Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament – Revised Standard Version, 2nd Edition

  • Authors: Dr. Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch
  • Paperback: 726 pages  ($14 to $22)
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; 2 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586172503
  • Also available in a leather bound, hardcover and electronic editions.

Having found the following so accurate, I will simply start with the publisher’s product description:  “The only Catholic Study Bible based on the Revised Standard Version 2nd Catholic Edition, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament brings together all of the books of the New Testament and the penetrating study tools developed by renowned Bible teachers Dr. Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch.”

“This volume presents the written Word of God in a highly readable, accurate translation, excellent for personal and group study. Extensive study notes, topical essays and word studies provide fresh and faithful insights informed by time-tested, authentically Catholic interpretations from the Fathers of the Church and other scholars. Commentaries include the best insights of ancient, medieval and modern scholarship, and follow the Church’s guidelines for biblical interpretation. Plus, each New Testament book is outlined and introduced with an essay covering questions of authorship, date of composition, intended audience and general themes. The Ignatius Study Bible also includes handy reference materials such as a doctrinal index, a concise concordance, a helpful cross-reference system, and various maps and charts.”

Now for my review:

This book belongs to a category called a “Study Bible” (Note: this is different than a Bible Commentary). On the top part of each page is the text from the Bible, and on the bottom 1/4 to 1/2 part of each page are the explanations or interpretations from that page’s Bible text. While a lot of the material in this book covers areas like introductions for each book, maps, indexes, and more, the really valuable material in this work are the explanations or interpretations on the bottom of each page.

One of the best features of the commentary is the “Icon Annotations”. These three icons (Book, Dove and Keys) represent the Catholic Church’s three criteria for interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and are used to distinguish what a note represents.  The Book represents the “content and unity” of Scripture. The Dove represents the “Living Tradition” of the Church. The “Keys” represent the analogy of faith.

Two very important items: First, the commentary on Scripture in this book is not just the personal opinion of the authors (they are really editors).  The commentary is mainly a collection and editing of the teaching and understanding of the Church, for some 2000 years, from Popes, Councils, and Saints, especially the Doctors of the Church and early Church Fathers. Second, the Bible translation used is the Revised Standard Version – Second Catholic Edition.  This translation (the RSV) is considered by Bible experts to be the best combination of literal (accurate) and literary (beautiful), that is available in the English language today.

I also need to make note of the concordance. It is 167 pages; I do not know why a beginner or intermediate level Bible student would need a bigger concordance.  It is also worth noting that the paper is of a good quality and takes a yellow high-lighter with no bleed through (and you will want to high-light this book). Of the book’s many indexes, two that need mention are a list of the proverbs of Jesus and a list of all of the miracles of Jesus.  A list of the doctrines of the Church (with the Scripture reference) is almost 15 pages long.

I have also read a Bible Commentary series, from a different publisher, a few years ago. The five books I read covered the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. A review of one of those books is posted on this blog. I like this book better than the other series, a lot better. The other series was good, but this book is fantastic, and includes so much, it stands apart.  For all that it contains, this book is a fantastic value.  The material that comprises this book was originally published over the last 10 years, as a series of 13 books with a price of $10 each.  To be able to purchase all the books in this series, bound in one volume, at such an inexpensive price is truly a blessing.  The reviews for this book on the web-site for a very large online retailer are overwhelmingly favorable: averaging 4.9 out of 5.0 (for 58 reviews).

In conclusion, if you are the least bit serious about studying the New Testament, this is the book to buy. If you can afford only one book to help you study the New Testament, this again is the one to buy.