Should we write in our Bibles?

Writing in new Bible

Over the years, I have met a few people — very few — who were convinced they should not write  in their Bibles. Perhaps they thought the inspiration of Scripture prohibited human intrusion, even in the margins. Or maybe they simply wanted to preserve the pristine condition of a new Bible.

On May 16, 2019, I posted an entry on this blog titled “One of My Greatest Regrets.” It described my inability to locate my grandfather’s “nuts and bolts” Bible, a Thompson Chain Reference Bible he had read and used so frequently that the pages were falling out. He solved the problem by fastening it together by drilling holes through it which he secured with nuts and bolts. I wish I could find it, not merely for the sake of novelty, but so I could read his personal notes written in its margins. He was, after all, the first of four generations of preachers.

Also in that May 16, 2019 post, I described my intention to leave behind for my descendants a personal Bible that included my notes written in the margins. For some reason, I did not think as I was writing that I have already done this to a certain degree. This is because I wrote the study notes for Psalms, Proverbs, Hebrews, James, I Peter, II Peter and Jude in the Apostolic Study Bible. I also possess numbers of Bibles I have used over the years that include my handwritten notes.

I included in the earlier post pictures of a new Bible specifically designed to be written in. The picture above shows some of my first use of this edition of Scripture. In order to avoid bleed through when highlighting, I am using Prismacolor Premier pencils in canary yellow [PC916]. For the notes, I use the Uni-ball Signo Ultra Micro 207 pen. The pencils can be purchased at Hobby Lobby or on Amazon. The pens are available in office supply stores.

As you can see in the picture above, my current project is focused on the witness to Jesus found in the Old Testament.

I do believe in writing in my Bibles. My experience is that if I don’t make notes of the insights that occur as I study, these insights slip away. It is a sign of respect for Scripture to do what we can to retain the treasures that open to us as we read God’s word.


A tree of ice.

After freezing rain, this tree behind our home is covered with ice. This reminds me of a portion of our Lord’s answer to Job: “From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? The waters harden like stone, and the surface of the deep is frozen” (Job 38:29-30, NKJV).

An ice tree

One of the Hallel psalms reads: “He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? (Psalm 147:17, KJV).


A book rediscovered.

A few days ago, as I reviewed some of my class notes from “Theology of the Tanak” in my Th.M. program at Western Seminary, I noticed I had written “GET THIS BOOK” by the title A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, written by Bruce C. Birch, Walter Brueggemann, Terrence E. Fretheim and David L. Petersen (Nashville, TN: Abington, 1999).

I had purchased the book and read a few pages, but somewhere along the way it was replaced on my reading list by other volumes that were required by various professors. But now, with the luxury of reading what I want to, the capitalized words GET THIS BOOK drew me back, and I started again, from the first page.

I’m sure I will disagree at some points, but so far, my reading has been richly rewarded, and I recommend this treatment of Old Testament theology.

Okay, I’ll go ahead and say it: GET THIS BOOK!