Catholics Must Read the Bible


The statement above may seem like an obvious fact, but sad to say most Catholics do not read their Bibles.  There are a few Catholics who read their Bibles, but the vast majority do not.  Most seem to think that listening to the readings at Mass on Sunday is good enough.  This is sad because it has always been the Catholic Church down through that has protected the Bible.  open_bible

Lack of knowledge of the Bible handicaps Catholics when they try to evangelize or just talk with non-Christians about matters of faith.  I spent four years at a non-denominational university and received Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing there.  In those four years, I was amazing at how well those non-Catholics knew the Bible and ashamed at how little I knew.  Their whole moral fabric and understanding of their faith was based on the Bible.  This is where the problem comes in.

Most of the time when talking about faith, the Catholic will speak from the point of tradition, primarily Catholic tradition, and the non-Catholic will quote from the Bible.  (Because of a watered-down or lack of catechesis in Catholic education, most Catholics do not know the tenants of their own faith.  More on this later.)  The Catholic could be speaking Maori (the language of New Zealand) and the non-Catholic Farsi (spoken in Iran) for all the good that it will do.

If the Catholic could quote from the Bible as well as the non-Catholic, he would have a greater chance of getting his point across.  I am not saying that we should leave tradition at home when we converse with non-Catholics, but what I am saying is that if both sides have a common source (the Bible) the discussion will go a lot better, especially for the Catholic.

What Bible Should We Read?

You might think that you can grab any Bible off the shelf and start reading it.  Unfortunately, no.  In the middle of the 60s (around the same time as Vatican II), new Bible translations were released for the Catholic community which were changed from previous translations.  These new translations became more non-Catholic friendly and watered-down.  They removed words, such as Hell, soul, charity and host.

The Douay-Rheims version of the Bible has been the official Bible of the Catholic Church for many centuries and is the only true Catholic English translation of the Bible.  It was taken from the Latin Vulgate, which was pain-stakingly translated from the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic sources by St. Jerome.  He was much closer to those original sources than anyone now.DRB2a

Besides, the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible has a certain poetic sound to it.  For most people, this is not important, but for a bibliophile (book nut) like me it is.  It’s like asking the difference between Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott and Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy.  There is a certain beauty of verse and elegance of style in the former that is lacking in the later.

So, be sure to pick up a copy of the Douay-Rheims Bible and read so that you are ready to defend and spread your Faith.

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About John Paul Wohlscheid

Born Roman Catholic. Raised Roman Catholic. Will Die Roman Catholic.
This entry was posted in Bible, Protestants, Roman Catholic and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Catholics Must Read the Bible

  1. joan ellen says:

    The Douay-Rheims was taken in what year from the Latin Vulgate, and in what year(s) did St. Jerome translate the Vulgate? Thanks. Oh, and could you provide a purchase link for the Douay-Rheims?

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    • johnblood says:

      Pope Damasus I commissioned St. Jerome to update the translation of the Bible in 382. It was finished in early 400. This website has a wide variety of Douay-Rheims Bibles in different price ranges: http://bit.ly/DRVBibles. Hope this helps.

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  2. Kevin says:

    We are supposed to be using the NAB for liturgy and bible study.

    The NAB is a literal translation of the same materials St. Jerome chose when he translated the texts into what became known as the Vulgate bible. His translation was accurate. His latin was only fair. St. Jerome did not have Father Kings Latin class like I did. The DR is a translation of the Vulgate of St. Jerome. It’s almost unreadable here and there, because Latin language structure and an exactly literal translation makes reading the DR translation give you eye strain. The Vulgate in Latin isn’t exactly great either.

    This is a uniquely Catholic bible translated using the same choices St. Jerome made when he translated it into Latin. The little debates about the translation are explored in the Oxford NAB study bible.

    Really. It’s a fine bible. St. Jerome is the patron saint of translators. As near as I can tell, he was looking out for us.

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