If you’re Catholic, chances are you have a Bible somewhere in your house. In fact, you might have several. But have you ever wondered if the Bible you own is the best Catholic translation?
It’s important to recognize that there are many strengths in different translations. However, one of the biggest factors you should consider is whether or not the Bible you own is one you really connect with. Dr. Tim Gray, President of the Augustine Institute and Professor of Sacred Scripture, shared this important insight, “If you have a Bible that you use and you love, then that’s the best translation. I want a translation that you’re going to use.”
The Augustine Institute is thrilled to debut their new ESV Catholic Edition Bible (ESV-CE), and it might be just what you didn’t know you needed. Please read on to learn why this Bible should have a spot on your nightstand and bookshelves ASAP.
St. Augustine put it so aptly when he said, “The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.” His words stress the fact that each passage in the Bible was inspired by God Himself and is meant to call us home, to Him. As the world continues to sell us lies, we might feel lost or discouraged. What better time to cling to Scriptures! But what if this sacred message was lost in translation? With the ESV-CE, you can be certain that the meaning is not lost. This Bible was built upon three pillars, and can be defined by them as: trustworthy, readable, and precise.
Right off the bat, you should want to know you can trust this translation. But what makes it credible? Well, for starters the ESV-CE has been officially approved by the Catholic Church. It was first released in India in 2018 and in the United States in 2019 by the Augustine Institute. It is even required for liturgical use throughout India.
The ESV-CE also includes all of the books held to be canonical by the Catholic Church (the deuterocanonical books and additions), in contrast with the original Protestant publication of the ESV. It also expresses the truth of the messianic prophecies by revealing a greater unity between the Old and New Testaments (example below).
Finally, this Catholic edition is translated from recently discovered manuscripts that prove more reliable than those used for older English translations. So rest assured, the ESV-CE is the real deal.
When you hear the term “word-for-word” translation, you might wearily anticipate that the language will sound choppy and the beautiful passages you’ve always loved will lose their familiarity. But fear not, this is not the case. Because the ESV-CE is an updated version of the popular RSV and ESV translations, it still retains the familiar style. Improvements in the ESV-CE include the removal of archaic-sounding words and phrases, while preserving the beautiful and easy-to-read language.
It is so readable, in fact, that it has already received praise from many. Most Reverend Michael J. Byrnes, Archbishop of Agaña, Guam, said, “The ESV® Catholic Edition, by its elegance and clarity, provides the English-speaking world with a reliable translation of Sacred Scripture that will inform Catholics for study, meditation, prayer, teaching, and preaching for many years to come.”
By adding the ESV-CE to your collection, you have the chance to encounter the Scriptures in an approachable, richly beautiful way.
When choosing between Bibles, the translation philosophy should play a major role in your decision. You should ask yourself, “Do I want to read a translation that is similar in meaning, or one that is essentially literal?”
Many translations follow a thought-for-thought philosophy, which tends to paraphrase the original text, rather than a word-for-word translation. While this may be true in essence, it allows for great error of interpretation.
Staying true to the original Greek and Hebrew, the team of translators paid special attention to the specific words, language and images described by the biblical writers in order to preserve the integrity of the original text, as well as the unique voice of each author. This way, it is as identical to the original meaning as possible!
One example of a small yet monumental translational difference can be found at Isaiah 7:14. The prophet Isaiah makes a powerful prediction that, “the virgin shall conceive.” Meanwhile, the RSV and New American Bible (NABRE) use the phrase “the young woman.” This is one of many examples where the precision of the text vitally changes the meaning of the passage. By adhering to a strict accuracy in translation, the ESV-CE upholds Catholic teaching in the true virginity of Our Lady.
Through its precision, you can be confident that you are reading the text as accurately as possible, making way for the Spirit to guide you along!
The world can feel a little chaotic, and now more than ever, it may not feel like “home” to you. But as we are frequently reminded, this is not our home. By diving into Scriptures, we cling to the truth St. Augustine reminded us: those Sacred pages beckon us, reminding us where we are from, and where we are going, where our true home is.
By praying with the ESV Catholic Edition, you can be sure that those letters from home are reaching you unfiltered and unchanged, ready for you to respond.