Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Poverty and Justice Bible Catholic Edition (NRSV)

I received a copy of this new Bible a couple days back.  It was released in July.

The Bible where God’s voice for the poor and oppressed shouts loud and clear.
This new Catholic edition of the ground-breaking Poverty and Justice Bible – with Deuterocanonical books in Catholic book order – highlights over 3,500 verses revealing what God has to say about poverty and injustice.
This Bible also features an additional 32-page study section of practical ways to respond.
  • A Catholic edition of the ground-breaking Poverty & Justice Bible.
  • Key passages highlighted – over 3,500 verses which clearly show God’s heart for the poor and oppressed.
  • New ‘get involved’ information from CAFOD – the leading overseas development organisation.
  • Uses New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation – approved for use within the Catholic community.
  • Includes Deuterocanonical books in Catholic book order with highlighted passages.
  • Exclusive 32-page study guide section encouraging the reader to take action.
  • Easy to use – the reader sees at a glance God’s attitude to the poor and oppressed.
  • Credible – testimonials and study sections endorse the Bible’s relevance to today’s world.
  • Perfect for the socially aware to get more involved in today’s issues and take things further.

Also included is a section on Catholic Prayers, a concordance, a table of weights and measures, and the Sunday and Major Feast Lectionary.

This edition is available in a sturdy paperback at Amazon or the American Bible Society.  


CJA Mayo said...

What's next? The Alternative Lifestyles Bible?

Leonard Boff would have killed for a printing of these in Spanish to be distributed amongst the Prole of S America.

Timothy said...

Should we get rid of all specialty Bibles or just ones we don't like? Like youth bibles, apologetics bibles, archaeological bibles, women's bibles, etc.....

Ben said...

I'm with CJA Mayo on this one. This, like the green Bible, the CS Lewis Bible, and others I'm surely overlooking, is basically a commentary disguised as a Bible.

Having neither read nor seen this Bible, I'm in no position to judge the quality of that commentary. I'm sure it's very high. But this sort of packaging -- highlighting some passages necessarily downplays others -- encourages one to read Scripture through a particular lens, in a way that's not necessarily receptive to the actual revelation of the Word.

CarlHernz said...

But perhaps for our time--especially in this egocentric world where people are more concerned about their own rights and their own voice being heard instead of those in most need--perhaps we do need a shift in focus on how we've been reading the Bible.

Hasn't Pope Francis stated: “Oh, how I would like a church that is poor and for the poor!” Wouldn't understanding the Holy Father's words be worth a least a little moment of our time reading the Scriptures with a particular focus on justice for the poor?

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” read Christ from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, “because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” Here Jesus himself points out that one of the main reasons he was anointed as Christ and the reason he preaches the gospel is on behalf of the poor. Is it so bad that a particular edition of the Bible is also devoted to momentarily changing our focus to align it with Christ's particular interest and concern for the poor? --Luke 4:16-19. NRSV-CE.

How much time do we spend among the poor, directly ministering to them, helping them, loving them? Do we not realize that our salvation is based on how well we minister to the poor? Will not Jesus judge us according to our life's focus on those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, ill, and otherwise considered unworthy of the world's focus? Can any of us claim we need no room for improvement in this area?--Matthew 25:31-46.

I think it's about time we had a Bible like this. I for one think that all people, Catholics included, need to be less focused on their own personal concerns and having their own voices heard and live more focused on providing justice, care, mercy and love for the poor.

Biblical Catholic said...

I don't believe in narrowly targeted, niche Bibles. This kind of niche marketing is a sign of desperation.

Timothy said...

How so? Would you include youth, study, and othe devotional Bibles in this?

Jason Engel said...

This is a great idea. If you are going to read the Bible multiple times in your life - as you should - at least some of those times should be intentionally approached from a different perspective, especially one that is not yours. Otherwise, you risk developing a dull and overly-familiar (contempt, anyone?) relationship with the text. A different perspective may bring new valuable insight, refreshing your relationship with God along the way. Such a reading might also challenge your existing notions, which is a good thing! You'll think about them and either re-affirm your convictions or shake out poor ones.

Let God disturb your comfort! :)

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to find the niche Bible used by the Health and Wealth Ministers! Then we could have a "Bible-off" to compare that with this poverty and justice niche Bible. Seriously, I look forward to viewing this Bible's take on Isaiah; which is somewhat counter to much Old Testament which sees wealth as a sign of God's favor.

CarlHernz said...

I doubt there will be any problem with it since Isaiah comes across as one of the most powerful voices in the Bible demanding justice for the poor. For example:

Justice and defense on behalf of the poor is demanded at Isaiah 1:17.

Withholding justice from, as well as depriving the poor is condemned at Isaiah 10:1-3.

The poorest and neediest are prophesied as ending up with the best of the best in the future.--Isaiah 14:30.

God promises to fulfill the needs of the poor at Isaiah 41:17-18.

The Lord condemns those who are well off for not sharing their goods with the poor, promising blessing only if the well-to-do seek justice for those in need.--Isaiah 58:6-11.

And both Isaiah, and by extension the promised Messiah, are anointed for the purpose of bringing good news to the poor and proclaiming that the day of justice on their behalf has arrived.--Isaiah 61:1-3, see the footnote in the NABRE for connection of this message to the Jubilee Year, and what that entails.

These are but a few of the many examples in Isaiah alone, not to mention the rest of Scripture. In the light of the fulfillment of Isaiah 61 the challenge for Christians is NOT to read Isaiah, and the rest of the Bible's message for that matter, as primarily focused on the poor and the permanent reversal of their position via justice through the Kingdom of Christ.

“For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.”--2 Corinthians 8:9, NABRE.

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the kingdom of God is yours.”--Luke 6:20, NABRE.

Gerald Champion said...

In a lot of countries around the world there are many socialist leaning political parties that espouse support for the poor and claim to be against social injustice.

Many of these same political parties are also FOR abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and gay marriage.

It is possible that there are mixed motives in the production of this bible--some are good reasons such as the poor and social justice--but some MAY NOT be pure--they could be a wish to get back some of their support that they've lost from Catholics because of their support for abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and gay marriage.

Many times Catholic voters are faced with bad choices at the polls. The bible is politicized by some to try to influence Catholic voters in one direction are another--this is a shame.

Jesus was FOR the poor and for social justice--Jesus was not a Democrat or Republican--socialist or capitalist--and He certainly didn't support abortion, contraception, euthanasia and gay marriage.

There are people who POLITICIZE the bible and make poverty and social injustice bible editions who do.

Catholics should always read between the lines--sometimes good is mixed with evil.

CarlHernz said...

The Poverty & Justice Bible was originally released in 2003, an international ecumenical project of the American Bible Society which includes Catholic representation. A Church-approved Catholic edition, the one Timothy mentions here, is of far more recent date.

Writer and pastor Rick Warren (best known as the author of “The Purpose Driven Life” and “The Purpose Driven Church”) was one of several who were at the roots of this project. Warren was inspired to produce an edition of the Bible highlighting poverty and justice when a study of his revealed that there were over 2000 verses about poverty and justice in Scripture.

One of the ecumenical groups that assisted with the production of this Bible was the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD).

The American Bible Society produces and sells not only Protestant Bibles but Catholic ones as well. In fact, unlike other publishers, the American Bible Society will only produce and distribute Catholic Bibles that have proper ecclesiastical approval. Among the various Catholic versions they produce are the New Jerusalem Bible and the NABRE, including various Church-approved editions such as this one.

The American Bible Society is a non-denominational, nonprofit organization, and therefore claims that this particular edition is some sort of commercial attempt “to sell more Bibles” is not only inaccurate but without any foundation. The goal of the ABS is to get Bibles into the hands of all people, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox, to do so at cost or free, if necessary, and in support of Christian values. The work of the ABS is non-political.

owen swain said...

Not to put a too fine a point on it but I don't honestly care what another believes about niche market bibles when I know the same has lead someone to believe in Christ.

Is there nothing we won't fight about while the adversary of our souls laughs?

In a sense the new NAB (New African Bible) is exactly this.

Biblical Catholic said...

Niche market Bibles tend to lead to false theology

owen swain said...

There's probably some empirical evidence to support the claim and I do not wish to argue. I do wish to affirm the grace and mercy of our God.

Timothy said...

But isn't in some sense every Bible that comes with commentary and/or other study aids doing this? Again, I mention youth bibles, apologetics bibles, men's and women's bibles, etc..... Even academic or devotional study bibles are developed with a particular audience or niche in mind.

owen swain said...

Agree totally, Timothy.

owen swain said...

Agree totally, Timothy.

CarlHernz said...

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver,” reads Proverbs 25:11.

The Word of God alone is a valuable gold apple, but how that golden apple sparkles so in its setting of silver.

As this proverb demonstrates, sometimes it needs to be fitly demonstrated to others how valuable the written Word truly is and why devotion to it is to be highly desired. Niche Bibles can often do that.

If just one of these niche Bibles makes a non-Bible reader a Bible reader, turning them closer to God and helping them gain the prize, then the publishing of a million of them is worth the effort.

owen swain said...

If this were FB I could "like" that CarlHernz.

CJA Mayo said...

(Tim, no need to publish this comment if you think it inappropriate, but it should be worth a chuckle at least as you delete it.)

We should start political parties on Catholic Bibles Blog, at least for the most frequent commentators. (I'll leave the ideologies of the respective parties for the reader to understand):

Party 1: CJA Mayo, Biblical Catholic, usually Mr Champion.

Party 2 (Independent): Mr Swain, Mr McCormick.

Party 3: Theophrastus (usually), Mr Hernz, Mr Engels, Mr McCormick.

Thank God for party politics!

Tim: I've read your question, and am developing an answer. I have the answer in my mind (as to why some Bibles are unacceptable, and some aren't), but it is one of those times I am having a hard go of it putting it in to understandable words in an at least somewhat-objective grounding.