Happy Monday everyone! Hope you are starting out the New Year on a good note! One of my New Years resolutions is to post more on this blog. Up until this point, I have been posting mainly thought intensive (for me anyway) posts that eat up a lot of my time and resources. This year I intend to still do those type of posts from time to time but I also intend on pumping out some more day to day content that is less formal. This post is the first in that attempt. I hope you enjoy it.
Something I see come up quite often on Facebook, Twitter and internet forums I frequently haunt is, “what are the best Bible Translations for a Catholic to use?” I got some free time this evening so I thought I would rank a few translations in a Good, Bad, and Ugly format. Everyone loves Clint Eastwood right?
Douay Rheims Version – I could not decide between my two favorite Bible translations so I had to go with both for the Good. First up is the Douay Rheims Version. This translation is in the same vein of the world famous King James Version. The DRV actually predates the KJV by a few years and probably helped influenced the KJV. Count me as a fan of the old English style bible translations and that is why I like this version so much. It is a translation of St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate Bible and held the distinction as the churches preferred English translation up until a certain other translation unseated it from that lofty distinction (see “The Bad”). I like the DRV mainly because of the use of the old English style. It is also a very literal translation which also lends to its drawbacks. Its just flat out hard to read at times. If you are casually reading the bible the DRV is probably not the best choice but if you are looking to study deep down into the meaning of the scriptures this should be your go-to Bible.
Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition – My other favorite translation is the RSV: Catholic Edition. This translation is a slightly more dynamic translation than the DRV and as a result, you end up with a more readable translation but it is also translated directly enough to be used for a good study bible as well. The RSV:CE is just a good all-around translation of the bible that has become a favorite among American Catholics. I wouldn’t be surprised if the United States Conference of Catholics Bishops decided at some point to make this the translation that is read during Mass in the United States in the future. It is a far superior English translation than the NAB, which leads us to the bad…
New American Bible – This one is going to surprise some people. I want to start out by saying I don’t hate the NAB. I just dislike it. It is an extremely readable version of the bible and as a result, is easily understood but that is as far as my praise is going to go for it. It has some extremely clunky renderings in it, the footnotes and the prefaces for the books are absolutely atrocious. While reading the notes of the NAB you have to wonder if an Anti-Catholic person actually contributed them. I’ve actually read stories online where the NAB’s notes lead to people leaving the faith and I totally understand if that is what you were exposed to right out of the gate. It is just awful for a translation that is so widely endorsed by the USCCB and used at almost every parish in the United States.
Cotton Patch Bible – All bible translations have some good in them right? No, no they don’t. The Cotton Patch version of the bible (not sure if I can even call it that with a straight face) is absolutely the worst version of the bible on the market hands down. It’s not even close. If you have not heard of this version of the bible you need to google it right now and read it for a good laugh. Just pick any verse or book and start. It is all laughable and extremely sad at the same time. Jesus did not live in Atlanta! Here are the first few verses (I think, its hard to tell) of Matthew Chapter 16 just to let you know how bad this translation is.
1. Some Protestants and Catholics got together to test him, and they asked him to show them his spiritual credentials. He replied, “At dusk you say, ‘The sky is red; it’ll be fair,’ and at dawn you say, ‘The sky is red and darkening; it’ll rain today.’ You are able to read the clouds but not the signs of the times. A mean and faithless generation asks a sign from me, and the only sign it will get is that of Jonah.” So he turned his back on them and left.
Ugh… I think I just vomited a little reading that… It’s just awful…