Your one-stop guide to finding the best highlighters for Bibles. Including a step-by-step guide to color coding themes.
Can I Use a Highlighter in My Bible?
This is a legitimate question, my friend. I grew up in a pretty conservative church where the Bible was treated with the utmost respect. I read my Bible every day as a teenager but I would never have dared to highlight anything. I used a very light, fine led pencil and always a ruler. OCD much? Maybe!
Since that time, Pinterest became a thing and I saw other women around the world highlighting their Bibles. As the multitudes of people color coding their Bibles grew, I came to decide that it must be okay and that perhaps it could be more than just ‘pretty’. Engaging with this sacred text in such a way could actually be helpful.
So I took my University degree in English Literature and put it to work. Over a number of weeks, I created my own Bible color coding guide encompassing the main themes in the Bible. As I began annotating the text and reflecting on specific themes, I began to engage even deeper with God’s Word. From taking the time to slowly analyse small sections at a time, I found that writing in my Bible transformed my soul. It helped me to go slow, to ask myself what I was learning about God and to write down the things that stood out to me. As a result, I took more of it into my working and long-term memory.
Do I have to Highlight My Bible?
Absolutely not. Just because other people are doing it does not mean that you have to! Maybe you’re a new mum and you want to sit down with some textas but the truth is that hands-free time is not possible at the moment. This past year and a half, I haven’t really been able to sit down to read the Bible in the same way that I used to as I had a newborn. I literally had an Instagram account promoting Bible journalling but for the past year, I had to find other ways to read the Bible.
While I definitely believe annotating your Bible and that looking for themes is an excellent way to engage with Scripture, you have to do what works for you in your current season. My guess is that if you’re reading this post, it’s something you’d like to know more about. So without further ado, here are my top recommendations for getting started with color coding and highlighting your Bible.
How to Tell If Your Highlighters are Bible Safe:
A lot of people want to know if their pens and markers are safe to use in their Bible. Most Bibles have very thin pages. Here are two ways to go about it:
To know which Bibles are Bible safe, see what other people in the Bible Journaling community recommend.
I have a lot of friends and Christian Influencers who are big advocates in this space. I have spoken with them and researched the main pens and highlighters that they recommend as well as sharing the ones I use personally. You will find a list of these below. Some of these links are affiliate links which means that if you make a purchase by clicking on the link, I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps to keep this blog up and running and helps to fund this ministry. A recommendation goes a long way and I love hearing what works for other people. All of the pens listed below are ones that I have either used personally or have been recommended to me by friends who also enjoy Bible journaling.
Test Pens in Your Bible To Know if They Are Safe to Use:
This is the quickest and easiest tip in the book! Every Bible is different. Some Bibles, especially Journaling Bibles will have thicker pages. That means that the pens will be less likely to leak through. If you are interested in finding a specific journaling Bible, you can see the ones I recommend here. The best way to know how pens will impact your specific Bible is to flip right to the back. There should be a page with a list of measurements, some maps or maybe a concordance. I like to test my highlighters and pens on that page before using them in the front of my Bible.
Will Highlighters Bleed Through the Pages in My Bible?
Yes, some highlighters may bleed through your Bible, especially if you have very thin pages. Journaling Bibles have slightly thicker pages as they are designed to be written in. The best way to check is to test your pens on one of the back pages as mentioned above.
I think the trick is to let go of the feeling that it needs to be perfect. They may not bleed through but you may be able to see a blue shadow on the page behind where you have highlighted in blue. Some darker colors will leave a stronger outline. You may find that highlighting your Bible with pastel colors will reduce this.
I personally don’t mind if I can see a shadow or outline on the page behind. Unless you go for extremely light and fine tip pens and have very thick pages in your Bible, chances are you will be able to see things on the next page. And that is okay!
What To Do If You Are Really Concerned About Pens Bleeding Through Pages of Your Bible:
If you are really worried about pens bleeding through the pages of your Bible, you may prefer to use colored pencils or crayons. I was surprised to find that crayons are actually a popular choice among some Bible journalers! I don’t personally prefer them as I prefer a straighter edge in my lines, but everyone is different!
How Do You Color Coordinate The Bible? A Bible Highlighting Guide:
It’s all well and good to have your pens in your hand, but what do you do next? Here is what I recommend in these simple steps.
Step 1: Understand There Are a Variety of Themes in The Bible that Can Be Categorised.
The Bible is made up of 66 books. There are many different stories, text types and purposes. As such, there are a range of themes explored throughout the Bible. Most color coding guides are based on themes. This means that each theme would have a different colour associated with that theme. As there are so many themes, I personally like to categorise themes into larger groups. This means that I might use the same colour for verses that talk about The Gospel, Redemption, Freedom etc. as they are a part of a larger group of themes. I also like to choose those I like to underline, circle, box or highlight in variations of the same color. You can really choose what works best for you. There is no right or wrong way to color code your Bible!
I created this themed bookmark after years of studying the Bible carefully. It contains the most prominent themes in the Bible in a simple, easy to follow format. It is also customizable which means that you can choose which colour you would like to allocate for each theme based on your own color preferences. You only need 6 different colours to use this guide, which makes it easy to get started. It can be used with any set of highlighters or pens recommended below.
Step 3: Look Through The Recommended Bible Highlighters Listed Below and Choose Your Favorite Pens.
You may have some pens ready to go. Great! If not, I have listed a variety of highlighters and pens below that you can use for Bible Journalling. Some are of the ones that I use. Others have been recommended to me by my fellow Bible Journaling Instagram friends! Find some that suit your preferences.
Step 4: Select 6 Colors and Assign Each Color to a Bible Theme on The Bookmark.
I have both hard copy and printable versions of this. If you have the Printable Bible Color Code PDF Guide, print it off and select 6 colours. Allocate each colour to the group of themes and you’re ready to go!
Here is Your Ultimate Guide to Highlighters, Pens, and Brush Pens for Bible Journaling!
Everyone prefers something different when it comes to Bible Journaling. As I have readers primarily in the United States and Australia, I have listed options available in each country respectively. If you are looking to buy Bible Highlighters and you are in another country, you may wish to purchase through the links listed for the United States as most of those Bible Journaling products also ship internationally. I hope that you find something that you love that makes you feel motivated and excited to read your Bible.
Pastel Highlighters for Color Coding Your Bible:
Standard Color Highlighters for Your Bible
Bible Safe Gel Highlighter Pens for Bible Journaling
Best Pastel Pens and Markers for Using in Your Bible
Best Brush Pens for Underlining, Notetaking and Caligraphy in Your Bible
Pastel Brush Pens for Underlining, Notetaking and Caligraphy in Your Bible
Best Black Pens and Markers for Bible Journaling
Colored Pens and Markers for Bible Journaling
Where Else Can I Buy Bible Highlighters in Australia?
Can I just get some Bible Highlighters from Koorong?
Sure! If there is a Koorong Store near you, you can head there. I love Koorong and I always spend so much money there every time I visit! I find their Bible Highlighters range quite limited which is why I prefer to use other ones. I also think their Bible tabs are quite plain, so I designed my own! You can definitely see what Bible Highlighters and Pens Koorong has to offer and if they are in your budget, grab them pronto!
Bible Highlighters at Typo, Officeworks and Eckerlseys:
Can You Use Highlighters and Pens at Typo for Bible Journaling?
Yes! I have used the brush pens from Typo before and I like the different colour options they have available. They are the same as the brush pens I have listed above although the colour range is less extensive. If you have a Typo store near you and you don’t want to wait for delivery from Amazon, definitely drop by and see what you can find. Then just test them in the back of your Bible before you use them. Check out the Typo pens I’ve used here
Can I find Highlighters and Pens at Officeworks and Eckersley’s for Bible Journaling?
Yes! These shops will have a range of things to choose from. Feel free to give them a try!
I have used a bunch of pens from Eckerlseys when I lived near a store including the Tombow pens I’ve linked above. Now that I live in a regional area, I just buy online at Amazon! What I love about Eckerleys and Officeworks is that they let you try their pens before you buy so you can get a feel for what they will write like. If you live nearby, why not go see what highlighters and pens you could use in your Bible:
Final Thoughts On Choosing Your Highlighters:
1. Don’t Worry Too Much About Making A Decision
If you’re anything like me, you put things off because you want to make the perfect decision. Just pick some pens, grab some highlighters and get started. If you find they don’t work for your specific Bible, you can probably use them for other study notes or in your day planner. Don’t be afraid to give something a try and adjust as necessary.
2. Just Get Started
There may be no perfect product, but now is the perfect time to start. You can make changes as you go. You can add symbols for specific themes or decorate key verses in a new design that you create. You don’t have to have it all planned out to begin. But you have to begin before it all pans out.
3. Don’t Be Afraid of Making Mistakes
You will probably make mistakes. If you come to terms with that now, you will be less mad at yourself when you spell ‘redeemed’ incorrectly in a big black pen. Take the pressure off yourself. It’s not about making it look perfect. It’s about spending time with God by reading his word. Don’t do it for the ‘Gram. Do it for God and for yourself and see how your Spirit grows.
PS. Something else you may also like:
If You’re Really Looking To Make Your Bible Beautiful, You Can Also Check Out My Range of Bible Tabs Designed to Inspire You To Spend Time With God Each Day!
In Christ’s love, Nicola