Bible Journaling Basics: How to choose a Journaling Bible


Yesterday I told you that all you need to start Bible Journaling is a Bible and a pen. So…what if you don’t have a Journaling Bible? One of the questions I got asked by a few people when I announced my series theme was,  “How do you choose a journaling Bible?”

There are definitely a lot of options out there! First, let me say that if you are ready to start Bible Journaling, you do not NEED a Journaling Bible. It is helpful to have one but it is not an absolute necessity. One of the gals on the Illustrated Faith team, Elaine, uses an adorable little Bible she found at a discount store–check out her story here. So you definitely don’t need a special journaling Bible, but there are nice to have.

Personally, I have two specific journaling Bibles and I have seen a few others firsthand. Those are the main ones I am going to discuss tonight. I think they are probably the most popular, as well. At the end of this post, I’m going to link to two super helpful blogs comparing other journaling Bibles. If you’re a type A researcher like me, you’ll love them!

Ultimately, choosing a Journaling Bible comes down to your personal taste and style. Find one that feels good to you and don’t let fear hold you back. Before you know it, you’ll have filled one up and can try another kind! With that said, let’s take a peek at a few popular options out there!

img_3513ESV Single Column: My first Journaling Bible is the black hardcover on the right, in this photo. When I decided this was something I wanted to dive into, I drove straight to the local Barnes and Noble and grabbed this one. It was one of two options they had at the time.

Now, you can get an ESV Single Column in hard cover or leather. If you go hardcover, there are multiple prints and color options available. If you want to go with leather, you can get the raw leather with a strap, or a simpler embossed leather.

Personally, I really liked this Bible for my first Journaling Bible. It has 2″ margins on each page that are very lightly lined and it just has great space to be able to spread out artistically and still not cover the words, if you don’t want to. The one con of the hard cover, was the more I journaled and crammed into my Bible, the fatter it became. It was hard on the binding and eventually, my cover started to warp from trying to keep the elastic closure around it. Still, I really liked how sturdy it was. This one is also quite affordable–under $30. You can find this one at lots of stores and on Amazon.

My mother-in-law, Amy, got a leather ESV single column for her first Journaling Bible and here is a picture of hers, along with her thoughts:

“I like this single column journaling Bible by Crossway because it is just the raw Word and empty pages that call out to you to create–to write your inner most thoughts and seek out graphics and artistic techniques–to put on the page what is in your heart.”

You can also find this one online for under $30!

ESV Double Column: The double column Bible was the other option at B&N when I went that first day. This summer I saved up and got a new ESV double column leather bound Bible. It’s pricey, but gorgeous. This leather version is harder to find online, but if you dig, you may be able to find one. They do have double column hardcovers more readily available.

The double column Bibles are more square in shape and smaller, which I like because I tend to carry mine around in my art bag throughout the day. One thing to remember is that having double columns means that there is more Scripture on each page. I just started using mine, but I can see how there are going to be more times when I find a page already journaled on. I am ok with that though, since I do still have my other Bible to use if I want. This one also has the 2″ lightly lined margins, as well.

img_5046Inspire Bible: This is the second Bible that my mother-in-law has. While I do not personally own this one, I have seen it up close a lot! This Bible has wide margins, but it’s specialty is the fact that while some pages have blank margins, others feature outlined artwork. These are often found at the beginning of each book of the Bible and scattered throughout, featuring special verses.

img_5048Amy says, “I like this one because it is beautiful with plain pages and also pages with pictures and verses to color. It feels very special and meaningful when I read and journal in it.”

This Bible features a NLT translation. You can find the Inspire Bible in stores and also online.

imageBeautiful Word Bible: A lot of people confuse or mix up the Inspire Bible and the Beautiful Word Bible. They are very similar. I have seen this one up close and the main difference is that the Beautiful Word Bible does have some blank pages in it, but a lot more feature outline illustrations for you to color in–as well as beautiful, colored illustrations done by others. This can definitely provide a lot of inspiration and instant illustration for a beginner, but it also means there are less blank plages for you to illustrate yourself. You can check out more here.

imageESV Interleaved Bible: This is the new popular Journaling Bible that came out earlier this year. Interleaved means that there is a separate blank (front and back) page, next to each page of dounce column text. So this Bible is much larger and heavier than the others featured here. It does offer a ton of space for illustrating and you don’t have to worry about bleed through since you have a completely blank page to play with. Illustrated Faith posted an awesome side by side comparison of the Interleaved version and I can’t do any better than that!


These are some of your most common options when it comes to Journaling Bibles. If you want to compare and read about other options, check out this awesome blog from Rebekah Jones. I discovered her blog last year and she has TONS of Bible Journaling info on her blog.

So now that you have the details, what Bible is calling to you? If you already have a Journaling Bible, tell me which one and why you like it–or show me!

3 thoughts on “Bible Journaling Basics: How to choose a Journaling Bible

  1. Dear writergirl5786

    I love your blog it is very informative but also lovely to read. i appreciate and enjoy how much effort you put into each blog, you also make it easier on the reader by linking other articles and blogs. This blog definitely inspires me to start bible journaling.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s