It was about seven years ago that Saint Benedict Press/TAN released the Catholic Scripture Study International Bible (RSV-CE). When I reviewed it, I remember appreciating a lot of what went into its production, even though I thought there were some key components, like cross-references, missing. I still have that bible today, and when I need an RSV-CE I will often refer to it. It has held up pretty well over the years, which is a good thing since I was concerned about the glued binding. I wasn’t then, nor do I remain today, a fan of glossy inserts, but they were placed well and the paper was fairly thin, thus not causing any issues when flipping through the bible or when laying in flat on a table.
Now back in 2014, SBP/TAN released Manual for Spiritual Warfare, which was a handbook of prayers and reflections on engaging in spiritual warfare. The book, authored by Paul Thigpen, sold quite well. Now enter the brand new Spiritual Warfare Bible (RSV-CE) from Saint Benedict Press, which utilizes much from the Manual for Spiritual Warfare, integrating into the RSV-CE text. While the description of this bible says that it contains “nine special Spiritual Warfare inserts” written by Dr. Thigpen, in truth, that is a bit misleading, but in a good way. Each of these nine topics take up, on average, at least ten pages of print. The topics range from “Scripture for the Battle” to a “Spiritual Warfare Topic Index”. In particular, the section titled “Prayers for the Battle” contain a number of very beautiful prayers, including one entitled ‘Prayer to Our Lady, vanquisher of the Enemy’. Compared to the CSSI Bible, this bible contains considerably more content than the CSSI Bible. The inserts in the CSSI Bible were typically one page in length, on a variety of apologetic topics. The glossy inserts in the Spiritual Warfare Bible also contain some well-placed and beautifully rendered classical art, which is nicely placed at appropriate locations within Thigpen’s text. Many of them, like the one of Our Lady (pictured below), are great to pray with. While there are no maps or cross-references in this bible, it does contain an appendix which has all the Mass readings, both for weekdays and Sundays. Also, the words of Christ are in red.
In regards to construction and overall look, the Spiritual Warfare Bible is very similar to its older brother, the CSSI Bible. The RSV-CE is presented in a fairly large script, with the words of Christ in red. I have always found this to be one of the best visual representations of the RSV-CE on the market today. The text is quite easy to read from, even though it is not line matched. It contains three handy black ribbons, which should certainly be mandatory for a bible like this. The binding is glued but the cover is a smooth premium ultrasoft synthetic leather cover. The cover has a much nicer than the CSSI Bible cover, which was a more stiff bonded leather. The cover has a blind imprinting, which is also a step up from the early CSSI Bible. The size of the The Spiritual Warfare Bible is 6.75 x 9.5 x 1.5, which is roughly the same size as the CSSI Bible.
I could see this new volume to be popular in certain prayer groups, as well as in charismatic Catholic circles. The content would certainly fit into those who are associated with apostolates dedicated to doing spiritual warfare or intercession. The Spiritual Warfare Bible has a very nice overall feel to it and is a true joy to read from. The question will be whether or not the reader is willing to pay $69.95 for this bible. While it does have some wonderfully composed and organized content on spiritual warfare, it suffers from having a glued binding. In the end, I can see that some might purchase this, while others may take a pass on it.
Thank you to Saint Benedict Press for providing me a review copy for this post.