bible people, places, objects, and ideas – almost everything we need to know about our Judeo-Christian faith, Jesus Christ, and the Church. All that's left is putting what we read into practice and developing our relationship with our Lord God.

©2016, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is a poet, writer, and highly ecumenical lover of Christ, the Bible, and the Church in all its parts and peoples.

The Didache Bible, hardback covered with leather

In case you want to explore further, this update of the CCC makes the perfect companion to The Didache Bible:

Catechism of the Catholic Church, paperback

November 18, 2014

Reading The Jerusalem Bible

When the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) stimulated a spiritual awakening that crossed all sorts of denominational lines and stirred a charismatic renewal, Bible study groups became a highly active part of Christian fellowship. By 1966, The Jerusalem Bible (JB) gave us a translation of the original languages in an accurate contemporary text, first in French then English with both approved by the Catholic Church and used by Christians from a variety of backgrounds.

That same year, the American Bible Society published the New Testament in the Today’s English Version (TEV) better known as the Good News Bible (GNB), which I used in the Bible study group that met each week in my home. So, I didn’t even hear of the JB until 1985 when the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) came out, and I readily embraced its dynamic tone, conversational style, and thought-provoking footnotes.

In the 1990’s, a Catholic edition of GNB came out with the full biblical texts including the deuterocanonical books aka Apocrypha. Indeed, from the second half of the 20th century to the present day, Christian scholars and publishers produced such a wealth of English translations and updated versions that the JB went out of print for a decade.

When I finally tracked down the availability of The Jerusalem Bible, I asked for a review copy, and Doubleday kindly gave me the “First Doubleday Reader’s Edition” printed in this century with notes and introductions shortened “to the minimum which are necessary for understanding the primary, literal meaning of the text; to explain terms, places, people and customs; to specify dates, and to identify the sources of quotations. In short, the brief Introductions and Notes are here only to help the ordinary reader to understand what he is reading….”

For example, the “Introduction to Tobit, Judith and Esther” says: “Although these three books have the literary form of historical stories, the events of which they tell are not attested from other sources and the books are found to treat the facts of history and geography with a good deal of freedom. Plainly they were written” as historical novels and devotionals might be today “to teach lessons of another kinds, and some of the early Greek Bibles include them with the wisdom writings.”

The Introduction goes on to say that “Tobit, the story of a dutiful son who is given miraculous help by an angel, was written among the Jews of the dispersion… though the setting of the story is some two hundred years earlier. The book was not accepted into the Hebrew Bible and was recognized by the Church only after a certain hesitancy in the patristic period. In the new translations of the Bible made at the Reformation, it was put in the Apocrypha.” The same is true for the book of Judith while the book of Esther has variations in Greek that do not appear in the original Hebrew versions. Therefore, “the Greek passages are ‘deuterocanonical,’ their history being the same as that of Tobit and Judith.”

Other introductions provide equally helpful information that ground us in the circumstances and history of each book. For example, the ”Introduction to The Psalms” informs readers that “The Psalter, or Book of Psalms, is a collection of hymns used in the liturgical worship of the Temple.” Arranged in five parts, “the 150 psalms represent the work of several centuries.” Although some psalms shock readers today, “in their own time there was nothing improper about violent curses against enemies…” Most of the Psalms, however, can be categorized as hymns of praise, thanksgiving, prayer, or lament.

One lament sometimes voiced about the JB has been its use of the sacred name “YHWH” rendered as “Yahweh” – the Name Which was once anglicized as “Jehovah.” Since the Hebrew alphabet does not contain all of those letters, newer versions of the Bible often translate the sacred name as "the LORD" in capital letters or small caps.

In its aim for accuracy and clarity, the JB clearly demonstrates its own goals, for example, by translating the opening lines of the 23rd Psalm in this way:

Yahweh is my shepherd.
I lack nothing.

As another example of clarity, the “Introduction to The Minor Prophets” offers brief explanatory notes “in what is most probably their true historical order.” This chronology places Amos first with Joel and Jonah last in the introduction but their typical positions retained in the actual text, ending the minor prophets with Malachi.

Finally, the “Introduction to The Book of Revelation” informs us that “The framework of a Revelation is always a vision of hidden supernatural events; the language in which the vision is described is richly symbolic and so allusive that the message can be interpreted in more ways than one.” Therefore, “the Book of Revelation is not to be accepted simply as an allegory which can be directly translated into other terms. It contains the author’s vision of heaven and of the vindication of the Christian martyrs in the world to come, but it must be understood first and foremost as a tract for the times, written to increase the hope and determination of the Church on earth in a period of disturbance and bitter persecution…,” such as we might be facing again.

Praise God, though, for this and other excellent translations of the Bible that let us know how this book and The Book end.

©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts. She’s the traditionally published author of 27 books in all genres, including the Bible-based poetry book Outside Eden.

The Jerusalem Bible, reader edition

October 22, 2014

New Jerusalem Bible, reader edition

The first time I read The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB), I had a study edition with footnotes that were hard to see because of the small font but were so interesting, I got sidetracked from the Bible text! Recently, however, Image Books kindly sent me a review copy of their NJB reader edition, which rarely adds any footnotes, but has a nice, clear font and bonded leather cover.

The main additions in this edition are a brief but important-to-read “General Editor’s Foreword” by Henry Wansbrough in the front of the book and, in the back, black and white maps showing Palestine in Old and New Testament Times. Being somewhat geographically challenged, I wish a modern-day map had been included, too. Nevertheless, those of us who customarily lug around plump study editions will find this regular book-sized Bible highly refreshing.

Most importantly, the NJB translation itself is refreshing.

Instead of telling you about this, I’ll try to show you some examples of well-known passages in favored forms followed by the fresh, sometimes startling way NJB has of getting us to see, hear, and think about things we’re apt to glide by without realizing it.

Isaiah 60:1-3

"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." (King James Version, KJV)

"Arise, shine out, for your light has come, and the glory of Yahweh has risen on you. Look! though night still covers the earth and darkness the peoples, on you Yahweh is rising and over you his glory can be seen. The nations will come to your light and kings to your dawning brightness." (New Jerusalem Bible, NJB)

John 3:16

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." (New American Bible, Revised Edition, NABRE)

"For this is how God loved the world:
he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in
him may not perish
but may have eternal life."
(New Jerusalem Bible, NJB)

Romans 8:28

"We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose." (Revised Standard Version, RSV)

"We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." (New American Bible, Revised Edition, NABRE)

"We are well aware that God works with those who love him, those who have been called in accordance with his purpose, and turns everything to their good." (New Jerusalem Bible, NJB)

Romans 12:2

"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect." (New American Bible, Revised Edition, NABRE)

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (New International Version, NIV)

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." (King James Version, KJV)

"Do not model your behaviour on the contemporary world, but let the renewing of your minds transform you, so that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and mature." (New Jerusalem Bible, NJB)

Romans 12:4-5

"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." (King James Version, KJV)

"For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another." (New American Bible, Revised Edition, NABRE)

"Just as each of us has various parts in one body, and the parts do not all have the same functions: in the same way, all of us, though there are many of us, make up one body in Christ, and as different parts we are all joined to one another." (New Jerusalem Bible, NJB)

I Corinthians 12:4-6

"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all." (KJV)

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work." (NIV)

"There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit; there are many different ways of serving, but it is always the same Lord. There are many different forms of activity, but in everybody it is the same God who is at work in them all." (NJB)

I Corinthians 13:4-7

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." (KJV)

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (NIV)

"Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited; it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes." (NJB)

Hebrews 11:1

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (NIV)

"Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen." (NABRE)

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (NRSV)

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (KJV)

"Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of realities that are unseen." (NJB)

[Note: The Bible verses chosen as examples can be found on Bible Gateway along with Holy Scriptures from many other translations and other languages too.]

©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts. She’s the traditionally published author of 27 books in all genres, including the Bible-based poetry book Outside Eden.

The New Jerusalem Bible, Standard Edition, bonded leather

March 8, 2014

The Saints Devotional Bible

When Our Sunday Visitor sent me a review copy of this lovely edition of the New American Bible revised edition (NAB+), I welcomed the opportunity to get better acquainted with inspired Christian writers, who became known by the early church as saints because of their strong faith and exemplary lives. With the inspired writings of 200 saints highlighted in the front pages and their bios in the back of The Saints Devotional Bible, I discovered Christians with whom I identified and connected as though being introduced to timeless friends I now look forward to meeting in person in eternity.

Meanwhile, we have the good company of saints on earth as the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) refers, about 100 times, to those who love Jesus Christ, while the Douay-Rheims provides 119 such references, according to my search on Bible Gateway.

So, how do we become more recognizable as the saints we’re intended to be? Or, to put it another way, what do “The Saints and The Bible” want to tell us today? In the article by that title, we see these headings to headline our quest:

Saints Study Scripture.
Saints Memorize Scripture.
Saints Pray Scripture.
Saints Use Scripture in Spiritual Warfare.
Saints Seek Guidance in Scripture.
Saints Proclaim Scripture.
Saints Apply Scripture.

To further guide us, this highly recommended edition includes “Readings from the Saints,” a list of 94 key topics or themes, helpful footnotes throughout the text, and additional inserts, which provide “a mini-course on understanding, praying, and applying Scripture drawn from the teachings, writings, and examples of the saints.”

In the section inserted for “Saints On Scripture,” for example, I met and fell in love with St. Ephrem (306-373), who said, “The Lord has colored his Word with many kinds of beauty, so that everyone who scrutinizes it can contemplate what he loves. And he has hidden all treasures in his word, so that each of us might find a treasure in what we ponder.” Yes! Then, as St. Ephrem wisely cautions, “Let him who discovers one of the riches of his Word not think that there is nothing else in the word of God but what he has found. Let him rather realize that he has been able to discover only one thing among many others.” Again, amen!

As the Living Word, the Bible continually has more to offer to those who seek. Another favorite, St. John Cassian (360-433) put it this way: “In order to keep God always in mind, you should frequently pray this verse: ‘Come to my help, O God. Lord, hurry to my rescue’ (Ps 70:2). With good reason this text has been selected from all of Scripture as a method of continual prayer. It encompasses all the emotions that human beings can experience. We can effectively apply it to any circumstance and use it to resist every temptation. “ For example, “When a headache or drowsiness interferes with my spiritual reading, I must say, ‘Come to my help, O God. Lord, hurry to my rescue.’ When I cannot fall asleep at night, I must sigh and pray, ‘Come to my help, O God. Lord, hurry to my rescue.’” And, “When anger or envy threatens to disturb my peacefulness and embitter me, I must force myself to pray, groaning, ‘Come to my help, O God. Lord, hurry to my rescue.’” Amen, amen, and amen.

Although space and publishing rights prevent my including all of the wonders found in the “Saints on Scripture” section, the headings let you know what early Christians wrote about with saintly wisdom and inspired words unbound by time or space:

Experiencing the Power of the Word of God
Reading Scripture: Essential for Christian Living
Pursuing God in Scripture: Practical Advice on Reading the Bible
Scripture Leads Us to Eternal Life
Understanding Scripture Through Faith in Christ
The Inexhaustible Richness of God’s Word
We Need a Guide to the Bible
Scripture and Tradition
Understanding the Spiritual Sense of Scripture
Putting God’s Word into Practice
Scripture as a Mirror of the Soul
Finding Her Way in Scripture
Patterning Their Lives on Scripture
Minding Our Thoughts with Scripture Meditation
The Benefits of Mediating on Scripture
Meditating on a Scripture Verse
Praying With Scripture
The Psalms and the Christian Life
The Gospel and the Christian Life
A Method of Continual Prayer
When God Speaks to Us in Scripture
Using Scripture in Daily Life
Formed by God’s Word
From Study to Action

© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer

The Saints Devotional Bible, paperback

January 2, 2014

Catholic Women’s Bible

The word “catholic” means universal, which aptly describes the Catholic Women’s Bible with its timeless, universal appeal to women everywhere. As stated in the introduction by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker (one of my favorite contemporary devotional writers): “We have tried to highlight some of the women without whom God’s plan for humanity would not have unfolded as it has…. Their situations and circumstances may be different from ours, but the longings and dreams haven’t changed.” With colorful inserts to acquaint us with women throughout the Bible, we “come to realize that these women are not just figures out of a distant past. They are our sisters.”

In addition to these unique features, the visually-appealing cover speaks of light and levity and seems to draw the reader to look up and into the pages of scripture.

Published by Our Sunday Visitor, those scriptures comes to us in the revised New American Bible, which includes deuterocanonical books often referred to by Bible publishers as “apocryphal.” Also, other Christian publishers often place deuterocanonical books between the two testaments or after Revelation, whereas a Catholic edition interweaves the books according to their primary category.

At the beginning of this Bible, for example, “The Names and Order of the Books of the Bible” lists “Biblical Novellas” (Tobit, Judith, Esther, and I and II Maccabees) as located between the books of history and books of wisdom. Then, besides Job , Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs), “The Wisdom Books” include The Book of Wisdom and The Wisdom of Ben Sira (aka Sirach), whose inspired words continue to inspire those of us who read them.

In referring to the deuterocanonical or apocryphal books, we’re talking, of course, of the Hebrew Bible aka Old Testament. In any New Testament Bible published by any publisher, you will find the same books in the same order with the same devotion among Christians – male or female – in any church anywhere. However, Christian women who want to relate to the women of the Bible will welcome this lovely edition where we meet such interesting but often overlooked people as “Mrs. Noah: Standing by Her Man” or Asenath “Joseph’s Egyptian Wife” or the prophetess Anna with her “intuitive nature” or “Mrs. Peter: The Woman Behind The Man,” each of whom helps us to learn more about ourselves and one another and, ultimately, the “Bride of Christ: The Church.”

©2014, review by Mary Harwell Sayler

Catholic Women’s Bible, paperback

December 26, 2013

A Bible for the New Year

Many editions of the Bible now include a one-year reading plan to encourage you to read the Bible in a year, but My Daily Catholic Bible does more! This edition published by Our Sunday Visitor gives you the revised New American Bible (NAB,RE) divided into daily readings that take about 20 minutes each day.

Each reading also includes a saintly word in keeping with the day. For example, a quote from St. Paul of the Cross prefaces the scriptures for December 25 with this word:

“Celebrate the Feast of Christmas every day, even every moment in the interior temple of your spirit, remaining like a baby in the bosom of the Heavenly Father, where you will be reborn each moment in the Divine Word, Jesus Christ.”

Amen! Although you might not have been aware of this timeless Bible in time to add a copy to this year’s Christmas list, the book gives you a timely way to read the Bible with ease throughout the coming year.

©2013, Mary Harwell Sayler

My Daily Catholic Bible, New American Bible, Revised Edition, paperback

February 18, 2013

Bible study and church unity

As a lifelong student of the Bible and lover of the church in all its parts, I’m thrilled to see the Bible bind Christians together again! For one thing, developments in biblical scholarship and archeological digs have helped many Protestant publishers see that the apostles and other early church leaders knew the apocryphal books – those extra “Old Testament” books included in the original King James Version (KJV) of the Bible but taken out during the Reformation.

Meanwhile, Catholic scholars have greatly encouraged private and group study by making more study editions available with informative footnotes and articles provided by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. In addition, Christian scholars from Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical churches put their halos together to bring us the Common English Bible, previously reviewed on this site. Before that the Revised English Bible (REB), reviewed in A study Bible with an ecumenical view, gave us a one-Bible-fits-all-study groups.

Besides the REB, Oxford University Press has given us ecumenical editions (aka with Apocrypha) of the Revised Standard Version and New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), which I’ve used for years and highly recommend. Therefore, I’m doubly pleased to announce the new-to-me revised edition of the New American Bible (NAB) approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and published by Oxford.

Since I prefer genuine leather covers for the Bibles I use most often, I’m happy to see this edition can be found with a nice leather binding. Except for the NAB I bought years ago, Catholic editions rarely have high quality leather. My old NAB does but has "Catholic Study Bible" printed with such big gold letters on the spine that some Christians might not want to take it to another church study group.

The new (2010) NAB Revised Edition from Oxford has bold lettering on the spine, too, but its golden letters say “Holy Bible,” which should please everyone! I got the large print, which I like, but the treatment of footnotes took some getting used to at first. i.e., Instead of having footnotes and study notes at the bottom of each page, this edition places them at the end of each book. So you can look up notes as you go, or read (as I did) the study notes in one sitting. Interestingly, this placement kept me from being distracted (as I often am) from reading straight-through, and I felt as though I comprehended the text more fully since I didn’t have the typical footnotes to interrupt the reading.

Regarding the type of information found in those study notes, the footnote for Matthew 27:16-17 tells us, “The Aramaic name Barabbas means ‘son of the father’,” then points out “the irony of the choice offered between him and Jesus, the true son of the Father.”

For another example of a footnote concerning the Passion of Christ, a note on the time of death told in John 19:14 says: “Noon, the time when, according to John, Jesus was sentenced to death, was the hour at which the priest began to slaughter Passover lambs in the temple.” That’s the kind of information I wouldn’t know without the truly informative information in these study notes. Glad I ordered mine, but it’s a little hard to find, so I hope this link on Christian Books works for a while.

© 2013, Mary Harwell Sayler

October 13, 2012

Which books go in which Bible?

Christians from all denominations often ask me which Bible is which and why, and I’ve been explaining away – incorrectly! Well, not totally wrongly, but I was under the forgetful impression that any Bible “with Apocrypha” is the same as a “Catholic edition” – not!

With apologies to all, I’ll try to set things straight, confusing though it may be, but important too, so please bear with me.

As I’ve also mentioned over the years (and, yea! – gotten right) – the order of the books in a Bible “with Apocrypha” differ from a “Catholic edition” most noticeably by placement.

Each edition approved for Roman Catholic readers has the “extra books” woven into the “Old Testament” according to category. For example, Tobit and I and II Maccabees go with historical books whereas The Book of Sirach (one of my favorites) wisely goes with Wisdom Books and Baruch goes with the Prophets. However, Bibles labeled “with Apocrypha” typically place the extra books between the Testaments or after Revelation.

That can be confusing if you enjoy interdenominational Bible study groups, as I do, but otherwise, it’s no big deal. Right? Well, at least not until you come to some extra “extra books” with no clue what to do, which is what happened recently to me.

Reading my new copy of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) with Apocrypha, I ran across books I did not recall ever reading in my Catholic Study Bible or Revised English Bible with Apocrypha or The New Jerusalem Bible. Just to be sure, I double-checked the lists and saw that some of the books “with Apocrypha” are not part of the deuterocanonical books of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church does not consider books labeled “apocryphal” as such since “Apocrypha” means hidden, which those books clearly are not. Rather the Roman Church deemed the “extra books” to be “deuterocanonical” or outside the canon established by Jewish scholars who canonized the Hebrew Scriptures sometime after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 A.D.

When Protestants left the Catholic Church, the Jewish Bible went, too, as the “Old Testament.” In the ecumenical environment we now have, however, most Christians want to see all the books inspired by the Holy Spirit. But, surprise! Most new editions of the Bible “with Apocrypha” have books the Catholic Church never included.

Let me quickly add:

The New Testament (NT) is the same for every Christian.

The NT books are the same; the order is the same, and only the footnotes might differ.

Before I leave you hanging in confusion and despair of knowing, here’s a list of deuterocanonical (aka apocryphal books) included in Bibles approved by the Roman Catholic Church:

Additions to the Book of Esther
Wisdom of Solomon
Ecclesiasticus aka the Wisdom of Jesus aka Sirach
The Letter of Jeremiah
The Additions to the Book of Daniel – Prayer of Azariah
(aka Abednego)
Bel and the Dragon
1 and 2 Maccabees

In addition to those “extra books” in the “Old Testament” (OT) of a Catholic Bible, the Greek and Slavonic Bibles include all books above plus:

1 Esdras
Prayer of Manasseh
Psalm 151
3 Maccabees

Finally, Slavonic Bibles include:

2 and 3 Esdras
4 Maccabees

To recap: “with Apocrypha” Bibles include all the “extra books” just listed, which, together, equal the length of the entire New Testament. Therefore, having done my extra reading, I think I’ll focus on the NT, OT books of Wisdom, and the Prophets to see what’s coming next!


© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler reserves all rights to correct her mistakes and be corrected, so if I still got it wrong, feel free to tell me – nicely, of course :)

May 31, 2012

Four Bibles in one: The Complete Parallel Bible

If you like to compare translations as you study the Bible but don’t like to juggle several books at once, The Complete Parallel Bible by Oxford provides an ideal solution for Catholic, Episcopal, and other Christian readers or poetry lovers who also want the deuterocanonical books often referred to as the Apocrypha.

This 1993 edition may not be super easy to find in the bonded leather cover mine has, but I suggest a stout hardback cover for this thick book anyway. Otherwise, the wobbly spine on the cumbersome cover will eventually morph into a “V.” (The fat Bible on the far right of the photo should show you what I mean.)

The Amazon ad posted below for your convenience and my teeny “commission” will lead you to options for a less expensive used copy in good condition. (Yeah, I know some people do not like books other people have sneezed on while reading but just put a little vinegar on a paper towel and wipe those worries away.)

If you get this particular edition, you’ll find a small font in four side-by-side columns with footnotes only as essential for clarification. Bleary-eyed readers might need a magnifying glass, but it’s worth it. Why?

This edition gives you two of the most reliable English translations closest to word-for-word (New American Bible and New Revised Standard Version) in addition to two rather lively and very readable versions (New English Bible and New Jerusalem Bible.) If a verse doesn’t grab you in one translation, another of these choices surely will. By comparing all four versions of a verse along with the surrounding context, you’ll get a broader picture and deeper insight into biblical truths.


© 2012, Mary Sayler. Thanks for letting your church, Bible study, or other group know where you found this information.