The main Bible I use is the Douay Rheims. I recall once reading the best version of the Bible to have is the one you will read, pointing to the fact that many Catholics are not as familiar with Scripture as other Christian groups. The Bible fascinates me, I am strongly drawn to not just reading Scripture but understanding it, too. That might seem like an obvious statement to make, after all it would be silly to read the Bible and NOT understand it!! But I love digging through Scripture, and getting into the deeper meaning. That is what I mean when I say I want to understand. It is an immense joy when I read a particular Scripture passage, and then I find it connected to something else, something from the Old Testament. Or when new light is shone upon Scripture, after reading an interpretation from the early Church fathers. When I read the Douay Rheims, for all the unusual way with words, it just sings to my heart, like the most glorious poetry, the words create three dimensional images and I can truly appreciate the beauty of the Word of God.
Apart from the Douay Rheims, the Bible translations I have are the RSV CE, the new CTS Bible which is the translation we use in Mass, and a recently purchased Christian Community Bible, Catholic Pastoral edition. Each has it's own benefits, the RSV I use to help me understand the more difficult English you come across on the Douay Rheims, the CTS Bible is good for the fact it is the version used in Mass, and has good chapter introductions and some on page annotation, and some links to other verses in other books of the Bible that relate to that particular passage. The Community Christian edition has more informative notes on each page, it reads almost like a Bible commentary.
I recently noticed that there is a verse in the Douay Rheims version of the first letter of John that is not in the other Bibles. Only one verse, maybe, but it does make me wonder if there are others that are different. I can understand versions being different, in style of English used and if verses are literally translated or paraphrased, but for a verse to be missing, it did surprise me.
In the Douay Rheims, 1 Jn 5:7 it reads:
And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one.
The RSV reads:
And the spirit is the witness, because the spirit is the truth.
The CTS Bible reads:
so that there are three witnesses,
And the Christian Community Bible says:
There are then three testimonies:
It will help to expand these out a bit, so here is each version, in the same order as above, but this time 1 Jn 5:6-7-8
6 This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifieth, that Christ is the truth.
7 And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one.
8 And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, and the water and the blood: and these three are one.
6 This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with water only but with the water and the blood.
7 And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth.
8 There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree.
Jesus Christ who came by water and blood, not with water only, but with water and blood; with the Spirit as another witness - since the Spirit is the truth -
7 so that there are three witnesses,
8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and all of them agree.
Finally, the Christian Community Bible:
6 Jesus Christ was acknowledged through water, but also through blood. Not only water, but water and blood. And the Spirit, too, witnesses to him for the Spirit is truth.
7 There are then three testimonies:
8 the Spirit, the water and the blood, and these three witnesses agree.
It is also fascinating that in verse 6 the Douay Rheims says that it is the Spirit that testifies that Christ is truth, but in all three other versions it is the Spirit who is truth. It may make a difference, it may not, I don't understand, yet, but it is fascinating that the differences are there at all.
Out of curiosity, I thought I would look through the KJV Bible I own. This Bible is a study version, it usefully links verse readings throughout the whole Bible, very helpful. I truly wish for an authoritative Catholic Bible that has similar links. The KJV was a gift, from some dear friends. I find that in discussion with other Christians it is useful to have to hand the version of the Bible they will invariably quote from and to compare with Catholic Bibles. It helps to see where Protestant Bibles have been altered to reflect Protestant teaching and conflict with Catholic teaching*. In fact, the very reason I was initially looking through this particular letter of John was to show where in the Bible you could find evidence of the Trinity. V7, with the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, and these three are one, seems quite clear to me. The KJV Bible says:
6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit and the water and the blood: and these three agree in one
(The italics exist also in the KJV)
Almost identical to the Douay Rheims, but also in verse 6 the KJV translates the Spirit is truth, where the Douay Rheims translates it as Christ is the truth.
It truly is fascinating to get into Scripture in such detail, and it has inspired me to look for courses in my local area where I can join with others to learn more about Scripture, to learn more about the major languages and why translations are presented as they are, and why there is such variation even amongst Catholic Bibles.
*An example of this can be seen in Acts, 19:35 or Romans 11:4. The word image in italics is used in the KJV, intending to imply that Catholics worship images. Frequently the words Idols and Idolators are changed to images and image-worshippers.