It was the summer of 2003 when Josh slipped me a wrapped-up-gift. I had been neck-deep in my newly-kindled love of Bible-learning and quickly outgrowing the perfectly-sized-for-my-purse Bible that was beginning to show signs of tattered wear. The standard margins were much too small for the kinds of notes I was trying to write in them. And the cross-references weren’t near enough in number for my liking. It was time to find a new Bible that I could stretch out in and grow into.
Our families had gathered together for an afternoon party to celebrate my freshly-minted college degree a couple of months before Josh slipped a ring on my finger, and he pulled me aside to slip that wrapped-up gift into my hand.
I pulled off the paper and lifted the box lid and laid eyes on a brand new Bible. It was twice the size as my old one, with extra-wide-margins just begging for notes and I ran my hands smooth over the pages, breathing in the fresh-new-book-scent.
Just when I was about to kiss his neck in gratitude, he opened it up to the inside cover. And there on the page was his handwritten note:
God has blessed me with the woman of my dreams. You are the most beautiful gift that is so far out of my reach, and yet God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams with you. I pray that this book in your hands will be the water when you thirst, the food when you’re hungry (which is all the time) to fill you and nourish you all the days you live on this earth.
The words on these pages will never fade. It is the living word of God. Come and read with expectation to be filled and met by the One who will set you free, guide you, direct you, and, most of all, love you.
Seek Him all the days of your life.
Be a woman of God and of prayer.
Write down the things He speaks to you because He has anointed you to minister to Him.
He loves you.
I love you.
And just like that, he gave life to my digging-deeper-into-Scripture dream. I’ve been filling the margins ever since.
My Bible of choice: NKJV Wide-Margin Center-Column Reference Edition
Why NKJV? I chose the NKJV translation because that’s the version our pastor at the time taught from, making it very easy to follow along.
Oh, hello wide-margins! The writing-room on these Bible pages is incredible (1-1/4″!) leaving plenty of room for notes, thoughts, quotes, and prayers.
And those center-column references! My hunger for studying God’s Word on my own first began with stumbling upon a cross-reference in an Old Testament story that pointed to one in the New Testament (you can read that entire breakdown in my book releasing in October) that left me stunned. For the first time in my life, I had made a true and teachable connection, and I hadn’t needed the prompting of someone else to find it.
This Bible is full of cross-references that points you to directly related content in other parts of the Bible (plus a 66-page concordance in the back!). It allows Scripture to interpret Scripture. And it’s always the first thing I look for when I’m studying a passage.
(Curious about all those different colors on the page? I promise – there is a method to the madness! You can read all about my color-coding system in this post!)
It’s also important to mention that after almost 15 years of regular use, it was time to get my Bible re-bound (yes, that’s a thing!). Dropping it in the mailbox was maybe one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, but the crew over at AA Leather Bibles did a fantastic job with it! I chose the Italia Cowhide in Olive and added two ribbons and lined sheets of paper in the back, and I am in love with how it turned out! Hop on over to the highlights on my Instagram account to see a handful of videos of the brand new binding!
This post contains affiliate links and I’ll earn a commission if you shop through them.
See my full disclosure policy here.