Monday, September 19, 2016

The Catholic Study Bible: Third Edition (Oxford University Press)

It has been ten years since Oxford University Press released the Second Edition of their Catholic Study Bible. I never had a chance to peruse this one as my wife reminds me often that I have too many Bibles (Preposterous!), and that I don't need to buy anymore. Thankfully for me, Oxford University Press provided me a complimentary copy of their Catholic Study Bible: Third Edition. The first thing I noticed about this bible was that it used the New American Bible: Revised Edition (NABRE). I appreciate the use of this translation, because this is what we hear every time we attend Mass. The copy which I received is the hardcover edition. It is approximately 2500 pages, 6.25" x 9", and thumb cut indexing for the books of the Bible.

The Catholic Study Bible: Third Edition begins with a general introduction on the Bible and the literary forms in the Bible, and reading the Bible. We are then provided with backgrounds on Biblical texts and the different periods during Biblical times, going from the time of the Patriarchs (1850 BC) to the Roman Period (100 AD). There are then sections on using this particular Bible, the role of the Bible in the Catholic life, Biblical history and archaeology, Catholic interpretation, and the Bible in the Lectionary. There is then approximately 500 pages worth of essays on each book of the Bible. I would have preferred these be before each respective book, but a minor quibble. After all of these introductions and essays, we finally arrive at Genesis! However, before each book, there is a general introduction and outline of each book. Within each book of the Bible, one will find copious footnotes on each page. Sometimes, the footnotes are more than the actual text of Scripture. There are also many cross-references in these footnotes, which are vital when studying Scripture. After Revelation, there is a glossary, index, mini concordance, Lectionary. and maps.

Like all Bibles, I found myself wishing the pages were thicker in this edition. They bend a little too easy, would probably rip if handled too roughly, and highlighting is impossible (not that I highlight). However, at 2500+ pages, this would have made the Bible even thicker than it already was. At least, the font size was nice and easy to read without straining the eyes. I appreciated the translation used and am amazed at the amount of essays and introductions included in this Bible. I haven't had a chance to read all of them, but the ones I have were of high quality. If you don't own any type of Study Bible, then this is one of a few I would consider starting with. (The other is the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, but it's still only a New Testament.) The Bible won't be the last or only resource you need for deep Biblical study, but it will provide you a good jumping off point.

This Bible was provided to me for free by Oxford University Press in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit yes!