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Browsing Fr. Joel Hastings

Pride and the "best" versions of the Bible

Which of the commandments does pride come into?

     Pride is commonly understood as the root of every sin. Pride is more than “boasting;” it is the interior disposition of mind and heart that can be well
summarized by the expression, “I can do it my own way.” Mindful of this tendency toward self-sufficiency, every sin can rightly be understood as a conscious choice to do what “I” think is “best for me,” rather than turning away from sin in acknowledging God and accepting that His way is the truest, most perfect way to live and to willingly abide within it.

     Applied to the commandments, we can then think of pride being at the heart of sinning against each and every commandment. It plainly goes against the first commandment of loving God above all and ahead of any creature – as the way of pride would lead one to willingly place their own wants, desires, sense of
fulfillment, etc., ahead of God. Such pride need not be a full rejection of God; it can be more subtle such as this example: “It’s Sunday and I’m tired; since I go to Mass most of the time, I can stay home today….” In reference to all the commandments, we might simply think in terms of how temptation works,
presenting us with an attractive (sinful) option in a given moment that will somehow give us a quick fix, a leg up on others, or any other type of attractive (though earthly and fleeting) advantage or pleasure outside of God’s will. This choice for an “immediate pleasure or fix” outside of God is pride at work – and to give into such temptations is to say, “I can have it [my] way.” 

     As a provoking thought, I relate this statement that I heard some years ago from a bishop: “Frank Sinatra’s song ‘My Way’ is what those in hell are singing.” Harsh though this statement may sound, these words illustrate quite well how pride is the root of all sins.  

Which version of the Bible should we read and why?

     Not being a full-fledged Bible scholar, I appeal to what the Church typically proposes for our use. It is first of all noteworthy that here in the U.S., the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops owns rights to the version from which the readings at Mass are taken called the “Revised New American Bible.” This version was originally translated for use in the latest edition of the Lectionary for Mass (the book from which we read during Mass). While the current edition of the Lectionary for Mass was instituted in the 1990s, only recently have we received the full edition of this translation in a single bible which is now readily available. Other Catholic versions that are accepted are “The Jerusalem Bible” (which is different than the “New Jerusalem”), the “Revised Standard Version” (different than the “New Revised Standard Version”), and the Douay-Rheims Bible.

     In information I have read on the subject (not in-depth, but generally), I would give the following recommendations (in the order that they appear): first would be the “Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition” which is published as “The Ignatius Bible” (Ignatius Press). This edition has wide acclaim as a faithful translation from the original languages, and thus comes with high recommendation. Next is the “Revised New American Bible,” because (as shown above) it is the source for the readings at Mass. Finally, the Douay-Rheims translation is one that has been accepted for many years. Acknowledging its age (from the 16th century) and its use of “old English”
language in places, this version remains a very fitting Catholic Bible. This translation remains significant as it is directly based upon the Latin edition called the Vulgate (as opposed to the original Hebrew and Greek). Accordingly, many of the Latin words have been retained that do not easily translate into English – and thus, the unchanging nature of theology is to a degree preserved by the reliance upon the unchanging Latin words.

     Any of the above translations are acceptable for Catholics – as all of these particular editions will all contain all of the books which the Church accepts (including such works as the Book of Wisdom, 1 and 2 Maccabees, etc.). Other versions not mentioned here are best not used – especially because any others will not usually contain all the books which the Church accepts as Scriptural.

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