TSS Blank Bible Index

“Such industry! Economy! Edwards would surely approve.”

- Jonathan Edwards Center, Yale University

This blog is noted for a geeky series on making your own Jonathan Edwards Blank Bible. The goal is to disassemble a Bible, add blank pages for notes and then rebind it all together. It’s relatively cheap, fun and taking the world by storm. So grab a Bible, gather the family and dust off the table saw.

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Blank Bible Project #1 (August, 2006)

Our first successful blank Bible was built from an ESV Classic Center-Reference. The final product was an excellent 3-volume set that is now my primary Bible for personal study and reflection. The comments on these posts contain some very helpful input from others.

- Building a Blank Bible (part 1): Intro
- Building a Blank Bible (part 2): The Failure
- Building a Blank Bible (part 3): The Blank Bible

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Blank Bible Project #2 (November, 2006)

Using the ESV Reverse Interlinear New Testament, we created a 2,700 page, 4-volume New Testament for serious students.

“It is awesome to know that God, through His Spirit, can fill every blank page through humble meditation as the “living and active” Word of God comes alive. Each blank page represents our anticipation that God will open up His Word to reveal more of the width and height and depth and length of God’s love in the Cross!”

- DIY: Blank Bible (part 1): Intro
- DIY: Blank Bible (part 2): Cut, Rip, Clamp, Saw
- DIY: Blank Bible (part 3): Slice and Stuff
- DIY: Blank Bible (part 4): Punch and Bind

We ran a contest to win this Bible and you can read the finalist essays here and meet the winners here.

“Your website article on constructing an interlinear note-taking bible is an incredible adaptation designed specifically with the busy pastor in mind. Not only would this allow me to retain some semblance of Greek proficiency, but would also allow the great advantage being able to record my thoughts on Scripture while occupied with various pastoral tasks (sitting in the hospital waiting rooms, waiting in the prison/jail visitor lobby, or stealing an extra 15 minutes in the local diner after a pastoral care lunch appointment). It has the potential of being a portable, conveniently-sized, and organized record of years of reflection on the Holy Word.” – Pastor Joshua G. (Indian River, MI)

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Blank Valley of Vision (November, 2006)

The same principles can be used to turn any book into a journal. We did this very thing recently with The Valley of Vision from Banner of Truth. You can see photographs of the project here. We ran a contest to win this book and you can read the finalist essays here and meet the winner here.

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Spiral binding books

Even if you don’t add blank pages, spiral binding makes any book easier to read. I spiral bind important books that I want to lay flat on cardio machines at the gym.

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What are you working on?

Enough about us. What creative projects are you working on? Readers have been hacking apart Bibles and books and creating some unique blank projects of their own. Care to share photos of your project? Please email us and let us know what you are working on.

- Stephen followed our instructions perfectly and created a pair of nice Blank ESVs. See his blog for the entire series, The Blank Bible Chronicles for more info (and nice pics to boot).

- Justin built a 4-volume “Blank ESV.” Looks like he used 3:1 spirals as opposed to the common 4:1 spirals. Very nice work! See pics here.

- Marcia built an 11-volume Blank ESV Reformation Study Bible. See pics here.

100 thoughts on “TSS Blank Bible Index

  1. “What should we cut up next?”

    I’m hesitant to answer this question because it is all downhill from the Blank Bible.
    However, I could see this project being beneficial for a discipling relationship. Christians could get together to study something like Desiring God and make it into a “Blank DG” in order to take notes and write thoughts.

    How about a “Blank Grudem”? (as a way to study systematic theology)

  2. The “Blank Grudem.” I love it! The problem is that it would be like 6 volumes long. =) Try carrying that to the men’s meeting on Saturday morning. I suppose you could bring one volume at a time.

    Thanks Justin!!

    Tony

  3. I posted some pics of my own Blank Bible at my blog. I had to do 4 volumes due to the Office Depot only having 25mm spirals.
    Can I order bigger spirals anywhere on the internet and just have them punch the holes?
    Or, can anyone get me some bigger spirals and mail them to me?

  4. Hi,

    Can you e-mail or post a picture of how you put the wood together around the bible to remove the binding?

    thanks and have a great day!

    in Christ,
    james

  5. I love the idea. When I was younger I loved to look at old books in My grand dad’s attic. He had a few blak page Bibles he’d made. They were full of notes. I definitly must make one for myself.

    Emmanuel

  6. I am not sure where they are now. My Grand dad passed away a year ago, and lot of his books were given away. I’ll enquire, there maybe one or two copies still around. If I remember well, he had cut several Bibles, and just put the pages in ring folders. He could then add pages very easily. I’ve often thought of doing it, but never got around to. You’re inspiring me.

    Emmanuel

  7. ATTENTION ALL BLANK BOOK GEEKS (like myself)

    Please send photographs of your project when you are done and post a link from these comments!

    Thank you! And watch your fingers,

    Tony

  8. Tony,
    I just finished three Blank Bibles and I’m posting some pictures now. Glory to God! This was a really fun build, sign me up for the “geeky book-builders” newsletter.

  9. Yes, that’s the same bible we’re trying to replicate here except with modern versions and our own blank pages. The Yale edition is the published notes from Edwards’ bible not an actual blank bible itself. Tony

  10. Yes, I know. I’d be interested, both theologically and historically, to see Edwards’ comments. But $200 is a bit steep.

    I appreciate the work you’ve done on your blank books and sharing the experience. When I have a bit of time, I’m finally going to give it a try.

    Jason

  11. Hey,
    First I just wanted to reiterate what everyone else on this site is saying: Great idea! The Bible turned out fantastically! I have been seeking to buy a Bible like this for some time now, but could not find one to my liking anywhere!

    This leads to my question: Is there any possibility that you would create a Bible like this for someone, provided they reimburse you for all expenses and time spent? I am a college student in Chicago (Moody Bible) and don’t have access to a table saw (among other things). If you are interested, shoot me an email! I would love to buy one of these from you! Thanks!

  12. Hello Matt, sadly with my position in life right now, I am away from my hometown where I was set up to build these bibles. I no longer have the resources to make them very easily. Sorry! -Tony

  13. I need scads of room for notes as well, but I prefer the 3-hole punched versions, especially for taking to studies, etc. A quick search tells me the following versions are available for purchase as a “loose leaf bible”: KJV, NASB, NKJV, NIV, NRSV, ASB (1900). Most of these are available on amazon.com for roughly $40.

    The main reasons I prefer this 3-hole punch method are: 1) it accommodates as many notes pages as I want to include (just buy more binders and redistribute the pages if a binder gets too full) and 2) it allows me to take just the portion of the Bible I need to a Bible study, etc, and I also have a small Bible I always carry with me to look up other referenced verses, and 3) it allows me to simply hole punch distributed notes from studies, etc, until I’ve had enough time to incorporate those notes into my own note-taking scheme (and the handouts are almost always in the standard 8.5 x 11 page size).

    Until I read your page, though, I didn’t realize this was such a popular notion!

    May God continue to bless each of you richly with His Word.

  14. I love the ideas on this site. I found this site this morning off another Blog, and, since patience is not one of my virtues yet (not enough suffering), I just got back from Kinkos with my spiral bound ESV Psalms. It took me a while to set up in Word, but once it was set up, it was simple. I liked the suggestions of a double column, then instead of configuring my printer to print back and front, I left the back of each page blank as well. Then, I had Kinkos bind it in reverse, in effect putting the words on the farthest left column when it lays flat. This has the effect of 1 1/2 columns of blank paper on my 8 1/4 X 5 1/4, 156 page book. That’s 7 (horizontally) inches of blank paper for a 6 inch tall column. This is a great idea! There isn’t a book in my house safe now! The Psalms cost me less than $9.
    Thanks for the forum.

    You can check out the full process at my blog.

  15. How about a Blank Josephus? This would be a great for being able to look at the historics of his wirting and cross to scripture on the notes pages. Just an Idea.

    Bill

  16. Tony, and the others.

    The blank bible caught my attention a year ago or so, and I have been considering it ever since. Here is my problem and request for advice.

    My favorite bible is a 20 year old NASB with hundreds of notes in the margin. I want my blank bible to retain those notes. The easiest way would be to use the old bible as the source for the blank bible. The problem is the very thin paper.

    So my question is, would the paper stand up to the extra stress that the spiral binding would put on them, or would they tend to tear out? The edition is a Ryrie Study Bible from Moody Press. It is about 1 3/4 inches thick, with 2100 pages, including the concordance, etc.

    Thanks, and have a blessed weekend and Lord’s Day.

    Boyd

  17. Hello Boyd. No, the thin paper is no problem with spiral binding because there are around 40 spirals to hold it all together and with that many it means relatively little force on each of the punched holes. Ripping would not be a problem. Blessings! Tony

  18. Thanks, Tony. That’s encouraging to hear.

    Would you try to interleave with thin blank paper, maybe onion-skin or thesis (rag) paper? Or just use the usual recommended paper that you have used before?

    The Lord richly blessed our little church group today – wonderful worship time and great teaching on Eph. 4:5 (or mainly Romans 6:1-10) on Baptism.

    And I was so pleased last night to find I could read and mostly understand John Owen’s “Of the Mortification of Sin…”, chapter 1,
    out of the Crossway edition edited by Kapic and Taylor – wonderful feast I am having!

    May the Lord bless you all this week.

    Boyd

  19. [...] The Shepard’s Scrapbook has a fantastic weekend project: Building your own Johnathan Edwards Blank Bible. Sweetness. I gave it a shot last weekend with some success. I purchased a center-reference hard bound ESV and brought it to Staples where I had them cut off the binding, cut a ream of paper in half and punch the binding holes. I only wish I had gone to a copy shop that specializes in this kind of thing because almost all of the cuts were off. Even so, the end result was usable. I found the most difficult part about the process was lining up the holes correctly so the binding ring would thread properly. But all in all it was much easier than anticipated. [...]

  20. have you thought about putting the whole process into a downloadable pdf for ease of access while performing this surgery?

  21. Comment to my comment #26. I think the question buried in that comment was overlooked – I wrote Tony directly (which I hesitate to do – he must be flooded by e-mail. May the Lord bless you with grace to keep it all in balance, Tony).
    Here is our e-mail exchange:

    One more question, Tony. For the blank paper, I was thinking of using 100% rag thesis paper if it still available. Or maybe there is another thin, strong paper that you could recommend.

    Tony’s answer: Boyd, thanks for the email! I’ve only used standard copy paper. I have no experience with the fancy papers. Sorry I cannot be of more help here. It’s worth the extra expense I’m sure. Blessings and let us know how it turns out! Tony

    May the peace and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

    Boyd

  22. Boyd, thanks for this comment. Sometimes I guess I just miss an important question and I apologize. … Do keep in mind that using thin paper readily increases the price of the blank bible project. The rising expense in this paper (ie bible paper) is the initial reason publishers have not created blank bibles of their own. Something to keep in mind. Go for it but expect a high cost. Blessings, Boyd! Tony

  23. Just so no one thinks this project is for boys only, I have taken apart the ESV Reformation Study Bible and bound the books with two sheets of paper between every page. I truly love this Bible now, especially since the church I attend now goes through the Bible expositionally. This is already a favourite study aid. Thanks for the idea and the assembly instructions!!! I’ve only got “after” pictures on my blog.

  24. I did something similar with a TNIV Bible. At this point I have only completed the New Testament and I’m excited about how I can make notes, cross-references, etc. all in one place. Thanks for the great idea!

    On another note – I’m a recent convert to Calvinism. I was raised in the strict Mennonite-Arminian tradition. Finally at 49, God has begun to show me the amazing truths of grace. WOW!

    You have a great website. I have especially enjoyed the Humble Calvinism series.

    Steve

  25. Hello Steve! Thank you for the warm comments. What I love about Calvinism is the way God’s majesty unfolds in Scripture and then spills over into world history. It’s an honor to see this as God opens our eyes. Blessings, my friend! Tony

  26. This blank bible project is fantastic and thrilling! I am planning to do one also. The ESV Bible has become my favorite translation because it is so accurate, readable, scholarly all at the same time. Thanks for the idea guys!

  27. Tony,
    I’ve provided some freely downloadable inserts for the Blank Bibles. One is a 90-day Bible reading plan. The other is the week of prayers from Valley of Vision and the First London Baptist Confession of Faith (1646). These PDFs can be downloaded, printed, sliced, and are fitted for the Classic Reference Bible or any 8.5″ x 5.5″ Bibles.
    Hope you enjoy!

    http://growingvertical.com/2007/10/blank-bible-inserts.html

  28. Hey Tony!

    I wanted to let you know that I just made my own Blank Bible and it is about a 90% success. Unfortunately the glue on the Bible I purchased ran deep and I had roughly 1/4 to 1/2 inch of margin left to work with for binding. Needless to say some of the words in my new Bible now have holes in them. Oh well, I’m still very excited about it and have posted pics on my blog. In a month I think I’m going to go for the Greek Interlinear as well. You’ve got me hooked!

  29. [...] The time has come. In light of the recent “revival” of interest in the “Jonathan Edwards Blank Bible” (watch the video, read the news, download a PDF of “Galatians” from JE’s Blank Bible), I have deceived to make my own. The Shepherd’s Scrapbook has some great insights in regards to the “how to,” so if you are interested in finding out more information, check out Tony’s Blank Bible Index. [...]

  30. Good form.
    You are a kindred spirit brother!

    I believed I was the only one who would do such to my bible for a good end and thus thought myself a partial looney!

    Lord Bless,
    Ron

  31. After reading about your Blank Bible projects, I came across some loose leaf Bibles published (either with or without binder) by Hendrickson. They offer NASB, KJV, NKJV, NIV and NRSV. The last one is the NOAB 3rd edition study Bible. Seems these might be ideal for turning into spiral bound Blank Bibles.

    They’re listed here, along with all their other Bibles:

    http://www.hendrickson.com/cgi-bin/pub/hp_browse?&browse=bibles

  32. Hey Tony…

    I was wondering if you could help me out a little. I made my own Reformation Study Bible a while back and decided to give it away to anyone who writes me an essay stating why they should get it and is chosen. To date, I’ve only gotten 4 essays. I don’t quite have the traffic needed on my blog to get the word out and was wondering if you could do a quick post showing the contest is still open to anyone wishing to participate. It was a lot of work making this bible and I really want to see it go to someone who will use it and cherish it.

    Thanks a bunch Tony!

    Matthew
    Coram Deo

    http://thefoolishgalatian.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/win-my-reformation-blank-study-bible/

  33. [...] Centre at Yale university on discovery of this manuscript of Edwards. And  This is a link to the Shepherds Scrapbook, who a few years ago, gave his own instructions for making ones own blank Bible in today's [...]

  34. [...] How to make your own blank bible. As used by Jonathan Edwards. Post a comment — Trackback URI RSS 2.0 feed for these comments This entry (permalink) was posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2008, at 9:22 am by The Masked Marvel. Filed in Theology and tagged Bible, Jonathan Edwards. [...]

  35. [...] Just thought I’d share with you my Blank Bible project, copied entirely from Tony Reinke over at Miscellanies, who copied the idea from Jonathan Edward’s own Blank Bible. Here are the links to my blog posts [...]

  36. Tony,
    where did you find the 3″ spiral binding coils?
    I did a search and couldn’t find anything that large.
    thanks for your help

  37. Not sure what you mean. In the series I write: “The largest standard spiral binding coil is 1-1/4” and so I usually separate my bibles into 1” to 1-1/8” piles”. Tony

  38. Hey Tony,
    What I was asking about was your statement – “Although I searched online and found some 3” spiral binding coils, they were expensive and required a bulk purchase. So I decided to stick with the 1-1/4” coils, the largest common size.”

    Where did you find the 3″ spiral binding coils?

    thanks,
    chris

  39. Ah, yes, thanks for the clarification Chris. I cannot remember where I saw them. They were a different type of coil and required a unique puncher. But I don’t recall where I saw them. Sorry.

  40. [...] Make Your Own Blank Bible- A blank Bible is a Bible that has the spine cut off (creating loose pages) then is reassembled with extra blank pages put in between the printed pages.  The point is to have plenty of space for personal notes. What results is the opposite of a trimline or slimline Bible. I have not made one but it sounds interesting. [...]

  41. Hello Tony and fellow believers.
    I found your sight in a round about way. I noticed that Hendrickson is publishing a loose leaf addition for the ESV. It was advertised in a catalog with the ESV Study bible so at first glance I thought it was the study bible in loose leaf addition. I was wrong. So I emailed Crossway to ask if they were ever going to have a loose leaf addition of the ESV Study bible. Unfortunately they sent me a link to a blog that only talked about the Hendrickson loose leaf addition. However, in the comments of that blog was a link to this page. The blank bible is an excellent idea. Is there someone you know that has made their ESV Study bible a blank bible? Also, what type of blade did you use for your table saw? In Christ, Andrew (email: alterry 2 at yahoo . com)

  42. Hi Tony,

    I only found your Blog a few days ago and must say that I think it is very good. It was actually the post on ‘The Puritan Study’ that I found when using google to refind the Puritan Library site that led me here.

    I have to say I am intrigued by your blank Bible project here. I have been looking for a loose-leaf Bible for nearly twenty years for the very reason of wanting to add notes as I read and study the Bible. I thought I must have been nearly alone in my ‘quest.’ I therefore heartily approve of this ‘project’ here – not that my approval is in anyway necessary.

    After 20 years of searching for the elusive loose-leaf Bible, I have found a site that has a very useful suggestion to counter the ‘missing link’ of Bible Study tools (if you like, so to speak).

    Having not found what I wanted for so many years I started my own project for my own website at particularbaptist.com. It is yet to be posted to the site (though I have an online KJV Bible which I call ‘The Outpost Bible’ – the site used to be The Aussie Outpost) and is still a little way of. Basically it is a Word file (and a PDF file) that will be able to be downloaded and adapted for personal use. I’ll be using the Bible via the computer, so I can type my notes in while I go as it where.

    Anyhow, just a few thoughts and to say it is a great idea you have here,

    Kevin

  43. Tony,

    Why not just create a WORD document with the ESV text interspersed with blank pages? This document could be printed up and bound whenever needed. To satisfy copyright issues, just buy a cheap ESV (to satisfy the license requirement), destroy it (ouch!) and print up your own. You could even make the pdf or doc available to others who would do the same.

    Or you could just use the good ol’ KJV text…

  44. [...] of the Gospel, and well, I don’t quite know yet. However PA mentioned in his email about a blank bible. At first I was a bit confused, but after looking into it, I think it has potential to be a [...]

  45. [...] September 23, 2008 · Leave a Comment Periodically I will evaluate my study habits, and begin to make adjustments (small or large) in the areas that stick out as needing tuning (i.e. place, books, time, etc.). A couple months ago I began to reflect on my own study habits in light of the example of Jonathan Edwards when Tony Reinke changed the name of his blog (here). The diagram he provided of Edwards’ desk was particularly helpful in thinking about the orientation of my study. What, in fact, was the central focus of my study? To be honest, I had none. So, upon seeing Edwards’ focus on the centrality of his physical Bible as the center piece of his studies, I began to think about what sort of Bible I wanted to be the main “study Bible” (in the sense of note taking). After a few failed attempts to find anything that satisfied, I e-mailed Tony about making a Blank Bible like Jonathan Edwards, and much to my surprise, he e-mailed back that he’d done some blogging a while back on how to make one: TSS Blank Bible Index. [...]

  46. Hi. Here’s an idea that I have found useful. First, on Levenger dot com you will find a new system they call “circa.” You will probably have to see it. Look for circa and click on it. It has all the advantages of a spiral feel with the ability to add and remove notes. Once you know what you are looking for, you can find it cheaper on ebay, of course. I like it because you add or remove pages as you need them. You can add as many pages as you wish. You can also do the whole thing for yourself. Levenger is expensive, but ebay is better and it is the same product. Check it out.

  47. I built an 8 1/2″ x 11″ Blank Bible on 28lbs premium copy paper with Bible text of the ESV on the back side of each page with a smaller than college ruled lines on the front side. When opened flat, the Bible text is on the left page and the note lines are on the right side of the spiral comb.
    OT ended up being 5 volumes of about 210 pages each. NT was 257 pages in one volume.
    I also used black vinyl covers for the front and the back of each volume. The 28lbs paper from Staples or Office Depot has a slicker feel to it than 20lbs copy paper and is less likely to bleed through. For the line size on the blank pages, I made them on the computer to match the lines of the ESV text (that way my notes, are in line with the text on the back of the page, for less shadowing effect).
    I have not taken any pictures yet. Hope to have some soon.

  48. It is amazing that Bibles today are not of quality in the past. There is a great need for more note-takers bibles that give ample space for believers to study God’s word.

  49. […] Blank Bible Index- This is actually an old post, but I had never seen it until this week.  Jonathan Edwards was known for cutting the binding off of his Bible and rebinding it with blank sheets between each page so that he could write down notes.  Tony Reinke gives you step-by-step directions on how to create your own blank Bible. […]

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