Bible Version Q. Can you suggest what might be the best version of the Bible for a Catholic to have?

A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:  

Catholics, faced with numerous translations, may wonder which biblical text to choose. The answer depends on the purpose for which they wish to use the text. For those planning liturgies, the only appropriate text is included in “The Lectionary for Mass for Use in the United States of America.” The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved these readings.

Those seeking a Bible for study or personal devotion have far more options. The first English translation of the Bible was the Douay-Rheims, published between1582-1610. Its language, like that of the King James Version, which it anticipated, is beautiful and stately, but the meaning of many words has changed since its publication, so it may prove challenging to a modern reader. Protestant scholars produced a revised version of the King James text in1946, and the Church authorized a Catholic edition, which remains a classic text for study. Many consider it more reliable than the “New” revised version in 1989.

The Jerusalem Bible, published in 1966, was edited by a number of scholars (including J.R.R. Tolkien) and is both scholarly and accessible. Ultimately, readers must choose the text they find most accessible; a note at the front of the book will indicate the Church’s approval.