UPDATE 4 YEARS LATER: I have really enjoyed using the section of my Bible journal that I turned into a Blank Bible, but haven’t worked in it for a couple years. (Mainly because when I’m doing a Bible read-through, I don’t make the time to do it.) Maybe next year instead of another read through I’ll continue my work on these pages in my journal. I have updated pictures of how it looks now at the bottom of this post.
What is a blank Bible?
I was recently reminded of Jonathan Edwards’ blank Bible and remembered again how I’ve always wanted to do something similar. He had a Bible taken apart page by page and put back together with bigger blank pages in between each Bible page. He then filled each of the blank pages full of notes and cross references and more. It is such a legacy to leave for others and I’ve always been fascinated by it.
However, when researching modern people who had made their own blank Bibles, I got overwhelmed with all the pages and stacking and hole punching and spiral binding at an office store… which is probably why I haven’t ever followed through with making my own.
Why make a blank Bible?
If you look at images of Jonathan Edwards’ blank Bible (video here, photos here) it is inspiring. Jonathan Edwards was a contemporary of George Whitefield and contributed a part in the Great Awakening in America in the mid 1700’s. Perhaps his most famous sermon was Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
In addition to his pastoral work, he studied the Bible and had what he referred to as a “blank Bible.” The blank pages bound between Bible pages gave him room to add thoughts and notes right next to the Bible pages. Today we have wide margin Bibles (which still don’t give me enough room!), but he took apart a Bible and had it rebound with blank pages for his personal study. There are images of his original Bible and there is now a searchable and transcribed copy of his Bible here. There are quite a few people who have made their own blank Bibles in a big more involved way, but I wanted something easy and almost free that I could do on my own, today.
I happened to have a new Bible journal that I had just started on, with just a few pages written on, so I used that (and think it will be great to mix normal Bible and sermon notes with the Blank Bible pages).
I also had a cheap paperback ESV Bible that I had picked up a while ago for $3 that was falling apart anyway, which actually makes tearing the pages out super easy.
Then I set to work. I turned to the next two page spread I had in my Bible journal, ran a thin bead of glue as much in the binding as I could, making it the length of my Bible page, and pressed the Bible page into the crease as well as I could. This way I could turn the Bible page and use both sides without having to glue an entire side down.
I’ll keep adding pages like this through the end of Psalms. Jonathan Edwards made an entire Bible, but I’m good with just the Psalms for now.
My first project will be to go through all the Psalms and trace all the times the Psalms mention meditation, wisdom, and knowledge. I’m so excited to get to work through the Psalms like this. Lots of space for notes, thoughts, prayers, doodles, and having fun!