5 Ways to Use an Illuminated Bible

Simple Suggestions for Engaging with God's Word

This month, we introduced the ESV Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling Edition. This unique Bible pays homage to the long history of illuminated manuscripts (a practice that dates back to the 5th century) in addition to giving space for readers to engage with it artistically. Here are five ways readers can use this edition:

1. Use it for art journaling.

The Illuminated Bible features 500+ full-page illustrations, hand-lettered margin verses, and ornamental elements—all printed in gold ink. You may choose to add splashes of color to the existing illustrations or your own artwork in the blank margins. Need some inspiration for getting started with art journaling? Read 8 Tips for Engaging with your Bible Artistically.

2. Record prayers and notes.

The Bible’s wide margins and thick, cream-colored paper make it a great choice for those looking to write thoughts, prayers, or sermon notes directly next to the verses to which they correspond.

3. Get some help visualizing the world and context in which the text was written.

The included illustration index provides helpful insight as to where the artist drew inspiration for the artwork. But don’t stop here. Do your own digging. Want to be able to visualize the materials used to build Solomon’s temple or know what myrrh and frankincense look like? Use the included artwork as a jumping-off point for your own research and exploration. Being able to picture details of Scripture will only deepening your knowledge, understand, and appreciation for the text.

4. Use it for Scripture memorization.

Take photos of the beautiful margin verses or full-page verses and use them as backgrounds on your phone or computer, helping you to memorize and internalize the Word of God.

5. Use the illustrations to share Scripture with children.

The visual elements provide a great place for children to focus their eyes while you read aloud to them. As you read, point out particular elements in the illustrations, explain their part in the story of Scripture, or engage children by asking them to find specific details in the artwork.

Available in Four Cover Options


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