Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament Review

Is it big? Yes! Has it taken almost 10 years to complete? Yes! Do a lot of Catholics, unless they read Catholic Bible blogs, have no idea that it has now been published? Yes! But is it good and worth the wait? Absolutely yes!

I have spent a number of hours over this past weekend perusing through the long-awaited Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament (ICSBNT). (The edition I am reviewing is the hardback one.) Simply put, it is fantastic and a great tool for Catholics. Over the past year or so, we have been blessed with an increase in the amount and quality of Bible related material and study tools, most notable are The Catholic Bible Dictionary, The Catholic Bible Concordance, The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series, and now the completed ICSBNT. These are truly good days for Catholics to enhance their love of Scripture, which is certainly one of the main areas of focus for our current Holy Father. There really is no excuse for Catholics to not be engaged in regular Bible study, whether individually or in a group. The tools are out there!

While in many ways the ICSBNT is only a collection of the individual volumes that Ignatius Press has been producing since 2000, it is so much more. As has been noted on a number of sites, the ICSBNT is a fairly thick volume. (Matt, over at Absolutely No Spin, has some fine pictures which illustrate that point.) This isn't to say that it is as large as the Navarre Bible- New Testament Expanded Edition. However, the text is quite large and easy to read, while not technically being large print. Rather, the size of the actual volume, itself, makes the text very easy to read. In addition to it's size, the ICSBNT is printed on thick, non-glossy, paper. Again, this was a major issue I had with the original edition of the RSV-2CE, which has recently been changed. If you are looking for wide margins, the verdict is that they are OK. This is certainly not a wide-margin study Bible, like the original NAB Catholic Study Bible was, but there is still plenty of space for individual notations.

The true worth of this volume is in the amount of study notes, the 28 in-text charts and maps, the 62 word studies, and the 23 topical essays that are included. (There is also a new 9-page introduction to the Gospels, authored by Curtis Mitch co-author of the ICSBNT along with Scott Hahn, which clearly explains all the important issues related to the Gospels, most notably the relationship among the synoptics.) The annotations remain focused on not only historical info, but the helpful "icon annotation" system which singles out passages that relate to: 1) "content and unity" of the Scriptures; 2) Tradition and Magesterium (with plentiful references to the CCC); and 3) "Analogy of the faith". (See CCC 112-114 for the reasoning behind this special annotation system.) For the most part, however, there are no differences in content between this and what was found in the original single volumes. Yet, to have the study material collected in one volume makes cross-referencing the information much easier.

For me, the topical essays prove to be the most welcome feature of this study Bible. There are both timely placed, as well as substantial and fair in their presentation. For example, on pages 514-515 there is a topical essay on the issue of "Who is Babylon?" in the Book of Revelation. Is Babylon Rome or Jerusalem? Both sides of the issue are given fair treatment, as oppose to most study Bibles that simply state one or the other as fact. In the end, the essay concludes with a recognition that both sides have considerable evidence supporting each, and perhaps that the answer to this question may reflect both possible interpretations. In addition to this essay, there are additional essays that focus on important issues like The Census of Quirinius and Mary as the Ark of the Covenant.

If the ICSBNT had simply been a collection of all the NT volumes into one book, it would have been already a fine volume, but there is more to this. Perhaps one of the most surprising, yet welcome additions to this volume is the inclusion of almost 200 pages of study aids that are found at the back. While most of this section is devoted to the very sizable concise concordance, which totals some 167 pages, there are indexes which cover the parables, metaphors, and miracles of Jesus found in the Gospels, an index of Catholic doctrines found in Scripture, an index to all the charts, in-text maps, topical essays, and word studies found within the ICSBNT, and finally a new set of New Testament maps commissioned by Ignatius Press. I would just like to mention the Index of Doctrines, since is a welcome addition to this volume. It reminds me of the old St. Joseph NAB edition I own, which contained a similar feature. Both are quite valuable, but the ICSBNT version is far better organized and covers more timely issues. I can see this section being helpful to not only those looking to defend their faith or engage in apologetics, but also for those Catholics who are either new to the Church or who have recently come home.
All in all, this an outstanding study Bible. Are there additional things I would have liked to see in it? Sure, what comes to mind is an index to the weekly/Sunday readings, a couple Bible ribbons, and a copy of Dei Verbum, but these are only minor quibbles. Also, one hopes that the Old Testament volumes come out at a much quicker pace than the New Testament ones. Let's not make this project another 10 year odyssey. Let me also say that I would really like to see Ignatius Press publicize this more. How about a website devoted to this project? While it is great to see the RSV-2CE and ICSBNT in not only Catholic bookstores, but also businesses like Barnes and Noble and Borders, how about a little more publicity. It's a great resource, why not give it the promotion that it deserves!
In conclusion, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament is a great resource that every Catholic should pick up. Oh, and by the way, these volumes are very reasonably priced. I purchased my hardback edition for $21.09 at Amazon.com, but the paperback is even cheaper. (One can also purchase the leather edition, which is due out sometime in June.) In a weekly audience dedicated to St. Jerome back in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI said: "It is important that every Christian live in contact and in personal dialogue with the word of God, given to us in sacred Scripture." I hope the ICSBNT proves to be an important tool in helping many Catholics make first and lifelong contact with the Triune God.


Dwight said...

I know this is the most trivial of quibbles, but I must say it...

"A different cover, please!!! My left forefinger for a different cover!!! Argh!!!!!!!"

Suffice to say that the marketing departments at most Catholic publishers could do well by taking a hint from most Protestant publishers when it comes to style.

I apologize: on with the real comments, please! :)

Timothy said...


Amen brother!

Matt said...

Nod at Dwight. I would like to see plain next time.

Christopher W. Speaks said...

It's obvious that Ignatius Press is impressed with its original 2CE cover. I was too when it was initially released years ago. It is a beautiful design - but time has proven it to be overkill, especially when the original NT and Psalms featured (yet again) the same design on blue. And I've got to admit that having the words RSV SECOND CATHOLIC EDITION at the bottom doesn't help much in the appeal category.

Diakonos said...

I am eagerly awaiting my leather edition of the ICSB/NT. My 2 cents on the cover is that its too Byzantine (not that that's bad)along with being too busy. What about the nice stylized IB monogram they had on their original Ignatius Bibles? That would look nice and classes especially on the leather edition.

Matt said...

The stylized IB logo is at the bottom on the spine. The whole cover is a bit of overkill. I also agree with the comment that the words RSV SECOND CATHOLIC EDITION is too much.

Here is the spine:

ICSB Spine

rolf said...

The cover logo doesn't bother me at all. Good review Timothy, I am still waiting for my leather copy. I will let you know what it is like when I receive it.

Mike said...

Thank-you for the review. :-)

(Personally, I love the cover)

Theophrastus said...

Well, it is advantage to getting the hardcover, isn't it? We can just make a book cover and hide all that shininess. That's not as easy to do with the paperback and leather editions.

Athanasius said...

Thanks for the review, Timothy. Could I just ask: if it was a toss-up between this and the Navarre Expanded, which would you opt for?

(I love the cover too - except for the text)

Timothy said...


I would go with the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, hands down. While I like the format of the Navarre Bible, the ICSB provides more information of both historical and theological content.

Plus, it is a bit smaller too!

Anonymous said...

Personally the cover doesn't bother me at all, of course that could be because I always put my bibles in covers to protect them. I am really impressed with the insides. I find all the information wonderful, the articles, word knowledge everything is excellent. With my aging eyes the font is great as well, I have an IBRSVCE and boy that shiny yellow paper about did me in. I do wish that they would have added in the Psalms (with most Protestant versions of NT they usually have the psalms as well). Do wonder when the whole bible will come out, do hope it is in my lifetime and do wonder how big it will be, will buy anyways, just curious.

Christopher W. Speaks said...

One of the things which has truly bothered me all along about the ICSB series is the lack of contribution from women. I've always viewed the ICSB as more of a "pop Study Bible" than a serious scholarly tool due to this being Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch's project. All that's lacking is Fr. Corapi and then you'd have a true Hall of Fame Who's Who of the Catholic World Bible. Why couldn't women biblical scholars like Mary Healy or Barbara Reid have been included? Even Donald Senior had enough sense to include women as contributors for the Oxford NAB Catholic Study Bible. The ICSB just, in my mind, reinforces patriarchal stereotypes of the Church.

Athanasius said...


Thanks for that - I was just about to purchase a Navarre, but will take your advice.

Great blog.

Diakonos said...

I have known the Ignatius staff people in San Francisco for many many years personally and I would agree that they definitely fall into that stereotype (just as they do likewise with the Ad Orientum and TLM issues). But, even though they and I are in opposite poles regarding liturgical/pastoral aspects of Church life I have to say that they are truly a fine body of people dedicated to Christ and the Church, to spreading the Gospel. So I will gladly accept their ICSB for the great value of reliable biblical scholarship it contains. Truly I do not think there is anything comparable in the (authentically) Catholic Scripture market to date.

Matt said...

Chris - the cover design was done by a woman. :-) Honestly I fail to understand why having a woman commentator/editor -just to have one- would matter. Perhaps that's because I don't have a sexist world view. (not that you do)

As to whether this is a "pop" Study Bible, is that because of Hahn's fame or is it because of his orthodoxy? If you take a look at the actual notes I think you'll see that they are "well balanced" but always take the side of orthodoxy. The notes in this Bible do not shy away from textual issues - it is a serious work.

A true "pop" study Bible in my opinion would look more like the NRSV Catholic Faith and Family Bible which is doctrinally...squishy...if not down right heretical.

Matt said...

Oh and I forgot to mention... The Church is, in fact, Patriarchal.

There is nothing wrong with that.

Christopher W. Speaks said...

My issue with both Hahn and Mitch is their popularity. I don't question their orthodoxy, nor do I question the orthodoxy of the Study Bible. Given such, this Study Bible is geared more towards uncritical, conservative Catholics. Had this volume been published by Jesuits or would have been headed up by Pheme Perkins, I don't think there would be so much clamor for it. The names "Scott Hahn" and "Curtis Mitch" is really the HUGE selling advantage for this Bible.

As for what women (or one woman) contributor would have offered is apparent when reading some of the stuff which Catholic women scholars have been able to publish. Babara Reid's commentary on Matthew on the New Collegeville Bible Commentary offers excellent feminine perspectives while her book "Choosing the Better Part," discussing the women featured in Luke's Gospel, provides a detailed look into minor female characters such as the Prophetess Anna, Elizabeth, Joanna, etc. Hahn and Mitch can only discuss Mary from a recycled masculine devotional point-of-view. There's no real insights into what they have to say on the infancy accounts.

Theophrastus said...

Athanasius asks: Could I just ask: if it was a toss-up between this and the Navarre Expanded, which would you opt for?

I think the two editions are quite different in many ways. The Ignatius is much more accessible in many ways -- a reader can simply pick it up and start reading it, and one is almost instantly transformed to being in a personal Bible study class. If "pop commentary" means "highly accessible and useful to a broad audience", then I would agree that the Ignatius was a pop commentary.

The Navarre has a very large number of notes that are spiritual (and sometimes mystical) in nature, and that require thought and meditation to full absorb. The Navarre notes are especially generous with the thoughts of Josemaría Escrivá, and also includes a running parallel Latin text. For me, it is a little harder to "dig in" to the Navarre since it demands to be read on several levels.

(You didn't ask about it, but I will volunteer a further explanation anyway: if we compare these to an academic commentary such as the New Oxford Annotated Bible, things change yet again -- I feel that the NOAB's notes are somewhat emotionally and spiritually detached from the Biblical text: they look in at the text from the outside, much like a scientist would. That isn't necessarily bad, but it gives the commentary a very different feel.)

It is a crude generalization; but I think there is some truth to it: the Ignatius may be better for study; while the Navarre may be better for meditation and lectio divina.

Physically, the Navarre is a nicer book and has better production values (plus, it has matching OT volumes), but it is also 4 times the cost of the Ignatius.

I don't think you should consider buying one or the other as necessarily an either/or choice -- if you own both, you may find yourself reading one or the other in different situations.

Athanasius said...


Thank you, also, for your very interesting and informative response. I know exactly what you mean about NOAB etc. While we're on the subject of editions which lean more toward the scholarly, or the meditative, are you/Timothy/anyone out there familiar with the Orthodox Study Bible and its strengths/weaknesses?

Matt said...

Chris, your comment reminded me of Scott Hahn's controversial feminist statements regarding the Holy Spirit. Remember that he got "in trouble" (unfairly, from what I understand) not too long ago for suggesting maternal aspects of the Holy Spirit. Here is a round up:

Scott Hahn Controversy

Regardless, there have been many, many, male saints and theologians who have expounded on the infancy of Christ. As to what Hahn and Mitch can and cannot do...well I'm just not sure they are as limited as you suggest.

@Athanasius: I own an Orthodox Study Bible and its decent. Except in the essays on Orthodoxy it is very harsh on us Roman Catholics.

Theophrastus said...

I'm not that fond of the Orthodox Study Bible. First, the translation has many errors, and reads awkwardly. Second, many of the notes are terribly shallow and don't reflect the deep spirituality that the Eastern Churches are famous for.

The Bible received a mixed response among English-speaking Eastern Orthodox -- see here, here, here, and here (this one is a review of the 1993 NT only edition).

If you are interested in Patristic commentaries on Scripture, I think a better option is the Ancient Christian Commentary series. I'd suggest checking it out in your library first before buying any volumes to see if it is what you want. Logos (and probably other Bible software) sells an electronic version.

Christopher W. Speaks said...

Matt - perhaps you're right that I'm being too harsh and overly-critical of Hahn and Mitch given my penchant for the faculties of Fordham, CUA, and Boston College. When I think "Catholic scholar" and someone who I would love to author a Study Bible, I think of Daniel Harrington, S.J. or Luke Timothy Johnson. (Sacra Pagina redux, anyone?) This bias does, unfortunately, cause me to underestimate the ICSB. I see it as a workingman/woman's SB - but then I am surprised by the number of laymen and women who thought the individual SB volumes were too deep and intellectual. Given the state of catechism in the Church, the ICSB is really the most accessible tool to assist in correcting that.

Theophrastus said...

Chris, how is your desire for a single-volume critical Catholic commentary not met by the New Jerome Bible Commentary, for example? Alternatively, if you are willing to accept ecumenical commentaries and study Bibles, don't the New Oxford Annotated Bible, 4th ed., HarperCollins Study Bible, Rev. Ed., and Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible meet your needs? (I think all of these will sell rather better than the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible -- if only because they are so widely used as textbooks.)

Your complaint surprises me because we seem to have quite a few good single-volume critical commentaries.

(I'm restricting myself to single-volume texts. When one considers multi-volume commentaries or commentaries on individual books of the Bible, then the selection of critical commentaries really explodes.)

Christopher W. Speaks said...

Theophrastus - I think that you misunderstand me. My complaints have relatively little to do with any actual dearth of study aids. No, as you say, there are plenty available. My complaint is really just focusing on the quality of the ICSB in particular as a serious, scholarly Catholic Study Bible based almost exclusively on a (slight) bias against the two editor-authors, Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. When I mentioned that I'd like to see something like the Sacra Pagina series abbreviated, I meant to suggest that I'd like to see the same quality scholarly notes (from a sole Catholic perspective) make it into a Study Bible format. That (to me) would embody a truly great Study Bible. The Oxford NAB Study Bible is close, except that the contributions are found in the Reading Guide which is unconveniently located at the front.

Theophrastus said...

Chris, I understand what you are saying, but I'm not sure I agree with your premises.

I'm not as fond of the Oxford Catholic Study Bible as you are; it suffers from the NAB OT which in most places is the old Confraternity translation. The notes to the OT are by and large also uneven and in many places lacking -- for example, the notes to the Pentateuch are a strong point, but the notes to the Wisdom books are awful (look at the notes to Psalms, and you'll see what I mean.)

In the end, the contribution of the Oxford is the 500 pages of sets of essays at the beginning, and I just don't think they are that good. A standard textbook such as Raymond Brown's Introduction to the New Testament (or even John J. Collins's Introduction to the Hebrew Bible) is considerably more advanced; and any of the major single-volume commentaries is better.

Worse unlike virtually any of the commentaries or major study Bible, the Reading Guide does not interact with individual verses; leaving that up to the NAB notes (which themselves vary tremendously in tone and quality, and are often contradicted by the Reading Guide -- creating a confusing result).

Another issue is: what is "Catholic" about the Oxford Catholic Study Bible? There is a fourteen page essay by Daniel Harrington on "The Bible in Catholic Life" and a fourteen page essay by Kevin Madigan on "Catholic Interpretation of the Bible" and that's pretty much it -- the notes don't interact with Catholic reception history, contemporary Catholic belief, Catholic philosophers, or the Catechism. There are a few scattered references to the Catholic liturgy in the commentary body, but nothing substantial. Further, there is no discussion about the difference in interpretation of Biblical passages (or beliefs) between various Christian branches or leading scholars other than brief mention about the different OT canons. I would argue that the New Oxford Annotated Bible -- not a Catholic Bible -- is more up front about Catholic reception history than the Oxford Catholic Study Bible.

Ricky Jones said...

Thanks for the review, but do you recommend the leather or the hard-cover version? I'd like a leather version I'm just worried about durability. My last Bible's binding is already coming apart.

Timothy said...


I only have the hardcover version, since the leather isn't out yet. I am still unsure what kind of leather this Bible will be made with either, so I think the safe bet is the hardcover. I personally like to have a leather Bible for daily use, but since this study Bible is pretty sizable, I don't see myself carrying it with me. Hopefully the complete OT and NT Ignatius Study Bible will be a bit more compact.

Christopher W. Speaks said...

Theophrastus: You say that 'the notes don't interact with Catholic reception history, contemporary Catholic belief, Catholic philosophers, or the Catechism,' which is true, but (call me crazy) this isn't something that I'm looking for in a Catholic Study Bible; therefore, I don't think this necessarily negates its Catholicity. What makes it Catholic is its exclusive contributions from Catholic Bible scholars, which I, personally, find very attractive since it allows me to see what contemporary Catholic scholarship is saying versus weeding through the potpourri of ecumenical study Bibles. The ecumenical approach is often quite sterile, whereas sole denominational study Bibles allow a little more freedom of expression.

But you're right: the Oxford NAB Catholic Study Bible (especially the Second Edition) isn't all that great despite it having the best of intentions. I own one and rarely use it, though I have attempted to make it my primary Bible many many times in the past. Right now I prefer my NJB and NOAB 2ed.

Keith said...

Not sure if anybody is monitoring this thread any more, but I just got the hard cover version and was wondering what suggestions people might have regarding a clear book cover for this. I don't want to put it in a bible case but I'd like to protect it in some way that isn't cheesy looking.

Timothy said...


Check this out:


Anonymous said...

Thanks for a complete and thoughtful review. It helped me to decide to purchase this edition!
PS: I love the cover! So there!;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Timothy,

Can you comment on the quality of the leather on this study bible?

Im not sure weather to get the hardcover or leather edition?

Thanks and God bless!

Manchester, England.

Daesy71 said...

I purchased the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible NT (Hardcover) and received it a few days ago. The print is very light, kind of a very faded black. Is this the way your print is (all of you who purchased it) or do I just have a defective copy? I live in Canada and am kind of dreading contacting the Co.. What is Ignatius like to deal with? I have to wait until Mon. to contact them, so, sure would appreciate feedback.

curt LaFond said...

Ignatius generally produces good typography, but I agree with others that the cover is terrible.

The folks who made the ESV set the standard for aesthetics.

brandon said...

This marginally-Protestant reader picked up his copy of the ICSBNT today from his local Catholic bookstore (St. Paul's Book Centre in Brisbane, Australia). And I'll confirm that the "leather" on my edition (ISBN 978-1-58617-485-9) isn't leather . It's definitely "pleather". In Protestant circles, it's what Zondervan would term "Duo-Tone", Tyndale "NuTone" and Crossway "TruTone". So if you are actually wanting a proper leather binding, you'll be out of luck with the ICSBNT.

It's not too bad, I've had much worse imitation leather bindings than this, though this Ignatius one isn't quite as good as the black TruTone ESV Study Bible that I use.

If you want longevity, you'll probably be better off getting a hardcover edition. Given that my ICSBNT is going to remain a reference work, longevity isn't that much of an issue as it won't have to face the daily grind my travel bible has to endure.

Unknown said...

Hey Folks,
The Study guides and questions, which are quite comprehensive, and which are in the back of the individual NT books published earlier, are NOT in the NT edition. HOWEVER, they are available for download free and in pdf format from the Ignatius Press website. Remember to scroll down when you get to the page.

Mark Spearman said...

What about a one volume orthodox Catholic Study Bible? The notes in the NAB are far from orthodox.

For instance, the Church has adopted an error in her liturgy referring to “your high priest, Melchizedek” since the scholars of the NAB know that he was a Canaanite (read “pagan”) priest and also fail to mention either Psalm 110 or Hebrews 7. There are hundreds of such instances such as the infancy narrative of St. Luke’s gospel which is “ … largely, however, the composition of Luke who writes in imitation of Old Testament birth stories, combining historical and legendary details, literary ornamentation and interpretation of scripture … .” Moreover, Mary could not possibly have not sang the Magnificat “Because there is no specific connection of the canticle to the context of Mary's pregnancy and her visit to Elizabeth, the Magnificat (with the possible exception of v 48) [and so] may have been a Jewish Christian hymn that Luke found appropriate at this point in his story.” The writer of John was confused about Pentecost since John 20:22 “is the author’s version of Pentecost.”
These notes rely on the historical-critical method alone that while being vital in the study of biblical texts, cannot be the only method applied. Indeed, the Holy Father, in the introduction of his book, Jesus of Nazareth, states that this method “… remains an indispensable dimension of exegetical work. For it is of the very essence of biblical faith to be about real historical events.” He then points out the need to combine the historical-critical method with a relatively new method known as “canonical exegesis” whose aim is “to read individual texts within the totality of the one Scripture, when then sheds new light on the individual texts.” He summarizes,
If you want to understand the Scripture in the spirit in which it is written, you have to attend to the content and to the unity of Scripture as a whole.
(Jesus of Nazareth, p. xviii).
Moreover, “reading the individual texts of the Bible in the context of the whole does not contradict historical-critical interpretation, but carries it forward in an organic way toward becoming theology in the proper sense.” In doing this, Benedict presents “the Jesus of the Gospels as the real, ‘historical’ Jesus,” indicating “that this figure is much more logical and, historically speaking, much more intelligible than the reconstructions we have been presented with in the last decades.”

We really need a good one volume Catholic Study Bible.

John Breslin said...

The Ignatius Study Bible is a wonderful Catholic resource, and while I have complained as much as anyone about watered down Bible translations, this commentary is a bit over-the-top in much of its comments. What threw me for a loop especially were the comments to Luke 1:28, the "full of Grace" passage. The comment states that Mary had taken a vow of peperpetual virginity even before this time, and that was why she didn't understand how she could become pregnant. Come on! Mary was a human being. Why was she betrothed to Joseph if she never intended to have sex? This type of commentary is unnecessary and in fact a bit loopy.

GenXBen said...

John (if anyone is still reading this thread).
The reference to Mary's being an avowed virgin is from The Protoevengelium of James, a non-biblical text which recounts the stories of Mary's and Jesus' infancy. That text states that Mary was indeed a consecrated virgin and Joseph was chosen by the Temple to take care of her, as he was an older widow who already had children so wouldn't be giving up his right to have a family. It is one of the possible explanations for the passages which refer to the brothers of the Lord, ie they were Joseph's children: Jesus' half-brothers.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

What is the best way to use this Study Bible?

Would it be to read a chapter, then the commentry fir the chapter with the cross references and CCC, then read the cross refernces in between the Scripture and the commentary?

Any help will be really appreciated!

Thanks, Tony, UK.

Timothy said...


I would read the text itself first, before referring to any of the notes and cross-references. Next, see if the text, particularly if it is from the NT, makes reference to any OT verses. If it does, use the cross-references to go back to the OT and read that passage in context. Finally, in whatever way works best for you, utilize the commentary and most especially the CCC references, which can be very insightful.

Anonymous said...

Hi Timothy,

Thank you for the help, it makes sense. I can't wait go give it go!

P.S, Which would be the best book to start with and then progress to? I've been edging towards starting with the Gosple of John? I have the full NT leather edition.

Thank you and God bless.


Timothy said...


I love the Gospel of John, but if I were you, I would start with Mark. After Mark, I would go on to John then Acts of the Apostles. After that, start working through some of Paul's letters, perhaps beginning with his first, 1 Thessalonians.

Hope that helps.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Timothy, you have been a great help!

God bless you and this great blog!

Anonymous said...

Hi Timothy,

Just an idea, but it would be great if you could do a blog post on how to study the Bible, giving examples of what works best for you, how to take notes and mark your bible.

Something like this would be a huge help to me and m sure others also.

What do you think?


Timothy said...


I think your suggestion may be a good idea. Let me think about it a bit.

Until then, we did discuss writing in Bibles a couple months back: http://catholicbibles.blogspot.com/2011/05/writing-in-your-bible.html

Lynn said...

If you plan to study the bible in depth, I would suggest read first the bible starting Genesis reading the footnotes. I recommend New American Bible version. The version used in the readings in the mass. If you will be able to finish Genesis, I will guarantee you that you will not stop. You have already welcome the Holy Spirit in you. You will soon realize that you are thirsty and hunger for more. Read first the Old testament and you will soon understand more the New testament and will understand more the gospel homilies during masses. If you want to understand the salvation of mankind promised by God and whom Jesus accomplished you need to understand the Old Testament. Now if you want to read the New testament, I would suggest Luke first then Acts. Matthew, Luke and Mark are Synoptic Gospel. They have parallel naratives, (same stories). In Jeff Cavins, The Bible timeline study, Old testament first and then the New, with the study on Luke then Acts. One more suggestion. If you can study also the Catholic catechism side by side. Here are 2 bible study websites for free.

By Scott Hahn
By Michal Hunt

I read Agape first to learn how to study the bible. If you want to access the NAB version and the catechism online go to the USCCB website:
Hope this would help. Lynn

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for all your generous advices. You should pray before you choose your Holy Bible. I did and God gave me a Holy Bible that I was pleasant to have received!

Anonymous said...

Why is the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible only available in the New Testament? Why not the whole bible!?! I really want one bible that is the WHOLE bible and I want it to be the best Catholic study Bible available. I just want one and I think this Bible will have more benefits than the other one I am looking into by St Benidicts press but that one has the entire bible...

Timothy said...


They are simply not done with it yet. Expect a completed OT and NT Ignatius Catholic Study Bible by 2014 or 2015.

Cathryn said...

I've been using this edition to teach NT the past year to adults in a college-level environment (Synoptics, Acts, Paul, Hebrews). Students love it, I love it, but I do have some minor issues.

At times the notes seem to be overly focused on Catholic and Jewish devotions and traditions in ways that bring confusion to students. The mentioned footnote on Mary is one; the promotion of Melchizedek as Shem is another.

On the positive side, the notes docall out, at times, where the translation, erm, leaves something to be desired.

But I would include the caveat to be aware of the difference between tradition and Tradition when reading the notes. Which, of course, would not be understood by a lot of people reading it, through no fault of their own.

Andrew said...

I contacted Ignatius Press myself about 2 weeks ago and asked them exactly when it was that we could expect to see the IGNATIUS CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE RSV-C2E OLD TESTAMENT and they told me that it will be in 2 volumes (which is what I figured it would be myself anyway so it wasn't any kind of surprise to me to hear that it was going to be in 2 volumes)and will be finished and out in 2-4 years time meaning somewhere between 2015-2017 meaning that both OT volumes would be out by 2017. As to wethere or not one will be out first in year 20XX and the next 2 years afterward or the next year or that they are releasing both simultaneously or whatever I don't know but like I said it will all be out by 2017.

Andrew said...

One must be very... VERY, careful as to which version one reads due to the fact that every single one of the Bibles out that are primarily used today came out in 1966 or after and for things calling themselves Catholic Bibles (which should be complete and lacking nothing) there is an excess of stuff missing such as Acts 15:34 being erased in the following versions (but not in the Vulgate, Douay-Rheims or Knox), NAB,NAB-RE,RSV-CE,RSV-2CE,JB,NJB,NRSV-CE. The last sentence in Acts 15:41 (...commanding them to keep the precepts of the apostles and the ancients.) has been erased in the following versions, NAB,NAB-RE,RSV-CE,RSV-2CE,JB,NJB,NRSV-CE, this is included in the Vulgate and the Douay-Rheims, I invite you to go check all of what I'm telling you. Also you will find that in EVERY single one of the newer translations these things are missing or if not missing they are relegated to footnotes so as to cast doubt on the verses legitimacy (as if St. Heironymus or The Church could be wrong as to what is supposed to be in the Bible for over 1500 years) so if you pay attention you will see Acts 15:32, Acts 15:33, Acts 15:35 but no 15:34, not in any of these versions. It is a serious problem in Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) where depending on which translation you're using you will find between 35-39 verses completely expunged from the entire book. The versions that expunge those verses are as follows, NAB, NAB-RE, RSV-CE, RSV-2CE, NRSV-CE, JB, NJB and those verses are as follows 1:5(erased from NJB exclusively), 1:7, 1:21, 3:19, 3:25, 10:21, 11:15, 11:16, 13:14, 16:15, 16:16, 17:5, 17:9(erased from NJB exclusively), 17:16, 17:18, 17:21, 18:3, 19:18, 19:19(erased from NJB exclusively), 19:21, 20:3(included in NJB exclusively), 20:32, 22:7(erased from NJB exclusively), 22:8(erased from NJB exclusively), 22:9, 22:10, 23:28, 24:18, 24:24, 25:12, 26:19(included in NAB, still missing from others), 26:20(included in NAB, still missing from others), 26:21, 26:22, 26:23, 26:24, 26:25, 26:26, 26:27. All of these are included in the Vulgate & Douay-Rheims. Yet the problems do not end there but you will find that the word VIRGIN has been erased in the following versions RSV-CE, NAB-RE, NRSV-CE, JB & NJB and replaced with the word YOUNG WOMAN. A young woman giving birth to a baby is no miraculous sign from God, it's normal. And yet again you WILL find the word VIRGIN in the Vulgate and Douay-Rheims. Lastly the newer versions also erase the word HELL from Matthew 16:18 (and most likely other places) and replace it with JB&NJB(Underworld), RSV-CE,RSV-2CE&NAB70'(Death), NAB 86'&NAB-RE(Netherworld), NRSV-CE(Hades). I'm not saying to throw the 10 volume Navarre(RSV-CE) in the trash but only alerting you to what has been altered so that maybe you can put these things back in mentally when you read it or write them back in, in the margins. I do not believe that this was all accidental someone somewhere had an agenda and made a concerted effort to do this for a specific reason. I'm just letting you know.

Erap10 said...

Wow, it has been six years since the New Testament came out and you had hoped it wouldn't take another ten to get the Old Testament out....

Timothy said...

10 years is looking more of a possibility as each year passes.

Erap10 said...

Well..it has been the running joke for years after all

WW said...

How does this compare to the '66 Jerusalam bible for footnotes? I recently found a copy of that bible and have been agonizing over whether to buy it. I heard it has a good set of footnotes but when I perused it I found that gospels had very little, whereas Romans had copious amounts, etc... couldn't find too many notes elewhere either. I feel I am spoiled by the ICSB, DR-Haydock, and '41 CCD NT with their detailed notes everywhere.

Timothy said...


I would say that with the study bibles that you have would in total be enough. The JB translation was primarily there to just enhance the notes which were considered copious and accessible at the time.

Anonymous said...

Could someone help. I am just about to begin with the Bible study series, and obviously I start with genesis and so on...(as the OT Testament single volume is not yet available) is there a particular order in which the books should be read?


Timothy said...

Hi Anonymous,
I’d actually encourage you to start with the Gospel of Luke (or Mark) then read through the Acts of the Apostles. This will give you a good start. Perhaps then you could read a few of Paul’s letters, like Ephesians, before heading to the Old Testament. Along the way, read a few Psalms each day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Timothy, will do so.

Anonymous said...

The advice I was given at some point or another was to read the New Testament every weekday and Saturday, and then on Sunday read some of the Old Testament. As Christians, our focus should be on the New Testament after all. They key is not so much the order, or even how much you read each day, but the consistency of reading every day. If you finish the NT before you finish the OT (very likely), go back and read the NT again. It's okay to jump around a bit, following notes to other parts of the Bible, and a good Catholic study Bible with references to the CCC is great because (especially on a second read of the NT) you can go look up some additional information from Catechism, which itself may give you clues of other parts of the Bible to reference.