About the Douay Rheims Bible 

If you’re at a loss for how to pronounce the French name of this bible, well… you’re not alone. The proper pronunciation is “doo-ay reemz”, with the stress on “reemz” . At first glance, it seems odd that an English bible has a French name; however, given the history of the translation, it’s not so strange. 

During the Reformation, it became extremely difficult for Catholics in England to practice their faith and many of them left the country, seeking refuge in France. There, they undertook various efforts to help their fellow countrymen left in England, and the Douay Rheims, one of the first English translations of the bible, was one of their great achievements. The bible’s name is taken from the two cities in northern France where the translation was first published (the New Testament published in 1582 in Reims and the Old Testament published in 1609 in Douai). 

Since the text of the Douay Rheims was translated in the same period that Shakespeare composed his plays, there are some striking similarities of language. Notably, the “Thees and Thous” have been retained. However, in the mid-18th century, the text underwent a revision by the esteemed English Bishop, Richard Challoner. He re-worked the text to make language more accessible and the style more readable, and yet managed to preserve the integrity of the text. 

The Douay Rheims remains a very literal translation. It is still lauded today both as a very faithful translation, and for its more traditional style.

Sample Passages:

But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. Matthew 18:15 

I will feed my sheep: and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost: and that which was driven away, I will bring again: and I will bind up that which was broken, and I will strengthen that which was weak… Ezekiel 34:15-16


Translation Ezekiel 34: 15-16 Matthew 18: 15
Douay Rheims Bible
I will feed my sheep: and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost: and that which was driven away, I will bring again: and I will bind up that which was broken, and I will strengthen that which was weak…

But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.
Buy a Douay Rheims Bible
NABRE - New American Bible Revised Edition
I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest—oracle of the Lord God. The lost I will search out, the strays I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, and the sick I will heal…

If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
Buy a NABRE Bible
RSV - Revised Standard Version
I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back they strayed, and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak…

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
Buy a RSV Bible
NRSV - New Revised Standard Edition
I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak…

If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one
Buy a NRSV Bible
GNT - Good News Translation
I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will find them a place to rest. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. I will look for those that are lost, bring back those that wander off, bandage those that are hurt, and heal those that are sick...
If your brother sins against you, go to him and show him his fault. But do it privately, just between yourselves. If he listens to you, you have won your brother back. Buy a Good News Bible