Which version of the Bible does the Catholic Church use? 

The Catholic Church uses the New American Bible as its official Bible translation. This is the Bible that is typically used during Mass and other church services and it is the Bible that is most commonly found in Catholic churches.

The New American Bible is an updated version of the Revised Standard Version, which was first published in 1965. The New American Bible is considered to be a more accurate and readable translation of the Bible than the Revised Standard Version. It also includes additional notes and commentary to help people understand the text. 

The Catholic Church also uses the Vulgate, which is the official Latin translation of the Bible. The Vulgate has played an important role in the history of the Catholic Church, as it was the standard translation of the Bible for centuries. It was originally commissioned by Pope Damasus I in the 4th century and was completed by St. Jerome in the 5th century. 

The Vulgate was considered the official Bible of the Catholic Church for over 1,000 years until it was eventually replaced by the New American Bible in 1970. Despite being replaced as the official Bible of the Catholic Church, it is still used and studied by many Catholics today.

Vulgate is most commonly used in countries where Latin is the primary language, such as Italy, Spain, and France as it’s not peculiar to English-speaking countries. It is important to note that even in these countries, the Vulgate is not used as the only translation of the Bible. Many Catholic churches in these countries use modern translations in addition to the Vulgate.

The New American Bible comes in a variety of formats, including both casual and more ornate versions. The most common version of the New American Bible is a paperback book, which is typically plain and straightforward. However, there are also more ornate and beautiful versions of the New American Bible available, such as the Catholic Bible, which is a leather-bound Bible with gold-edged pages. These ornate versions of the Bible are often given as gifts or used for special occasions.

Even Pope Francis uses the New American Bible as his primary translation of the Bible. 

Pope Francis has spoken about the importance of the New American Bible, saying that it is “a rich treasure of wisdom, of faith, of life, and of spirituality.” He has also emphasized the importance of reading and studying the Bible, and he has encouraged Catholics to read and reflect on the text on a regular basis.

Why the Catholic Church prefer The New American Bible version 

The New American Bible uses inclusive language, which is important to the Catholic Church as it seeks to make the bible’s message relatable both to young and old.  

The New American Bible reflects the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, which emphasized the importance of reading Scripture in its original languages. 

The New American Bible is published by the Catholic Biblical Association, which is a respected organization within the Catholic Church.

Most importantly, The Catholic Church makes use of translations that follow the canon. The Catholic Church recognizes 73 books as canonical, while many Protestant denominations only recognize 66. 

Read Also: Do Catholics use the King James Bible Version? 

What makes the Catholic bible version 73 is the inclusion of The deuterocanonical books also known as the “Apocrypha” or the “hidden books.” They include books like Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, and others; they consider the additional books in the Catholic Bible to be part of the inspired word of God. The inclusion of these books is one of the key differences between the Catholic Bible and the Protestant Bible.

Other Bible versions that are peculiar to Catholics

The Catholic church has published various translations of the bible with unique features and characteristics. Some are more literal, while others are more focused on readability and accessibility. Some are designed for personal study, while others are designed for use in liturgical settings. 

The Douay Rheims Bible

The Douay Rheims Bible is a Catholic translation of the Bible originally published in the 17th century, and it was the first English translation of the Bible that was approved by the Catholic Church. 

It was translated from the original Hebrew and Greek texts, and it was based on the Vulgate, which is the official Latin translation of the Bible. The Douay Rheims Bible has a reputation for being very literal and faithful to the original texts, but it can be difficult to read due to its archaic language. 

It is not typically the same as those of the King James version. Yes, there are some similarities between the Douay Rheims Bible and the King James Version in terms of language. But there are also some key differences between the two translations. 

The Douay Rheims Bible tends to be more literal and faithful to the original texts, while the King James Version is more poetic and lyrical. The King James Version was written in a more colloquial style, while the Douay Rheims Bible was written in a more formal, academic style.

The Confraternity Bible

“The Confraternity Bible” is another name for the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, which was published in 1965. 

The Confraternity Bible was the result of a collaboration between scholars and translators from a variety of Catholic institutions, including the Catholic Biblical Association and the International Committee on English in the Liturgy. The goal of the Confraternity Bible was to produce a translation that was both accurate and accessible, and it was widely used by Catholics in the years following its publication.

The name “Confraternity bible” may sound awkward as confraternity is usually a term used to associate with cult groups.

The name comes from the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, which was the organization that oversaw the translation of the Bible. The term “confraternity” refers to a group of people who are united in a common purpose or goal, which in this case was the translation of the Bible. 

While the name may be a bit unusual, it reflects the collaborative nature of the project and the dedication of the scholars and translators who worked on it.

The Ignatius Bible

The Ignatius Bible is another Catholic translation of the Bible that was first published in 2006. 

It is named after Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who was the founder of the Jesuit order and is considered one of the most influential figures in the history of the Catholic Church. 

The Ignatius Bible is a modern English translation that is based on the Latin Vulgate, the Greek Septuagint, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is notable for its literal translation of the text, which is faithful to the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic sources.

St. Joseph New Catholic Bible

The St. Joseph New Catholic Bible is also another Catholic translation of the Bible, first published in 1970. 

It is often simply referred to as the “St. Joseph Bible.” This translation is based on the Douay-Rheims Bible, but it has been updated to reflect more modern English usage. It is a very popular choice for Catholics, especially for use in daily prayer and meditation. It is also known for its wide margins, which provide space for personal notes and reflections.


To wrap the whole thing up, the New American Bible is the most widely used translation of the Bible in the Catholic Church, both in the United States and in the Vatican. It has been approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and is used in the liturgy and for study in many Catholic schools, parishes, and universities. 

While there are other Catholic translations available, the New American Bible is considered the standard for Catholic bible study.

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