The Bible

According to The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, “The Bible is the written word of God, committed to His Church for the instruction and sanctification of mankind.”1 The Bible is divided into two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament describes events that happened before the birth of Christ, and the New Testament tells the story of Christ’s time on earth and the work of the apostles.

Do Catholics Read the Bible?

There is a popular misconception that Catholics do not read the Bible. In 1943, however, Pope Pius XII issued the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu (Inspired by the Holy Spirit), which encouraged Catholics to read the Bible.

Selections from the Old Testament and the New Testament are read at every Mass. If a Catholic attends Mass every day for three years, he will hear selections from every book of the Bible.2 Since the 1960s, when the Mass began to be celebrated in the vernacular, more people have been able to understand the Bible readings at each Mass.

The Catholic Bible

The Bibles used by Protestants differ from those used by Catholics. Both contain the same twenty-seven books of the New Testament, but Catholic versions contain several additional Old Testament books, called deuterocanonical books: Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach (also called Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, seven chapters from the book of Esther, and two chapters and a prayer in the book of Daniel. Consequently, Catholic Bibles have forty-six Old Testament books while Protestant Bibles have thirty-nine.

Some Catholic versions of the Bible are the New American Bible (NAB), the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition (RSV-CE), the Navarre Bible, and the Douay-Reims. To determine whether a Bible is approved by the Catholic Church, look for an imprimatur in the first pages. The imprimatur is a certification by a bishop that the book is free of errors in Catholic doctrine.

Originally posted 2019-05-17 17:44:57.