Thursday, August 25, 2016

Review: The Illustrator's Notetaking Bible

FTC disclaimer:  I received a copy of this Bible from the publisher in order to facilitate a review.  All opinions are my own.  This post does contain affiliate links.

I absolutely love the new craze of Bible journaling, notetaking, and coloring.  When I was in college, I tried unsuccessfully to find a Bible that would allow me wide margins so I could take notes, draw, and paste in clippings from church bulletins, etc.  I couldn't find one, so I opted for a blank book and a plain Bible (very much like a Pew Bible.)

Almost twenty years later, I realize I was no alone in my desire for a Bible like that.  I would have loved the HCSB Illustrator's Notetaking Bible.  There are over 600 images including drawings, text design, and filigree.  I love the text images the best, though.  I am not as artsy as I wish I was, and those seem less daunting for me to color.  (I'm the one who had my Kindergarten teacher call my mother over a deer I colored one day when we were learning about the letter "D" in class.  I've always been self-conscious of my artwork since that day.)  I do love coloring, though.  I always have, I used it as a stress reliever in college, and the very first time I colored in my new Notetakers Bible, I had a stressful day, and I used it to help relax me and help me focus my mind on the Lord.

This Bible has plenty of margin space.  This is great if you want to take notes it even has light lines. Yet the lines aren't dark enough to prevent you from creating your own artwork, or even using it as a scrapbook of sorts and pasting in photos -- as I plan to do after the next time I visit where I attended church camp growing up.  So many places on that campus are "holy ground" to me -- especially the altar from the former tabernacle and the swing closest the kitchen.  I had some great times of prayer at both places.  Next year at family camp, I want to take some good photos and add them to my Bible.  (Remember the story about the Ebenezer in I Samuel chapter 7?  To me, that campground in Summersville, WV is an Ebenezer, and just having photos of it in my Bible will remind me of the spiritual battles fought and victories won in that place.

There are also light grey illustrations throughout the Bible you can color.  Some of the artwork is just amazing.  I especially loved this image found in the margin of the book of Revelation of the woman, the child, and the dragon.  Because of being self conscience about my coloring, I'm afraid to color in this beautiful picture, afraid I'll mess it up.

What I didn't like about this Bible is it is only available in the HCSB version.  While a good version, as I've grown older, I've started to prefer the King James Version.  Still, I use many different versions. (I studied Hebrew for a couple years and I always love reading how different versions translate Scripture into English.)  I do hope that in the future B&H Publishing would create a Bible of JUST Scripture verses in the side margins to color.  I love being able to color a passage and really focus on the words and message.

I also liked that this Bible is sturdy.  It seems to be very well made, and I believe any journaling, coloring, or notetaking Bible needs to be well-bound.

I highly recommend this Bible to anyone who is a little nervous about trying Bible journaling, or if you have a child who wants to try Bible journaling.  This would be a wonderful childhood Bible a young person could truly make their own.  I know I would have spent much more time in the Word when I was growing up if I had a Bible like this one.  (My Scripture study was not lacking, either, I was top Bible quizzer in my state my senior year of high school.)  So for me to say it would have encouraged me to spend MORE time in the Bible, that's saying a lot, and one of the highest recommendations I can give a Bible.

Thus far I have only used Prismacolor pencils in this Bible.  They did not bleed through, but I don't color heavily.  I've been nervous to use pens in Bibles for years because of the way that I have seen my notes on the other side of pages.  The pages in this Bible seem thicker than in most Bibles, especially ones from my college and high school years.  So I think you could use pens in them, but for now I'm sticking with my coloring pencils.

You can purchase this Bible at Amazon, Family Christian, or at your local bookstore.

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