There are a number of Catholic Bible’s available today. These range in translation, content and appearance. I am often asked for what Bible I would recommend. In an effort to answer that question I will be spotlighting a number of different Bibles available from a number of different publishers over the next few weeks. My reviews will consist of a look at the appearance of each and focus on the most important factor of all, content. My hope is these reviews will help you decide the Bible that is best for you.
This week we will take a look at The Didache Bible from Ignatius Press and the Midwest Theological Forum.
Appearance: Right out of the gate this bible has something going for it. It’s a hardcover edition. To me this is a great feature adding durability. If you do like or choose not to use a Bible case the hardcover will surely be of benefit to you. Another nice feature is the inclusion of two ribbons. One is towards the front of the bible and one towards the back. Very convenient for marking your place in the Old and New Testaments simultaneously. Just as an example to the attention paid to this bible these are not the type attached to a slip in piece of cardboard. Both ribbons are glued into the binding.
Content: First up translation. The Revised Standard Version, Ignatian Edition is what you will find here. The foreward was written by the late Cardinal Francis George who states “It is my hope that The Didache Bible will be a valuable resource for many Catholics seeking a deeper understanding of Sacred Scripture as a text written by people of faith for people of faith.”
Next comes the preface where Father James Socias explains how the Midwest Theological Forum developed this bible. “While publishing the Didache Series textbooks, it was brought to my attention that there was a great need for a Catholic edition of Sacred Scripture with catechetical and apologetical commentaries based on these same principles. Such an edition of the Bible could be an effective companion to the textbooks, showing how the teachings of the Catholic Church, as presented in the Catechism are based on and consonant with Sacred Scripture, showing how Scripture and Tradition are the twin founts of revealed truth in the Deposit of Faith.”Rounding out the introduction section are a:
– a “How to Read the Bible” article,
– a “Brief Summary of Sacred Scripture” article that does a fine job providing a brief synopsis of each book of the Bible
– a chronology of both the Old and New Testaments
– a valuable section highlighting specific scripture passages for meditation
Each book of the Bible has a brief opening section that deals with the author, date of origin, who the book was targeted at, and main themes covered in the book. That leads me to the commentary which in my experience is a first. The commentary is extensive and it includes references to the Catechism. Also sprinkled throughout the entire bible are over 100 page length, in-depth apologetic explanations on various topics such as: universal destination of goods, expressions of prayer, apostolic tradition and making a good confession. One last feature within the books of interest are lists of other scripture readings related to what you are reading.
This Bible closes out just as impressively as it started. Twenty-four, full color, glossy maps are included as well as a massive 44 page glossary, an index of the apologetic explanations, and a 22 page index of subjects and biblical names.
Midwest Theological Forum and Ignatius Press have compiled a Bible that has thoroughly impressed this book reviewer. In fact, this has become my new go-to Bible. The combination of the RSV Bible with the Catechism makes The Didache Bible a fantastic single source for scriptural study and a deeper understanding of the Church.