The Best Journaling Bible + The One Tip Making The Biggest Impact In My Quiet Times Lately
My Instagram feed is glittered with photos of my journaling Bible. I often use such photos to convey a message on my heart, a quote I came across, or word of encouragement down in the caption, and because those types of posts make an appearance often, it isn’t any surprise to me that one of the questions I receive most is, “What Bible do you use?”
There are countless great Bibles, study Bibles, and journaling Bibles out there—and at the end of the day no matter what Bible you’re reading, the important thing is that you are. I do keep a study Bible at home for when I want to dig deeper into a particular passage (this is the one I use)—but it’s a little large to lug around in my purse. Personally, I prefer a journaling Bible for day-to-day use, because I love being able to write notes and dates in the column as I read, and to highlight things that stand out to me in pretty colors. This ends up creating an ongoing collection right there in my Bible of the ways I’m learning from and interacting with the text, which is always encouraging and helpful to look back on!
THE BEST JOURNALING BIBLE
For anyone else who is wanting to use a journaling Bible and looking for a great one, my top recommendation would be to get a Crossway books ESV Single Column Journaling Bible from The Daily Grace Co. You can get the exact Bible I have here.
I love this Bible for a few reasons.
1. It’s an ESV, which stands for English Standard Version. To be honest I don’t have a ton of insight into the differences in translations of the Bible. I grew up using the New International Version (NIV), because it was the version recommended by my school for doing homework (where my Christian school friends at?). The NIV was great! Once I graduated though, both my college and the church I attended during college recommended the ESV, so I started using it and it stuck—I absolutely love it! This version is easy to read, and it’s considered by many to be the most accurate translation of the original text to modern English.
2. It’s Single Column. Single Column refers to the text—each page holds only one column of text, which is what creates room in the margins for the little lines where you can journal and jot down notes.
3. It provides a few footnotes at the bottom of its pages. There’s not a wealth of information here, but if you aren’t able to shell out the money for a study Bible, it’s enough to at least get you started and point you in the right direction as far as finding related passages or understanding the context a bit better.
The Daily Grace Co. Bible I use is their Brown Natural Leather Bible with a wrap-around strap, and it’s a lasting, quality Bible that only grows more beautiful with age. It is a bit of an investment though because of the leather cover, just a heads up. BUT, it’s not their only option with the specs I described above if you’re looking for something a bit more affordable. I’m also OBSESSED with their Floral design and their Summer Garden design. If you’re looking for something simpler and classic, their Black Leather design is a beautiful option too—this is the one Jordan Lee Dooley uses for any of you who are SoulScripts fans like I am!
As for "accessories," I LOVE these Bible highlighters and consider them a must. They are gel highlighters, meaning that unlike regular highlighters, they will not bleed through the thin, delicate pages of your Bible. Each color is also labeled with a different word, such as faith, hope, love, etc.—which you can use for color-coding different themes in Scripture should you so choose.
In addition to the question about my Bible, another question I get frequently is, ”How do you have a quiet time?” Though I’ve already written a post on what my quiet times look like, I wanted to throw in a little update with the one tip making the biggest impact in my quiet times lately.
THE ONE TIP MAKING THE BIGGEST IMPACT IN MY QUIET TIMES LATELY
Oftentimes when I’m reading Scripture, I’ll find myself wondering about different things going on in the passage.
Why does it use that word so many times? It says Adam died at 930 years old—hmm…I wonder how many generations of his grandkids that means he lived to see? That word is catching my attention—what exactly does it mean?
I never used to pay too much attention to these little wonderings. I figured they were distracting me from doing what I was here to do—to get through my reading for the day. But lately, I’ve started to see those little wonderings as clues. When I step into them and do a little exploring, they often lead me to some incredible discoveries.
In the past month alone, I’ve learned that the word “immediately” is used nine times in Mark 2 because Mark is trying to convey a sense of urgency in showing us that Jesus came not merely of His own accord, He was here on mission to do the work of the Father. I’ve learned that Adam lived to see his great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren—he in fact would have lived to see the generation right before Noah and wow—what does that say about God’s intended design and heart for generational relationships? I’ve found so much depth and richness beyond the surface of what I would typically understand a word to mean in several cases. Much of what God has spoken to me lately—both what I’ve shared and what I’ve stowed in my heart, has come from chasing these little rabbit holes.
All that to say, if you want to add some life to your quiet times, next time you’re reading and one of those little wonderings come to mind, don’t be so quick to assume it’s random. It just might be the voice of God. Google the question. Do the math on the lineage. Look up the definition of that word. Your wonderings might lead you down a little side road, but likely it’s the very road God is going to meet and speak to you on.
This tip has been making a big impact in my quiet times lately, and I hope it does the same for you! Keep in mind though, that even when you implement it, you’re not going to walk away with some crazy new insight every single time. And that’s okay.
I know sometimes not “feeling” anything when you read the Bible can be a discouragement against doing it at all. But another way to think about it is that reading your Bible is like eating food. Some meals are SO good, you remember them and look forward to when you can have them again (I’m thinking of the steak and lobster birthday dinner I enjoy with my family every year ). Other times, it’s a PB&J for lunch, and two weeks out you won’t even remember what it was for lunch today, because it was nothing special. That’s just it—not all meals are memorable, yet we’ll surely notice if we don’t eat any meal at all. Same with Scripture—we can’t expect every “feeding” to be this grand, emotional experience. It’s okay to read and not feel anything. In fact, that’s how many of your meals will go. But don’t stop eating simply because you aren’t getting steak and lobster every time. Keeping at those PB&J’s is a discipline, and in doing so, your birthday dinner moments will come. Not every “quiet time will be a hugely memorable experience, yet your heart will surely feel the effects if you don’t have any at all.
I actually posted this same analogy in an Instagram caption back in August and it ended up being one of my posts that received the most comments and saves in all of 2017. I think the response it received speaks to a relief we all long for from the unspoken pressure we put on ourselves for what our time with God should look or feel like—a pressure that only ends up crippling us. Remember that this pressure is not from God, but it very well may be from the one who will do anything to keep us from God.
Keep showing up, faithfully, day-by-day—when you “feel” it, and when you don’t. The days you don’t feel it count too, and your showing up is making a difference. Like drops of water on a rough stone, seemingly insignificant on their own, your consistency over time is smoothing the out the stone, giving shape to a heart that knows the Father and is being transformed by His love alone.