With the recent changes in ministry work, the need for a good Catholic youth Bible has become a necessity. However, many of the youth Bibles I began to look at were rather disappointing to be honest. Most of them simply consisted of youth insert pages placed at periodic points within a standard Catholic Bible translation. Not much originality or quality needed it seemed!
This cannot be said for the Catholic Youth Bible published by Saint Mary's Press. Available in both the NAB and NRSV translations, presumably for both an American and Canadian audience, the Catholic Youth Bible (CYB) is simply the best Catholic youth Bible on the market period. Both editions are available in multiple cover options, including paperback, hardcover, some form of leather (not sure if it's genuine or bonded), and nu-tone/imitation leatherette. The edition that I am currently using, the NAB nu-tone/leatherette, is very smooth and lays flat when opened.
Here is a list of all that is packed into this youth Bible:
*50-page concordance to help readers locate scripture
*An expanded reading plan with all the Sunday lectionary readings
*Over 700 lively articles help readers
*Introductions to the major sections of the Bible and all the books of the Bible
*Biblical connections to many different cultures, illustrating the universality of the Catholic Church
*Insights into how the Church has interpreted certain scripture passages throughout history
*4 special indexes, 9 color maps, a 4-page color timeline, and 4 pages of full-color biblical art and photos
Both the NAB and NRSV editions contain all of these youth study tools. The NAB edition has the advantage of coming with the NAB notes and cross-references, while the NRSV edition is simply the translation and textual notes. (Perhaps one day there will be an easily available NRSV edition, of any kind, that includes cross-references!)
The most impressive element of the CYB is the attractive page layout. While it is a dual column format, the font size is very readable and the various articles that appear on almost every page is quite inviting to the reader. If I were a teen, I would imagine that just the overall layout of this Bible would make it more appealing to pick and read. However, if I were to be picky about one thing, it would be that the paper is very thin thus making pen marks bleed over to the other side with relative ease.
As mentioned above, there are over 700 different articles scattered throughout the Bible. All of these, which are thankfully indexed, span issues from abandonment and abortion to war and worship. Since I have yet to read all of these articles, I hope to make note of them during the school year and perhaps report on them in a future post. In addition to these articles, there are also pages devoted to biblical references to the Sacraments, as well as life and faith issues faced by many teens.
Overall, the CYB is a unique and attractive youth Bible. It's design makes it clearly the best option for youth, while also being a good model for other Catholic Bible publishers.
I would like to thank Cris at Saint Mary's Press for sending me a review copy. If you would like to view some page samples, you can do so here.