I know some people who purchase a new journaling Bible every year. They like to start the year off with a fresh Bible that doesn’t have the obvious, go-to underlines, circles, exclamation points, that always catch our eyes and possibly even distract us from subtle nuances that could be occurring in the text. Instead, they like to take a fresh look at the Scriptures and mark it up as though for the first time each year. As far as devotions go, I think this could be a great idea to help us see the text freshly again without the obvious distractions of personal notes. But let me be real, I still love my go-to Bible that I can mark up and “know” where passages are, where parables are, etc. But for devotions, this is a nice idea.
And journaling Bibles are just a wonderful way to go with this idea. Journaling Bibles give you that extra room on the side to make new notes, new comparisons, new arcs, new cross-references, and new notes. Oh, that feeling of having journaling Bible that hasn’t yet been marked up, underlined, and written in. To open the Bible afresh to Ephesians 1 and circling every time we read “in Christ,” or “in him,” or “in the Beloved,” is just a wonderful feeling. To connect those words with lines in the margins, and arcs, and circles…It just feels like such a fresh reading of the text, an undergirding of all that the Holy Spirit has opened your eyes to in the past. And how exciting it is when we turn freshly to Psalm 119 and start circling every time the author uses a word to describe the scriptures (law, word, statutes, etc.) and then making various connections in the margins.
Journaling Bibles can truly be a wonderful tool in our daily devotional times with the Lord. I wanted to share a journaling Bible with you that I highly recommend. It is the ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (SCJB). This edition comes in multiple sizes and covers to fit your specific needs. The two that I’m looking at today include the hardcover Moleskine edition and the natural leather, flap with strap edition. While I love them both, the Moleskine edition is my favorite!
When I first looked at the SCJB I was immediately excited because it looks just like my Moleskine journals, complete with a black hard-cover, and an elastic strap to hold it shut. Then I opened it up and the excitement kept going. The Bible opens and stays open from Genesis 1 to the Bible in a Year plan provided on page 1342. I love a Bible that stays open without having to find a coffee mug to hold a corner down while I journal, or take notes, or simply let go while I’m reading. So the binding, the hard-cover, the elastic strap, the ability to stay open, and simply the look and feel of the SCJB make it a win in my book. The journaling lines on the side are perfect for keeping my notes straight, but not too dark as to bind me in if I need to stray outside. My only critique of this particular Bible is more on me and my eyes than it is on Crossway. The font is really, really small. With a font size of 7.5, I’m finding myself having to work to stay focused on the text. Crossway does have the SCJB in a large print size with a 9-10 font size. That would make this Bible a 10 out of 10 instead of a 9 out of 10 for me! So my recommendation is that you will have a journaling Bible you will love if you get the SCJB Large Print.
Natural Leather SCJB
The Natural leather SCJB edition that has a flap with a strap to hold it shut. I love this edition as it also stays open from beginning to end, and it even has an elastic strap inside the cover to keep your journaling pen with your Bible at all times. There’s also something cool about the leather strap to wrap around the Bible several times to hold it shut. The font is very readable with a 9.5 font size (for me this is a plus). Overall this is a great option for you as well! My only drawback to this SCJB edition, however, is that the lines in the margin are too dark. I simply prefer lighter lines than the thicker dark lines. Now you, on the other hand, may enjoy that structure these lines provide. So this may be a plus in your book. But honestly, I’m nitpicking. This is a great Bible that would be perfect to journal in for your daily devotions.
So all in all, Crossway has done a great job with these 2 editions of the SCJB. I especially think they knocked it out of the park with the hardcover Moleskine edition!
Natural Leather Edition
You can grab your copy from Crossway.org or Amazon: ESV Single Column Journaling Bible, Large Print (Brown, Flap with Strap)