What Do I Use to Write in My Bible?

ESV Bible header

When it comes to underlining and writing in the margins of our Bibles, the choice of writing utensil can make all the difference in preserving the appearance and longevity of the thin Bible paper. Here's a comparison of four commonly used writing utensils.

  • Basic BIC Pen, M (black and blue ink)
  • Pilot G2, .07mm  (black and blue ink)
  • BIC Velocity Pencil #2, .5mm
  • Sakura Pigma Micron Pen, .01mm

Each pen/pencil was used to highlight the same passage of Scripture (Matthew 6:31–34) in four copies of the ESV Single Column Heritage Bible.

BibleStack

 

1. Basic BIC Pen, M

Bic Pen Blue

Matthew 6:31–34 underlined in blue and black ink:

BICFront copy

The reverse side of the page:

BICBack

Summary:

  • Price: a package of 36 is around $3.00
  • Availability: found at a local store
  • Ghosting: moderate
  • Other Observations:
    • Need to bear down, and sometimes, retrace to produce consistent lines, but bearing down too hard can stretch the paper.
    • Ink typically does not bleed or smear



 

2. Pilot G2, .07mm

PilotBlue

Matthew 6:31–34 underlined in blue and black ink:

PilotFront

The reverse side of the page:

PilotBack

Summary:

  • Price: a package of 2 is around $3.00
  • Availability: found at a local store
  • Ghosting: significant
  • Other observations:
    • No need to bear down for consistent lines
    • Ink takes some time to dry and therefore smears very easily, especially if you're left-handed
    • Unexpected clogging/ink blots
    • Ink can be too think for smaller writing



 

3. BIC Velocity Pencil #2, 0.5mm

Pencil

Matthew 6:31–34 underlined in pencil:

PencilFront

The reverse side of the page:

PencilBack

Summary:

  • Price: a package of 2 is around $3.00
  • Availability: found at a local store
  • Ghosting: minimal
  • Other observations:
    • Can easily produce consistent lines
    • The pencil removes the permanent nature of a highlighter or dark pen
    • The subtle grey gives underlining a more dignified look than a big, bright stroke that bleeds through to the other side



 

4. Sakura Pigma Micron Pen, .01mm

Micron

Matthew 6:31–34 underlined in black ink:

MicronFront

The reverse side of the page:

MicronBack

Summary:

  • Price: $2.50–$3.00 each
  • Availability: found at an art or office supply store
  • Ghosting: minimal
  • Other observations:
    • Easily produces consistent lines without needing to bear down
    • Uses archival ink, as opposed to a dye-based ink found in most pens and markers. The benefit is it won't fade or bleed through the paper.
    • Six different point sized are available
    • Assorted color options are available



 

Additional Resources

This is not an exhaustive comparison of writing utensils, so if you would like more information on this topic here are a few bloggers who have shared their experience and expertise:

 

What do you think?

What do you use to write in your Bible? Do you have any recommendations or advice to share?

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