What Is A Journaling Bible

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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?"

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:

NIV Note-Taker’s Bible

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.

note takers bible 2 note takers bible 1

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 bible in box

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.

esv journaling bible open

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.

kjv journaling bible

KJV Journaling Bible:

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.

  1. 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.
  2. The single column interior layout is much simpler to read than a standard double column.
  3. 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:

Verse 9 gives us such a great starting point to remember how big God is. "He keeps us alive and does not allow our feet to slip." I don't know what kind of life restoration you need. But no matter what kind you need, I know Who will provide it for you. Just take #onemorestep . Because #GodIsBigger

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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  1. Thanks for sharing this with us! I’ve been interested in journaling Bibles but haven’t taken the leap yet. So when I do, I’ll be coming back. 🙂

  2. What pens/markers do you use that don’t bleed through the page?

    1. I’ve been using the Zig Writer and watercolor pencils. I have used the Tombow dual brush markers, but with heavy coloring, it will bleed. Someone suggested Copic markers to me yesterday, so I’m thinking of trying those.

  3. Elentarien says:

    I love the idea of being able to ‘doodle’ relevant word art while meditating on what you have read or are reading for the day. However, not all of us can afford to buy yet another new Bible. (like I need another one to lug around anyway. Already using a lovely leather-bound KJV, a highlighted, commented in KJV New Testament thats HUGE for just being half the book, an amplified, an old, old copy of the New King James – if anything I need a miniaturized version containing all of them. o.O (Yes, I know there are ebook copies and the youversion app is great. but not quite the same as paper). Though, frankly, I just don’t have the $$ to be spending on unnecessaries like *another* bible.

    Chances are, if I DID get one, I’d be scared to start drawing in it because – well, frankly, at this point in time I don’t draw that well. I don’t practice enough, but it’d probably end up like all the lovely notebooks I have and don’t use because I don’t want to ‘waste’ them. *ahem*

    But I did have another idea for those of us without the funds, or who can’t draw with any confidence. . .buy an extra sketchbook. Whatever quality you can afford. Or make one out of blank printer paper. . ..although, thats hardly inspiring. You can bring it to the table with you while you have your bible time and when you want to start doodling, put the sketchbook on top and just doodle to your heart’s content and meditate on what you have read. When you are done, add the scripture reference, and the date and you can keep it for future reference.

    Or add the doodles to your regular journal, if you keep notes on your daily praying, etc.

    There’s no reason it HAS to be in the Bible itself. I love the idea. I think its a great way to mull over what you are reading, pray quietly and extend your time with God while still giving yourself something to ‘do’.

    I’ve tried crafting. . .knitting or stitching while I am meditating on the Word. . .but that is sometimes distracting as you get pulled aside by the pattern or whatever. Doodling at least won’t pull you away.

  4. Milagros Beckham says:

    Thank you so much for your answer. I will order the HCSB today. I really did’t know if you would answer me. Thank u and may our Heavenly Father Bless you with his love and grace. Milagros (Millie).

  5. I just ordered my HCHB journaling bible…I’m super excited…

    1. oh YAY! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it when you start diving in.

  6. Janice Tate says:

    I too just discovered this amazing new way to study and enjoy the scriptures, but I’m hesitant about getting another bible. I really enjoy the one I have and it’s a bit larger print (I’m not getting younger…lol)
    So instead I’ve decided to do a notebook companion with my bible, and to help me to memorize versus as well, this way it’s like I made my own study companion to accompany my bible! Good luck to all of you! There are so many wonderful inspirations on Pinterest, don’t forget to pin them!

    1. Yes, Janice! Amen. I used a side journal for awhile too. Either way works! Just go for it. 🙂

  7. Jane Dean says:

    I bought an ESV double column Bible about 3 weeks ago. However, I am scared to start. I am not an artist but a lover of the Word. I hope the Bible I got is not too small for my drawings, writings etc. I tend to write large and do not draw – this should be interesting!

  8. Milagros Beckham says:

    Hi the HCSB is beautiful I can’t really draw but I want to really get into the bible. But when I try I get lost in thoughts of other things. I am faced with some bad things going on right. My daughter is very sick she is 43 having to stay with her father and I she is going to need a heart transplant soon there going to try one more pasmaker first. She has lost weight down to 108lbs she can not walk to good anymore and we have her little girl Zowie that is glued to her mom. I have cryied a million tears not only that my son is in the Army now for 21yrs he has PTDS. I have never seen him cry and he cried like a baby he is so lost right now. So I think if I can get with the bible J it could help and your awesome thank you Rachel I really need what you have to help me. Thank you I am a LDS ( Mormon) so I don’t like to use other bibles I want to get started. Please help!!!?

    1. Hi Milagros! I’m sorry for your difficult season of life. My heart goes out to you. In all of my research, I did not see anything like what you might be looking for, but I wasn’t looking for anything of that nature either. I would highly recommend the HCSB. I pray the Lord brings peace to your heart in knowing him.

  9. I have never seen anything like this. It is really beautiful! Do they have these in a Catholic Bible too?

    1. great question, Moya! I am not sure, but in all my research for the above, I did not see a Catholic journaling Bible. Sorry I am not of much help on this one since I wasn’t looking for a Catholic Bible.

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