I just received my New Catholic Bible large print edition with a black Dura-Lux cover. I’ll share my first impressions without going into details about the translation, as that’s already been thoroughly covered in Marc’s blog.

I purchased the giant print edition back when it first came out, excited by the prospect of a full edition of the NCB since I had enjoyed the New Testament and Psalm translations for some years. Though I still favor the RSV-CE and ESV-CE formal translations, the NCB does a decent job balancing readability and literalness. I purchased this one primarily for the notes, which I prefer to the NABRE’s.

The giant print edition is bulky, and the font is annoyingly large, even for my middle-aged eyes. I don’t like that the notes are at the end of each book. Endnotes are a pet peeve of mine; I find it distracting to keep going back and forth.

Despite my appreciation for the NCB, I only occasionally picked it up for reference. Then, in December I saw the new large print edition mentioned on Marc’s blog and ordered it. I’m quite pleased with it. Like the giant print edition, it has colorful supplemental aids (such as a chronology of the last week of Jesus’ life). These will be helpful for reading the Bible with my kiddos. And it’s great to have the notes readily accessible at the bottom of each page.

The font typically used in Catholic Book Corporation’s bibles is not elegant by any measure, but it’s easy on my eyes. It’s bold and clean. I prefer bibles not to have red lettering for the words of the Lord (I find it distracting); this one has that feature, but I can deal with it. The bible itself is still somewhat large, but no more so than the New Oxford Annotated Bible editions. Thankfully it’s not a brick, as the giant print edition is.

I would encourage CBC to make a big deal of the fact that their bibles are still made with sewn signature binding. With rare exception, I refuse to buy a bible that has glued binding— it’s usually a make or break deal for me— so I’m grateful that CBC continues their tradition of quality bible bindings. I think they would be wise to exploit that feature. I didn’t see it listed on the website. If they added a good genuine— or better yet premium— leather cover, they’d be amazing.

In addition to my “day job” in catechetical ministry, I’m an illustrator, and one of my favorite things about this bible is the wonderful black and white pen and ink illustrations that accompany several of the biblical book introductions. They add a lot to this edition. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find information on the illustrator, but the drawings make this bible unique and are a welcome contrast to some of the dated, cheesy color illustrations that continue to embellish CBC bibles (including in supplemental pages of this edition).

The Dura-Lux cover is nice, but this bible would be a good candidate for rebinding in premium leather by Leonard’s. It would certainly be worth it, given this bible’s overall quality. It’s a keeper. I’ll be using it a lot.

12 thoughts on “First Look: Large Print New Catholic Bible (NCB) — Guest Post by Leighton”

  1. Interesting . I just received this Bible in the mail today and unfortunately it is going right back to Catholic Book Publishing. As I got to scanning the Gospels I noticed that the red lettering, especially in Matthew starting about ch. 21 was faded so bad that it was hard to read. The consistency of the darkness of the red lettering was all over the place from page to page. There were still a couple of typos that the giant print edition had also, e.g. Ben Sira 41:4 “of the God” instead of “of God”. And Acts 18:25 where it says “baptism of God” instead of “baptism of John”. It does appear they corrected Ps.97:4 where the giant print has “lightnwings” instead of “lightnings”. It is a pity since I really like the format of this Bible. I just can’t abide the faded lettering in especially red lettering, which I don’t prefer anyway.

    1. David, with mine, too, the darkness of the red lettering varies, but on mine, it’s still readable on all the pages. The typos are indeed frustrating, given that this isn’t the first edition and these should have been corrected before this edition was printed. I hope you have a positive experience with your return and CBP’s customer service.

      1. Thanks Leighton. I hope you enjoy it. It definitely is a great format and a really good translation in my opinion.

      2. Leighton,
        Thanks for taking the time and effort for your fine review. A comment about CBP: First, CBP provides a valuable Catholic publishing resource. For example, they are the only publisher in the US, to my knowledge, that continues to publish the Liturgy of the Hours in book form. However, in the case of” Christian Prayer” they appear to never have corrected typos that have continued since 1976! Perhaps the printing technology used in 1976 cannot be easily fixed, and a totally new production is required. However, there is no excuse for not correcting the “Common Texts” cards included with the book. Thus, I am not confident that corrections in the NCB will be forthcoming (Even though the technology should make it easier.)

        1. Jim,
          I’m not holding my breath on the corrections, either. You make good points on the LOH printings. They’ve had a few years to take care of that. And David pointed out typos I didn’t even know were there. I was only aware of the Psalm 97 and Acts 18 typos, and saw they fixed the Psalm but left the Acts! How does that happen? I think they’ve been around over 100 years.
          Ah, well…

    1. Biblical Catholic, I don’t know the font size, but I’d guess a 10 point font for the main text. It’s definitely smaller than the font used for my Oxford University Press NABRE large print bible, listed as 12.

      If you have access to the Catholic Book Publishing Corp. NABRE large print, it’s the same font, I believe.

      At any rate, it’s much smaller than the giant print of the NCB, which I regret purchasing because the font is way too large. Maybe when I’m older I’ll appreciate it more.

      For my eyes, this large print has the perfect size font.

      1. Maybe that isn’t so bad, my eyesight is awful and I have difficulty reading books in normal type, maybe I could read it at that size. What I wish is that they would offer it in other format, such as a Kindle edition or audiobook edition. There is an audiobook edition of the New Testament, I hope they make an audiobook of the entire thing.

        1. I normally wear reading glasses for Bible reading, but find this font size very easy on the eyes. Much more so than, say, my recently purchased Augustine Institute ESV-CE. And even with the larger font (11, according to Lenny) this Bible’s not too big for me to take to work in my back pack, unlike the giant print edition.

  2. As an update to my original comment about the red lettering being very uneven. I sent the Bible back to Catholic Book Publishing Company and Emilie got in touch with me quickly and sent me another copy. The red lettering in this copy is much better! CBP Co. customer service was very efficient and quite responsive to my email that I sent them. Now this copy will receive a lot of use, as I really like the format, notes, and the translation itself. Well done CBP Co.! Also Emilie informed me that the typos would be corrected in the next printing. I think this edition has a bright future in the Catholic Biblical world.

    1. David,

      I’m glad they took good care of you. I hope to see the NCB gain some ground. It’s a very nice bible.

      The phony leather cover aside, my only real gripe is the red lettering, as I don’t see the purpose of putting Christ’s words in red at all. But that’s not bad, to have only one thing about it that I don’t like. Even the cover is nice for what it is.

      I’m really enjoying the translation and the notes.

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