Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 16, 2003
Youth Bible provides information
Special feature draws new readers to Scripture
Catholic Youth Bible: New Revised Standard Version. St. Mary's Press, Winona, Minn., 2000.
Review by DEAN SARNECKI
Special to the WCR
Special to the WCR
I was recently in a major commercial bookstore and, as usual, I checked into the Religion/Christianity section to see what was new. Apart from the usual evangelical/devotional/hagiography writings I noticed the large proliferation of Bible translations. Apart from the usual New Revised Standard Version, New American Version, the New International Version, Good News Bibles there were a variety of Bibles for different denominations and interest groups.
Despite being different translations, the Bibles tended to share one common feature: They were presented in drab black and white with little commentary or explanation. There are some Catholic Bibles, mostly very pricey Bibles that contain some beautiful artwork, but in the low to mid-price range, very little selection or choice.
There is no question that these Bibles reveal to the reader the good news of salvation, it is just that I wonder, unless you were already a committed Christian and/or a biblical scholar, why would you pick up such a book? What would attract someone to pick up the book in the first place?
Even more so if you happen to be Catholic. As a community of believers, we seem to have lagged behind Protestants in making the Bible attractive and accessible to ordinary Christians of any age. Well, things have changed with the Saint Mary's Press Bible entitled The Catholic Youth Bible. This is the Catholic edition of the New Revised Standard Version, which has been authorized by the U.S. bishops and the Catholic bishops of Canada as a resource aimed at youth but accessible to all.
The Catholic Youth Bible innovations come in a format and with special features designed to attract young people and encourage them to read the text for themselves. The graphic layout is bright and alive and reader friendly. Maps, stories, poetry, and explanations fill the pages. Each section (Pentateuch, historical books, prophets, etc.) is introduced and explained, and each individual book has an introduction including authorship, timeline and important themes.
Reading plans, applications to the readers' lives and Catholic connections are important aids to study and understand the Bible. They are found throughout the text. The welcome at the front of the Bible provides insights into the Catholic understanding of Scripture, formation of the Bible, interpretation methods and thematic reading plans.
As an educator and retreat leader I highly recommend the Catholic Youth Bible by St. Mary's Press. It may be a little more expensive than some of the other Bibles on the market, but style, information and layout make it an attractive Bible aimed at youth. What a great gift idea for Confirmation!
(Dean Sarnecki preaches the Gospel and thumps the Bible as best he can at Archbishop Jordan High School and St. Joseph's College at the University of Alberta.)
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