St. Jerome once said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”. In light of this fact, the first and most important book for beginning a Catholic library is the Bible. I know this suggestion may seem a bit redundant, but it is surprising how many Catholics either do not own a Bible or own incomplete Bibles which are missing certain essential books. A few points to mention about the Bible. First off, the Bible is not a “book” in the strict sense. In reality, it is more of a library; a series of books compiled over a thousand-year period. It is comprised of two main bodies of collected works: The Old Testament which details the history of the people of Israel and the New Testament which articulates the development of Christianity. All of the books in the Bible began as “oral traditions” meaning they were passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth many years before being recorded in written form. The oldest book of the Old Testament was written around the year 745 BC and the last book of the New Testament was written roughly 90AD. Thus, the scriptures represent some 800 years of theological reflection although we know the stories and teachings of the Bible are much older starting with Abraham’s covenant approximately 2300BC. The Bible as we know it today was approved by the Catholic Church in 405AD under the papacy of Pope Innocent I, although in reality, the books suggested by Innocent had already been widely accepted in the West by 397AD when St. Augustine presided over the Council of Carthage. The Church defined the Bible as possessing 73 divinely inspired books, 46 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. This was universally accepted in both the Western and Eastern Catholic Church by the end of the 5th century and would remain the case until the rise of the Protestant heresy in the 15th century. Sadly, Martin Luther removed seven books of the Old Testament which he deemed “not equal to the Scriptures” dubbing these books “Apocryphal”. Till this day, Protestant Bibles are still missing these seven books numbering their canon at 66 books as opposed to the complete 73. Many Catholics are not aware of this important difference. This is why it is vital not only for every Catholic to own a Bible, but also to own a correct edition of the Bible, namely, the New American Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible or the Douay–Rheims Bible. Finally, the Bible is the premier work of the Church. It is among her proudest spiritual gems, a treasure she has safe-guarded for over a millennium. The Bible is a Catholic work, a fruit of the Church’s contemplation on the salvation of Jesus Christ. This is the main reason it should be the crowing jewel of any Catholic library.