Looking for an approved Catholic version of The Bible? Not much help at this site.

The Catholic Church gave the Bible to the world. Only the Catholic Church could compile and authenticate as inspired ancient Christian writings, so that error and spiritual danger was avoided. The Catholic Church is the only authentic interpreter of the Sacred Scriptures and their guardian.  Everyone who ever opens any Bible should thank God for the Catholic Church.

That said, because there are zillions of versions in gazillions of tongues available, one might imagine that, in this electronic age, there could be a kind of “Bible central” where one could go to find approved versions in the desired languages. Right? That sounds like a 21st century kind of thing to do with the vaunted tools of social communication.

Since the Catholic Church’s HQ is The Vatican, wouldn’t the website of The Vatican, the Holy See, be a good place to have such a “Bible central”?  Given the primacy of God’s inspired word, there should be quite the page.

Check this out. HERE This is the Vatican website’s “Bible Index”.

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 09.37.27

In a nutshell, this says that if you want to find the Bible, go to the website of your own conference of bishops for an updated version.

Alas, they don’t provide links to those conferences… and you would think that they would be known… in The Vatican.

A friend of mine wrote:

They left a message saying you have to go check your own episcopal conference’s website.

Thank you, our shepherds, who needs the Latin version anyway (OK neovulgata, still). And, I am sure when the clandestine faithful in China or North Korea or such manage to get on the web for ten minutes once in a month they will find their own episcopal conference’s website very exhaustive.

Right.   Also, he brings up a good point.   Shouldn’t the Vatican website have, at least, the approved LATIN version of Holy Writ?  Perhaps also a recognized GREEK version of the New Testament?  Just the basics?

I wonder if this is, in part, a way to reduce traffic and strain on what must be a really busy site/server.  Surely it can’t be because they want to deemphasize the importance of the Holy See and farm more things out to conferences of bishops.

We might want to keep an eye on that page to see if there are any updates.

The moderation queue is ON.


A reader sent a link… buried… on the Vatican website.  I update this with trepidation.   Want your Latin Vulgate?  HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Roy Hobbes says:

    So, going to the USCCB website, there is a listing of ‘approved’ translations which all appear to be post-1983. Regarding pre-1983 translations, the site states: “In addition to the translations listed below, any translation of the Sacred Scriptures that has received proper ecclesiastical approval ? namely, by the Apostolic See or a local ordinary prior to 1983, or by the Apostolic See or an episcopal conference following 1983 ? may be used by the Catholic faithful for private prayer and study. I tend to use my grandmother’s Bible (“Catholic Family Edition of the Holy Bible”) from 1953. So whereas it appears, in accordance with Canon Law (c. 825, §1), I can use this Bible for ‘private prayer and study’, it can not be used liturgically?

  2. Of course, the first mistake was using the Vatican website’s for research. Sorry if that sounds morose, but this is year’s of experience talking. The basic ‘technology mindset’ that you and I take for granted (and we are both amateurs, for crying out loud) just isn’t there.

    [Alas, you have a point.]

  3. joekstl says:

    I would direct searchers to the New American Bible which is used in our Liturgies. [I wouldn’t.] For a Greek New Testament I use the 28th edition of Nestle-Aland for my bible study classes in our parish.

  4. Makemeaspark says:

    Let us refer, to our wonderfully Orthodox brother Scott Hahn, who has painstakingly been revising the RSVCE with glorious footnotes (the NT is done and many Old Testament books also). Grateful are we, yes.

  5. ChesterFrank says:

    You wouldn’t? NAB is listed as the approved version by the US Catholic Bishops. What is the version you would choose? Thanks

  6. Geoffrey says:

    Seriously?! I have often consulted the Holy See’s website first thing when I needed to look up something in Sacred Scripture in a different language.

    I have found this site to be quite helpful. They actually have the Latin Vulgate and the first edition of the RSV: https://www.biblegateway.com/

    Sad. The Holy See should be running such a website!

  7. iPadre says:

    Sad to say after all these years, but the Vatican website is probably the most user-unfriendly site out there.

    What every happened to the McKinsey group that the Vatican paid all kinds of money to reform communication? Yep, like everything else.

  8. anilwang says:

    joekstl says: “I would direct searchers to the New American Bible ”

    Personally, I wouldn’t. The footnotes in several sections focus on “the documentary hypothesis” and other unproven nonsense based on the assumption that divine revelation and miracles aren’t real. The purpose of footnotes is to increase your faith and understanding, not to weaken your faith and fill you with unfruitful speculation about trivia. On top of this, some sections are just not translated properly. “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”? Sorry, but that’s not what the Greek says and it is against Catholic/Orthodox tradition.

    Personally I go for the RSV-CE2 since there are many editions in many formats and is the Bible referenced by the Catechism. The Didache Bible is uses the RSV-CE with notes from the Catechism, and if you use Verbum, you can even combine the RSV-CE2 with Haydock commentary on your tablet. Personally, I wish the Douay Rheims bible was Anglicized (I just can’t get used to names like 1 Paralipomenon, Sophonias, Osee, etc) and converted into modern English as was the plan before it was killed in favour of the NAB, but at least we have the RSV-CE2.

  9. DavidR says:

    Douay-Rheims; men have died for that.

    I can’t imagine anyone would die for the NAB.

  10. KateD says:

    Hi Father,

    I, too, use BibleGateway.com. As Geoffrey said above they have the RSV and ever other imagines me version in several languages.

    It’s handy for me since all of my early exposure to the Bible was from Protestant bible studies, camps and prep school/daily chapel. I can search the key words the way I remember them, get the chapter and verse, then switch to the RSV translation.

    It’s complicated.

    On my phone I have downloaded the Vatican’s Truth and Life app which is in the RSV-CE. It has dramatized audio readings (with Imprimatur). I’ve never actually used what my children term “The Jesus App”…but it looks really in depth, offering bible studies and daily Mass reading, etc.

  11. Titus says:

    The NAB is a garbled mess of banality that not infrequently veers over into obscurantism. “Approved for use in the liturgy” isn’t a very high bar (and also isn’t quite accurate, since the “raw” NAB was so bad in places that Rome insisted those extracts used in the Lectionary be revised).

    One would be much better off with the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, which is the basis for both the Navarre Bible and Scott Hahn’s Didache Bible, or even the Douay. The Confraternity Edition, which came out on the eve of the Council (and was never finished), was nice, but is now out of print.

    As for the main topic, one imagines that the Holy See doesn’t put vernacular translations on its website to avoid (a) licensing stupidity among and betwixt the various episcopal conferences and other translation owners and (b) having to have additional fights over the desirability or appropriateness of the various translations.

  12. Titus says:

    Revision: Scott Hahn’s project is the Catholic Study Bible. The Didache Bible is a Midwest Theological Forum project. Both are derived from the RSVCE, however, I believe. Mea culpa.

  13. KateD says:

    Sorry about that first paragraph…BTW what is the conversion rate between auto correct hell and Purgatory? There must be some offset, at least.

  14. Mary Ann says:

    I greatly appreciate the http://www.catholicbible.online/ site (via the generosity of Baronius Press) that includes the complete Vulgate, Douay-Rheims, and the Knox Bible—also with additional pages with all three side-by-side. The site is very easy to navigate.
    The Ronald Knox translation was reputed to be Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen favorite—and, in fact, the version he used for his “The Life of Christ”.
    For anyone that might be interested in audio, Rev. Hugh Thwaites SJ recorded some of the Knox translation of the New Testament and it is available here: http://www.proecclesia.com/talk_HTMAT.mp3 (Scroll down under “Full Audio List” to “The Spoken New Testament read by the Rev. Hugh Thwaites SJ”)
    [Quoting from the preface of Abp. Sheen, page 5, “The Life of Christ”, 1958: “Of the many translations of Scripture, we have chosen the Knox translation as best, using the Rheims Douay version only in a very few texts.”]

  15. Ivan says:

    Interestingly enough, along with the Nova Vulgata on the link you provided, I found The New American Bible on Vatican’s website through Google – http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/_INDEX.HTM – and also an Italian version (“Edizione CEI”) – http://www.vatican.va/archive/ITA0001/_INDEX.HTM

    Perhaps more versions could be found (if they were previously available).

  16. Ivan says:

    By using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine we can see how it used to look (as late as 30th of November 2016): http://web.archive.org/web/20161130214227/http://www.vatican.va/archive/bible/index_it.htm

    From here one can (in addition to the Latin, Italian and English version) extract the link for the Chinese version (http://www.vatican.va/chinese/bibbia.htm) and the Spanish version (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ESL0506/_INDEX.HTM).

  17. veronica33 says:

    Hi everyone: I use the Douay-Rheims & Clementina Vulgata [side-by-side] version.
    It’s expensive, but worth it. You can purchase it here: https://www.baroniuspress.com/book.php?wid=56&bid=50#tab=tab-1

    I also, from time to time, still read and reference the original KJV (I’m a former Protestant). It’s very similar to the Douay-Rheims and retains the beautiful poetic language of its time which I believe befits the holiness of Sacred Scripture. It does, of course, have its limitations, by definition, because it is a product of the Protestant Reformation. I find the more recent, modern translations painful to read. It seems the Beauty of language and its ability to convey the sacrality of Holy Scripture has been sacrificed at the altar of accessibility and readability. I hope this helps.

  18. iamlucky13 says:

    @ Titus
    ” The Confraternity Edition, which came out on the eve of the Council (and was never finished), was nice, but is now out of print.”

    I received a Confraternity Edition surplussed by my parish growing up. It was the only Bible I had until college. Somehow I have great difficulty concentrating on it, so instead I usually just read from the NAB since it is convenient. I remember in the few theology classes I took in college finding some of the NAB footnotes helpful simply for matters of historical context, since the professor seemed interested in little more than the historical aspects of the Bible, but since then I’ve been noticing more of the problems in the footnotes frequently criticized by others. Plus there’s the issues of simply terrible translations like anilwang pointed out above.

    It sounds like I need an RSVCE Bible. Is the Ignatius Study Bible complete? Last I heard only the New Testament was finished, and the New Testament only seems to be what Amazon wants to sell me.

  19. Magash says:

    Will we ever be free of the banal and possibly heretical (at least in its footnotes) NAB? Since it is the creature of the USCCB I fear not. At least not until there is a substantial move to orthodoxy in the conference itself, something I just don’t see happening any time within my lifetime.
    Personally I use the NAB when I must (it’s pushed by the diocese in it’s Catholic Youth Bible form), but have copies of the Douay-Rheims, RSV-CE and my favorite the Knox Bible, that get much more use. I love that my copy uses full pages of text vice the more common two column layout of most bibles. It make it much easier to actually read, at least for me.

  20. Simon_GNR says:

    I strongly prefer the Revised Standard Version – it was what I was brought up with as an Anglican – and I wish it were used for liturgy. In England & Wales we have to put up with the banal Jerusalem Bible, which is pretty hopeless. I understand the Bishops’ Conference of E&W has plans to replace the JB with a revised version of the RSV (Catholic Edition). Bring it on!
    I still have a liking for the Authorised Version (i.e. the King James Version). I have heard that it is quite similar to the Douay-Rheims version.

  21. joekstl says:

    To anilwang: you may have misunderstood my post; the question asked for an approved Catholic bible. I pointed to the NAB. I didn’t “recommend” it. The passage you quoted from Luke could be OK per the translation from the Greek. “Greetings” may be more preferable to “hail” but either would be acceptable. At least the NAB gets the Last Supper words of institution correct in using “cup” instead of the OF “chalice.” “Cup” is the correct translation of the Greek.

    My preferred English bible is the Revised English Bible, a joint effort of Churches in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

  22. The Masked Chicken says:

    I have 23 different English language translations sitting on my bookshelf, plus access to many more electronic ones. Since there are two source streams for Scripture, the Erasmus and the St. Jerome, in the best of all worlds, one should have one Bible from each stream. The RSV represents one (Erasmus) and the Confraternity Edition (derived from the Vulgate) represents the other.

    As for online sources, I very much like the Blue Letter Bible:


    as it has access to the original Greek and Hebrew. There is excellent free interlinear Greek-English software available with linguistic aids for Windows and, if I recall, a Hebrew interlinear, as well. There are maps, histories, Catholic commentaries etc., also available, if anyone is interested (let me know).

    Given the ubiquitousness of tablets and Kindles, there is a lot of resources one can store or access on ones tablet or computer or call phone.

    The Chicken

  23. Pingback: TVESDAY CATHOLICA EXTRA | Big Pulpit

  24. hilltop says:

    I pray for the new vulgate and NJB #3 translators that they did not alter a word of St. John’s Apocolypse, er – Book of Revelation…

  25. Precentrix says:

    I’m most certainly not a cleric, but surely this is helpful?


    I have no idea why I know where to find that…

  26. Matamoros says:

    I stick with the REAL Douay Rheims, which is the 1610 literal translation of the Vulgate. The one usually called “Douay Rheims” is not, but the Challoner translation put in between the DR cover.

    Good site here: http://www.realdouayrheims.com

  27. kram2181 says:

    NAB = “Not Actually the Bible.” The footnotes appear to be cobbled together by a wayward symposium comprised of the Lutheran Church of Sweden and Jesus Seminar attendees. The fact that the USCCB endorses this scandalous edition of Sacred Scripture is a sin against the American faithful. I pray to St. Jerome daily to guide our Catholic and Protestant Biblical scholars in their study of Scripture. Fortunately, we seem to have a resurgence of orthodox Catholic scholars with the likes of Scott Hahn, Brant Pitre, Michael Barber and Curtis Mitch among others. I am equally impressed with some of our Protestant brothers, namely NT Wright, Darrell Bock, Craig Evans, Craig Keener, Ben Witherington, Michael Licona and Craig Blomberg. Despite their obvious differences in theological studies, these scholars all defend traditional authorship and dating of the holy Books, which is a much greater service to the Christian faith than Catholic clergy who openly doubt the Word of God.

  28. Vincent says:

    I’ve never understood why the vulgate is still used – surely there are better translations from the original languages (I.e. post Erasmus)- maybe someone can educate me?

  29. Filipino Catholic says:

    Give me a Douay-Rheims (Challoner revision) and a Clementine Vulgate and that would be enough for me. I have a NAB, but take severe issue with the footnotes and their subtle insinuation of the denial of divine inspiration.

    The only gripes I have with the two translations I favor are the repeated mistranslation of re’em (“auroch” or “wild ox”) as unicorn in the Vulgate, and to a lesser extent the mistranslation of sabkha (sambuca in the Latin) in Daniel 3 in the DRC. The original D-R translated sambuca as “dulcimer”, while Challoner’s revision incorrectly borrowed from the KJV and translated it as “sackbut”.

  30. pannw says:

    drbo.org is my go to Bible website. It is very user friendly, with an easy search function that comes in handy for those of us who have difficulty remembering chapter and verse or even exact quotes. I use it often.

    Matamoros, I learned of the “Real Douay Rheims” Bible a few years ago while searching for biblical reference to support a claim by someone online about the Antichrist being homosexual. The reference was to Daniel 11:37. The difference from translation to translation was astounding. Note RSVCE says, “He shall give no heed to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women;” Whereas the drob.org version of the Douay bible* says, “”[37] And he shall make no account of the God of his fathers: and he shall follow the lust of women,“. That’s a really big difference!!

    And if I remember correctly, as I do not have access to my hard copy of the Real Douay OT, it translates the verse as, “…he will be in the concupiscence of women.” I knew then that I wanted the hard copy. It is really cumbersome so not one I sit around flipping through but I do like having it for comparison if something makes me go, hmmmm.

    The translation matters.

  31. Titus says:

    Iamlucky13 asked, “It sounds like I need an RSVCE Bible. Is the Ignatius Study Bible complete? Last I heard only the New Testament was finished, and the New Testament only seems to be what Amazon wants to sell me.”

    I forget whether or not the Ignatius Study Bible is complete or not. For reasons I cannot fathom, Ignatius Press doesn’t have the volumes all catalogued on a single page. There are various old testament books complete, but you have to buy them piecemeal. The Navarre Bible (which is a similar setup, but—I think—focuses more on patristic commentary) is complete and available on Amazon: the NT in one volume and the OT in a series.

  32. iamlucky13 says:

    Thanks Titus. I will take a look at the Navarre Bible, too.

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