Bible Journaling Jump Start
Bible Journaling Jump Start

How To

Choose Bible Text
Choose Your Bible Layout
Choose Your Bible Cover

Choose a Bible

There are more Bibles available for journaling today than there ever have been before, and the selection will continue to grow as Bible journaling becomes more popular. Selecting the right Bible may feel overwhelming, but don’t worry. There are three main things to consider when choosing a journaling Bible: type of text (i.e. King James, NIV, ESV); format (i.e. double column journaling Bible, coloring Bible, large print Bible) and what type of cover (i.e. hard cover, soft cover, leather, cloth, etc.).

Here is some information to help you make the best choice for YOU.

Here is some information to help you make the best choice for YOU.

Choose a Text Version

Bible publishers offer a variety of translations. The three main types are word-for-word, meaning-for-meaning, and paraphrased.

Word for Word

Word-for-word translations, such as the King James Version (KJV) and its modern counterpart the New King James Version (NKJV), most accurately follow the original text but can sometimes be difficult to understand because the English language has changed considerably in the 400 years since the KJV was published. The English Standard Version (ESV) is considered a word-for-word translation while at the same time taking into account differences in grammar and syntax between current literary English and the original languages.

Read Romans 12:2 below to discover the difference between the three popular word-for-word translations of the Bible:


    • King James Version (KJV): And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.


    • New King James Version (NKJV): And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.


  • English Standard Version (ESV):   Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Meaning for Meaning

Meaning-for- meaning translations, such as the New International Version (NIV) and the New Living Translation (NLT), typically use more up-to- date language and are easier to understand, but are sometimes considered interpretative translations of the text.

Read Romans 12:2 below to discover the difference between the two popular meaning for meaning translations of the Bible:


  • New International Version (NIV): Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
  • New Living Translation (NLT): Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.


Paraphrased translations take a fair amount of liberty in interpreting biblical text and its meaning. They are easy to read, but the level of accuracy is not as high as the other types of translations. The Message and The Living Bible are two of the most popular paraphrased Bibles.

Read Romans 12:2 below to discover the difference between the two popular paraphrased translations of the Bible:


The Message (MSG): So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to- work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.


Living Bible (TLB): Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you.


Many people find it helpful to have more than one translation of the Bible so that they can compare and contrast the text for both accuracy and readability. Regardless of the Bible version you choose, the most important factor is that you actually use it! As you spend more time reading the Bible, you will find that God’s Word becomes increasingly precious to you.


Layout Options

In addition to different translations, Bibles are also available in different sizes and formats. If you have trouble reading the small print, consider a large print edition. You can even choose to have a single-column or double-column layout. Think through these choices as you consider the four different formats available on the market today.

Bible Double Column

Journaling: Journaling Bibles have wide margins next to the Scripture text. Some have dark lines in the margins, while others have faint lines or no lines at all.

Coloring Bible

Coloring: Coloring Bibles have illustrations already printed on some of the pages. There is also plenty of space to add your own notes or art.

Interleaf Bible

Interleaf: The interleaved Bible has an entire blank page between each page of text. This is perfect for those who need more space to be creative, or those who are not comfortable journaling on top of Biblical text.

Bible Standard

Standard: The standard Bible isn’t designed for note taking or journaling. However, many people use it to create beautiful Bible journaling art. See page 116, 118 and 119 of the book for examples.

Cover Options

Most of the popular versions of the Bible are available in both hardcover and softcover versions, in a variety of bindings, from elegant, embossed leather to colorful prints. When choosing a cover, consider the following:


Bible Cover Version 01
Bible Cover Version 02
  • Soft: A soft cover gives your Bible more flex and movement. They are often lighter in weight and come in a variety of colors and designs.
  • Hard: A hardcover is more durable and is useful if you want to decoupage or use mixed media to create a cover that’s unique to you.
  • Decorated: A decorated cover is beautiful to look at, carry, and share with those around you. It’s perfect for those who don’t have the time or inclination to create their own cover designs.

Letter God’s Word

Since the heart of Bible journaling involves writing God’s Word, it is helpful to know some simple hand-lettered styles and how to use them. On pages 40-45 you’ll find several easy-to- learn lettering styles that work well on their own or can be combined in a layout. Once you determine what the verse means to you, you can practice contrasting size, lettering style, weight and color to emphasize the words you want to stand out.

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