Posted in Among The Homeschool

Creating Your Own Homeschool Curriculum — Bible

We’re continuing talking about creating your own homeschool curriculum. You’ve made your subject list and now you’re narrowing down what to put in each subject. As I said before, choosing a curriculum is just choosing books. It is super simple. You can choose a book, a program, part of another curriculum, whatever you want that makes school work for your children.

Complete Jewish Bible

Bible was a difficult subject for me, personally, to really decide what to do with. For one, I’m not Reformed. There aren’t a lot of ready made Bible studies for kids or families that aren’t Reformed. And I don’t want to spend all my time editing what is being taught so that it is theologically cohesive.

I also wanted it to be different from Sunday School. My kids are in church and I wanted their Sunday school experience to stay a Sunday school experience. I didn’t want to bring flannographs and crafts into every lesson every day.

I want my kids doing Bible every day. I don’t want them to have something so complex we only hit on it once a week. I wanted it to be daily enriching. And once they can read, I want it to teach my children how to have daily Bible reading time. I wanted to use it to build a Bible reading habit for them.

I opted to handle the subject in multiple ways. We place some Bible in our Morning Basket. We read a Psalm together daily. (When the Psalms run out before out 180 school days have passed, we read a chapter from Proverbs.) We also read a devotional book for kids in our Morning Basket. On Friday, we play a Bible game in our Morning Basket instead of the devotional book. (Check out The Action Bible Guess It Game, Apples to Apples Bible Edition, or So You Think You Know the Bible.)

That still leaves the actual Bible subject open. For younger kids, I think what I do in Morning Basket is enough. We’ve added more because I think there is always room for a little more Bible time. But for younger kids, I think prayer, a Psalm, and a devotional are quite a lot of Bible and is sufficient. However, I spent years doing only that much, and I think I missed some opportunities to really help my children grow in their faith.

For my younger kids, we have two things we do for Bible this year. We alternate days four days a week on which we’re doing that day. (We’ll talk about Friday later.) In previous years, we’ve read through the Herein is Love Commentary series, which we loved. We’ve read through various Bible Storybooks.

Rachael and Leah by Topher (7)
  1. Each child is illustrating their way through the Bible so at the end of the school year, they’ll have their own Bible Storybook. I read them a story from the Jesus Storybook Bible. As I read, they draw an illustration of the story. It is super simple. They love it. I love seeing what stood out to them in each story.
  2. I read a chapter of a Christian story. I try to pick books that are imaginative, but thoroughly Christian. This term, we’re reading The Ark, The Reed, and The Fire Cloud. (It will likely take us more than one term to finish.) The Imagination Station, The Cooper Kids, and The Sugar Creek Gang are other good options.

That leaves the older kids. As I said before, one of my goals for Bible as a subject is to help my kids develop the habit of daily Bible reading. We’ve chosen to do a SOAP method of Bible study. They each pick the book of the Bible they’ll be reading. (The Pastor or I will advise if they ask.) They use these books of the Bible printables to keep track of their reading. Each day, they read a chapter.

Using the SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) method, the first thing they’ll do is read the Scripture. They’ll write down on a piece of paper (or a journal) which verse they read is standing out to them most in their reading. The second step is Observation. What is this chapter telling us? Are there any places of repetition? What can be directly observed? How is this passage relating to the people it was written to or about? They’ll write this on their paper. The third step is Application. How does this apply to my life? What is my take away? They’ll write that down. Last, but not least, is prayer. They’ll write out a short prayer based on their reading. Super simple. If you want to know more about this method, check this out.

I don’t stop there for Bible. My Logic aged kid also reads a Christian Book a few days a week. This year, he’s reading through the Imagine… series. He’s also read Cold Case Christianity for Kids, Case for Christ for Kids, Love Does for Kids, and Trial and Triumph.

My older kids are now entering a different intensity of school work. This year, since they’re learning about ancient history, our Bible choices centered around that. They’re reading The Bible Among the Myths, Epic of Eden, and Stewards of Eden. (Lectures in Old Testament Theology was close to being put in the line up.) In my opinion, teenagers are capable of reading adult theology books. Don’t be afraid to give them difficult material– just be available to talk to them about it. Apologetics books are also of high interest to teens. Last year, these two enjoyed The Great Divorce, Miracles (by Metaxas), and Miracles (by Lewis). Read along with them. Be on their page. Know how their wheels are turning and you can better help as God guides and shapes their lives.

Now all of this probably seems like a lot to you. You really don’t have to do this much. As I said before, in the past, because I couldn’t find a good curriculum fit for Bible, I didn’t do enough. I didn’t focus enough on it. I didn’t make it enough of a priority. For that reason, as they get older, I definitely focus more on it. If they know calculus, but don’t know Jesus– I’ve failed.

Don’t limit your options to what is under the “Bible” tab on homeschool curriculum. If that was all the options, I’d be sad. You can absolutely use those if you want to. Just be aware of where your curriculum is coming from and how their worldview shapes what is in front of you. Theology matters. Doing your homework ahead of time to make sure what you’re putting in your kids’ hands aligns with what your family believes will save you a lot of time (and confusion) later.

Let’s talk about Fridays now. John Wesley has a method of helping people grow in Christ. He did this through bands, classes, and meetings. A band is a small accountability type group. A class is a small group. A meeting is a larger gathering, like Sunday morning service. That is a gross oversimplification and Wesley scholars are now pulling out their eyebrows in anguish over it. If you want to learn more about it from someone far more intelligent than I am, check this out.

I’ve taken my eight kids and started a family band. Now, technically, my family is the size of a class. But, I was noticing that my kids needed what a band has to offer and there wasn’t any good way to get that going. So, I started a family band. Friday is our meeting day. Each kid shares something that God is showing them. They bring their illustrations or Scripture journals and are eager to share with us. We also do some basic accountability, though I do respect their privacy and don’t go through the full list of questions with them– since they didn’t really choose to be in this band. However, it has been a nice way to help them grow in faith and help give them something in common. They each have something equally important to share– even the young ones. So far, my family band experiment is going pretty well.

ESV Family Devotional Bible

How you set up the Bible portion of your curriculum is up to you. I’ve simply shared what works for me and my kids. You may decide to do a Catechism. That’s great! You may just read a storybook Bible. Cool! You may decide to just read to them our of your devotion each day. (Yes! That is an option! Want to read Mama Bear Apologetics or Death by Living? Two birds, one stone– read it out loud to your kids!) You may pic a devotional books for kids like this one. Neat! You may pick a Bible curriculum designed for homeschoolers. Awesome! There is no single way to do it.

Just don’t skip it. To adapt a quote from The Pastor, if your kids miss Jesus, they miss everything. If you take a back seat on teaching them the Word, don’t be shocked when their worldview is decidedly not Christian. Everything you do shapes your child– from the food you put on their plate to the way you fold towels. It all has an effect on how they view the world and what they are becoming. You cannot avoid your influence. So influence them in the way that matters. Intentionally choose how you’ll guide them. Don’t leave this part to default.

** This post contains affiliate links. These links do not cost you more if you choose to use them, but they do provide compensation to me. Using affiliate links from your favorite creators is a great way to support their work.**

Posted in Around The Church, On The Reading Chair

ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible Review

Crossway sent me this beautiful Bible to review. After using it personally for a few months, I can confidently say that this is one of my all time favorite Bibles that I have ever placed my hands on. This is the ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible. It is such a simple Bible, but has exceptional details that make it super special.

This is the Blue Goatskin version. It also comes in a Black Goatskin and Brown Goatskin. The blue is a super deep navy blue. It is difficult to capture the color because it is so deep, inky blue that it is almost black. It came in a box with a velvet wrap, which I have no pictures of because I was so excited to open it! (And unlike The Pastor, I do not keep my Bible in the box.)

Since I’m already talking about the cover, we’ll start there. If you’ve never held one of Crossway’s premium leather Bibles in your hand, find me on Sunday morning and experience it. This just has a feel to it that makes it so comfortable in your hand. It is super floppy and just lays open in your lap. This just feels like the Bible you know you’ll be leaving your grandkids. (And it does have a lifetime guarantee from Crossway!)

Because the cover is so soft and floppy, I do have the edges of the cover curling around the pages a little bit. I think it because of how I hold the Bible, because it is only the back cover that is curling in. It doesn’t bother me. I think it just displays further how the Bible feels in your hand. But it might bother some people to have a cover THAT floppy and soft. It is definitely a different feel from the thick, sturdy imitation leather or cheaper leather you often see on Bibles.

Let me talk just a little bit about what it is like to have a Bible that feels good in your hand. For one, it makes you happy every single time you grab the Word to study. It just makes the whole experience something deeper, which I know sounds a little precious. The words in The Book are the same. The message in The Book is the same. You’re just changing the physical experience of it. When I grab this Bible to sit and read, I feel a sense of rest, like I’m doing some real refueling. It feels like a “treat yo self” moment.

You know how I feel about ribbon markers and this Bible has my perfect number of ribbons– four! Why four? One to mark your place in the Old Testament, one for the Psalms, one for the Gospels, and one for the Epistles. Four is the perfect number of ribbon markers and all Bibles should have four!

The readability of this Bible is the best. The font is large, but not so big it feels awkward. There is appropriate line spacing, that makes it easy to read. The section titles are off in the margin. There are very few notes. It is just clean and simple, which feels perfect to me.

The pages are clearly Bible paper– they’re thin. However, they aren’t so thin that I have a lot of trouble with highlighters bleeding through. These are just some regular highlighters I got from Amazon– not specific for Bible use or anything. And despite both sides of this page having highlighting, it isn’t bleeding through or making the pages unreadable.

You can see in this picture that the highlight “ruffles” the pages a little bit, especially in large blocks of highlighting. That does not bother me. But if it is something that is going to annoy you, just use a gel pen, gel highlighter, or pencil highlighter instead.

This Bibles does have a nice concordance in the back.

And it has some nice full-color maps on thicker paper.

I completely love this Bible. Let’s talk about price. This and other heirloom Bibles from Crossway are not cheap. They are, in fact, quite expensive. There are other similarly prices Bibles out there, so this isn’t a Crossway anomaly. The details are what makes Bibles like these so expensive. While I wouldn’t necessarily buy my fourteen year old such an expensive Bible, it is a good investment for an adult.

I think anyone going into ministry should be given a high quality Bible like this by someone in their life. I wish someone had done that for me. The Pastor wishes someone had done that for him. It would have been so nice to have a lifetime Bible going into the ministry. It would be such a gift to hand someone the Bible that can go through their entire ministry with them.

I also think it is worth having a Bible like this that you would one day pass down to your children. Maybe it is the romantic thought of thumbing through grandma’s old Bible years after she’s gone. But to have a Bible that you know is going to last is something we often overlook because Bibles are easy to come by. There is a reason Crossway used words like “heirloom” and “legacy” when describing this Bible.

While I think this one is more of a personal use Bible, having a quality family Bible is something we’ve always thought was a good idea. Having the Bible you grab to read the Christmas story on Christmas morning or the Bible you read from as you’re doing devotions. That Bible becomes a stable memory in the lives of your children.

I’m not telling you that to be a Christian you need to go spend over $150 on a nice Bible. In fact, this Bible isn’t my only Bible and hasn’t replaced my journaling Bible or my She Reads Truth Bible that has more devotional material in it. But it has become my go-to Bible for reading the Psalms with my kids each morning, reading the Word before the World each morning, and having close by to look up things throughout the day. This is my “by my side” Bible. So, you don’t have to buy such an expensive Bible. In fact, I think Bibles like these are better as extravagant gifts. Do you know how special it would have been for me to receive a Bible like this when having my first child as my “mother’s Bible”? I’m not even sentimental, but that would mean a lot to me. It is, for sure, a luxury item. If you’re looking for an amazing gift for a big life event– this Bible may be perfect. If you’re looking for a quality Bible that is a joy to read and hold– this Bible may be perfect.

** This Bible was sent to me free for review. I am not obligated to speak favorably and all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links do not cost you more to use, but I do receive compensation. Using affiliate links from your favorite creators is a great way to support the work they do. **

Posted in On The Reading Chair

ESV Bible with Creeds and Confessions Review

Crossway sent me this Bible to review. It is a standard ESV Bible with Creeds at the end of the Bible. I received the imitation leather version, which looks really nice. I was honestly surprised at how nice the cover is, because I’m usually not a fan of imitation leather. It also comes in a hardback imitation leather cover and a goatskin leather version.

I don’t think the pictures do it justice. It feels really nice in the hand. It also has 2 ribbon markers. You know me, the more ribbon markers– the better! I should also mention it comes with Crossway’s lifetime warranty!

The actual Scripture is very easy to read. Double columns with 10 point font and references throughout. It is very readable.

The selling point of this Bible is the Creeds and Confessions. However, it just falls a bit short– especially if you aren’t Reformed. A Reformed homeschool mom would probably LOVE this Bible. I am not Reformed. So I don’t. I like the Scripture part. I like the feel of the Bible. I love the readability. I do not love the Creeds and Confessions portion. It is just… lack luster.

Who knows, this Bible might be EXACTLY what you’re looking for. If you’re Wesley Armenian… probably not. The quality is outstanding. I really can’t say that enough. The readability and references in the Bible portion of this Bible are amazing! I’m just not Reformed, so I don’t care to have so much focus on Reformed confessions and catechism.

This Bible was sent to me free for review. I am not obligated to review it favorably or say anything specific about it, other than my own thoughts. Links in this post may be affiliate links, which do help me out.

Posted in On The Reading Chair

Prayer Bible Review

Crossway sent me this unique Bible to review. I have to say, this Bible is very aesthetically pleasing to me. It is a cloth cover with a look and feel like a church hymnal. It only has one bookmark ribbon. But it looks and feels very pleasant.

As far as I have seen, it only comes in this almost navy blue cloth hardcover, ebook, and brown imitation leather. It also does not come in a box, but with this half sleeve.

I really enjoy the artwork on the half sleeve and inside this Bible. The sketched portraits are a nice touch.

You have this introduction about the Bible and prayers. It includes information about praying through Scripture, which I think is a helpful addition.

Each book begins with a small introduction. The format is single-column and very easy to read. It also has footnotes.

Within the text, there are small prayers tucked throughout.

In the back of the Bible, you’ll find an author index where prayers are listed by author.

Then there is also a list of prayers by when they are placed through the Bible. As a Wesleyan, I did notice there were far more Calvin prayers than Wesley prayers. But John Wesley is at least represented.

There is also a reading plan in the back with an Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalm reading for each day of the year. (Except you get a day off on Leap Day every fourth year.)

Overall, this is a really unique Bible and very good resource. I’m not sure how much I would like this as my only Bible. But it does have footnotes and a concordance for study purposes, so it could be a study Bible. For homeschoolers, it would also make a lovely Morning Time Bible, since you could read Scripture and prayers from it to start off your day. Really, it’d be unique for anyone for that purpose.

** This Bible was sent to me for free to review. I am in no way obligated to give it a positive review.**

*** This post contains affiliate links. Using affiliate links does not cost you more, but it is a way to support your favorite content creators. ***

Posted in Around The Church, On The Reading Chair

ESV Illuminated Scripture Journal Old Testament Review

At the end of last year, I was able to review Crossway’s Illuminated Scripture Journal New Testament set. It is such a beautiful set and I have enjoyed it this year. Crossway released the Illuminated Scripture Journal Old Testament set earlier this year, and I knew it’d be just as lovely as the New Testament set. What I was not expecting was the sheer size of the thing.

I mean, clearly, I was aware that the Old Testament is larger than the New Testament. But seeing it like this made it very vividly clear just how much bigger the Old Testament really is.

Looking at them side-by-side is a bit mind blowing.

Clearly, some of the books are massively thick and others are pretty thin. The thinner books have some extra blank pages in the back of them.

The minor prophets are combined, so there isn’t a book for each one. Additionally, books with a first and second (Kings, Chronicles) are combined.

Just like the New Testament set, you have the words of Scripture on the left hand page and a faint dot grid on the right hand page.

Illustrations appear throughout. If they take up an entire page, they are on the left side. If they are small, they are on the right hand dot grid page.

If you’re curious how different media work with the paper, here are some examples from my Romans book. Our church had a small group on Romans, so I used my Illuminated Scripture Journal for that small group. The left page (above) has been watercolored on the back side of the page. There is some wrinkling, but no bleed through. The right illustration is watercolor colored pencil and micron pen, neither of which showed through or warped the paper much.

This page has Stabilo marker and Micron pens and it didn’t bleed through or warp the paper at all. The paper is much thicker than a standard Bible paper. It feels more like a Moleskin Cahier paper.

The entire set is just beautiful and well-worth the buy, in my opinion. I really enjoyed using these for Bible study. It was super convenient to be able to throw my Bible study book and the book of the Bible we were studying in my purse to read whenever I had the chance. I also really enjoyed taking notes and illustrating throughout the book. These are very much like my favorite journaling Bible, the Crossway Interleaved Journaling Bible. The paper is much thicker, and it isn’t quite interleaved, but the effect is very similar.

It is very large and takes up quite a bit of shelf space. I happen to think it is beautiful and looks lovely set out, so I don’t mind the size so much. I like both sets so much and am very glad to have both.

Crossway sent me this set free to review. I am in no way obligated to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.

**This post contains affilaite links. Affiliate links do not cost you more to use, but they do benefit your favorite content creators. **

Posted in On The Reading Chair, Out Of My Head, Under Our Roof

End of Summer Favorites

I rounded up my favorite things lately to share with you guys. I do have a few things that I don’t like, as well.

We’ll start with these Pilot Frixion Ballpoint Gel Pens. I’ve been using these to write in my Gentle Feast planner as well as take notes in my textbooks. I just like the way they write. Sometimes on glossy paper, they do act a little funny and they will smear if you don’t let them dry. But overall, I’ve been reaching for these pens the most. The “eraser” on the top is the perfect size. (If you buy these pens, to use, you click the pen clip down.)

These Pilot Frixion Fineliners, on the other hand, fall into the dislike category. They do this weird disappearing thing on glossy paper. They don’t completely disappear, but they don’t look like they’re staying, either. They work well on Bible paper, so I’ve been taking them to church on Sunday to take sermon notes in my She Reads Truth Bible, but that seems to be their only use. The “eraser” part is also really large and clunky to work with.

This is a regular favorite– Zum Mist. I absolutely love this stuff. I swear I’m going to branch out beyond the patchouli scent one day, but every time I try, I end up rebuying patchouli because I love it so much. I came really close to buying the sea salt scent this time, but they were out. This is an essential oil spray. It doesn’t leave oil or color stains on clothes or fabric. You can spray it on anything. I usually spray it on my person. It is strong enough to notice, but never overpowering. This is also a great option for tweens and teens instead of their body spray. (Whoever made Axe body spray hates mothers.) This stuff is all natural, and your kids can spray as much as they want without knocking you down when they walk by. I get lots of compliments on this scent.

Another Zum product that I have been loving is this Dragon’s Blood Zum Rub. It is very oily and thick, but it is magic on rough hands. I’ve been having issues with really dry, cracked cuticles and fingertips, and this stuff is just magic. It smells nice, and it makes my hands look soft and pretty again in no time. It is very similar to the Badger Balm Healing Hand, but I like the Zum formula a little more. The Badger Balm can be a little bit gritty feeling as you’re rubbing it in.

Nubian Heritage soap is the stuff dreams are made of. I absolutely love this one. The Patchouli and Buriti scent is so perfect. It does leave your skin smelling like patchouli but not quite as much as a Zum Bar— much more subtle than that. I have tried a few of the other scents, and while they are lovely, I apparently have very strong postive feelings toward patchouli. It is just my happy scent. I also really like the Nubian Heritage deodorant. It isn’t my all-time favorite natural deodorant, but it is really nice. The smell is perfect. It is my go-to pick when I don’t have time to wait for my favorite to ship and need to run to Sprouts to pick something up.

Since we’re talking about deodorant, I posted on the Facebook page about this one. This ZionHealth ClayDry deodorant is the best natural deodorant I have ever tried. And I have tried A LOT of them. I’m currently using the Palo Santo scent (not this one), I really love it. The ClayDry is a bit firm, but if you have trouble with it, hit it with the blow dryer or warm it under your arm and it’ll spread better. This stuff not only smells awesome, but it also leaves you feeling great and fresh for a VERY long time. I do not order this from Amazon; no, I usually order from Adamaminerals.com. They send great coupons and have excellent customer service.

I’ve been wearing this lip gloss pretty much every day. It is the Dominique Cosmetics Lemonade lip gloss in the color Peach Tea. It is just the perfect color, and the gloss is shiny and moistuizing but not tacky or stringy. It is a gloss, so it isn’t super long-wearing and does need reapplication, but the light color makes it so that you can apply it quickly like chapstick without needing a mirror.

On to the two makeup products I very much dislike. This Becca Hydramist powder is the worst powder I have ever used. I usually love Becca products, so I was so confused to find that I hated this one. I was trying to upgrade my Coty Airspun powder. (Turns out, Coty Airspun is just the best loose powder, even though it is super cheap.) This powder feels wet when you put it on. It also doesn’t dry smoothly on my skin. It bunches up and has patchy spots. It is so weird. It is cooling, but it looks awful. I tried to bake the under eyes with it, which was a nightmare. I tried just using it as a finshing powder, but that worked out horribly, as well. It is just not a good formula at all.

I was really excited about this Wander Beauty Glow Ahead Illuminating Face Oil. It is more of a serum-feeling primer, which is why I was excited about it. I’ve been looking for a glowy primer, but this isn’t it. It isn’t terrible. It doesn’t do awful things to my skin, but it really just doesn’t do anything at all. It looks pretty and shimmery in my hand, but on my face it looks like nothing. It looks just like any other serum. If you’re looking for a glowy primer, skip this one and try the Becca First Light Primer. It actually makes you glow.

I bought this book quite a while ago but just got around to reading it. Our ladies book club read it, and I’m really glad I finally read it. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting; it was so much better. I did not anticipate being so deeply moved by this book. I figured it would just be encouragement to read the Bible daily. Yes, it was that, but it gave so much more depth to holding tight to God through Scripture. This is one of those life-changing reads. It deals a great deal with grief and loss, and I didn’t know how much I needed that right now. I highly-recommend this book. I know I’m always recommending the She Reads Truth stuff. It is just all so worth checking out.

For The Children’s Sake is another book I’ve been planning to read for a long time and just got around to. We have been moving toward a Charlotte Mason approach from The Well-Trained Mind classical approach for the last few years, but this year we made the leap into a fully-Charlotte Mason curriculum. I felt like I needed more of an understanding of the methods as I began that endeavor. I’ve listened to podcasts and taken some online classes, but this book is just so much more. It feels a little dated, but there are some really great things all homeschool parents need to hear in this book. I’m really glad I read it. This is one I would say is a must-read for homeschool moms.

A book I greatly disliked was Defiant Joy. I was sweetly sent an advanced reading copy of this book; unfortunately, I just didn’t like it. It is so shallow. There is this push to put out Christian Living books, particularly for women, and so many of them simply lack substance. Many of them aren’t even Christian. I felt like she was saying the same things over and over, spreading too wide of a net, and not diving deeply into the subject at all. There were a handful of inspirational quotes for your Instagram wall but nothing truly noteworthy about the book.

I know I posted this in my Homeschool Resources post, but it is definitely worth repeating. These digital cards from Twig and Moth are just the most beautiful little things. You purchase the digital files and then print and cut them yourself. I print them on cardstock, and they turn out beautifully. I’m not kidding; I fully plan on giving some printed card sets as gifts this year— they are so lovely. I use these with our nature study. I print each kid their own card set. They love them. Each card has a beautiful watercolor illustration and an explanation with it. We used the Seeds and Seedlings last week and are breaking out the Minibeasts this week.

These are all my favorites and not favorites for right now.

**This post contains affiliate links. These links do not cost more to use, but they do benefit your favorite content producers when you use them. A big thanks in advance for all your support.**

***Items sent to me free for review will not necessarily get a positive review.***

Posted in On The Reading Chair, Out Of My Head

ESV Study Bible Review

Once again, Crossway sent me a beautiful Bible to review. This time, it is the ESV Study Bible. I was curious how it would compare to the ESV Heirloom Study Bible, since it is significantly cheaper.

The genuine leather of this Bible is slightly more stiff than the goatskin leather of the Heirloom. It is super nice leather, but doesn’t have that soft, floppy feel the goatskin has. It feels much better than bonded leather, but is a bit more firm.

This is really my only complaint about this Bible. It only has one ribbon marker. I’ve been spoiled by having multiple ribbon markers, so one ribbon just seems crazy now. (For the record, four is the ideal number of ribbon markers for a Bible: one for Old Testament, one for the Psalms, one for the Gospels, and one for New Testament.)

You have these pretty standard pages in the beginning of the Bible. Of course, it isn’t enough of any of the headings for a lifetime Bible.

Each book of the Bible has a pretty lengthy introduction, which includes maps, outlines, timelines– basically anything to help you understand the context of the writing. The maps are all full color. It doesn’t have as many pictures as the Heirloom Study Bible has, but it does contain a lot of study materials.

The Bible passages are single column, but the reference materials are double column down below. The font of the Bible passages is pretty large and very clear to read. The reference materials are smaller font, but still readable.

There are quite a few articles tucked into the back of the Bible, much like the Heirloom. These articles are fascinating, but as far as I can tell they are pretty much the same ones in the Heirloom Study Bible. (Not that it is a bad thing, just that you definitely don’t need both.) There are also several full color glossy maps in the back after the concordance.

Overall, this Bible is very well made and an excellent study Bible. For preaching, it is probably much too busy and you’d be flipping pages quite often for shorter texts. It doesn’t have quite as much as the Heirloom Study Bible, but it is considerably cheaper. Crossway really makes some beautiful Bibles. I woud highly recommend this Bible to anyone needing a good study Bible. The ESV is a good translation for personal Bible study and the extra tools and insights in this Bible will help as you read the Scriptures to understand.

** This item was sent to me free for review. I am in no way obligated to review it favorably. All opinions are my own. **

*** This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links are a great way to support your favorite content creators as they do not cost you any extra money to use, but a small portion of the sale goes to the creator. ***

**** I originally said Omega Reference Bible instead of the Heirloom Study Bible. I can’t keep my Bibles straight, apparently. Click HERE for my review of the Heirloom Study Bible. No link to a review of the Omega Reference Bible, because I don’t have that one. (Puts face into palm.) ****

Posted in Around The Church, On The Reading Chair

Preaching Bible Review

Crossway was awesome enough to send me this beautiful preaching Bible to review. This Bible is only available in premium black goatskin leather. Seriously, listen to me when I say, if you know someone who is going into full-time ministry and you want to buy them a Bible– do not waste your time on some bonded leather “looks nice” Bible. Buy them a premium leather, love the goatskin, Bible that will last their entire ministry. It was so sad when the bonded leather Bible The Pastor was given at the beginning of his ministry started to completely fall to pieces after less than two decades of use. He really did take care of it and hoped it would be used for his entire ministry– unfortunately, it wasn’t made to last. This Preaching Bible by Crossway is not only built to last, but has a lifetime guarantee.

This Bible is so beautiful. I’m told by The Pastor and several of his preaching friends that it has the right feel in hand. You can hold it in one hand with the Bible closed and use it to point at people, which I am told is necessary in a preaching Bible. It is very structured feeling in the spine while the pages still feel nice and floppy. You can see the beautiful ridge detailing on the spine.

The leather is soft and supple. It actually feels a bit squishy in hand.

It lays completely flat. So you can set it down and not loose your place. It does loose a bit of flatness at the very front and very back, but overall, it is a pretty flat lying Bible.

The only complaint I actually have with this Bible is that there are only TWO markers. Now, for my personal Bible, two would be acceptable. But for a preaching Bible, where you’ll have four passages to read each week, two just isn’t enough.

The print is slightly larger and single column. The numbers, both chapter and verse, are clearly visible to help guide the way as you’re reading in public. In a study Bible, this would be distracting. In a public reading Bible, this is necessary. It also has slightly wider than normal margins. There are no cross-references or distractions of any kind on the pages. The paper is a brighter white and isn’t too very see through for thin Bible paper. The edges are gold, but look reddish when the Bible is open.

A few maps in the back and a table of weights and measures are all you’ll get in terms of extras with this Bible. Even those seem a little superfluous to the point of this particular Bible. They are large or splashy or a distraction from the words on the page.

This is a lovely Bible. It is absolutely perfect for preaching. Of course, it is English Standard Version, so that may not be what everyone wants for preaching. I find it poetic enough of a translation that is sounds nice when read aloud but the language is updated enough to be more understandable.

This Bible is perfect for anyone reading from the Bible in a public setting. It is simple and not distracting. It is easy to find and keep your place while reading. It would be an excellent gift for anyone who may be going into the ministry.

** I received this Bible free for review. I am in no way obligated to give it anything other than an honest review.**

**This post and others on this blog may contain affiliate posts. Affiliate posts do not cost more for you, but they do benefit reviewers, writers, and creators you know, love, and trust.**

Posted in Around The Church, From The Altar, On The Reading Chair

Crossway Single-Column Journaling Bible Review

I’m sure you know by now how much I love my Interleaved Journaling Bible from Crossway. I love having every other page fully blank to create without worrying about obstructing the Word. Most people use the side column journaling Bible, so I figured I would check that out.

I am going back to school (if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, that is your answer). So, I thought it might be nice to keep a Journaling Bible for my studies.

This Bible comes in a variety of covers. There are so many beautiful options, it is hard to choose. You can even buy a customizable cover version! They also have a two-column version. It only has a single ribbon, which is what most Bibles have, but I am getting spoiled with some of my multi-ribbon Bibles.

The text is in a single column and then the margins are lightly lined with dots. The lines are light, but definitely noticeable. If you’re more into sketching, these lines might be problematic. For my purposes, I was just writing in the margins and not doing any type of art, so it worked fine for me. It would also make a nice Bible to take sermon notes in the margins. If you’re doing artwork in the margins, you may want to prep the margins before beginning.

As you can see from my pen test, the pages are pretty thin. Everything shadows through and some things will bleed to the next page. Again, prepping the page with gesso before beginning your art will help this problem significantly. It also helps to keep a blank piece of paper under the page you are currently working on so it won’t bleed to the next. (And my Mildliner was dying. Don’t worry– it has been replaced.)

You can see how the Pigma Microns that I use show through the page a bit. It isn’t enough to really bother me when taking notes in the margins. I still feel like both sides are legible.

This Bible is very light on extras. There is a reading plan to read the Bible in one year. No index. No maps. Pretty simple.

Overall, it is a beautiful Bible. Now, will it fit your needs? I don’t know. If you’re wanting a Bible for art, I highly recommend the Interleaved version. If you’re wanting a Bible to take notes in the margins– this Bible is likely perfect. I’ve really been enjoying using it for school. I have a highlighter color for each class that I am taking. During my weekly reading, I highlight the applicable verses and write quotes I come across that I want to save in the margins. I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like at the end of my degree program. I use a similar Bible for church on Sundays to keep sermon notes, and I think this Bible would be perfect for that. If you use a more scrapbook style of journaling or don’t mind gesso prepping the margins, this Bible can be used for art, as well.

I typically purchase Bibles from Christian Books Distributors. They typically have the best price. Amazon, however, will get it to you faster and if you are shipping internationally, will be overall cheaper because of shipping.

This Bible was sent to me free for review. I am not obligated to review it positively. This blog contains affiliate links. Using affiliate links from your favorite bloggers is a great way to show them a little love. Affiliate links do not cost your more to use but do give a small portion of any sales to the affiliate.

Posted in Between Us, On The Reading Chair

Blessed Advent Bible Giveaway

**This Giveaway is now Closed!**

I told you guys it was going to be a Blessed Advent! Crossway is giving away 5 different Bibles to my readers this year! Merry Christmas to you!

Five Bibles. Five Winners! You could win your own copy of The Story of Redemption Bible, The Archaeology Study Bible, The Illuminated Scripture Journal Set (New Testament), The Scripture Journal Set (New Testament), or the Illuminated Bible. All are ESV. And all are awesome! I’m telling you, each of these Bibles makes an awesome gift. And five of you will be receiving one of them as a gift!

IMG_2218

So, how do you win? Easy! Comment and share! You’ll get one entry for comments on this blog post. One entry for liking the main giveaway post on our Facebook page and commenting. One entry for liking the post on Instagram and commenting. One entry for sharing this post (comment here or on social media letting me know how you are sharing.) The giveaway is open to residents of the continental United States. It will close on December 14th at 10:45 am (EST). At 11am (EST) on the 14th, we will draw five winners on Facebook live! I am so excited to be able to share this with you!

If you’re curious about the different Bibles, you’ll find reviews here on my website! This post does contain affiliate links.