In 2017, Pauline Books and Media published a New Testament and Psalms featuring the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE). I found this edition several months ago in a Christian bookstore and have used it intermittently over the past few months. There are so many things to like about this edition, but its biggest downfall is the significant ghosting of text from subsequent pages. Here is a brief overview of its features:

  • Single-column text layout
  • Footnotes are printed as endnotes at the conclusion of each biblical book, rather than at the bottom of each page.
  • Sewn binding
  • Two thin ribbon markers
  • Good quality imitation leather cover
  • Good quality gold gilding on page edges

The book measures 5 inches wide by 7 inches long and is a little over an inch thick — too big to qualify as a pocket New Testament but a very nice size to hold and read. Here are a couple of comparison photos between the Pauline New Testament and Psalms and my Revised English Bible (REB) New Testament, which is small and thin enough to carry in a large pocket:

Top: Cambridge REB New Testament. Bottom: Pauline NABRE New Testament and Psalms.
Top: Cambridge REB New Testament. Bottom: Pauline NABRE New Testament and Psalms.

The typesetting is well-done. The font size is easy to read, and there is generous spacing between lines. The single-column layout is especially nice in the Psalms, where lines of poetry are kept intact, rather than overflowing onto subsequent lines like so often in double-column bibles. If the pages were more opaque, this might be one of the most readable NABRE editions on the market. Sadly, the pages are translucent enough to produce a lot of ghosting from adjacent pages. The ghosting is frustratingly bad, and it leads me to leave this edition on the shelf even though the rest of the page design is excellent.

Two pages from the Gospel of John — Pauline NABRE New Testament and Psalms.
Psalm 26-27 — Pauline NABRE New Testament and Psalms

As a comparison, here is a side-by-side photo of a typical page in the Cambridge REB New Testament and the Pauline NABRE New Testament and Psalms:

Left: Cambridge REB New Testament. Right: Pauline NABRE New Testament and Psalms

The Cambridge New Testament’s white-colored paper is much more opaque, despite being significantly thinner than the Pauline New Testament and Psalms.

Sadly, the ghosting makes it difficult to recommend this edition, even though almost everything else about it is excellent. If Pauline Books and Media improved the paper, this would be an amazing New Testament. The imitation leather is very similar in texture to the “alpha cowhide” imitation leather on the Great Adventure Bible. It’s a high-quality imitation. The gold gilding is very good — significantly better than many other low-cost offerings on the market. The typesetting is excellent, and a sewn binding is always a positive. If you can endure the ghosting and would enjoy the other positive aspects of this edition, it’s very reasonably-priced. Currently, it’s available for $17.99 at Amazon and $20.66 at Christianbook.

9 thoughts on “Review: NABRE New Testament and Psalms from Pauline Books and Media”

  1. Oof, I was getting dizzy just trying to read the text from the pictures. I could only imagine the eye strain from reading it in person. Goes to show just how important paper quality is.

  2. I prefer the Ignatius New Testament and Psalms leather bound edition. Easy to read text, no ghosting issue, and smaller size than this NABRE edition.

    1. The traditional Christian method of interpreting the Psalms follows Saint Augustine- Christ speaks on behalf of his people and is the central figure of the Psalms, indeed He’s the speaker in many of them. David penned them but the protagonist is Christ.

    2. Because the Psalms are quoted in the New Testament more than any other book in the Old Testament. Indeed, the Psalms are quoted more than all other Old Testament books combined. And for centuries the Psalms have been regarded by Christians as being a kind of mini New Testament.

  3. Really not sure why they’re still releasing new NABRE editions when there’s supposed to be a revised NT at some point this decade (though they keep pushing it back; it’s three years late).

  4. Pauline Books and Media have a very impactful and important position in the Catholic faith, they are in my opinion exactly what the Church needs especially with the kinds of books they publish and their selection for children. I greatly respect their work and I try to support their mission whenever I can.
    Pauline Books and Media, with their widespread scope would do well to make a new Pauline Edition of NT & Psalms with the RNJB since that would appeal not only to an American readership but also the rest of the English speaking world.

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