There are so many Bibles out in the world today with so many different translations to choose from. So what are the best Catholic study Bibles?
Here’s a short and sweet list to get you started studying your new Bible ASAP!
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This is definitely a must-have for any Catholic library. If you are looking for a Bible that is nearly an all-in-one with great footnotes, maps, timelines, and commentary, look no further than this beautiful and well-researched Great Adventure Bible. Its focus on salvific history fleshed out within the Bible is perhaps one of the biggest attractions, which also includes event call-outs and articles on the covenants found throughout the Bible. Have I mentioned it’s color-coded?! Plus, if you’re a fan of tabs, there are coordinating Bible tabs to go along with The Great Adventure Bible.
Similar to The Great Adventure Bible, The Catholic Study Bible is a close second. Unlike the GAB, this Bible features Sunday and weekday lectionaries which would be helpful if you want to follow the Church’s daily and Mass readings for personal study. This study Bible also features maps, a place-name index and glossary, and extensive notes that include biblical history and archaeology.
The Douay-Rheims Version may not be one that you hear of every day, but it is certainly one of the older translations that is reliable and has been used by the Church for over 200 years. This edition features plenty of annotations, references, and historical and chronological indexes
Yet another version that you may not hear of every day, but certainly should be considered when looking for a Catholic study Bible.
The Didache Bible has commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which definitely makes things easier if you’re studying the Bible alongside the Catechism (which you totally should do once you’re comfortable!).
Catholic Journaling Bibles
These may not exactly be study Bibles, per se, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include my recommendations for Catholic journaling Bibles. As an extensive notetaker, myself, I definitely needed to be pointed in the right direction when looking for good Catholic journaling Bible options!
Looking for a great Catholic journaling Bible? This is it! No, literally – this is the only Catholic journaling Bible available! (Well, the only one with an approved translation, anyway.)
The Catholic Journaling Bible is simple but beautiful, containing plenty of room for art, journaling, or notes but doesn’t skimp on the footnotes. The pages aren’t the typical extra-thin Bible paper, making this version a touch thick, but I really enjoy the fact that I don’t get mad trying to turn a page! Plus, I like thick books and I cannot lie.
Personally, I picked up this Bible so I could scribble notes inside rather than have a bunch of sticky notes poking out. It’s not my Bible unless there are tons of notes within it! Plus, this is a hardcover Bible; leather-bound or paperback Bibles are too floppy for me to be able to use.
Interspersed throughout this journaling Bible are pages of hand-lettered verses that are perfect for those of us who like to think we’re artistic but may require a little outside help. I would like to think I could become a calligrapher, but let’s face it – I’ve got the chicken-scratch of a doctor and the patience of a five year old!
Personally, this would be my second choice behind the Catholic Journaling Bible. However, if you’re looking for a leather-bound Bible with plenty of space for notetaking, voila! The Catholic Notetaking Bible is for you.
Non-Catholic Bible Recommendations
Honestly, I will recommend only one non-Catholic Bible. I have a variety of different Bibles and translations in my personal library (including a Tanakh), but for the purpose of this post I will limit only to what I would recommend to those starting out – or those not looking to start a collection of Bibles!
This is an ecumenical recommendation and one I think belongs in every personal library regardless of faith or denomination. It includes comprehensive annotations based on history and archaeology and truly is ecumenical with fantastic introductions to each book and section, plus plenty of articles in the back which delve more deeply into language, canon, and more.
For those wanting to seriously study the Bible, I can’t recommend The New Oxford Annotated Bible enough.
Hopefully, this will serve as a great start for you in studying the Bible. Or, maybe this will help jumpstart a collection of Bibles! Either way, be sure to actually crack it open once in a while to get the full effect.
If you already study the Bible, which do you use? Do you have a favorite translation?
Don’t forget to check out our post on Sacred Scripture if you want to delve into the history of the Bible, commonly asked questions about Catholics and the Bible, and more!