Question: I've noticed that some titles of the Bible call themselves a version, like the King James Version or the Revised Standard Version. Does this mean that Protestants have one version of the Bible and Catholics another? Also, I've heard that all the books in the Bible were written in Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic, but that must mean that all English versions are actually translations, right?
Answer: Yes, every Bible in English is a translation of a collection of books originally written in Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic; but, then, the same can be said for each version of the Bible since translation and version mean the same thing. Unfortunately, some connotations for the word version make it sound like someone's slant on the truth, as in your version, my version, or their version of a story, but that's not the case with the Bible. We do not have a Protestant version and a Catholic version of the Biblical texts, but we do have various editions that include additions, such as maps, footnotes, indexes, study guides, and commentaries. Also, the headings, subheadings, and even the designations of chapters and verses that most publishers add are additions, too, since the original manuscripts do not have such divisions.
From what I hear, Catholics are afraid to get a Protestant Bible, while Protestants fear a Catholic Bible, but the truth is, a Bible is a Bible and is meant to be read as God's word to Christians everywhere. However, you do have to be careful about additions since any supplements to the scriptural text may have a strong denominational slant. This makes "Imprimatur" on the copyright page particularly important in letting you know a Catholic Bishop has approved the additions to that edition.
When it comes to the Bible text itself, you have many choices of translations or versions and should choose the one you prefer. Catholics scholars may translate one version and Protestants scholars another, but both do their best to be true to the original intent of Holy Scripture. Both also treat the biblical text as the inspired word of God. True, a translator's church background or personal beliefs might influence the choices he or she makes in translating this word to that, especially if more than one meaning can be used correctly in its proper context. But most Bible translators work as part of a team. Furthermore, many Protestant Bibles resulted from interdenominational efforts of ecumenical scholars who conscientiously avoid denominational bias.
Many Catholics say they prefer the Protestant produced Revised Standard Version (RSV) over the New American Bible, even though the latter was translated by Catholic scholars and is read during Mass in most Roman Catholic Churches. Unless you get an RSV with Apocrypha, though, you will not have all of the books contained in a Catholic Bible. The New Testament books will be the same, but, as previously mentioned in Bible Talk, the Old Testament of a Catholic Bible contains more books than a Protestant Bible, and personally, I don't want to miss a single one.