A Cathedral in Print

Read the Bible like never before

The Word on Fire Bible is a groundbreaking new book introducing readers to the strange, colorful world of the Bible.

By surrounding the biblical text with commentary and explanations from Bishop Robert Barron, the Church Fathers, and many of the greatest saints, mystics, and scholars throughout Christian history, The Word on Fire Bible illuminates the biblical text in light of the great tradition.

Key Features

Four major features set The Word on Fire Bible apart from others on the market:

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Its purpose is evangelical

This is not a study Bible. Its goal is not merely to transmit historical knowledge or textual insight. It is also not a devotional Bible, offering self-improvement tips. The mission of this Bible is evangelical. It is meant to introduce not mere facts but a person: Jesus Christ. It aims to do that by unveiling Christ throughout each chapter and verse of the Scriptures, leading readers to a life-changing encounter with him.

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It is intended for new readers of the Bible

The Word on Fire Bible doesn’t presume any experience reading the Bible. It’s designed for people reading the Bible seriously for the first time, who may be unsure of what to make of its many events and characters.

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It highlights the great tradition

Most Bible resources include commentary from one or a small handful of authors, typically contemporary scholars. This Bible plumbs the depths of the entire tradition of Catholic Christianity, including contributions from many of its greatest saints and scholars from the past two thousand years. The Word on Fire Bible reads the Scriptures “from the heart of the Church,” offering the most colorful and diverse range of commentators currently in print.

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It showcases the way of beauty

This Bible showcases what Pope Francis calls the via pulchritudinis (the way of beauty). For many people in our postmodern culture—especially the young—an appeal to the true (“Here is what you should believe”) or to the good (“Here is how you ought to behave”) is often a nonstarter, likely to awaken suspicion and defensiveness. But an appeal to the beautiful (“Just look at this”) is more winsome, less menacing. And so this Bible features many striking works of art as well as literary explanations of those pieces—all designed to introduce the seeker to Christ through the aesthetic splendor that he has inspired.

2,000 Years of Wisdom
Wrapped Around the Scriptures

St. Augustine Commentary

Church Fathers

Throughout the chapters, you'll find commentary from the Church Fathers, the earliest Christian theologians. Because many of the Church Fathers lived during or shortly after the time of the Apostles, these commentaries represent some of the oldest Christian writings in existence aside from the New Testament itself.

St. John Henry Newman Commentary

Recent Authors

You'll also find commentary by more recent saints and spiritual masters. These include people like St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis de Sales, G.K. Chesterton, Fulton Sheen, Flannery O'Connor, and each of the last three popes: St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.

Bishop Barron Commentary

Bishop Barron

This Bible also features a wealth of commentary by Bishop Robert Barron, one of the great preachers and biblical teachers of our time. You'll find both short reflections on particular passages and longer articles spanning multiple pages.

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Via Pulchritudinis

Throughout the Gospels, exquisite selections of art from across the centuries illuminate pertinent Scripture passages. Each piece of artwork is accompanied by an essay (written by Michael Stevens) to connect the work to the Scriptures. As you reflect, you are invited to draw nearer to Christ through what Pope Francis calls the via pulchritudinis (the way of beauty).

Word on Fire Bible Cover Material

Design

Cover Materials

Leather

The leather edition of The Word on Fire Bible features a top grain leather produced in Eppertshausen, Germany, along with the gold foil debossed design. The edges of the book block are finished with brilliant gold foil.

Hardcover

The hardcover edition of The Word on Fire Bible is covered in a rich black cloth manufactured by Italian-based Manifattura Del Seveso. It is beautiful, naturally textured, ruggedly durable, and will resist fading over time. The artwork on the cover and spine is debossed in gold foil.

Paperback

The paperback edition features a scuff-free matte lamination for longevity and the same gold foil-stamped design. This finish will resist fingerprinting and will increase durability.

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Word on Fire Bible Binding

Printing and Binding

Printing and binding was done by L.E.G.O. (Legatoria Editoriale Giovanni Olivotto) in Vicenza, Italy. Founded as a small workshop over 100 years ago, L.E.G.O. has been a leading producer of high-quality books in Europe and has produced many of the premiere Bibles on the market today.

Paper

The Word on Fire Bible is printed on superior quality Arctic Paper milled in Grycksbo, Sweden. Its matte-coated finish provides for perfect rendering of the vibrant, full-color art spreads, while still maintaining the look and feel of an heirloom book throughout.

Smyth-sewn Binding

All editions of the Gospels book are Smyth-sewn, which is the highest quality method of bookbinding available. A key benefit of Smyth-sewn books is their ability to lie flat when open.

Word on Fire Bible Binding

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Word on Fire Bible Angelico Typeface

Angelico Typeface

The Word on Fire Bible uses Angelico, a custom font drawn especially for this Bible. The font is named after Blessed Fra Angelico, a Dominican friar and Early Renaissance fresco painter.

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Word on Fire Bible Cover Design Close Up

Cover Design

The cover design is inspired by traditional Catholic altarpieces and iconography. Embossed in gold foil are the creaturely representations of the four Gospel writers: a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle.

Word on Fire Bible Cover

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Frequently Asked Questions

General

First, its evangelical purpose. This is not a study Bible. Its goal is not merely to transmit historical knowledge or textual insight. It is also not a devotional Bible, offering self-improvement tips. The mission of this Bible is evangelical. It is meant to introduce not mere facts but a person: Jesus Christ. It aims to do that by unveiling Christ throughout each chapter and verse of the Scriptures, leading readers to a life-changing encounter with him.

Second, its accessibility to new readers of the Bible. It doesn't presume any experience with the Bible, catering to those unfamiliar with its many events and characters, while still providing rich insights to even the most biblically literate.

Third, its illuminating commentary. The Word on Fire Bible brings in a chorus of voices from the great theological and spiritual tradition in order to sing the meaning of the Scriptures. The reader will hear from Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Henry Newman, Thérèse of Lisieux, John Paul II, and many other teachers in the way of the Spirit. And since it is a Word on Fire Bible, it also includes the voice of Bishop Robert Barron, one of the great Catholic preachers of our time. It presents the Scriptures “from the heart of the Church,” offering the most colorful range of commentators currently in print.

Fourth, its distinctive beauty. This Bible showcases what Pope Francis calls the via pulchritudinis (the way of beauty). For many people in our postmodern culture—especially the young—an appeal to the true (“Here is what you should believe”) or to the good (“Here is how you ought to behave”) is often a nonstarter, likely to awaken suspicion and defensiveness. But an appeal to the beautiful (“Just look at this”) is more winsome, less menacing. And so this Bible features many striking works of art as well as literary explanations of those pieces—all designed to introduce the seeker to Christ through the aesthetic splendor that he has inspired.

The Word on Fire Bible uses the New Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition (NRSV-CE), which first appeared in 1989 and has received wide acclaim from academics and Church leaders.

The translation received the imprimatur of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1991, granting official approval for Catholic use in private study and devotional reading.

The NRSV-CE stands out among other translations because of its accuracy and readability. It is “as literal as possible” in adhering to the ancient texts and only “as free as necessary” to make the meaning clear in graceful, understandable English.

It’s a wonderful translation—both for those who have never read the Bible and for those who have studied it for years.

Volume I includes the four Gospels. Volume II will include the rest of the New Testament. Future volumes will cover the Old Testament.

This first volume, which includes the four Gospels, debuts on June 15, 2020. The second volume, which will include the rest of the New Testament, is already in production and scheduled to launch in 2021. From there, we're planning several Old Testament volumes, which will follow in the coming years.

The Word on Fire Bible: The Gospels is only available in English.

The Word on Fire Bible will be available for international shipping in 2021.

Design

The Word on Fire Bible is available in leather, hardcover, and paperback editions.

We're convinced The Word on Fire Bible is the highest-quality Catholic Bible ever produced for mass distribution.

The paper is not the traditionally thin Bible paper most readers are used to. It is thick and matte-coated, keeping the ink right at the surface of the page so that images appear vivid and sharp. This makes the art in the Bible appear gorgeous, vibrant, and amazingly clear. But it offers this clarity while retaining the natural look and feel of uncoated paper.

For the leather edition, the cover material is a natural tumbled full-bovine top grain leather. After tanning and tumbling (a process that softens the product) the leather was given a protective coating to protect against water and scratches. Unlike split-grain leather, a lower grade used by virtually all other Bibles, our top grain leather will not crack and fall apart over time.

The spine of the Bible includes raised hubs, which add a traditional touch. Features on the spine, cover artwork, and lettering have also been debossed into the leather surface and foil stamped in metallic gold.

In terms of binding, all versions of The Word on Fire Bible are Smyth-sewn, which is the highest quality method of bookbinding available. Rather than relying on glue to hold individual pages in place, Smyth-sewn books feature smaller booklets which are each printed individually, then stitched into the book block with thread. Smyth-sewing is the true mark of a book that is built to last, and is the standard for library and archival quality bookmaking where durability is paramount. Smyth-sewn books also lay flat on a surface when open, which was a desirable feature for our Bible.

Other features include a gold ribbon bookmark (leather and hardcover editions only); ornate metallic gold ink, which adorns select design elements throughout (pull quotes, headlines, chapter numbers); and HUV gloss coating over special artistic elements for added visual emphasis.

Each edition of The Word on Fire Bible: The Gospels features text in a 9pt font, which is larger than in most other Bibles, with significant line spacing to allow for an easier reading experience.

Commentary

The first volume of The Word on Fire Bible includes over 90,000 words of commentary, which means there is roughly a 1:1 ratio of commentary to biblical text. Roughly two-thirds of the commentary is from Bishop Barron with the other third from saints, mystics, artists, and scholars.

Unlike some study Bibles, which insert just a few standalone pages of commentary at select points throughout the text, the commentary in The Word on Fire Bible is woven in and around every passage of the Scriptures. Each page of this Bible was custom designed to emphasize beauty and illuminate the Scriptures.

The Word on Fire Bible includes includes commentary from a dazzling range of saints, mystics, artists, and scholars, including:

Church Fathers
St. Augustine
St. John Chrysostom
St. Cyril of Alexandria
St. Irenaeus
St. Gregory the Great
St. Hilary of Poitiers
St. Clement of Alexandria
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
St. Gregory of Nazianzus
St. Gregory of Nyssa
St. Ignatius of Antioch
St. Jerome
St. Justin Martyr
St. Theophylact

Contemporary Authors
Fulton Sheen
G.K. Chesterton
St. Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Merton
St. John Henry Newman
St. Francis de Sales
Hans Urs von Balthasar
René Girard
Flannery O'Connor
Pope St. John Paul II
Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
Pope Francis

Artists
Albrecht Dürer
Andrei Rublev
Caravaggio
Claude Monet
Dirck van Baburen
Duccio
Fra Angelico
Francisco de Zurbarán
Georg Pencz
Georges Seurat
Gerard Valck
Giotto
Giulio Bonasone
Hans Memling
Hendrick ter Brugghen
Henry Ossawa Tanner
Jacopo Tintoretto
Károly Ferenczy
Leonardo da Vinci
Lippo Memmi
Martin Schongauer
Masaccio
Matthias Grünewald
Michelangelo
Raphael
Rembrandt
Sandro Botticelli
Taddeo di Bartolo
Vincent van Gogh