Best Pens and Supplies for Ultimate Bible Journaling

If you are new to Bible journaling, figuring out which are the best pens and markers to use can be a real challenge. You want the proper supplies to avoid tearing the thin pages and ink bleeding through. 

As a bona fide Bible nerd, I have searched over the years to find the best type of pens to use in my Bible. Bible study is my passion. There is rarely a day when I am not in the Word of God, whether for a short time or longer.

I love scribbling notes in my study Bible, writing on the side of the page, and highlighting relevant passages. It’s always instructive to read previous notes and decipher various art scribbles.


Quick History of Bible Journaling
What Pen is Best for Writing in the Bible?
What Pen is Best for Bible Underlining?
Will Gel Pens Bleed Through Bible Pages?
What Highlighters Will Not Bleed Through Bible Pages?
The Benefits of Bible Journaling

After years of trying different colors, gel highlighters, ballpoint pens (fine point, hard tip, gel ink, etc.), I embarked on a quest to find the best Bible pens to use on those thin Bible pages. Here we go!

Quick History of Bible Journaling

Even though Bible journaling may seem like the latest new craze, Bible historians started it centuries ago.

Before the invention of the printing press during the Middle Ages, Bibles were painstakingly replicated by hand starting with a blank page. 

Artists would often add hand-drawn illustrations. Not only were they beautiful, but the illustrations served to tell Bible stories to those who could not read Latin.

Bible journaling resurfaced in 1980 but took off like a rocket in 2014. A papercraft artist named Shanna Noel wrote a blog post showcasing her bright, colorful, artistic illustrations in her journaling Bible. 

Her example of using the wide margins for note-taking caught. In fact, she wrote a very helpful book called A Workbook Guide to Bible Journaling.

Bible journaling began with fervor. Every craft store began carrying every kind of pen and pen point size to choose from. It was the best thing since sliced bread.

What Pen is Best for Writing in the Bible?

My favorite pens to mark and underline Bible passages on those delicate Bible pages contain pigment inks. Pigment ink pens possess archival quality traits. Those are by far the best pens for Bible journaling.

For a long time now I have used the Pigma micron pens. It has the finest point and is fade-resistant, waterproof, quick drying, and results in minimal bleed-through on our thin Bible paper. 

Trust me, the type of pen you use matters to avoid obscuring the words. Here are the most readily available and common pigment-based pens:

They do not come in vibrant colors, yet these types of pens offer a variety of colors. They are more for actually writing notes in the margins and underlining than actual drawing or artwork. 

What Pen is Best for Bible Underlining?

My favorite supplies for underlining a Bible verse contain an extra fine tip so that words are not covered up. The best pens for Bible journaling using notes and underline are usually the same kind.

Soft tip pens with thicker lines only work in Bibles with wide margins. Bible markers found in a typical Bible study kit have a hard time providing the best use.

The Prismacolor Premier Illustration Markers (also containing pigment ink) have withstood the test of time in my Bibles.

I usually use black ink for underlining, but use a lot of pens in different colors to make notes or for coloring. That’s simply my personal preference. 

Will Gel Pens Bleed Through Bible Pages?

I am a huge gel pen fan. Tul pens are pretty much all I use when writing. However, after lots of trial and error, I have not found a gel ink pen that will not bleed through. 

Pigment ink pens are simply the best for hand lettering, thinner lines, or detailed drawings (visual faith). See list above.

I found a great display of Pigma Microns at my local arts and crafts store. They carried different ink colors and paint pens with various nib sizes (line width). 

For Bible journaling on those blank pages in the back of your Bible where you are not worried about obscuring words, I use the Tombow Dual Brush pens. They are brush tip water color pens that blend beautifully.

What is the Best NIB size?

The width of the writing or line you want to make is gauged by NIB sizes (head tip width). Here is a handy chart:

Nib Size    Width
0050.2 mm
010.25 mm
020.30 mm
030.35 mm
050.45 mm
080.50 mm

I have pens in all sizes, but discovered that the best nib pen size for note writing or underlining are 005, 01, and 02. The 03 can be used for underlining, but the tip is generally too wide for writing notes.

To save time, I prefer to write and underline using one size. Efficiency, baby! The vast majority of my black pigment pens are nib 005.

The bottom line is the best pens for Bible journaling are the ones that works best for you!

What Highlighters Will Not Bleed Through Bible Pages?

There is one amazing set of Bible highlighters that I recently discovered. As soon as I tried them I blurted aloud, “Where have you been all my life?” Hahaha.

A gift from a friend, I use the Mr. Pen Sleek highlighters in my Bible. They are perfect as they do not show through on the other side. They also don’t rub off onto the facing page. 

When first applied, the highlight does feel a little waxy, but the waxy feeling doesn’t stay. It took me a bit to realize that the pen bottoms twist to push more “crayon” up (like a mechanical pencil). 

At first, I didn’t think this was a feature of these pens because the bottoms were pretty resistant to twisting as the pens are slightly made. But I love this feature and I love these pens!

What are the Best Bible Pencils?

As a writer, I love school and office supplies. For full disclosure, I love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils! Most standard color pencils work in your Bible since it takes a lot for the color to seep through.

When I first started undertaking journaling for my Bible studies, I found that the best part was the new Bible journaling supplies. Simply put, I can color code various themes throughout Scripture, such as “love” throughout 1 John. 

You can find a fun supply store locally and peruse the aisles. Also, a great way to find the best Bible journaling supplies is to head online. Many stores ship nowadays.

The best colored pencils that I have found so far are Veritas and Arrtx. Be careful when ordering Arrtx to ensure you order pencils and not acrylic markers.

The Benefits of Bible Journaling

At this point, you may be wondering why you should even consider journaling or marking up your Bible. That’s a fair question! 

I used to believe that it was sacrilegious to write in a Bible. Some people still do. So regardless of identifying the best pens are for Bible journaling, why is it beneficial?

Over time, God has made it clear through His Word that knowing what the Bible says is paramount. That requires daily and intense study of its contents. And I do that best through copious notes, color-coding, and marking special passages. 

If you are new to studying the Bible, here are some helpful tips when it comes to marking your Bible.

reading and journaling

1. Identify Themes

It is very helpful to identify themes throughout different books of the Bible. A perfect example is contained in the epistle of 1 John, chapter 5. 

When you take the time to mark all of the instances where the word “love” appears, it is clear what that portion of Scripture emphasizes. 

Also, since I am not an artist, I chose an ESV Bible from my publisher that contains drawings that are ready to color. This particular verse emphasizes love, once again.

2. Notice Patterns

Throughout the Book of Esther, there is a literary device used called “chiastic structure.” 

A chiasm simply means a reversal of fortune. For instance, Esther grew up as an orphaned Jewish girl who became the Queen of Persia. Haman was the evil, prosperous second-in-command to King Ahasuerus who was killed for treason. 

By marking each instance of a reversal of fortune, it is clear that the hand of God was upon each circumstance. Even though God’s name is never mentioned in the Book of Esther, He is everywhere!

I wrote an entire Bible study on the Book of Esther called “Chosen” that you may find helpful. 

Bible study on Esther

3. Slow Down

I don’t know about you, but life flies by at a lightning pace. When I sit down to read Scripture, I want to retain what I read. 

When I take the time to identify and mark overarching themes it brings to mind similar themes throughout Scripture. 

When I mark, underline, or highlight patterns in my Bible, it helps me see the consistent, loving hand of God in every story.

​Bible journaling and noting significant insights in the margins is one of the best ways of remembering and applying what we read in those holy pages.

4. See How God is Moving

When I read that God enjoyed walking with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day, it makes sense that Jesus loved walking with His disciples for three years.

God created us for community. When I notice and mark those places in my Bible where God fosters community it shows how He provides others to love with whom we walk life’s roads.

God is a God of rescue. When I see in Exodus how He rescued His people from slavery, then I see in the Gospels how Jesus rescued us from our sin on Calvary, I see a God who loves us more than we can possibly imagine. 

Taking time to mark significant events in your Bible brings to mind how God is consistently moving from the beginning of time to the end.  

5. Memorize Scripture

God clearly instructs in the Bible that we are to hide His Word in our hearts. That comes down to memorization which takes time.

When I want to commit a particular verse or passage to memory, I first highlight it in my Bible. Then I write in the margin why I am memorizing it.

Then I write that verse or passage on several index cards that I carry around with me. 

For instance, I went through a season where I needed to persevere through a certain circumstance. I bought a spiral of index cards and wrote “Perseverance” on the outside with a sharpie. Then I went through the entire Bible marking passages that encouraged me to persevere.

Where is God calling you to memorize from His Word today? Marking your Bible is a great way to get started. 

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About the Author
Although Donna is a sought-after Bible teacher and author, her path from being unchurched to becoming passionate about sharing Jesus was not easy. Go here to read her God-breathed journey, “From Unchurched to Becoming a Multi-Published Author and Sought-After Speaker.” If you want to send Donna a quick message, then visit her contact page here.

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