A friend asked recently about where to get a journaling Bible, and so I thought it would be a good opportunity to jot down some of my thoughts for a blog post at the same time and put up the links for anyone else who might like to get a Journaling Bible in the UK. [NB All the picture links are affiliate Amazon links, because it means I can show a picture, whilst still respecting copyright. I have listed all my favourite on-line retailers at the end.]
The Journaling Bible I use is the NIV Mint Polka-dot Bible (NB at the time of writing, this is currently being reprinted and is back out in February 2016). It is beautiful and I love it. It is about the size of an A5 notebook and 3.5 cm thick. The paper is quite thick, although you do have to be gentle with it. The margins are just less than 5 cm (4.9 cm precisely) from text to edge and they are lightly lined, with narrow lines (just less than 1/2 cm space between lines). I like the lines as I find it helps with getting my lettering straight and because they are light, they are not noticeable on pictures I draw.
What I do not like about my Journaling Bible is the new NIV text. For instance, it takes gender neutrality so far that it renders some passages nonsensical and some of my favourite passages I just don’t even recognise! However, I only use my journaling Bible for drawing and writing in, so it doesn’t bother me too much. I tend to read the passage in my every day Bible and then I journal in the NIV Bible. [Currently my every day Bible is an ESV Literary Study Bible and as an aside, this is the best Bible I have ever owned, but that is for another blog post…]
With hindsight, if I was buying a journaling Bible now, I guess I could choose one of the ESV ones, as they have a huge choice of covers and styles. Also, if you prefer another translation, you can get most Bible translations in the form of a Bible suitable for journaling in. For instance, The Note Takers Bibles, have a large margin and are available in many translations. However, in my meditation process, I usually use a parallel Bible we have at home, or the brilliant parallel Bible feature available on Bible Gateway, to read the different translations of the passage I am meditating on. I journal the text from the verse that reminds me most of how the Holy Spirit is illuminating the meaning for me and how God is speaking to me. So, for me, it still works well to use a translation for Bible journaling that is different to my preferred one.
I would recommend doing some research by asking Mr Google to find reviews on the Bibles you are interested in. Often you can find someone who has blogged about the Bible you are looking at, so you can see more of the inside and hear about how it works for journaling. Also, you can get 2 column journaling Bibles, like my NIV Bible, but there are also some single column journaling Bibles, which give a different space at the side of the text and a whole different feel to the journaling you do. (I am really enjoying the single column of my Literary study Bible, but it is a very different reading experience to the normal double columns.) If you go to Christianbook.com, whilst you may not want to order the Bible from them, as they are in the US, they have a brilliant filter function on Bibles by type and style and cover etc. and also many of the Bibles feature videos or pictures from inside , which is very useful.
Here are the on-line Retailers, that I would personally recommend and who sell journaling Bibles at the time of writing (NB these are just my personal recommendations based on my own experiences):
ICM Books Direct: The home of Christian Books… I think all the books ICM sell are discounted, but in any case, it is the best place to start to find discounted Journaling Bibles and books of all kinds.
Wordery – do a brilliant selection and are very reasonably priced.
Eden – again do a large selection of Journaling Bibles, although they are not always the cheapest.
Amazon does a lot of the journaling Bibles – again, they are not always the cheapest.
And then, once you have chosen your Bible, check out this great blog post by Deborah Gregg on getting started with your Bible and check out Faith Treasury Etsy Shop for some awesome art journaling kits to get you started with art supplies.