In the past week, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked on social media:
What kind of Bible is that?
When I answer:
It’s a journaling Bible!
Then the next question is either, “What is a journaling Bible?” or “Where can I find one?”
Since we began the Waiting on God Bible reading challenge for September, my personal goal has been to spend time journaling in my Bible every day. I think I’ve almost met that goal so far and it has been incredibly wonderful and enjoyable!
I only began to attempt Bible art journaling three months ago and my art is not professional by any means. But taking the time to create words or even drawings in the side margins of my Bible really encourages me to slow down and meditate on the Scriptures. I find myself thinking about the passage throughout the day.
If you aren’t sure what it means to “Bible journal”, then you will want to check out “What Is A Bible Journal?” That post explains several different methods of journaling in a Bible. You can also check out the other benefits I’ve discovered through Bible journaling
But for today’s post, I wanted to share what I’ve learned about journaling Bibles. The versions, the styles, the sizes, all the scoop. You ready?
1. Journaling Bibles and Note-Taking Bibles are not always the same.
When my daughter and I fell in love with Bible journaling a few months back, we began trying to purchase a journaling Bible. Our first purchase was this NIV Note-Taker’s Bible and we ordered it through Amazon:
This Bible is wonderful for writing in the margins during sermons or studying. However, the paper is quite thin and will not hold up to erasing or heavy ink. The margins in this Bible are only 1 inch on the sides and the bottom. Also, there are no lines in the margins. So while it is labelled, a “Note-Taker’s Bible,” honestly, it is a wide margin Bible that can be found in hardcover or leather.
Note: This art is from three months ago. My art is improving, but I just wanted you to see how small a 1 inch margin is.
If your wish is to add script or decorative art to your Bible study, then a Note-Taker’s Bible will not be appropriate for that purpose.
2. Be sure to order or purchase your preferred Bible version.
First, you will want to be sure you are ordering the Bible version of your choice. I grew up reading the King James Version and the “thee’s” and “thou’s” don’t throw me for a loop at all. However, about two years ago, I began using the English Standard Version for all my studying and I was amazed at how much more fluent the reading became to me. I also have a Parallel Bible with 4 versions and often I use Blue Letter Bible or Olive Tree Bible online in order to read through various translations. For more understanding on Bible version, check out Bible Versions 101.
3. All Bibles labelled as “journaling Bibles” are not created equally.
I decided to go on a special shopping adventure just to check out which journaling Bibles were available in the Christian book store. I went to a local Lifeway in my metropolitan area and Lifeway may have more choices in a larger store. Below are the choices I found.
ESV Journaling Bibles
This Bible is a great, affordable option to get started in Bible journaling. However, I felt that while the weight of the paper is definitely thicker than the Note-Taker’s Bible mentioned above, the paper would not hold up to multiple erase marks. I try to do a mock copy on plain scrap paper before writing in my Bible, but erasers are my close friends. So this point matters to me more than it may to you.
Also, the above Bible’s dimensions are 1.5 x 6.5 x 8.2 inches.
This Bible is also available on Amazon:
ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (TruTone, Chestnut, Leaves Design)
The single column of Scripture is the same width as the double column. For Bible art journaling or writers with large handwriting, this interior layout is a bit crammed, in my opinion.
Also, there were other ESV Journaling Bibles available at Lifeway and you can find the same ones on Amazon. However, they are VERY SMALL. Product dimensions for them is 1.2 x 6.8 x 7.5 inches. Barely any space to write or doodle.
KJV Journaling Bible
I did find a King James Version Journaling Bible in Lifeway that I can recommend.
This Bible has the largest dimensions I could find for a journaling Bible. With ample space for writing or art, the KJV Journaling Bible is a win for sure. The price is very reasonable AND it was actually available at Lifeway for purchase or is available at Amazon for ordering. However, this interior layout is not a single column and although the Bible is larger than any others I’ve mentioned so far, the double column of Scripture limits the available space.
The One I Use and LOVE!
This Bible is the same format as the HCBS Notetaking Bible. I’m not sure why the name was changed, but here is the updated link to purchase this same Bible layout.
HCSB Journaling Bible®
This Bible released September 1st, but the publisher generously sent the first available to me. (Bless you, Dave!) I cannot tell you how much I love this Bible, but I’m going to try.
- As a new reader of the Holman Christian Standard, I appreciate the introduction in the front of the Bible, especially the explanation of the textual base and translation philosophy.
- The single column interior layout is much simpler to read than a standard double column.
- I love the paragraph layouts for Psalms, songs or voices. The spacious layout for these sections allows for extra writing or art inspiration. Look at all the space on this example page:
Ok, Friends! There you have it. Two recommendations and one STRONG favorite so far in the journaling Bible department. So many of you were asking me about the Bible, I knew I just had to share the details.
I’d love to hear if you’ve purchased a journaling Bible and your thoughts so far! Or if you have a question about journaling Bibles, I’m happy to try to answer. Everything above in orange font offers more information or purchase information.
Happy Bible journaling!
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