Thursday, December 12, 2013

Catholic Bibles Blog Christmas Gift Recommendations

Yeah, I actually considered not doing this, since who really cares what I think.  But, since my little boy Judah was sick over the weekend, I had some extra time at night to compile this list.  So, take it for what it is, nothing more, nothing less.

Knox Bible- I love this Bible, not only because of the translation, but even more so due to the high quality craftsmanship that went into produce this volume.  Even though I had mine rebound in goatskin leather, there are days where I long for the leather hardcover.  Not many mind you, but enough that it reminds me how great a job Baronius did with this volume.  Baronius Press is a model for Catholic book and Bible publishers. The language is not everyone's cup of tea, but it is well worth having if you are into slowly reading through the scriptures.

HarperOne NABRE- I still consider this the best edition of the NABRE on the market. I would have given that ranking to the Oxford's Catholic Study Bible NABRE, but they still haven't updated the reading guides. HarperOne has produced a beautifully designed page, utilizing red coloring in a tasteful and contemporary way.  The only drawback is that the imitation leather cover is a huge disappointment, so stick with the hardcover.    

Prayer Books:
Roman Breviary- 1961 by Baronius Press- I actually don't own this, but since I regularly pray the Little Office I'd love to get one someday in the future. Unfortunately, with a price tag of $359, that will likely not happen anytime soon, although it may not be available for very long.  

Divine Intimacy- As a friend of mine comments, this book is truly spiritual weightlifting.  Baronius provided me a review copy back in the summer and I have been praying with this regularly ever since.  Formed in Carmelite spirituality, "every day it offers two meditations, in liturgical arrangement, that enable the soul to enter the conscious presence of God and to reflect on the theme of the day. These are followed by a ‘Colloquy’ that helps the person at prayer to start a friendly conversation with God where acts of praise and love, petition and thanksgiving are made, together with good resolutions for the future. Here we are at the very heart of prayer, which is a heart-to-heart encounter in faith with the living God." And, of course, since it is from Baronius, it is made of the highest quality materials.  

Catholic Books:
God's Bucket List-Teresa Tomeo: If I were to recommend a book to give to a family member or friend who you think is close to taking their faith seriously, but are just not quite there yet, I'd go with this one.  Why?  Well, it makes the case that when one decides to discover God's will in their life, they will actually experience such great happiness and fulfillment that they will wonder how they lived any other way.  I know of so many people who I think are so close to turning to the Lord, but are afraid of the cost of doing so.  This book is a big help, and is written in a popular and approachable style that anyone can read it.  Teresa mixes in both Catholic teaching and her own personal stories to weave a compelling case to put our trust in God's bucket list for our lives.  Image has provided me a review copy of this book.

Word and Image: The Hermeneutics of the Saint John's Bible by Fr. Michael Patella: As most of you know, I love the Saint John's Bible.  This is a beautifully illustrated volume by one who was intimately involved in its production.  It includes a lot scriptural insights and cross-references related to the various illuminations.

Coffee with Jesus by David Wilkie: This book is a lot fun, well worth the $12 I paid for it.  It has made me both pause to think a bit, as well as laugh out loud.  I even use a few of the strips in class.

The following are three albums that were released this past year by Catholic artists who deserve your attention.

Theandric- The Door of Faith: A beautiful collection of songs that reflect on many of the themes of our Pope Emeritus and our recently concluded "Year of Faith."

Matt Maher-All the People Said Amen: Probably the most well-known of all Catholics in the contemporary Christian music scene, Matt Maher's latest is a wonderful mix of new studio tracks and live recordings.  I have probably listened to this album more than any other over the past year.

Audrey Assad- Fortunate Fall: This has become a standard each and every night, since the pleasant melodies and enchanting voice of Audrey helps our children meditate upon the scene of the Apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane, also known as go to sleep!  Highly recommended!


Eric Barczak said...

I'd add My Daily Psalm Book by Fr. Frey to the list. Psalms arranged to be prayed weekly. Its small enough to be a stocking stuffer.

And I would definitely agree that the Baronius Knox would be a nice gift... Honey, are you reading this? Mom??? Dad???? Kids???????????? :-)

Anonymous said...

A suggestion regarding Bibles (NABRE) Take a look at Fireside Products. I have found their quality to exemplary. Far superior to the St Joseph line from Catholic Book Publishing. Especially because they don't have the comic book illustration pages that make it difficult to thumb through the book. My favorite is the Fireside Study Edition.

Llanbedr said...

Interesting suggestions, Tim.

When my wife and I were married we asked the Priest if one of the Scripture readings we had decided upon could be read in the Knox translation but we were turned down on the grounds of 'archaism'.
Hope poor little Judah is better now?

God Bless.

Jonny said...

There are several books from the Confraternity of the Precious Blood that would make great stocking-stuffers, including a pocket Thomas Aquinas:

I have bought more copies of the New Oxford Annotated Bible RSV this year as gifts, and I believe I have now bought that particular edition more than any other Bible. I have bought it for Catholics, Protestants, atheists, friends, family, you name it. I believe it is the most universally acceptable Bible edition available. I have bought it new and used, in hardcover and leather at a range of prices, depending on the situation of course. It has a good balance of helpful notes and resources while still being portable, with a larger than average type size for a Bible its size. It is also the RSV edition used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

For those who like the NABRE, has anyone seen the Personal Study Edition from Oxford? It is available in softcover, hardcover, and bonded leather, and also has a fair amount of additional material. I do not personally own this edition, but by the description on the back of the jacket it looks like the most useful NABRE currently available.

Have fun shopping, everyone!

Russ NY said...

I still haven't gotten around to buying and reading Knox's translation. For Advent, I'm reading two books. One is God Is In A Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas by the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the other is Advent Of The Heart: Seasonal Sermons and Prison Writings 1941-1944, by Father Alfred Delp, SJ. Both were very much opposed to the Nazi party and were executed by Hitler just before the war came to an end.

rolf said...

I also like the New Oxford Annotated Bible - RSV for all the reasons you have listed. It has the nicest 'genuine leather' cover that I have seen in Bibles under $100.

I have the Catholic Bible Personal Study Edition from Oxford in the Bonded leather. I originally bought The Oxford Catholic Study Bible, but when I found out that its Reading Guide study commentary had not been updated to reflect the new NABRE translation, I sent it back and bought the Personal Study Edition instead. I like it, if you don't like historical critical notes and commentary then you won't like it. It is set up like the Oxford Study bible with the reading guide in front for all the biblical books, but it has in text notes and maps that are helpful. It has all the same Oxford maps as the other Oxford Bibles.

Jason Engel said...

I'll second your recommendation for Coffee with Jesus. The strip started on Facebook, so most of them are available there, but a physical collection of them would be grand.

If you enjoy Fr. Michael Patella's book about the Saint John's Bible, I would also recommend getting Susan Sink's book "The Art of the Saint John's Bible", which also covers details about every illumination, though from a different perspective. Susan's work actually came out first, as three separate volumes, but was recently released as a combined single volume with updated material.

Timothy said...


Two questions on the SJB related books:

1) Do you prefer the Sink book to the Patella?

2) If so, is it worth getting the combined Sink book if I already have the three volumes?

Anonymous said...

Very thoughtful and timely! I see two ideas I'd like to use (The Tomeo book and the Audrey Assad CD).

By any chance, do you have a book recommendation for someone who is having trouble understanding the need to confess since to a priest vs. only confessing in your heart/mind to God? This would have to be a non-academic book.


Timothy said...


Are you familiar with Scott Hahn's "Lord Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession"?

rolf said...

Well I probably should be telling what I am planning to buy for some else for Christmas, but it is all about me.

I was on e-bay, and I found a nice 1953 Confraternity-Douay Bible (John J. Crawley). What caught my eye about this Bible was the beautiful red, gold and black leather bound Gregorian style HB cover. The Bible is illuminated through out with Gregorian style artwork depicting 93 OT and NT Bible scenes. And the first letter of the first word at the beginning of each chapter is illuminated. I paid more the I wanted to ($59.00), but to have one of the regular Crawley Bibles recovered would cost at least $100.00, so Merry Christmas to me!

Timothy said...


Great find! Would love to see some photos of this. Perhaps with a few comments from you for the blog? ;)

rolf said...


Russ NY said...

Hans: There is also a book written by Fr. Mitch Pacwa called: Go In Peace: Your Guide to the Purpose and Power of Confession. Here is a link to the book on Amazon, which has a "Look Inside" feature:
As you will see by, it is done in a very informative Q&A format.
Hope this helps,
Russ NY

Stever said...

Hi Tim. First post on your great blog.

I'm thinking about getting Divine Intimacy. Some places I've looked about it say it is based on the pre-vatican II lectionary. Would it be necessary for me to have this, perhaps to aid the text itself? Does anybody know where I could find the pre-vatican II lectionary readings listed, online maybe?

Timothy said...


Thanks for the kind words.

If you decide to get Divine Intimacy, this website might be of some help:

Hans said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Tim and Russ. I think I may get him both books!