Which is the Best Bible Translation: Douay-Rheims vs. King James

The Holy Scriptures have been translated in numerous throughout the generations. There are seemingly countless English translations of the Holy Bible and if you are a sincere Christian, you will admit finding the right translation can be daunting.



Which is the Best Bible Translation

Douay-Rheims vs. King James

King James VersionAbout  55% of Americans read the King James versions of the Bible. According to some sources, King James Bible is one of the most influential books in English language and the standard for English-speaking Protestants. It has a great influence on the English language, literature, and culture of the last centuries. About James King Version history and importance can read on this link.

Others claim The Douay-Rheims Version is the most accurate English translation of the Bible and it is the best and safest version of the Bible in English. More about Douay-Rheims translation can find in the article The Douay-Rheims Bible Reviews.

douay-rheims vs. james kingEnglish is not my mother tongue and I don’t use English Bible translation as the main source for reading and studying the Word of God. But to satisfy my curiosity  I asked my American friend for the opinion which is the best Bible translation and about  Douay-Rheims vs. King James version. My friend is Catholic and he sent me a very interesting answer. I decided to share with you a part of his letter.

The letter of my Catholic friend

We should be thankful for Holy Mother Church as there is actually a codified Bible that is among all other English translated Bibles, the official translation of the Roman Catholic Church – the Douay Rheims Bible. This Bible is the English translation of what was called the Latin Vulgate – which is a work of translation from Hebrew, to Greek, to Latin. A word for word this translation, written by St. Jerome, contains the actual and earliest language of the Prophets of the Old Testament and  Apostles of Jesus Christ of the New Testament. It is this Bible that the Douay Rheims comes from as the Latin is translated into a nearly perfect reflection in the English language. As DRBO.ORG explains,

Latin Vulgate Bible –  the only authentic and official version

Pope Damasus assembled the first list of books of the Bible at the Roman Council in 382 A.D.  He commissioned St.  Jerome to translate the original Greek and Hebrew texts into Latin, which became known as the Latin Vulgate Bible and was declared by the Church to be the only authentic and official version, in 1546.

This translation also holds the Church’s special approval:

The Council of Trent (Italy) in 1546 declared it to be the only authentic and official version of the Latin Rite: ” The same Sacred and Holy Synod …  hereby declares and enacts that the same well-known Old Latin Vulgate edition …  is to be held authentic in public readings, disputations, sermons,  and expositions and that no one shall dare or presume to reject it under any pretense whatsoever.”   It is still the official Catholic Bible today.

The Catechism of the Bible

We also have, what is known as, The Catechism of the Bible which helps clear our understanding of this Holy Translation in question and answer format on the Douay Bible section:

1.  Is there a Catholic translation of the Bible in English?

Yes, it is the translation known as the Douay-Rheims Version. It was translated from the Latin Vulgate.

2.  Why is it called “Douay-Rheims”?

Because it was begun at Rheims and finished at Douay in 1582-1609 by a group of English priests exiled in France.

3.  What happened in the sixteenth century to cause the publication of a reliable and accurate translation?

During the Protestant “Deformation” in England many false translations had been made, hence there was a great necessity of placing in the hands of Catholics a reliable and accurate translation.

4.  Is it true that the Bible was never translated into vernacular languages before the Protestant “Deformation”?

It is not true; the first translation known in England was the translation into Anglo-Saxon made by Venerable Bede in the eighth century.  There is a Gothic translation, made by a certain bishop Ulfilas around 1380.  The first German translation predates Luther by a good fifty years.

5.  Why do Protestants assert that the Bible was never translated before the Deformation?

Through a mixture of ignorance and bad faith.

6.  What is the most well known of the false English Protestant translations?

It is the version called the “King James,” named after the King who commissioned it in 1604.  It was finished in 1611.  It is still the most popular of the Protestant Bibles in the English speaking world.

7.  What is wrong with the “King James” version?

Like all the Protestant Bibles, it is incomplete and poorly translated.  It is a “Pick and choose” version.  Such is the real lack of respect of the “Reformers” for the word of God!

What is your opinion, Which is the best Bible translation: Douay-Rheims or  King James? Do you agree with my friend?

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