Complete List of Approved Catholic Bible Versions

George Ryan blogged this helpful article, “Which Bible Should I Use? A List of Approved Catholic Translations.” George explained how a Catholic Bible needs to be authorized and approved:

To be considered a Catholic Bible, a translation has to both have a nihil obstat (Latin for “nothing hinders” or “nothing stands in the way”), a phrase meaning an official Church certification proclaiming the book is not objectionable on doctrinal or moral grounds, along with an imprimatur (from Latin ‘imprimere’, meaning to “imprint” or “impress.”), a phrase for official approval by clergy, most often the bishop. A translation also have to include the entire Biblical canon.

3 websites were found with lists of approved Catholic Bibles. You’ll notice there are differences as well as similarities in these lists. The ones that are in BOLD indicate they appear in more than one list.

This is a complete list of the translations of the Sacred Scriptures that have received the approval of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops since 1983.

  • Books of the New Testament, Alba House
  • Contemporary English Version – New Testament, First Edition, American Bible Society
  • Contemporary English Version – Book of Psalms, American Bible Society
  • Contemporary English Version – Book of Proverbs, American Bible Society
  • The Grail Psalter (Inclusive Language Version), G.I.A. Publications
  • New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE)
  • New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, National Council of Churches
  • The Psalms, Alba House
  • The Psalms (New International Version) – St. Joseph Catholic Edition, Catholic Book Publishing Company
  • The Psalms – St. Joseph New Catholic Version, Catholic Book Publishing Company
  • Revised Psalms of the New American Bible (1991)
  • So You May Believe, A Translation of the Four Gospels, Alba House
  • Good News Translation (Today’s English Version, Second Edition), American Bible Society
  • Translation for Early Youth, A Translation of the New Testament for Children, Contemporary English Version, American Bible Society

This is the list of Bible versions that are approved for Catholics, according to uCatholic.com:

  • New American Bible: Revised Edition – 2011 – Optimal Equivalence
  • Ignatius Bible – 2006 – Formal Equivalence
  • Good News Bible: Catholic Edition – 1992 – Dynamic Equivalence
  • New Jerusalem Bible – 1990 – Dynamic Equivalence
  • New Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition – 1989 – Formal Equivalence
  • Jerusalem Bible – 1966 – Dynamic Equivalence
  • Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition – 1966 – Formal Equivalence
  • Douay–Rheims Bible – 1582 – Formal Equivalence

And according to maybetoday.org, this is the list of approved Catholic Translations:

Also, the New American Bible is available online at the Vatican website. (cf. Preface)

7 Comments

  • Angela S

    None of these lists include the New American Bible (NAB), not to be confused with NABRE. NAB is definitely approved by the Vatican and is marked with Nihil Obstat. The Vatican expressed issues with NABRE, although USCCB approved it for liturgical use.

  • John G

    The maybetoday.org site does discuss the NAB, but on a different page. The page linked in the list above provides summaries of currently available editions only. The USCCB has withdrawn the NAB, and it is no longer available in print or electronically.

  • Angela S

    The USCCB may have withdrawn the NAB, but it is available on the secondary market,and tens of millions of copies are in print. I own a digital edition as well. The Vatican approved of this edition despite the USCCB’s objections. Since the edition carries the Nihil Obstat seal, it is approved, regardless of its publication status.

  • Jeffery Greg Dolezal

    Many of the Bibles/Translations listed above are NOT on the USCCB “Approved List” (https://www.usccb.org/offices/new-american-bible/approved-translations-bible). The USCCB list has changed in the last few years. A big change is that the RSVCEs (older or newer – ed 2) are NOT on the list … only the “N”RSVCE. I’m not sure why they tightened it up. Even the NAB is not listed … only the NABRE is on it. Maybe they did this to have less confusion on which one to read. A few of the ones listed above USED to be on the list, but they aren’t on it now.

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