Tag: scripture in cards

Scripture Sources and Inclusive Language

Why does The Printery House use the NRSV for its Scripture quotations?

Holy BiblePeople sometimes ask us why we use Scripture quotations from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (NRSV). This question often comes from Catholics, who are more familiar with the New American Bible. The New American Bible texts are more familiar to most U.S. Catholics because that is the version we hear proclaimed at Mass. However, the NRSV text is also approved by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops for use by Catholics in private (non-liturgical) settings. (See http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations/index.cfm). The primary reason we choose to use the NRSV is because both Catholics and Protestants accept it.

Principles of Translation

Here is some information from the preface to the New Revised Standard Version:

Version History:

  • King James Version, 1611
  • American Standard Version, 1901, based on earlier revisions of KJV
  • Revised Standard Version, 1952
  • New Revised Standard Version, 1989

“…the Revised Standard Version gained the distinction of being officially authorized for use by all major Christian churches: Protestant, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox.”

The translators of the NRSV include men and women, Protestants and Catholics. The group also includes “an Eastern Orthodox member, and a Jewish member who serves in the Old Testament section.”*

Making Choices

Our goal is to reach as wide an audience as possible. Although we use the Catholic Edition of the NRSV, we generally avoid quoting from books which Protestants do not accept as canonical Scripture. This would include the books of 1 and 2 Maccabees, Baruch, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, and parts of the books of Esther and Daniel. For a good summary the differences between Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Bibles, see the Christian Bible Reference Site. (http://www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_bibles.htm)

Inclusive Language?

In creating the NRSV translation, the principle followed was “As literal as possible, as free as necessary.”* The translators paraphrased only rarely. They did so mainly for the sake of inclusive language. That is, they often shifted passages using “he” or “him” in reference to human beings into the plural. A good example is Psalm 1:1: “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked…” (NRSV). In other translations this verse is rendered in the original singular: “Blessed indeed is the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked…” (from The Revised Grail Psalms: A Liturgical Psalter © 2010, Conception Abbey/The Grail, GIA Publications, Inc., exclusive agent. www.giamusic.com All rights reserved.). The translators of the NRSV used inclusive paraphrases wherever they felt it did not obscure “the historic structure and literary character of the original.”*

God and Pronouns

On the issue of using gender-neutral language when referring to God, we do acknowledge current Catholic Church teaching on the general principle that God has no gender:

“In no way is God in man’s image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective ‘perfections’ of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 370; see Is 49:14-15; Is 66: 13; Ps 131:2-3; Hos 11:1-4; Jer 3:4- 19).

However, we also recognize the difficulty of creating an appropriate language for God. Our concern is to remain faithful to our mission and to our Church while reaching as many people as possible. Because of this, we prefer translations which have been approved for Catholic use. These tend to be translations which respect the grammar and style of the original languages. This includes the traditional use of masculine pronouns to refer to God. We choose to quote the Scriptures as given in the NRSV because it is commonly accepted among mainline Christian denominations. We do realize that this will not please everyone. The English language continues to evolve. If a newer, more inclusive translation becomes widely accepted, we may consider adopting it.


For the present, we will continue to use the NRSV. If you would like us to produce a card for you with a Scripture quotation from a different translation of the Bible, we will be happy to do so. You would, however, need to pay our customization fee. We must also be able to obtain permission from the copyright owner to reproduce the copyrighted material for sale. If your request involves custom calligraphy, the fee will be greater.


* Unless otherwise indicated, quotations above are from the preface to the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN.

Br. David is a monk of Conception Abbey and webmaster for The Printery House.

Holy Cards Tell Ancient Story of Faith

Holy CardsSending Holy Cards is one way that Christians can help one another to regain a sense of heritage and continuity with those who went before. Holy cards first became popular as far back as the 15th century. Since then, images of Christ, the Blessed Mother, biblical characters and saints of the church have graced the cards making them a great way to keep the story of God’s work on earth a present matter of thought.

Holy Cards sometimes bear the images of biblical accounts. Cards depict scenes from the bible such as King David playing psalms upon a lyre, Jesus as the Good Shepherd, the Last Supper or the risen Christ appearing to Peter to ask him “Do you love Me?”

Other cards represent ancient saints of the church. St Anthony of Padua with the infant Jesus or St Francis of Assisi preaching to the birds are popular themes. Oftentimes, holy cards with icons of the saints include a brief biographical history of the saint on the inside. When they don’t, it is a great opportunity for the sender to enclose a little bit about the saint for the recipient to read. Think of it as curating church history.

Since church history is an ongoing tale, some Holy Cards have to do with more modern church figures such as Popes or even modern visitations like Our Lady of Korea. The story of the church extends back to the Garden of Eden when God first called men into fellowship with Himself, it became formalized when Jesus was raised and sent His Spirit to earth and it continues down to today through the lives of church leaders and individual members.

Sending Holy Cards is also a great way to pass along well-loved prayers of the saints. Many believers who went before us penned words of devotion and commitment that still find an echo in believing hearts today. It is also a great chance to remind one another of the creeds which guide us in faith and practice. Too many modern-day Christians don’t know the words to the Nicene Creed and the Apostle’s Creed – statements which have for centuries united Christians everywhere.

The Printery House invites you to take a look at their extensive selection of Holy Cards and icon reproductions. They would love to join with you in passing along the baton of faith and church history. Do something a little different. Do something a little more meaningful. The next time you want to send a card – send a Holy Card.