Bible Tips

The Bible has countless times been referred to as the manual for life - your roadmap, your guidebook, your compass.  

It's got everything you need to grasp the principles of true living.  It's big, but intelligible.  It's old, but relevant.  It's deep, but accessible to anyone who's willing to search it humbly - to learn from it patiently, diligently. 

As a Bible is used, it's common to discover the strengths and weaknesses of the particular printing of scriptures that you have.  Bibles come in several different versions, such as King James Version (KJV) and the English Standard Version (ESV).  They also come in several different layouts - giant print, center margin, "Study Bible", wide margin, etc.   Each layout offers its own unique set of resources to the reader.  
 

As you study, it's very common to find resources you'd really like to add.  Perhaps just a note on a verse.  Perhaps a whole page of information, such as a Bible encyclopedia article or a helpful diagram or map.  Perhaps a blank note page at certain points in the Bible.  It is possible to accommodate these things within reason.  

First things first, though.  You need a system for notes, or your Bible will quickly become a confusing mess. 


Here's one simple but effective system for wide margin Bibles:  Notes related to a single verse or word in a verse go right next to the verse.  Use abbreviations as long as you'll remember what they are in future.  Notes too long for the margin become footnotes.  Put an asterisk or other symbol in the text related to the note and put the note at the bottom of the page with the same symbol.  General notes related to the whole chapter or story can go in the bottom margin, too. 

Keep your notes CONCISE.  It's an art and a skill to pack a lot of info in a little space.  Little tricks like writing the meaning of a name in quotes shorten up your notes; for example: underline the name Abram in the text, and write '"High Father"' in the margin instead of putting "The name Abram means "High Father" in Hebrew".  Put in cross references to other verses that make the point you want to remember instead of explaining it yourself.  For example: instead of putting "the promises to Abram haven't been fulfilled even though he was faithful to death and they can't be until he's resurrected" in your margin, just put "cmp. Gen 13:14; Heb 11:8,13 & 1 Cor 15:12-24" next to Gen 12:2. 
 

Another example, in Gen 11:4, it would be very hard to fit this in your margin:     “Babel was the start of a huge system of false religion that ran from then down to New Testament times and all the way to the return of Christ. Babel means confusion as vs 9 says, but it was probably named Babel with the meaning of “Gate of the gods”. It was called Babylon later and conquered Judah and destroyed the Temple, and it’s called Babylon the Great in symbol in Revelations. This refers to the Catholic Roman empire that ruled the world after the time of the apostles.”     Instead of all that, try putting this in your margin:   “Babel means ‘Gate of the gods’, but also ‘confusion’. see 2 Kings 25; Rev 17:5, 18”          

Whether you've got wide margins or not, you can add pages for notes.  This is rather simple and cost effective.  All it really takes is some thin paper and a glue stick.  

We're using tracing paper for adding blank notes pages.  It's actually a little less see-through than "onion skin" paper, which makes notes easier to read.  And it's thinner, which means it's easier on the spine of your Bible.  
 

If you want to print something on a page and then insert it, tracing paper probably won't make it through your printer.  We've had good success with a product called "Rag Marker Paper" in 13.5 lb weight.  Feed it through your printer one sheet at a time.

Using either paper, the process is the same.  Cut the paper down to the size you want.  I generally go a bit smaller than my Bible pages.  This makes things easier than trying to cut round corners and avoids the issue of having any pages ever so slightly too large - interfering when you thumb through your Bible. 

The next few steps are illustrated below.
Choose the side of your notes page that will be in the spine of the Bible.  Using scrap sheets, cover all but 1/8" along that edge of the notes page. Apply glue to the exposed strip and edge.  Elmer's school glue sticks have worked fine for us. 
Now, open your Bible to the point at which you want to add the page.  Open it as wide as you reasonably can, so that you can work the notes page right into the spine.  Slip the page into the spine crease, centering it height-wise.  It may help to grasp at the top and bottom of the sheet near the glue edge and gently work the sheet in as far as you can (3rd photo).  Check your alignment and close your Bible, pressing the spine flat, and leave until the glue dries.  

Voila! You've got an extra page right where you wanted it!  

Now, this doesn't mean that you can add a notes page every other page in your Bible.  The spine of your Bible was designed for approximately the number of pages that were originally in your Bible.  Adding a dozen or two notes pages is probably fine, but adding a couple hundred will put a lot of pressure on your spine.  Unless you're willing to redo your spine, this isn't a good idea. 
 

If you are willing to redo your spine, well, that can be done.  ->