I recently shared on my Instagram story about some of my favorite tools and resources for studying the Bible, but I thought it might be fun to have it in a more permanent place. I always like to preface posts like this by saying this: the only tool you actually NEED in order to study your Bible is your Bible. Don’t feel like you can’t begin until you run to Target and spend a bunch of money picking up some cute supplies. As fun as that would be (I mean, I’m always up for a Target run!), that part’s just a bonus. As long as you have a Bible (or a device with access to the Bible) and a heart that’s open to learning more about God, you’re good to go.
Now that we’ve got settled, there are some tools that you might find helpful (or just fun!) to have close by. At least that’s the case for me. So if you’re curious (which I’m guessing you are since you’re reading this post), here are the things I like to have on hand when I’m spending time in the Word:
There is a wide variety of journaling Bible options out there! They come in a lot of different Bible versions, some are single-column and some are double-column, some even have pretty designs in the margins that you can color. Decide what is important to you and search for it!
ESV Single Column Journaling Bible — this is the journaling Bible I use. It’s a basic, black, hardback Bible with lined, wide margins. I like to do my reading in the ESV because it is translated literally word-for-word from the Greek and Hebrew.
The Message Bible — I really like to have the Message version on hand too. Because let’s face it…there are times when I read something in the Bible and don’t understand what I’m reading! The Message version is translated thought-for-thought, which makes it easier to understand.
CSB She Reads Truth Bible — As I’m writing this, I have this book on pre-order, and I’m [im]patiently awaiting its arrival! I’m excited to get it in my hands and start reading because the Christian Standard Bible is a hybrid of “word-for-word” and “thought-for-thought” translation, which makes it a great combination of literal and readable. I’ll update you on my thoughts on this as I get it and start reading!
Val Marie Paper Prayer Journal — I love this journal and the way it helps me focus my prayer time. It’s also a great place for me to add prayers as they come up so I don’t forget (#mombrain). This shop also has other more focused journals for marriage, adoption, gratitude, pregnancy, and more.
May Designs Notebooks — I. LOVE. MAY DESIGNS. You basically get to design your dream notebook and then hold it in your hands. Can it get better than this? They have a billion options (okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but that’s what it feels like!) to personalize your notebook. Not only can you personalize the cover, you can also choose what you want on the inside! They have everything from regular lined journal paper to calendars to meal or budget planners to handwriting practice for your littles. The possibilities are endless, people! But for this purpose, I use the lined or dotted pages.
Zebrite Highlighters — I’ve been using these for several years, and I love them! They are light and don’t bleed. Perfect for thin Bible pages, and…fun colors!
Sharpie Fine Point Pens — These pens are perfect for writing in your Bible. I like the bright colors because they’re bold enough to read, but light enough that they don’t bleed through, and they add a fun pop to your pages.
Micron Pens — These are very similar to the Sharpie pens in that they are thin and don’t bleed. I like these a lot too, but the colors aren’t as bright and fun as the Sharpies I listed above. Can you tell I like color?
Crayola Twistables — I like to use these as “highlighters” because they are bold in color, but they don’t show through the pages AT ALL. Plus…who doesn’t want a reason to color with twistable crayons?!
Paper Mate Flair Pens — Oh, the beloved Flair Pens. I can’t get enough of them. No really. I keep buying more! Help! They’re hands down my favorite pens ever. They come in a BAZILLION colors (the Candy Pop collection is my current favorite). However, I mostly use these to write in my journal. They’re not as thin as the pens listed above, so I prefer those for my Bible, but everyone needs some Flair love in her life.
Double Duty Caddy from Thirty-One — This is where I keep all of my supplies, including my Bible and journals. I love that I can carry all my stuff together anywhere around the house (and by that I mean anywhere I can find a quiet corner to myself!). Sometimes I do my devotions on my bed, sometimes at the dining room table or on the couch, and I have great plans of doing it OUTSIDE as soon as it warms up! This caddy makes it easy to carry all my stuff wherever I want to go!
Bible Cover from Mama Booclay — Girls…listen up. This is one of those items that is totally not necessary, but it’s totally beautiful! I love that this cover adds a gorgeous touch to my Bible. It’s just pretty! That’s all! I can’t rave enough about Mama Booclay. Her work is incredible, she hand-makes everything, and she gets you your stuff FAST! She can make a cover for any size Bible or journal, and she even makes matching zipper pouches! It’s all BEAUTIFUL, and you get to design your own cover. Go check out her shop and treat yo’self!
Bible Tabs from Displaying Grace — I ordered some beautiful tabs for my Bible, and I can’t wait to get them in the mail. Don’t worry, people. I’ll be posting photos when they come, I’m sure. This specific Etsy shop has some really beautiful sets. Some are for the books of the Bible, and some are topic/theme-based. She also sells cute clips, bands, etc. for accessorizing your B-I-B-L-E. Because it never hurts to add a little cuteness!
Washi Tape — I got an adorable set of Bible-themed rolls of tape from Michaels! Did you know they have a whole section in their store for Bible journaling?! But you can also find plenty of cute washi tape pretty much anywhere! It’s just a fun way to add some color to your pages, especially if you’re like me and you’re not artsy.
So those are the tools that I use on a daily basis! Again, they’re not all necessary, but for my process of Bible study, they are the things I like to have. (I plan to talk more about my process either on a new blog post or in an episode on the podcast, so stay tuned if that’s something you’re interested in hearing more about.)
There are a lot of right ways to study the Bible. Don’t worry about studying the same way someone else studies, and don’t feel pressured by all the #biblejournaling photos on Instagram. My journaling Bible is just that…a Bible in which I journal as I read and learn and process. It’s not the prettiest, but it’s the way I’m learning more about God and drawing nearer to Him. God cares more about the way your heart looks than He does about the way your Bible looks. There’s no pressure on you to make your Bible more beautiful. God’s Word, the way He designed it, is already as beautiful as it will ever be.
Use your tools as tools, and use your Bible as the primary way you dig deeper in your relationship with Him. As soon as you feel like your Bible study is becoming more about the “things” you have around you…stop. Take it all way. Get alone with your Bible. And remember the reason you’re there. Because He gave you His word, and He wants to speak to you.
I pray you enjoy your time in God’s Word. I pray you learn more about His character, and in turn, more about who you are as His child.
So what about you? What are your favorite tools to have for your devotional time? Did I leave out something you couldn’t live without! Tell me in the comments below!