Which Bible Should I Choose?
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.
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.
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).
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 New Revised Standard Version – 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. If you haven’t got one yet, you can buy it here.
The 1986 Revised New American Bible (not NABRE) is the only translation approved for use at the mass in the US or in the Philippines. It therefore makes sense to purchase one here if you are staying in either country as above.