What Do I Use to Write in My Bible?

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.

1. BIC® Round Stic® Xtra Life Ball Pen

  • Ink: black, blue, or red
  • Price: $0.10 each
  • Availability: local store
  • Ghosting: moderate
  • 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

  • Ink: black, blue, red, or green
  • Price: $1.50 each
  • Availability: local store
  • Ghosting: significant
  • 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 thick for smaller writing

3. BIC® Velocity® Mechanical Pencil, 0.5mm Fine Point

  • Price: $1.60 each
  • Availability: local store
  • Ghosting: minimal
  • 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

  • Assorted color options are available
  • Price: $2.50–$3.00 each
  • Availability: art or office supply store
  • Ghosting: minimal
  • 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 sizes are available

For a recent list of recommended writing utensils for ESV Journaling Bibles, download the Bible Writing Utensil Guide.

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ESV Journaling Bible®, Interleaved Edition
ESV Journaling Bible®

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