THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
How do I know my bible is the right one?
I happen to be visited by Jehovah's Witnesses. Various eager disciples tell me about Krishna, Buddha and a number of others. The trouble with them is that each has his own Bible. These Bibles are given out regardless of the receiver's religion. Is there a special way to tell the Catholic Bible from the others?
Many Bibles are almost alike. I wish I knew if the ones that fall into my hands are Catholic?
For example, in one Bible, the text here and there begins with the name "The Eternal One" instead of "God" or "Jesus Christ" or "Yahweh". I decided it was probably not a Catholic Bible.
We are impelled to read the Bible. It is a sign of sound spiritual health. The Old and the New Testaments are sources of life.
I see you are confused about choosing the formally approved biblical text. The Bible is cited for contradictory statements. Often the reason is a falsified text.
The Catholic Church rightly insists on using a complete, accurately translated Bible. To this end, the biblical renewal of the last decades has accounted for wonderful accomplishments. Driven by a genuine spirit of ecumenism, Catholic exegetes, Orthodox and Protestant scholars have united their efforts.
Other translations of the Bible have been approved by the Catholic Church. They are characterized by the "Imprimatur", that is a Bishop's approval written at the beginning of the book and by explanatory footnotes. Some of these approved Bibles are "The New American Bible", "The Jerusalem Bible", "Your Bible", "The Holy Bible of Maredsous"... There are also illustrated Bibles for younger ones.
The Jerusalem Bible is excellent. It was carefully translated by experts. It is the fruit of painstaking research made by exegetes, theologians and earnest translators from the original Hebrew or Greek text.
The Bible we read today is a translation of the primitive text. English is a living language. The meaning of words varies with time. This accounts for the constant abundance of translations. Some aim chiefly at literal accuracy, others at elegant phrasing, others at vernacular English.
As you see, you have a wide choice of good Catholic Bibles and you can even find precious explanations for difficult passages in the footnotes.
Do not hesitate then to put aside any Bible that might induce you into error or simply confuse you. I am certainly not going to give you a complete list of erroneous or incomplete Bibles, which sometimes have purposely underlined passages. Do buy yourself a Catholic Bible. You can find one at any Catholic bookstore.
Some Bibles do not include all the books we Catholics consider as inspired. Our Protestant brothers have not accepted some of the Greek texts of the Jews scattered outside of Palestine as sacred. We Catholics do.
Let me recall here the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. The Word of God is contained in the Bible, but also in Tradition equally inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Church's Magisterium, that is the Pope and the Bishops, are commissioned by Christ to present the true interpretation of God's Word. These three elements are inseparable: Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium (Vatican II, Dei Verbum).
Give thanks to the Lord for prompting you to look for His authentic and full message under the guidance of the Catholic Church, who shows you the correct and impartial interpretation of His Word.
May the Lord Himself nurture your desire to know Him! The diligent, even daily reading of the Bible will make God's plan of salvation realized in Jesus clear to you.
Index of section