Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Review: Scepter's Pocket RSV-CE NT

This, my friends, is truly a pocket bible!  You can easily put it into your back or side pocket without barely noticing.  I realized fairly quickly, when testing this out, that my cell phone is actually bigger than this pocket bible.  The Scepter Pocket RSV-CE NT, along with the USCCB's Pocket Gospel and Acts, represent the best answer to the call of Pope Francis to read the Gospels daily.  Yet, unlike that aforementioned pocket bible by the USCCB, this one is actually a tad smaller and comes in various cover options.  The price is $14.95, which also makes it highly affordable for not being a paperback edition.

As someone who prefers the original RSV-CE over the second edition done by Ignatius, I was really happy to see that this was going to be published.  The RSV-CE certainly deserves to remain in print, even as we are fifty years after its initial publication.  Upon receiving both a bonded leather and red synthetic leather edition, I can commend Scepter for creating a pocket bible that is portable and nice to hold and feel, while also being easy to read from.  The bonded leather has the nicer feel compared to the synthetic, but to be honest there isn't a huge difference.  The size is 3" X 5", making it slightly smaller than the USCCB pocket NAB.  Each edition comes with a nicely made and attached ribbon marker, which certainly should be mandatory for a bible like this which is meant to be read on the run or away from home.  There are also head and tail bands, along with four page endpapers.  I should mention that the black bonded leather edition has pages that are gold-gilded.  Overall, a well-constructed pocket bible that will last daily use wherever you take it.

One of the highlights for me is how readable the text is.  The biblical text is spaced well and printed dark enough so that one does not have to strain their eyes to read.  If you were to compare the page layout of this to any of the more recent Oxford compact NRSV's or NABRE's, the differences would be dramatic.  Perhaps this may serve as a reminder that it is better to have a pocket New Testament, or Gospel/Acts, that is can actually be read with ease instead of a complete Bible that gives you a headache when you are finished.  In this pocket RSV NT, the verses are places on the margins, which I think is an aid to reading this pocket bible.  There are paragraph headings which are bolded and help to break up the text, again, making it much easier to read.  If you have poor vision, I would guess that most pocket bibles would not be your cup of tea, but this one should appeal to most bible readers.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a truly pocket Catholic New Testament, this is the one for you.  If your favorite translation is the RSV-CE, again, this is the one for you.  At under $15, this is truly worth every penny.  As I had been trying to mention more and more before the summer sabbatical, when Catholic publishers produce quality Catholic bibles like this, it is important that we show them support by purchasing their products.  I know that many of you have wished to see more premium Catholic bible editions available.  This can become a reality only if we make it clear that there is a market for them.  Publishers like Scepter, as well as others like Baronius Press, have been producing quality Bibles for a number of years now.  Let's make sure to support them by not only purchasing their products, but also by promoting them when we can, particularly on social media.

I would like to thank Scepter for providing two copies of this edition for an honest review.


Anonymous said...

Hello Tim,

Very glad to see your blog back up and running! :)

I purchased the bonded leather a few weeks ago and like almost everything about it. It's very well made, the type is readable, the spacing just right, and it's all single column format.

Within a few days after purchasing, I contacted Scepter via email to let them know how much I enjoy this new pocket addition. I received a very warm reply and was also told that another Bible (full / NT and OT) is in the works, but in early stages of development. Could be a couple of years off. Regardless, I'm excited to see what's in store.

I highly recommend this pocket RSV-CE NT from Scepter. It's fantastic!

God bless.

- eric s.

JDH said...

This looks fantastic. One question: does it have any of the features found in the Scepter Confraternity NT, like the reading plan that was incorporated into the text?

Timothy said...

It does not

Timothy said...

That would be fantastic. I would love a high quality RSV-CE.

Kenneth Massey said...

Excellent review. At last truly pocket RSV-CE NT that actually fits the pocket.

Deacon Dave said...

Thanks for the great review. Would love to hear feedback/review of the New Catholic Version New Testament (pocket edition) by Catholic Book Publishing. I have heard that it's extremely difficult to read but would like to have that confirmed or debunked.

Jonny said...

I have been hoping someone would publish this but never thought it would happen!

The RSV-CE is a mainstay in my household. I have utilized the second edition extensively, especially in parish Bible study initiatives, but the original has an important sacramental purpose for my family.

Our family Bible we received at our wedding is a beautiful RSV-CE (IMHO the best one available for this purpose.)

My 3 children have a compact RSV-CE as their first Bible. Not only is it small for little hands but also has a presentation page and pages to record their sacraments. This is also a good on the go/ adoration chapel Bible for me. They are available very cheaply through Christianbook.

I hope that the forthcoming edition is a medium sized paragraph edition similar to this New Testament. The Oxford Annotated is still my go to for a medium size RSV, but if a better option for the Catholic Edition were available, I would certainly use both.

Thanks Tim for the sacrifice of your time to continue this blog. I also have a new baby boy who just turned 5 months as well as one almost 2. I know that sometimes the best thing is to take a break, and I hope you are taking care, too. ;)

Anonymous said...


I emailed Scepter Press to tell them that I was excited about this New Testament and mentioned that many Catholic Bible enthusiasts come to your blog. eric s., above, mentioned he too emailed them and that they have another Bible coming out in a couple of years. I asked about that. No info yet. I suggested Scepter Press allow us to pull together suggestions to send Scepter about what we would like to see in a Bible. I wasn't trying to be pushy, just trying to help! They are fine with that.

I was given the email address of a specific person from Scepter Press to send these suggestions to. I would rather send that directly to you than post it on the board here.

Would you be alright with the following?:

1) starting a post of some sort where we could add our suggestions/recommendations for the kind of Bible we might like to see Scepter Press publish.

2) sending me an email at so that I can forward to you the email address given to me. I only ask for this because I do not see your email address on the blog. It might be somewhere, but I have no idea where!

Sincerely in Christ,

Tim Brennan

Timothy said...


(Great name by the way!). Why don't you send me a post which I will publish next week about what you described. We can gather ideas in the comments and send them off. My email is mccorm45(at)yahoo(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Hi Jonny,

Would you be able to post the link to the RSV-CE family bible and compact RSV-CE you mentioned above? Thanks.

Jonny said...

Ronny Tadena said...

Hello All,

I know this post is a bit old, but I've got some spare Christmas gift cards to burn up and I was thinking of grabbing one of these pocket RSVs. Just wondering though, does anyone know what version of the RSVCE NT it is? Specifically would it be the same as the RSVCE NT as found in the Oxford Compact RSVCEs with the zipper closure? I've been reading about how that was a Catholic version of the 1971 updated RSV NT and I was intrigued, wanting to spend some time with that edition, having it in pocket form would be ideal, if this is in fact the case.

Just wondering,