These two excellent volumes are in many ways very similar. Both contain the entire text of the Bible, both testaments, with about half of each page blank, with lines on which the readers can make notes.

Each volume has footnotes to the passages of the Bible. The Ave Maria volume has references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Both also have references to other biblical passages which are related to those on the page, whether from the Hebrew Scriptures or the New Testament.

The Ave Maria volume has short essays: an overview of the Bible by John Bergsma, an introduction to the Old Testament by Anthony Pagliarini and an introduction to the New Testament by Sarah Christmyer. At the end of the volume are helpful articles on "Eight Steps to Becoming a Bible Reader," "How to Love the Word" and reading plans for Advent, Lent and throughout the year.

My one caveat to this otherwise very good volume comes in the introduction to the New Testament in which the author speaks of "the old broken covenant" between God and the Jewish people. Neither Jesus, the New Testament or official Catholic teaching proclaim this falsehood.

God's covenant with the Jews was and is irrevocable — as St. Paul affirmed in his Letter to the Romans and the Catholic Church has officially proclaimed in the Second Vatican Council's declaration "Nostra Aetate" and subsequent official statements.

The Ignatius volume does not have such helpful short essays but it does include color maps of the Middle East in the time of Abraham and Sarah; the route(s) of the Exodus; Israel in the times of Joshua, Saul and the kingdom, both united and divided between Israel and Judah; the Near East under the Assyrians and Babylonians; the Holy Land in the times of the Maccabees and the Greco-Roman period; Palestine and Jerusalem in the time of Jesus; the journeys of Paul; the early churches throughout the Mediterranean Sea; and the Holy Land today.

A final note that may help readers decide which of these volumes to purchase is that the Ave Maria volume is larger and heavier, which provides more room for taking notes but makes it harder to hold.

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Fisher is a professor of theology at St. Leo University in Florida.