Selecting a Bible

With the availability of a great variety of Bibles, it can be difficult to choose one. Below are some factors to consider when purchasing a Bible.  

The Catholic canon (or list of books) contains 46 Old Testament books, which is 7 more than those accepted by many other Christians. These books are known as the deuterocanonical books (or 2nd canon). They are also referred to as ‘apocrypha’ which means ‘hidden’.
These books are Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach), Wisdom, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, as well as additional sections to the books of Esther and Daniel.

The number of books in the New Testament is 27, which is the same in all Bibles.

Bibles will indicate whether deuterocanonical / apocrypha books are included, or will simply say “Catholic edition” or “Catholic Bible”.

Bible Translations

A second concern when selecting a Bible is which translation to buy. Translations vary in the difficulty of language used (for example, for children or adults), as well as in the methodology used to translate the text (for example, a more strictly word-for-word translation or a looser translation to try to better capture the sense of the text for today’s audience).

Another consideration is whether the text has been anglicised, eg “baptised” instead of “baptized”.

Please note that the version of the text currently used in the Liturgy of the Word at Mass in Australia is the Jerusalem Bible translation.

Some suitable Bible translations which can be found with the additional Catholic books are:

  • New Revised Standard Version (NRSV): A commonly used and highly regarded translation. Also: Revised Standard Version (RSV)
  • Jerusalem Bible / New Jerusalem Bible: A commonly used Catholic translation.
  • Good News Translation (Today’s English Version): Uses simpler language, and is a looser translation.
  • Contemporary English Version: Uses simpler language suitable for children.


Catholic Diocese of
Broken Bay

Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road
Pennant Hills NSW 2120

PO Box 340
Pennant Hills NSW 1715

Phone 02 9847 0000
Fax 02 9847 0001

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