Welcome to the twenty-first week of comparing the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) with the Revised English Bible (REB) for the second reading at Sunday’s Mass. This is a chance to compare a strongly literal translation like the NABRE New Testament with a much more dynamic translation like the REB. As the translators continue to work on revising the NABRE New Testament, it also provides a chance to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the current translation (which was completed in 1986).

Sunday, November 4th, 2018 — Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Second Reading: Hebrews 7:23-28

NABRE:

Those priests were many because they were prevented by death from remaining in office, but he, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away. Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.

It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens. He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.

REB:

There have been many levitical priests, because death prevents them from continuing in office; but Jesus holds a perpetual priesthood, because he remains for ever. That is why he is able to save completely those who approach God through him, since he is always alive to plead on their behalf. 

Such a high priest is indeed suited to our need: he is holy, innocent, undefiled, set apart from sinners, and raised high above the heavens. He has no need to offer sacrifices daily, as the high priests do, first for their own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. The high priests appointed by the law are men in all their weakness; but the priest appointed by the words of the oath which supersedes the law is the Son, who has been made perfect for ever. 

3 thoughts on “REB vs. NABRE: New Testament Letters (31st Sunday in OT)”

  1. “It was fitting that we should have such a high priest” and “Such a high priest is indeed suited to our need” mean the same thing, yet the tone seems different.

    The REB seems a little utilitarian, where the NABRE is bit more soft. I’m not sure which one I prefer!

    1. Sorry… I guess utilitarian IS a strange word to use. I’m kind of reading it with an emotional lens. :p

      The NABRE seems to further exalt by saying how “fitting” it is that he be pure and holy, living forever to offer intercession for us. The structure in the REB seems more logic oriented. He is holy and pure, so he’s the right man for offering perpetual intercession. He’s suited to it.

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