Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Simple Question, Not-So Simple Answer

Those of us who need to read the Bible in translation sometimes struggle in deciding on what translation to use. I maintain, as do most people, that it is always good to refer to different translations, particularly when doing serious Bible study. With that being said, we still all have our preferences or favorites. Some people are very staunch in their Bible of choice, while others may be using the same Bible that was given to them at an important event in their life as a Christian, like Confirmation. As I have mentioned on this blog before, one of the most beautiful sights I see when doing Church things is an older person who has dug deep into their Bible, which clearly has been read and loved for decades. (Funny enough, the translation I typically see in these instances is the Jerusalem Bible!). This topic has again entered my mind, particularly as I have been re-assessing the various translations out there, as well as after reading some recent blog entries on other sites.

So, here is the question: Do you use one English Bible translation for all of your spiritual needs or do you mix and match depending on the setting? The setting could be something like a Bible study, personal prayer time, Sunday Mass, etc... (Please feel free to be specific.)


Diakonos said...

I have almost all the Catholic or Ecumentical English translations available though I never ever refer to the Douay and seldom to the RSV-CE. I only use the CE2 translation when looking up a particular topic in the ICSBNT.

My very first ever Bible (at age 17) was the Good News Translation and I still always make sure I have a copy of it on my shelf, I suppose mostly for nostalgic emotional reasons. it is the translation most often used in CCD classes I have taubght over theyears and weach year I have had parents and sponsors ask where they can get "this version of the Bible that is so easy to read and understand". Personally I still cannot figure nor get an answer asto why Lk 1:28 was translated "Peace be with you" and still received the imprimatur.

I use the NAB in relation to the Sunday lectionary but then follow that up by reading text and notes from the New Interpreter's Study Bible (NRSV) and the Jerusalem Bible (sometimes the NJB but not as frequent). I always am sure refer to the "For Everyone" series of NT Wright (his own translation) for reflection on the Sunday readings.

I often make use of The Life Recovery Bible (NLT) but this translation always leave me feeling "flat" and commentary is oviously ultra-Protestant. I guess we Catholics are immune from addiction or any issues requiring recovery as I have never ever run across anything in this category by and for Catholics. :)

I've use The Serendipity Bble (NIV) for teen Scripture study groups and I like it very much. However, when the NAB Serendipity for Catholics came out I went that route but still have both though its the NAB edition that I being to the meetings.

The one translation that I always seem to comeback to for spiritual devotions and Christian living (mostly for its notes and commentary)is the Christian Community Bible, Catholic Pastoral Edition (brown genuine leather zipper cover, gold page edging).

Yeah you know I never really thought of it much until you posted this question but I would have to day that the CCB-CPE would be my primary personal edition for prayer and inspiration.

Francesco said...

Hi Timothy,

For the most part I've been using the CCB that I got at my first communion. If something in it seems `off' I compare what it says to an NKJV New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs that a preacher was handing outside my classroom in college.

Then there are the Grail Psalms etc. translations that make up the 4-week Psalter that I pray daily.

Unfortunately my copy of the CCB is falling apart, so I'll probably switch to something else soon. What exactly I haven't yet decided.


Timothy said...

Diakonos and Francesco,

Who would have guessed that the CCB would be mentioned in the first two responses! ;)

Steven said...

My primary Bible is the NAB. I use it for personal readings and study, though I'll often look up passages and notes in some of my other Bibles (especially the RSVCE). The NAB was the required version in high school, when I first started really reading Scripture for myself.

I also use the NASB often, since that's the version many of my Protestant friends use. It's a nice translation, and the extreme Protestant footnotes can be useful in apologetics.

I've yet to check out the NRSV and DRB, though, and it seems I should also check out the CCB.

Shazamaholic said...

The Douay Rheims is the Bible I use for serious prayer and devotional reading.

For more casual reading, and for comparision/contrast, I use the Jerusalem Bible and the NAB. I truely hope the NABRE will use the altered NT approved for Liturgy, but even if it doesn't, the main appeal of the NAB to me is that it uses "Amen I say to you" in the NT.

I also have a Confraternity NT (pocket size and very tiny print). I think it may be the best NT out there, and it's a shame the OT was never revised (Hey, St Benedict Press...any chance you could revise the Douay OT to match the style of the Confraternity NT, and publish that as "The Benedict Bible"?)

I have never owned a RSV-CE, but I am debating whether I should get one. Since it is a revision of the KJV, it is probably the best Bible for converts to the Catholic faith, and for those who do a lot of apologetics and dialogue with protestants. But I am neither. I have read very passionate debates from both sides, ranging from all the doctrinal errors in it due to it's protestant origins, to very rabid RSV-onlyists claiming it is the best translation. Needless to say it just confuses me more on whether I should get one. (then there would be the issue of which RSV-CE to get: the original, the RSV2CE, or the Oxford hybrid)

Anonymous said...

I generally use the NRSV for private reading. I find that the wording often flows better than the NAB. Also the NAB has more odd word choices that irk me. however I'm not a fan of inclusive language. In a perfect world there would be one translation used for Mass and the liturgy of the hours. This would help me remember and recognize more scripture passages.

Michael said...

My favorite modern translation is the ESV. It is a shame that it is not available in a Catholic edition. I also read from the RSV2CE and sometime the NRSV and NAB and am very much looking forward to the updated OT in the NAB.

Anonymous said...

I have almost all of the more literal translations. The only dynamic I have is the Jerusalem. I do not however have a NRSV or NAB(just to clarify, leans more dynamic Id say) as I cannot stand gender neutrality and other feminist political nonsense in The Holy Book.

Im a bit perplexed why some people prefer the ESV over the RSV-CE or 2CE as the ESV is 90% identical(would make sense no?).
In fact I thought I prefered the RSV-CE by far, when in fact I just did not like the paragraph format of the PSR I was using. I looked up passages I was reading to see the difference and there was NONE(parallel online). I do prefer the useage of the classical language when in reference to Christ or the Father(though in John during the Last supper, it might have been better not to have it as it would have been less confusing to read since it was so long and not an easy reading in the first place.)

When I was broke in Parris Island, I received a NKJV bible and I have to admit, I think it rates pretty high up there. It leans evangelical; more so than the ESV I think. But then again I might just be overstating things. I had been using that thing for almost 14 or 15 years until just recently I started using others.

I try to stick to the Catholic renditions for the most part. The DR, RSV-CE, and JB being the most used. I do like the KJV, and I do read my Allan ESV from time to time. I am using the Classical era Bibles for OT right now, RSV-CE and JB for NT. I do have a NASB Pitt Minion which is more for convenience because of the size and I wanted to try the translation so...kill two birds with one stone. (oh no...get out the Bibles! Is it 'Thou Shall not Kill" or 'Thou Shall not Murder' ?)

Most protestant translations say 'Murder'. Its one of the few things they get right when in contention with the Catholic translations.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the NJB was the approved translation for liturgical use a number of years ago. That might explain the generational appeal of that translation.