Building a Blank Bible (part 1)

As promised, this week I’ll be showing you how to build your very own Blank Bible. But first, why would you want one? I don’t know of any publishers who make them and it’s a little time consuming to build. So why go through the work?

Well, there are several reasons actually.

The most important reason being you can keep those precious biblical insights close to the texts they originate. I have a drawer full of notes I’ve scratched out while listening to sermons over the years. And even at times I’ve used a Moleskine notebook for the same purpose. However, notecards and notebooks are scattered and disorganized. Unless I specifically recall a sermon on a certain text, the notes are largely forgotten in a large stack.

Owning one Bible with enough room to hold your personal notes close to the Biblical texts means the next time you study Ephesians you will have the notes from a Bible study on Ephesians five years ago.

Second, a Blank Bible is a great place to collect the fruit of your own meditation. Don’t fill the Blank Bible with notes you can find in any commentary. Make the notes in this bible flow from your own personal reflection and let the commentaries point out the exegetical and technical stuff.

Third, it’s a simple fact that we remember things better if we think about them and write our recollections down. Journaling is a good example of this and the Blank Bible affords enough space.

Fourth, just as Jonathan Edward’s Blank Bible is now a national treasure, your insights may also be treasured by someone else. Whether you leave the Bible to your spouse or children or grandchildren, when you are gone your Bible will continue to speak. So think and write clearly.

Tomorrow … the first attempt at the Blank Bible. And since there will be a second I’ll assume you already know the first was a failure.

21 thoughts on “Building a Blank Bible (part 1)

  1. Great to find your site through the ‘related/tags’ feature of WordPress. A study bible with sufficient notetaking space is a great asset. I have an NASB that was bought for me many years ago that had removable binding screws so that notepaper could be inserted anywhere. It was an excellent product because it looked like a fully leather bound bible rather than simply a folder or ring-binder.

    I would love to replace it, but the nearest I can find are NIV/KJV loose-leaf editions from (eg ISBN 1565633202).

    Looking forward to the next installment of your project!

  2. […] If you fancy a loose-leaf bible you can check out who have several editions (US letter size NOT A4 – which is a shame for UK customers!). However, you might also like to check out the articles on the Shepherd’s Scrapbook blog which attempt a DIY version of the ‘blank bible’. He’s just published the latest article and seems to have created a superb item – truly a ‘personal edition’ of the Bible. […]

  3. […] Reinke’s Scrapbook began as a storehouse of quotes from great theologians.  If you visit his site you will see a massive category list where he has compiled quote after quote from various theologians-all filed in their appropriate groups.  This is a tremendously helpful and edifying resource on its own. Recently, however, Reinke has also been blessing the blog community with his own writing.  The most popular of which was Reinke’s “Blank Bible Project.”  Reinke, following the example of Jonathan Edwards, builit his own “Blank Bible” and documented the entire process in a three-part series.  This project received wide-readership in the blogsphere as the ESV blog learned of Reinke’s project and featured it on their site.  […]

  4. […] I was first made aware of Tony Reinke’s excellent blog (The Shepherd’s Scrapbook) after he had posted some kind words about Graphe (which, by the way, has been shrunk down so that it should download a bit easier now). Tony shares with me a healthy appreciation for our Puritan forebears. In the past couple months, he’s taken on two fascinating projects. The first (parts 1, 2, 3) is his attempt to show how to recreate Jonathan Edwards’ Blank Bible. […]

  5. I am going to get an interleaved bible made for me. If you get india paper and a rapidiograph pen, you can get a bible that is in one volume, with a real leather binding, and all the interleaving you could possibly use. I know that it will cost a lot of money, but after all I am planning to enter the ministry and I ought to spend more time with me Bible than with anything else anyways right? Yes, Jonathan Edward’s blank bible was simply a resewn smyth-sown binding, and there are companies that will do that for you. The big thing is to find the blank india paper which I am currently working on. I have already found a place that will sell me an unbound oxford bible on the india paper, trying to get a wide-margin out of them.

  6. […] In August we ran a short series on how to make a Jonathan Edwards blank bible – how to cut and rebind a bible with blank pages interwoven for note taking (see part 1, 2 and 3). I was hoping at least 10 of my friends would find it useful. At least a few readers would be entertained at some hombre loco who took a table saw to new bibles. […]

  7. Would like to get some of that good music you have listed on your i-pod. I am a missionary to the Quechua en the Andes of Peru. It gets pretty discouraging at times.
    I really appreciate the live songs from “NA07”??
    Thank you,
    Hinterland missions with MTW

  8. Have been trying to locate blank india paper for an old oxford loose leaf bible not the screw in type but the 4 prongs. Any idea where they might turn up?
    Thanks AL

  9. Same here, I’m trying to find high quality india paper to use for interleaving. Anyone know of a source?

  10. I made a blank(?) Bible, but I didn’t know you called it that. I started with a large loose leaf folder. Then I photocopied each page of a Bible on one side of a leaf of paper, with generous margins, and left the second side blank. So then I had one blank sheet plus margins for every sheet of Bible text. I didn’t so much use it for sermon notes, as I come from the Martyn Lloyd-Jones school of thought. He didn’t agree with people taking notes during sermons, as he believed that a sermon is designed not to teach, but with the Holy Spirits help to make a spiritual impression on the soul. But when I read or heard someone making a pithy or winsome comment on a passage of scripture then I added it along side the appropriate section. By the way you should be able to get india paper from any good art supply shop, if they do not stock it they can order it in.

  11. Larry,
    I happened to see your mention of your work with the Quechua in Andes of Peru. You might know my brother Lloyd (Daniel) Rogers who works on the Ecuador side, and who lives now in Quito, but previously was in Shell etc.
    He has been in Ecuador for over 40 years, you probably have a huge amount in common! Let me know if you have crossed paths??
    blessings, john rogers

  12. I too have a NASB with removable binding screws and found it excellent as it just looked like a large Bible but after a few years of extensive hard use the cover split so I decided to have it rebound. BIG MISTAKE, they glued the pages together, lost a plastic locating strip and cross threaded one of the screws! They did unglue the pages when this was pointed out but due to the missing locating strip and damaged thread on one of the screws I seldom rearange the gold edged lined notepaper pages – a pity, especially as the work cost more than the original Bible.
    I have searched the internet to find a replacement but like you can only find folder / ring binder versions.
    If someone were to produce such a Bible again they would be assured of at least two sales!

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