Review: The New American Bible Revised Edition – Black Zipper Duradera Compact Edition

70165Again, I am reviewing another product from Oxford University Press. This must be the best Bible from Oxford University Press for on-the-go Catholics like me. It is The New American Bible Revised Edition, Black Zipper Duradera Compact Edtion. It is the same Bible translation as the Oxford Catholic Study Bible.

I was very impressed when I first opened the Bible. It was shrink wrapped and to my surprise, it came in a very sturdy slipcase. This surprised me because the Bible itself is in the black duradera cover. So, the sturdy slipcase adds another layer of protection to the Word of God. I wished the Revised Standard Version Catholic Bible-Compact Edition by Oxford University Press would have a slipcase as I always have to be very careful not to have the page edges crushed when putting it in my bag with other books.

As mentioned above, the Bible is inside of a protective black duradera zipper cover. green-zipper-cover-new-american-bible4122lgDuradera is a durable synthetic leather. It sort of has that feel to authentic leather. The zipper has a Miraculous Medal on the zipper pull. If I were the designer of the zipper cover, I would have chosen a cross instead. The Bible is God’s word. Mary is not the primary figure of the Bible. This is not an important detail to the Bible, but I just wanted to point that out. The St. Joseph NABRE zippered Bible has a cross on its zipper pull (see picture on right). Beside that detail, I cannot compare the two as I have never held a St. Joseph NABRE Personal Size Bible yet.

Like the Revised Standard Version Catholic Bible-Compact Edition  (from now on referred to as the RSV Bible), this Bible has a gold ribbon marker and a presentation page. It also includes the Common Catholic Prayers and the Table of Weights and Measures like the RSV Bible. Unlike the RSV Bible, this Bible includes the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), the Lectionary Readings table and gilded edges.

The NABRE is my favourite translation after the NRSV-CE. I often cross reference the two translations when one has a word or story that I don’t understand clearly. However, what I do admire about the NABRE are the subheadings that indicate the story. Unlike the RSV-CE, there are the subheadings before each story (instead of just a space in between two stories) and a heading between each section. It even includes clear notes indicated by an asterisk in the text. This is a feature I see in most NABRE bibles. It really helps the reader gain a better grasp on the Bible text, especially for the more difficult ones. There is also a table of cross references to a passage that is found also in another book, after every Biblical book. Going more forward, there is an outline of the major events in before every Biblical book.

One thing I do have the say that like the RSV Bible, this NABRE Bible’s text is a bit small. However, it is something I did expect from a compact Bible. Bible maps would be a nice addition to this edition. As mentioned, I would put a cross instead of a miraculous medal on the zipper.

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In Summary

Product: The New American Bible Revised Edition – Black Zipper Duradera Compact Edition

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Format: Print, duradera zippered cover

Imprimatur: Yes

ISBN: 9780195298024

Dimensions: 4-1/2 x 6-1/8 inches

Published: June 2009

Pages: 1504



  • Compact, easily put into a purse or backpack for school or workplace or retreats
  • Love the colourful page of common Catholic Prayers
  • Includes the Dei Verbum document
  • Tables of weights and measures of the Bible
  • Ribbon marker
  • Gilded edges
  • Zippered… no more worries about wrinkled pages while Bible is inside of backpack
  • Contain notes and references section after every Biblical Book
  • Lectionary tables for easy reference to Sunday and weekly Mass readings
  • Slipcase adds protection to the Bible


  • Text a bit small; not the best for those who don’t have good eyesight
  • Not a big fan of the miraculous medal on the zipper pull. A cross would be preferable.

On “The Catholic Man’s” Scale

★★★★★ 5/5

I really love this edition of the NABRE Bible. It is so convenient to bring on retreats and when travelling. I used this Bible when going to the Lift Jesus Higher Rally this past March. I hope to use this edition again at the Steubenville Conference this year in Oshawa. I do intend to use this edition as my official travelling Bible due to its zippered case and slipcase. The RSV Bible I plan to leave at home as it is the only RSV translation I have on my shelf.

BONUS! I even added the Rainbow Bible Tabs that Tabbies sent m58347-samplee. The size and colours work PERFECTLY with this Bible. The only thing was that the first few and last few tabs of the Bible are bent because of the zipper, but that’s no big deal. I attached them after taking pictures of them for this blog.


Review: Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible


After a very long and busy break, I will be back reviewing Catholic products. I have a few I
will review and those will slowly roll out.

I received a parcel from Oxford containing two of its published books, the Oxford Catholic Study Bible (softcover) and the Oxford Bible Atlas. After months of using these two books, I finally have enough information to review them. I think these two books go well hand in hand for Catholics who want to dig deeper into scripture. However, today I want to look at the Catholic Study Bible first and the next post will be of the Oxford Bible Atlas.

This is one of the thickest bibles I have on my shelf right now but perhaps a very useful one. Lately, I have been trying my best to write reflections on a part of the gospels before I go to sleep every night. I often use my NRSV Catholic Edition Bible by CBS. However, sometimes there are some verses that I need a little more understanding of the context. The NRSV by CBS do provide very short footnotes but they are sometimes not what I need. Since the time I got a hold of a copy of The Catholic Study Bible, I have often used it to grasp a better understanding of certain Bible texts. The footnotes are great and most of the time, its language is easy to understand. There are also cross references to other parts of Bible texts. The reader can gain an even better understanding in the 574-paged Reading Guide. There are page references to the Reading Guide throughout the Bible itself. On the back of the Bible, it mentions the n411vqcshi2l-_sx344_bo1204203200_ewly expanded Reading Guide in this third edition featuring the new guides for The Pentateuch, Chronicles, Maccabees, Lamentations, Baruch, Tobit and Judith, The Gospel of Mark and Acts. The footnotes and Reading Guide aren’t the only great “Bible luxuries”. Short essays charts and drawings are scattered throughout the Bible and help explain certain Bible texts and bring them to life.

The Bible text itself is from the NABRE which I do own a copy by a different publisher. I wish they could make a Catholic Study Bible for the NRSV version too. However, I do understand how much work must be put in to create just one version of a Study Bible.

One of the things that I look at when reviewing a Bible is certainly the Appendix. This Bible contains many of the standard parts that appear in most Bibles including a glossary, table of measures and weights and an index. However, the standard features listed seem to be more expanded. The glossary itself seems to go more in depth than most that I’ve looked through. The table of measures and weights contains seem to be expanded. It contains conversions from Greek, the NABRE term, Equivalence, U.S. units and metric units (for Canadians!). One feature that I believe is found in most NABRE Bibles is the Lectionary table. I find this feature quite useful. I do not purchase the Sunday Missal in English every year. I often use an app on my phone or use my Vietnamese Missal to get the readings to prepare for Mass. However, there are some days when I find the Lectionary Readings get confusing on which readings to use. For example, the Palm Sunday procession of Year B contains two choices of either Mark of John (yes, its in the Roman Missal). Yet, hand Missals may omit the choice of John. Therefore, before, when I did not have a copy of the Roman Missal, Study Edition (to be reviewed later), I would often turn to the Lectionary Table. Or, the Christmas Readings (for Dec. 24 alone) for example, contain three: Christmas Vigil, Christmas at Midnight, Christmas at Dawn. Again, many hand missals may omit a set which becomes confusing. The Lectionary table would come to the rescue again!

An index of the reading guide is also provided which makes it very useful in finding a certain topic. It limits the time flipping through 574 to find a topic.

I was also amazed at the Concordance of the New American Bible. I expected it to be short the one of the NRSV Catholic Edition by CBS. But I was wrong! The concordance is almost 100-pages. This may be a feature I may use often when writing Spiritual reflections.

Another feature which I love about his Bible are the last 32-pages of coloured maps. Why did I emphasize coloured you might ask. Well, I have noticed that when a Bible is printed in black and white, they contain either no maps or black and white maps. Oxford’s maps are very detailed and the colour brings it to life. The maps clearly depict the changes of the Holy Land throughout Biblical times. A five-paged index is provided with the maps in the last pages.

Reversing to the beginning… I looked for the Imprimatur, a feature that I always look at in Catholic Books I review on this blog. It took me some time to scroll through the tiny text but all the Imprimatur and permission to print by the Catholic Church was on the fourth page. There are three separate approvals in this Bible. First is one for the New Testament of the NABRE which contains a Nihil Obstat and an Imprimatur. The Old Testament contains a short paragraph indicating the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approval with the approval of Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I who was the president of the USCCB at the time (2010). The general and introductory articles, reading guides, charts, maps, timelines, measures and weights, glossary and index received a separate approval in 2015 by the Very Reverend Ronald Hicks, then Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

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In Summary

Product: The Catholic Study Bible, Third Edition, NABRE

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Format: Print, paperback (also available in a hardcover version and a leather binding version)

Dimensions  (approximate): 9 inches x 6.25 inches x 2 inches

Imprimatur: Yes (for both the NABRE bible and the notes itself)

ISBN: 9780190267230



  • Reading Guide available in the front
  • Includes 32 pages of coloured maps
  • Glossary in the back
  • Tables of measures and weights
  • Index to reading guide
  • Concordance to the New American Bible included
  • Lectionary Reading reference pages
  • Reading Guide (RG) references available throughout the Bible text itself
  • Detailed footnotes helps reader to understand the Bible texts better
  • Sidebar essays, charts and drawings are provided throughout the Bible texts
  • The Bible bears the appropriate Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur and even assures approval by the USCCB


  • Large in size
  • Heavy, not the best Bible for travellers
  • The softcover version is best to have a book wrap cover to add protection. Frequent use may wear down the softcover Bible quickly

On “The Catholic Man’s” Scale

★★★★★ 5/5

I absolutely love Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible Third Edition. This Bible contains so many features that I have not mentioned all of them in this review. The Bible is good for those who want to dig deeper in the Word of God taking into consideration its spiritual and historical context. It is not the best Bible to travel but one of the best to buy for your Catholic Library.

Thank you Oxford for allowing me to review this Bible!