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What is the Illuminated Bible?

Have you heard about the Illuminated Bible yet? Doesn’t it sound fancy and intriguing? Just look at it! Its gold leafing and classical design is just begging me to open it up!

The Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling Edition is a brand new journaling Bible from the makers at Crossway, the folks who originally made journaling Bibles a thing (Praise Jesus!). And they have had their creative gears turning and they are coming out with something I think we Bible journalers are all going to love!

Recently, I sent a survey to my Bible journaling beauties, (if you’re not one, you should be —> sign up here), asking what was important to them in a journaling Bible, and almost all of them said the same thing:

“I find importance in the size of the margins, text, and cover.” -Erin

Can I get an “amen”? While translation is paramount in a study Bible, these 3 things are usually what graces the top of our list as Bible journalers! ย Guess what, my friend, the Illuminated Bible prioritizes all three of these things!ย Finally, we’ve been waiting! Now, let’s talk about the amazing features!

Illuminated Bible Features:

  • 2-color printing (THERE IS GOLD INSIDE!)
  • English Standard Version
  • 500+ custom hand-lettered elements and illustrations (more than any other journaling Bible out there right now)
  • Illustrated by Dana Tanamachi (she has been featured by Google, The Wall Street Journal, Random House, USPS, and Target)
  • 50 blank pages designed for full creative interaction ****UPDATE- these 50 pages had to be pulled due to size. ๐Ÿ™
  • Thick, cream-colored paper (the great paper we have come to know in Crossway’s other journaling Bibles)
  • Wide margins (without lines!)
  • Single-column format (for lots of journaling space)
  • Text size 9 (almost as large as the large print)

Now, here is the kicker: It doesn’t debut until practicallyย November 2017. Cue the sobs and lamentations. I know, I know. There there, it’ll be alright. Waiting will make us appreciate it is more.

The best journaling Bible?

At this point, you’re probably a tad disappointed and wondering why I am sharing this with all of you now versus later. The main reason is because I’ve been asked many times “What is the BEST journaling Bible?” and I’ve given a considerable amount of thought to this question and I was ready to answer it… until I saw this Bible.

Genuinely, honestly, truly, I think this is going to be the best journaling Bible out there.

No, I haven’t physically held it (yet), and no, Crossway has not asked me to endorse it. BUT I have been looking for a journaling Bible to call my own, not for sharing art tutorials with you all, not for testing new products in, but for me to intimately share my heart with the Lord…a Bible I can give to my kids as an heirloom that displays the adventures of my life with God…a Bible that is an extension of me…and I think I’ve found it, which is something to be excited about!

I apologize for the sentimentality, but I am very excited for the Illuminated Bible and needless to say, YES, I will be stocking it! (updated 2020: I currently stock the red cover here! Click here to bring it home.)

Which one is your favorite?

Now, let’s do something fun! Since your opinion is super important to me, I want you to share: Which cover option do you like the best? Answer in the comments below! (BTW- they just added another cover option and it is oh so pretty!)

A- Blue, cloth over board cover

B- Green, hard cover

C- Synthetic leather

available for purchase here

I can’t wait to hear which cover is your favorite in the comments! As for myself, I can’t decide! But I am partial to greens!

Peace and love, my Bible journaling beauties,


About Author

Amanda Schenkenberger

I'm a wife to a hard working man and a mama of four little adorable boys. We live near Portland, Oregon and we love it. Portland has a great vibe and we love sharing the good news of the gospel with the people here.

I'm a stay at home mom first, then a work at home mom. The kids have to come first. I love people, hiking, coffee, converse, and Jesus. I also love coffee. And another favorite thing of mine is coffee. :) If you like coffee, we should be friends.

My one ridiculous dream I'd really like to come true is to collect one of every Starbucks mug that is related to a city or country.

Have a blessed day!


    1. Hi Jessica,

      Great question! Yes, these gorgeous Bibles will be in the English Standard Version! Which cover design is your favorite?


  1. The leather one. I’ve been wanting to invest in a leather journaling bible as it feels truly like an heirloom to me

  2. I absolutely love the third one. Do you know how much these are going to run pricewise?

    Also, thanks for all you do. Your truly inspiring. ๐Ÿ™‚ have an awesome day.

    1. Hi Angela!

      ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for your kind words! Yes, the prices will range from $40-$50.

      You have an awesome day, too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Hi Joanne,

      There is just something about blue, isn’t there? Despite my love for leather and the color green, I also like the blue one too!

  3. I love the blue, but I really want a leather journaling Bible. I feel like that will be a wonderful heirloom. I still have an old Bible that my great grandfather used when he was a preacher. Leather just seems to get better with age. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Wendy,

      I’m with you about leather aging better but Crossway does specialize in designing heirloom Bibles and all three of these fall under that category. But it depends on your lifestyle. For example, I have 3 boys…they are NOT gentle. Haha. Thanks for sharing your opinion!


    1. Hi Elena,

      You’re probably right! Leather is probably the best route. ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. C- TruTone leather is my favorite look not because it is leather but because the red looks like royalty fit for God’s Word!

  5. I like them all. However, the red leather one really stands out for me.
    Whichever you decide, it will be beautiful.

  6. I love reading the comments here because no matter what “color” our Journal Bible may come in? It is God’s Word so it must represent what our heart is drawn to in His word. We are all going to be so different and have different connections. For me? The blue…it makes me think of refreshment, baptism, living water… so there’s my connection reflection:)…

    1. Hi Robyn,

      You are so right! I also think of those things in connection with blue. The reason I love green is because it reminds me of growth and new life and peacful forests! It is pretty cool how color can do that in our brains. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  7. You had me at larger print size, LOL. I like the leather one, although on my monitor it looks more brown than red. What are the dimensions?

    1. Hi Kathy,

      I am also super thankful for the larger print! I believe the leather will have a strong red tint to it, the other leather journaling Bibles I carry from Crossway do. Great question about the dimensions! They are all 6.5in by 9 in! Thanks for sharing!


    1. Hi Yessie,

      I think that journaling for our personal relationship with the Lord is fantastic, but I also want to keep my kids in mind as well. When I get to go home to heaven, I want to keep pouring into their lives and this is such a great way to do it. Leather keeps longer! Thanks for sharing!


  8. Sounds like this is going to be a wonderful option! I like the TruTone Leather best. Thanks for the advance peak of this!!

  9. I love the look of the TruTone leather but for practical reasons would probably go for the green.

    1. Hi Marylou,

      I really love the cloth over board look. One of the interleaved Bibles I offer has that same linen cover style as well as the double column small Bible I sell. It is lovely in person! Thanks for sharing your opinion!


  10. In the last few months I’ve been thinking about what I can do to begin a new journey with Jesus and felt led to explore the idea of bible Journaling. I don’t have the artistic knack but am interested in learning over time how to engage with the Lord in that way. So, I started following you, Amanda, more closely to figure this all out. Your announcement of a new amazing Journaling Bible is good news for me!
    The heirloom quality is what I’m looking for so it seems like the leather one is what I’d like. I’m interested in learning the pros and cons of each (durability and such).
    Thanks Amanda!

    1. Hi Terri,

      Yes, this Bible is good news for you! All of these journaling Bibles will reflect the same quality of Cierra’s journaling Bible but with a different page layout and larger font. I have had the cloth over board one for a while, and it has held up very well. No pilling and the corners are still pretty straight (which is either a miracle or it is well made). The leather option holds up very well, obviously. But I’m not sure what to expect from the hard cover (the blue one). I don’t think I have stocked this sort of cover from Crossway, but everything else I have had from them has been high quality…and I’ve seen LOTS of their Bibles. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Also, learning the artsy stuff over time is a great goal! God will meet you where you want to grow! Thanks for all the questions, Terri!


  11. I love the leather one. It just jumps out at me and says this is the one. Love that it will be ESV too.

    1. Hi Emma,

      I love that it speaks to you! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The fact that it is the ESV also makes me happy. Thanks for sharing!


  12. Hi Amanda- really like the TruTone leather—-love the smell of leather and it will last and be an heirloom for a family member

    1. Hi Mary,

      I also love the smell of leather, especially after it has collected a little bit of dust from use! It reminds me of wisdom! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for sharing!


  13. Love them all, and the fact that they are 9 point. 10 would be better. Better still would be if publishers would include the Apocrypha, as most Bibles did in the early 20th century. Being Catholic, it’s hard to find a good Bible that I’d consider “complete.” Still….these are all gorgeous! I lean toward the blue, and maybe the red because it’s leather. I’m eyeing the She Reads Truth bibles now. Is it possible to have too many Bibles? lol!!!! Thank you so much for considering making these gorgeous Bibles available!

    1. Hi Donna,

      I totally get being a collector of Bibles, we have so many in our home, too! There can’t be too many of a good thing, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ About the Apocrypha, I’m not sure if there are any journaling Bibles that contain it at the moment. If I find one, I’ll shoot an email your way! I’ve also been thinking about getting an SRT Bible, a friend let me look at hers. It is very pretty inside and it has lots of space for writing but I’ve heard the pages don’t hold ink as well as Crossway Bibles. I will be getting one soon-ish just to test supplies in for my Bible journaling beauties. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Donna!


  14. I really like the leather. There is something about the feel and smell of leather that I love. But the blue one is really speaking to me! I love that it is 9 point print and ESV. I’m new to bible journaling and have just one journaling bible that I’m using now so I’m excited to try this one and add to my collection!

    1. Hi Tanya,

      I agree with the smell and feel of leather! It is so smooth and durable and wise smelling. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This will make a GREAT second edition to your Bible journaling library. Thanks for sharing!


  15. i like the dark red/ maroon bible from looking at your picture. I can’t wait to see more and hear more about this Bible. I too collect Bibles but only have one Journaling Bible. which has lots of pictures already available to color. So when I find a design I like sometimes the page already has a picture. I would like to be brave enough to design my own pages. Thanks for sharing this information.

    1. Hi Cathy,

      Coloring Bibles are great starter journaling Bibles because they give you something to color and inspire you a bit. Once you get a little more comfy with Bible journaling, this one makes a great second journaling Bible! I’ll keep you updated as I find out more! Thank you for your thoughts!


  16. This is such a hard decision. I love the blue color, I love the old book feel of cloth over board, and I love leather!! I am leaning towards the green though, because I love old books and cloth on board just seems like it would give it an old world feel.

    1. Hi Mandy,

      I am also a fan of old books that have that same linen, cloth over board, woven feel… especially musty smelling ones that were used in college or something. The Interleaved journaling Bible I have has this style and I love it. It will be so hard to choose! Thanks for sharing!


    1. Hi Teresa,

      The red one is pretty! I can’t remember which journaling Bible you have but this red leather from Crossway (the TruTone) is so beautiful and vibrant, it is featured on my best seller, the leather journaling Bible with embossed leaves. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  17. I love them all! But, if I had to choose just one, blue is my favorite color ๐Ÿ˜Š God bless you!

    1. Hi Kendra,

      The blue one is stunning! There is just something about blue. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


  18. I like the red best, but also like to have a hard cover, so I’ll have a hard time deciding!

    1. Hi Laura,

      I also like two pretty equally…maybe all 3 evenly. HAHA, it will be challening to choose! Thank you for sharing!


    1. Hi Trish,

      The blue is so pretty and the leather is so eye catching, choosing is such a tough choice! I am also very excited to see them! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


  19. I’m a “red” gal myself: I love anything that’s red, so I’d love to have that color for my Bible.

    1. Hi Sandy,

      Red is the color of power, passion, and love! It is a great color. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Sandy!


    1. Hi Joan,

      I also love them all and I am also leaning toward the green! Great minds think alike! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for sharing!


  20. This will be an awesome Journaling Bible. I like the true tone one best. This would be great for my Bible Journaling classes.

    1. Hi Ann,

      As a fellow Bible journaling teacher, I feel like I would recommend this Bible to newbies as well as seasoned Bible journaling artist! Where do you teach classes? Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


    1. Hi Kristie,

      OoOo, there is an idea! I LOVE colored leather as well! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Hi Nadia,

      The leather one seems to be the clear winner! It is just so eye catching! Thank you for sharing your opinion!


    1. Hi Renee,

      I just recently saw the Top Grain Leather. It is seriously beautiful! I’m not sure if I will be stocking that one, I have not decided. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for sharing the tid bit!


      1. I just received the black top grain leather. I take it out of its box to read then carefully put it back in. Itโ€™s very beautiful and feels wonderful. Iโ€™m sure when the new wears off Iโ€™ll bring my self to journal and study in it.

    1. Hi Valerie,

      I totally love that one as well! I will be receiving one soon from Crossway and I am SO excited, I can’t wait to show everyone what it looks like! Thanks for sharing your favorite!


  21. Saw faux leather at B&N last night, love the concept and execution! Want for Christmas! Will go for real leather if can get for LT $90.

    1. Yes, it is very beautiful in person! I also drooled a little bit over the genuine grain leather. I’ve discovered after Bible journaling with different Bibles that I actually prefer a hard back Bible to a soft one, so I am very happy with my blue Illuminated Bible! I hope you get what you’re looking for at the price you want! ๐Ÿ˜‰


      1. I love the leather! Received mine day before yesterday. Iโ€™m not sure what pens/pencils that would work best. Any suggestions?

        1. I like how you say, “Get over the newness of it.” This is so true! I totally had the same feeling!

          Regarding what to write with, are you wanting to keep it gold or are you willing to venture out and try colored pencils and write in black pen?

          1. I may keep it gold and silver. Or if I can find some no bleed mettalics. My thoughts are leaning toward keeping journal entries themed toward praise music and hymn lyrics at the citation that inspired the song.

          2. I love that theme, it will look so beautiful!

            To keep it silver and gold, I suggest the Recollections brand from Michaels. The metallic gel pens and metallic calligraphy markers don’t bleed through and look very pretty (the markers shadow, but don’t bleed). If you need a pens for writing and marking, I highly suggest Micron pens, they are my favorite and I use them almost everytime I journal. I have a set in my store if you’re interested: https://move-the-mountains.com/product/best-bible-marking-pens/

            Great questions, let me know if you have any others!

    1. Yes, I realize that is disappointing for some Catholic Christians. The creators of this Bible maintain the rights to the English Standard Version, so they don’t print the Apocrypha. I’m sorry it wasn’t exactly what you were looking for!


  22. I’m not Roman Catholic – Protestant Bibles, including Anglican, Lutheran, and Reformed Bibles are supposed to include these books.

    1. I apologize for my assumption. The ESV translation does not include the books of the Apocrypha. ๐Ÿ™‚

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