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Press Room

April 12, 2014

The Catholic Youth Bible

by Mary Harwell Sayler with Bible Reviewer

The Catholic Youth Bible from Saint Mary’s Press encourages young people to “Pray It,” “Study It,” and “Live It” as they read the Bible and apply scriptures to their lives. As the first page says, “This book can change your life.”

The “Welcome!” section explains “What Makes this Youth Bible CATHOLIC?” by saying, “For starters, its introductions and articles reflect Catholic interpretation of the Bible and make connections to Catholic beliefs and traditions. In addition, this Bible contains all seventy-three books and letters that form a complete Catholic Bible, seven more than most other Bibles…. Does this mean that other Christians cannot use The Catholic Youth Bible? Not at all. When it comes to the Scriptures, Christians from all cultures and denominations have more in common than they have differences.”

"Catholic" generally refers to the Roman Catholic Church, but the word also means "universal." To give you an idea of the type of insights you might expect, a “Catholic Social Teaching” sidebar on “The Cycle of Violence” explains, “Cain was a murderer. Some might say that he deserved the death penalty. But in Genesis 4:15, God marks Cain so that he is protected from being killed. God seeks to stop the cycle of violence."

As an example of a "Cultural Connection,” the sidebar for 1 Kings 5:10 tells readers, “The first Book of Kings says, ‘Solomon’s wisdom surpasses that of all the peoples of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt.' ...Ancient southern Egypt included the country of modern Ethiopia. The people in these countries must have been well known for their wisdom in order for the biblical author to use them in a comparison with Solomon.”

Also regarding wisdom, an “Introduction to the Wisdom and Poetry Books” of the Bible says “In general, the wisdom writings have these characteristics,” which include “a search for harmony and the meaning of life” and “a fundamental belief that good and wise living is rewarded, whereas evil and foolish ways lead to ruin.”

Other features insert notes on “Praying with the Bible,” which help readers to “discover that God’s story is our story. God’s life is intimately connected with our lives.” Therefore, this section also provides “Tips for Praying with the Bible” and information about Lectio Divina, “a very ancient art for praying with the Bible… a prayer technique for reading the Bible slowly and contemplatively, allowing God’s word to shed insights on your life.”

Another series of page inserts concern “Living Biblical Principles” where readers are encouraged to:

• See God in Everything
• Trust in God Always
• Stand Up for the Poor and Vulnerable
• Be Courageous
• Serve Humbly
• Share the Faith

A section of photographs of biblical images will help young people to envision various items and places in the Holy Lands, but more importantly, lists of “The Names of God in the Old Testament” and the “Titles of Jesus of Nazareth” can help readers to deepen their faith and get to know the nature and character of our loving God.