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January 31, 2008



I saw these photos when I was checking my flickr contacts and was wondering where you might be going with the photos. That Crystal KJV from Allan looks great! How is the type for older eyes?

I've been using the small Moleskines for about 3 or 4 years now but I've been thinking recently that the full size might be a great match for the Dailey Reading Bible and the Allan ESV.

I'd like to get a KJV Allan in maybe a tan but the various type sizes have me a little concerned as the type in the Daily Reading Bible is a little small at the end of the day unless I wear my glasses. Same with the Allan ESV. Maybe that is what I will end up doing. Even with my glasses the footnotes are often difficult.

Jacob Douvier

I used a composition book up until last fall when I successfully filled the pages up. It was black, so it matched my ESV Journaling Bible. Out of a desire to be thrifty, I found a small black journal at Target that is a much closer match (and about half the size of the Bible), however, like your red combination, it doesn't always stay in my hand as well when I carry them. What I liked about the composition book was how well it would stay open. I kept my outlines for my quiet time talk, as well as some points I went over with my students at the start of each camp, and it worked quite well. I may go back to something larger for this upcoming summer just for that reason. That said, this smaller style journal is very handy.

J. Mark Bertrand

Considering the fact that the Crystal is a tiny *reference* Bible, I'd say it's extraordinarily readable. But tiny is the operative word. If you have trouble with the Daily Reading Bible, then one of those little magnifying cards sometimes used with small Bibles might come in handy with the Crystal.


I really enjoy using the large moleskine cahier, because they are the exact same size as most thinline bibles. It just slips right in.


I am still searching for the perfect combo to take to church. Right now I would most like to try the TNIV by Allan's but at $120 after the uphill exchange I just don't see it happening. Also, the KJV is not an option really though I'm super impressed with the one you featured here (and half the price of their TNIVs). In December I bought a small moleskine and a 3 pack of the thinner cahier notebooks to try them out. For the last two months I've been carrying a Uniball 207 Premier with a thin Cahier Moleskine and my Compact ESV Portfolio:


They are small enough to easily fit into my jacket pocket this winter, and when it warms up they are only an inch think stacked and easily carried.

Glenn Piper

So, in the last paragraph, is it that you do want to 'introduce fanaticism' or is the word 'last' missing? I just wondered ;-)

Like you I like the moleskine notebooks and use them a lot

J. Mark Bertrand

Good catch, Glenn. I corrected the line. I believe that's what they call a Freudian slip. Of course, the sentiment I was trying to express goes something like this: "If I have to suffer, I want all of you to suffer with me." But it seemed nicer to pretend like I don't. :)


I use Levenger's Circa agenda which I carry in a leather cover. The color is called saddle. I enjoy carrying it to church meeetings with my ESV portfolio. Does anyone else use Levenger; I like their leather but I am no expert.


Did you have a compact ESV rebound? If so, is there any chance of a full report? Is it a sin to covet someone else's Bible?

Greg Terry

Just wondering where is a good place to purchase the moleskine notebooks? I haven't seen any in colors other than black.

J. Mark Bertrand

No, I didn't have it rebound. Leatherbibles.com used to offer that edition, but discontinued it. The binding only allows it to open about halfway, so maybe that's why. Small, glued edition = bad candidate for rebinding.

J. Mark Bertrand

Greg, the red ones are a Barnes & Noble exclusive.


Mark wrote: "At the beginning of the summer, it [moleskin] was pristine, but eight weeks later it looked like an old-fashioned steamer trunk."

Which is why I'm thinking about getting one of these:


Seems like the best of both worlds to me. Has anyone out there bought one? If so, what's your impression?


Allan's Pitt Minion Text KJV* is my read-through-the-entire-canon Bible this year, partly because it looks and feels so great, but also because I'm traveling a lot this year and don't want to switch Bibles each time I leave home. I'm using a pocket Moleskine 2008 Pocket Daily Planner to summarize each day's chapters and record verses that stand out, as well as passages from the day's Masses, e.g., collects, etc. The Pitt Minion isn't sized anything like the Moleskine planner, but the planner and an old hardcover 1928 BCP next to each other are similar to the length and width of the Pitt Minion's box and the three pack well together. I also like using a dated planner as it gives me more incentive to read and record something every day, and the irrelevant time markings in the Moleskine planner are so unobtrusive I don't even see them anymore.

Otherwise, the Allan Pitt Minion in its box is pretty close in size to a Large Moleskine notebook - about half again as thick, a half inch shorter and almost the same width.

*(To my knowledge, Allan is the only company offering text-only Pitt Minion KJVs, as opposed to Cambridge's Pitt Minion Reference editions. Does anyone know otherwise?)

Alex S. Leung

@chad: I love that Uniball 207 Premier pen too; I just love the grip on it - I use it for exams!

I'm normally use blue Pilot G-2 05s for notetaking...
My current Bible & notebook combo:
ESV Classic Thinline (tan) + Large Moleskine notebook (black)

The Bible is a tad taller than my Moleskine notebook, and color don't match. But once I get my new SCR Premium Calfskin, they're gonna look like a happy married couple ;-)

Alex S. Leung

I've bought Moleskine large ruled/plain notebooks from my local Borders store.
$16.95 regular price; I usually use the 20% coupon they regularly have from their website. Comes out to $13.56 before taxes.

I've also bought from Amazon: $28.98 for 2pack (but you gotta pay extra for shipping)


I've been using these:
The paper won't bleed through or feather with whatever ink I load into various fountain pens. The biggest advantage is that with the wire binding they completely fold around, cover to cover, making it easier to take notes with the journal balanced on my knee.
The fancier journals I save for the desk at home.

Steve Robenalt

Mark, ever since I found out about the Moleskin journals from your site last Spring I've been using them. I think they're the perfect size to carry anywhere (5x8), especially to church for taking notes when you don't always have a lot of room around you, and your lap is your desk. The paper quality and color is also great for writing on. The two bibles that I use with my journal depending on the situation are my ESV Journaling Bible and my Allan's ESV Reference (both thanks to you again).

I have to say that I have been kind of rethinking the idea of using a wider margin bible for the note taking ability, but I really enjoy having a bible that's a handier size. And as you mentioned above, you can write more in a notebook and still have it to look back at. With a wider margin bible you can only write limited info. I don't use my Journaling Bible for note taking, but rather for journaling my thoughts related to specific things I believe God is teaching me or steps of faith I need to take.


Last weekend I took the plunge and made a "blank bible" (http://spurgeon.wordpress.com/2006/11/06/diy-blank-bible-part-1/). It really satisfied my wants for a bible, but the binding was done by myself at kinko's so it really wouldn't fit into the theme here.

But I finally got what I wanted in a bible that allows me to have the space that I desired.

Pastor Ron Parish

I enjoy writing in journals, and have done so for a long time now. This article has been very informative, as I've never used Moleskine notebooks before.

One thing you must have, IMHO, is a quality fountain pen for your note taking. Of course, any pen will do, but a fountain pen and journal seem to be a wonderful match. This is, of course, just an opinion of a fountain pen collector. I use one probably 99% of the time when any writing has to be done. Just a thought.

Pastor Ron


Does anyone know where I can get a metal or a wooden Bible holder/stand to place my Bible on let's say on the dining room table while I write notes next to it. I have seen a few that Kenneth Copeland uses but haven't had an answer back yet. I just don't like putting my Bible on the table while I'm drinking coffee, this way if I do have an accident nothing gets on my Goatskin Bible.

Samual Stegall

I've looked at Moleskines several times but have never bought one. The reason is that I don't like to surface of the covers. I have however found something that I use alot that are very similar to moleskines. They are called Naturals Journals. They can only be bought at a Books-a-Million and unfortuanlly I haven't been able to locate them online anywhere making be believe that Books-a-Million is the sole distributor. They have hard cloth covers and they come in several colors that match many of my Bibles. Also they come in roughy the same two sizes as the moleskins (I did a side by side comparison at the bookstore and found that there was less than a half inch diffenece between the two). Just another option for people still looking for a good journal notebook.


Q Leather

The leather journal looks great. I have one similar to that and it makes you think more about what your write down rather than just pen random thoughts or lists.

Leather Journals

That red leather journal and bible threw me off at first, but I think it grew on me.


@Samuel Stegall,
Is this what you meant:
http://www.booksamillion.com/product/9781906525187 ?

I'm having a little trouble with the bam search/browse functions.


What's the best pen for writing in Bibles?


You might want to go back in the archives ( http://www.bibledesignblog.com/archives.html )and read the comments from posters in the following threads. Note many spill over into successive pages (see "more comments" at the bottom.)

1. Thread on Writing and Highlighting in Your Bible from March 20, 2008

2. Thread on Note-taking Systems from Sept 5, 2008

3. Recent thread on R. L. Allan's Journal (Third Generation) Dec 15, 2009

It appears the Pigma Micron pens are most popular with an occasional weirdo (me!) for soft, ultra-fine drafting pencils.

Chris Bloom

Samuel, I have a couple of the small Naturals that you mention, and really like them. They're a bit stiff, making it hard to write all the way into the gutter, but for the price you can't beat the durability, and the small blue one I have is exactly the same size as my little blue Compact Thinline ESV.

It also helps that they're seemingly always on sale at a good discount here in Birmingham. Hometown advantage, maybe?


Love the article ^__^
those are such nice photos ~

I have a mixture of those - Bible + Moleskine ~
I've made myself a small pocket Moleskine Bible ~

check it out at my site ~ you can get one, or get the materials to make your own


Do you know what leather journal that is?

J D Rhodes

I think the Moleskine Cahier (large & extra large) is the best notebook on the market. They are like composition notebooks bound with black thread in a cardstock cover. The quality of the paper is excellent and the last few pages are perforated. I use them for outlining sermons when preaching and for general note taking/writing. They are simple but perfect.

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  • J. Mark Bertrand is the author of Back on Murder, Pattern of Wounds, and the forthcoming Nothing to Hide, crime novels featuring Houston homicide detective Roland March. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and lived in the city for fifteen years. After one hurricane too many, he and his wife moved to South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of a hung jury in Houston, and after relocating served on the jury that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.

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