Critics of Protestantism/bible
Andrew, you voiced your dislike for so many different ways of looking at the bible, and I must agree. What bible version do you prefer and what part of it do you think is most misunderstood? Thank you
Hello and thanks for your question. I do not, by an means, know everything about this subject but I will tell you what I know and what I believe, and we can discuss it. I guess there are three criteria to consider: 1. Translation, 2. Authority, 3. Explanatory notes. Let me elucidate.
1. Some translations are more beautiful, more accurate and more comprehensible than others. For example, the Anglican King James Bible is considered the most beautiful translation in the English language, and many of its phrases have entered the subconscious of every Anglophone. However, the accuracy of its translation has been seriously called into question. The Catholic Douay Rheims Bible was written slightly before the King James Bible and has been shown to have influenced the King James translators in countless instances. Its language is similarly beautiful and it was the official Catholic Bible in English for centuries. However, some of its language may not be readily comprehensible to a modern person. I grew up with the New American Bible, the only version used in the Catholic Mass since the 1970s. This was written by a renowned interdenominational team of linguists, archeologists, clerics and experts of all stripes. I have not heard any criticism of the translation, and I have found it to be extremely well-written and serious. That is my preferred text to read.
2. There is the issue of authority. I would read Protestant translations for intellectual curiosity and comparison but I would not rely on one as the primary basis of my Bible reading. Very frequently, Protestant translations are rendered in a way as to question certain Catholic doctrines, such as the role of the bishops, the virgin birth, the authority of the Church, etc. In the second place, Protestant Bibles lack 7 books that had been part of Christian Bibles since the canon was established. Protestant Bibles are truncated and often marred by sectarian bias. I only consider a Catholic Bible authoritative.
3. If that can be said for translations, which by nature only offer a limited range for mischief, the potential for trouble is even greater in the explanatory notes, where denominational interpretations can be given free rein. The Bible is large and confusing. Contrary to Protestant theology, everything in the Bible is not readily apparent. If it were, there wouldn't be 30,000 Protestant denominations. Of the Catholic Bibles, the Douay Rheims has few notes, although they are meaty. The New American Bible is replete with notes and cross references, and the vast majority are excellent and informative. The problem is that a few notes contain a modernist and skeptical interpretation. For instance, it says that the Book of Daniel was written close to the time of Christ, i.e. after the prophecies foretold in its pages. The NAB notes apparent contradictions in the Bible, without explaining why there are not really contradictions. How these things got past the notice of the bishops I don't know, but they poison the whole thing. You can't have notes in a Bible telling the reader that the Bible is unreliable. That undermines the foundation of the Faith! A revised edition was recently published, but I can't speak to whether those problematic notes were removed. For explanatory notes though, I am told that the Navarre Bible can't be beaten. Written by the University of Navarre in Spain, the notes are so voluminous that each book in the Bible had to be published separately. I'm told they are all excellent and utterly orthodox. I only have one volume- the Book of Revelation- and I can say that it is an incredible achievement. So, I use
several translations. I read the NAB for edification. If I want to explore a passage in depth, I will consult the Douay Rheims, the Navarre and online Protestant translations for comparison. The problem in my mind is what Bible to give to a young person of average intelligence. They'd probably reject the Douay for its old-fashioned language. The NAB contains passages detrimental to their faith. And the Navarre is just too big. I'm still seeking the answer to that question.