Best Books for Catholic Living

It is easy to get lost in the chaotic nature of this world and when I seek guidance, I always find that answers are only few pages away.

Let me share with you the Catholic books that have influenced many people's life and I hope these will help keep us in a straight and narrow path towards a successful Christian life.

Dr B. Y. Verdin M.D.

Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:9 

A Treat to the Senses

I first heard of Father Barron at the free version of the Catholicism Series: Episode 6 "The Mystical Union of Christ and the Church" in Youtube. It was a visually stimulating and thought provoking experience that I ended up buying two out of the nine remaining videos at £6.99 each.

I then found out that all the video series were actually presented in a book format, Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith. 

Father Barron has such a genius way with words that he can bring his experiences and the holy characters into life. His exposition about the Beatitudes and his description of Saints Peter and Paul, among others, are remarkably informative and logical in presentation. His thoughts are easy to grasp, spiritually stimulating and intellectually provoking. 

I rarely encounter such work in different mediums which are all of highest quality and appeal to the senses.

This Catholic book is elegantly made and a standout in the bookshelves. The quality of the paper and the size of the print is just about right. It's a great Catholic book that will be especially useful for those who are searching for a deeper  understanding of our amazing Catholic heritage.

The videos are similarly amazing although quite pricey.

In any format, the contents are well-thought of and give credit to Bishop Barron as a remarkable ambassador of our faith.

Click Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith to know more.

Concise, Simple and Beautiful

Mr Hahn was a protestant who had researched against the Catholic faith and ended up writing for us; and write he passionately did. This is the second book that I had from Scott  (the first of which is Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith) and he consistently doesn’t fail to deliver.

A gifted Professor of Theology, he can make complex topic look simply beautiful. He provides us with a magnificent and concise summary of our sacred customs and traditions. This book is especially written to answer key questions on why we do what we do although it is not meant to be comprehensive enough to explain on how we do things.

Do you need this book? If you can give a biblical or historical explanation of the Holy water, the Sacraments of our faith or the significance of incense or candles then perhaps you have been more devoted than many of us.

Otherwise, this is an excellent Catholic book which outlines 40 Catholic customs and traditions that will be a delightful reading for the 40 days of the Lenten Season.

Click Signs of Life: 40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots to Read More.

The Name of God Is Mercy
by Pope Francis

The Divine Virtue: Forgiveness

Easy to read, conversationally enchanting and yet heavy on mercy.

This is a question and answer book in an interview with Pope Francis by the Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli on the topic of Mercy; in celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. In a series of practical reflections throughout his youth and life as a priest, he calls upon us to contemplate on forgiving ourselves and others.

By recognizing our sins, he reminds us on how we can open up to God and let him enter our lives. The book is straight to the point, which makes it feel like the book is short and…I want more. I could have finished reading it in a few hours of sitting in the bookshop.

As a child, we were excellent with forgiveness but experiences somewhat disabled us. A supplemental reading that I find useful is the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Steven Covey which is a practical book and can help in breaking bad habits in an easy step by step format. He also has written about the 8th habit which I feel is a missed opportunity for there is no success without learning forgiveness.

Otherwise, Pope Francis' book is generally a beautiful and rewarding read if you want a reminder to take mercy and forgiveness into your heart, faith and day to day life.

Click The Name of God Is Mercy to Know More.

The Catholic Study Bible
by Donald Senior, et. al

Learn Together, Stay Together

Based on the New American Bible Revised Edition, this fantastic study bible contains the Word of God and so much more with collaboration of several well-respected authors.

Its extensive reading guides explain in detail what each chapter is about and followed by the Bible itself with its indispensable footnotes.  Through its list of maps, it will bring you back thousands of years on the path that our ancestors had taken from the probable Exodus routes, the places of Battle of Gideon, the Kingdom of David, Jesus’ Journey and Paul’s Path towards Rome.

An alternative or even supplemental book is the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament which is also a well-written study bible by Scott Hahn, et. al. This is highly descriptive and reflective of a decade of their work but it only contains the New Testament and the rest you have to buy.

There is no doubt that the Catholic Study Bible is one of the best study bible around but the choice seemed to go down whether one will choose a hardcover, a paperback or a kindle edition

If you have a few pennies to spare, a hardcover will be better over a paperback.

The book itself is quite bulky and a desk is needed to hold it for long reading. The paper is thin and the text are just right for me although I assume some might struggle with it. The pages are glued together and as expected, it falls off with usage (which is not exactly bad as it is a badge of heavy reading).

The kindle version has the obvious advantage of being more portable and easier to access but you will need a bit of practice in navigating between pages or accessing footnotes.

Pick your choice and be rest assured that this is truly one of the most helpful catholic book that you can’t live without.

Click The Catholic Study Bible to Read More.

NRSV Catholic Edition
by Harper Bibles

The Greatest Book of All Time

A Bible is a necessity. It is almost similar to choosing a car: it can take us where we want to be although the journey will be different from one version to another.

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to the Bible which can sometimes be overwhelming. Please allow me to spare you the dilemma of which Bible to pick with fairly simple steps.


Step One:

Make sure that you are using a Catholic Bible.

It should be composed of the 46 books of the Old Testament and the 27 Books of the New Testament. If you don’t want to count, just look if it contains Tobit, Judith, Maccabees (1 and 2), Wisdom, Sirach and Baruch.


Step Two:

Literal or Dynamic

Literal translation gives an almost word for word translation of the original text which makes it generally harder to read.  It also requires special knowledge of the history and customs by early Christians in order to analyse the context in which the words were written. More Theologians and Priests may often use the literal translation of the bible as reference. Douay-Rheims is a very literal translation that many Catholics used up until the 1960’s. 

Dynamic translation makes the Bible more readable by preserving the meaning of the text instead of translating the bible literally. The Jerusalem Bible is one of the most dynamic example you can find. It is often popular as a gift to younger adults and children due to its usually less intimidating smaller size (and smaller print too).


Step Three


I think all of us have the same purpose of reading the Bible; to understand God.

If we want to share what we understand from the Bible, which is actually the Apostolic nature of being Catholic, a dynamic approach Bible will be more practical.

If you plan to use it in the liturgy reading, especially in the US and Philippines, the New American Bible is preferred.


What is the best bible?

The best bible is the one that we read. If you have a bible that is really worn out, carry it with pride.

If you want a new one:

Top on the list is the NRSV Catholic Edition. It is less literal and more dynamic than the Revised Standard Version. It is the most balanced bible so far and the words of God are written in a pleasant and easy language.  

The alternative is the New American Bible: Revised Edition which is of course mostly used in the US.

Click New American Bible: Revised Edition or NRSV Catholic Edition to Read More.