In late October of 2019, I reported on the recent release of the complete New Catholic Bible (previously called the New Catholic Version) by Catholic Book Publishing Company. This project was in progress for several years. The Psalms were published in 2002, followed by the complete New Testament in 2015, and finally, the complete Bible in 2019.

Then, in early November, I posted a first look at the black imitation leather edition of this bible, which Catholic Book Publishing Company graciously provided for a review. At the time, I planned to compare the New Catholic Bible (NCB) with the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) for the Gospel of Luke, St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, and selections from the Old Testament. I quickly realized that I committed to more than I could do at the time, but I’ve returned to my original plan and it is now complete!

Over the past month, I’ve spent quality time with the NCB, reading extended passages and comparing the NCB with the NABRE verse-by-verse throughout all of Luke and Galatians. Additionally, I’ve read all the footnotes on Luke and Galatians in both translations and compared them. I’ve also read sections of the Old Testament and Psalms in the NCB. This process yielded 60 typewritten pages of notes, documenting differences that caught my eye as I was reading.

I will be distilling my notes into a series of two posts on the NCB. The next post will deal with the translation: How does it read, and how does it compare with the NABRE? Then, the following post will address the introductions and footnotes: What are the overall objectives of the footnotes in each translation, and how do they compare?

I think this translation deserves a thorough examination. To my knowledge, it is the first brand-new, church-approved English Bible translation for Catholics in many years. Every other Catholic Bible in English has been a revision of an older translation in recent years (the RNJB, the NABRE, etc). Despite this, the NCB was released with very little fanfare, and many Catholics are completely unaware of it. What is this Bible like, and how does it compare to the NABRE that so many of us are used to hearing at Mass? Stay tuned!

9 thoughts on “In-Depth with the New Catholic Bible (Part 1)”

  1. I recently bought the NCV New Testament and, from the very little time I spent with it, I am thoroughly impressed both by the translation and by the overall quality and presentation. It is looking absolutely stunning for not much money. I wish this edition came in the same flexible duraleather cover package, so I think will wait for it.

    I look forward to your impressions.

  2. I’m excited to read your analysis! I’ve been interested in this translation for awhile. I have a nice single column New Testatment & Psalms that I picked up a little over a year ago that I’ve been slowly working though myself. My sense has been that the NCB’s footnotes seem to have a much more of a focus on practical spiritual application and contextualization compared with the NABRE’s notes, which seem to be almost exclusively focused on textual criticism. Both valuable approaches if you ask me, but very different. I’ll be curious to see if you have a similar sense in you future posts!

  3. What I like most about this translation is that it takes a moderate and restrained approach to inclusive language. It retains the use of the masculine pronoun in places where most modern translations have dropped it, and when it does make an effort to avoid masculine language, it does so in a natural way without the awkward ungrammatical contortions that other translations resort to, such as trying to use the word ‘they’ as a singular pronoun.

  4. Thanks so my Marc I’m *really* looking forward to this!

    I found this review of the new testament and psalms, and I really like the translation snippet of Romans 8:14-17 the reviewer shared:
    https://biblereviewer.blogspot.com/2015/09/new-catholic-version-for-all-christians.html

    I found it clear, and it flowed very well, without calling attention to itself. Not flowery, more like Hemingway. It’s just a 3 verse snippet, but I was impressed.

    Is it only available in giant print right now? How “giant” is the giant print? I may hold out for a “large” print edition. I like 10-12 point fonts (large), not 14 point (giant).

    Thanks!

    Steve

    1. Yep, right now the entire Bible is only available in giant print. There are a couple of smaller options for just the New Testament (or the New Testament and Psalms). I don’t have a way to measure the font, but for the comparison, I read the giant print NCB alongside the Oxford Large Print NABRE (which advertises a 12-point font). The NCB’s font is definitely larger. I suspect it’s 14. It is exceptionally clear and easy to read. The more time I spent with the NCB, the more I appreciated the simple page layout and practical, readable font.

  5. I really cant wait to see this analysis. I have never even heard of this translation. I would be most interested to see if it avoids gender neutral language or not, also how it translates the Angelic Salutation and the first few chapters of Genesis compared to other translations.

    Another thing to note is I would really like to see how faithful these footnotes are to Catholic tradition. I am hearing some good things about this translation. Personally I always found the footnotes in the Douay-Rheims (although they are quite limited) wonderful because of just how purely Catholic they are (not filled with speculations that cast doubt on everything because were “modern now.”)

    Basically if this bible has solid translations that are true to the Catholic approach and the footnotes to match I would be extremely happy and would certainty recommend it to people.

  6. I find it odd that they (Catholic Book Publishing Corp.) changed the name of their Bible to the “New Catholic Bible” since I thought that name was already used by the Catholic Truth Society’s “New Catholic Bible” which has been around since 2006 (IIRC) and is still being sold: https://www.ctsbooks.org/product/new-catholic-bible-standard/

    The CTS New Catholic Bible is a “composite” Bible which uses the Jerusalem Bible (JB) except for the Psalms. For the Psalms, it uses the original Grail Psalter. It also has updated footnotes written by Dom Henry Wansbrough, OSB. It’s the translation that the Catholic Church of England and Wales uses for their liturgies.

  7. They can no longer call it the new Catholic version because those initials NCV already taken by the New Century Bersion

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