Moleskine Version of a Jonathan Edwards Blank Bible… Sort of

Mention “crafts” to me, and flashbacks of VBS, macaroni, Elmer’s and popsicle sticks begin to flood my brain. However, here’s a craft-y project I actually use.

The Genesis

I’ve been studying/preparing for a class on Matthew. My study skills are somewhat haphazard, and I really wanted to focus on the text itself without distraction. Cross-references, study notes, heck, even other books of the Bible can and do serve as exit ramps for me to leave the text and indulge my tangential way of thinking. What I need is a simple, single column (I like single column) text only, Gospel of Matthew, with ample room to take notes that I can take with me wherever I go. I’ve got an ESV Journaling Bible, but I’m 45 and can’t read or write in micro print, so I started looking around for something else online.

Found lots of DIY stuff out there, but nothing that suited me. But I did find a lot of folks copying Jonathan Edwards and his “Blank Bible”, and that was really interesting to me. (The blank bible is a dis-bound KJV bible with each page attached to a large, blank journal page for his notes Here’s an interesting vlog that explains it a little better. The first three minutes or so, if you’re interested.)  

The next part of my arts and crafts idea involves a certain brand of journal. For those of you who don’t know about Moleskine notebooks, there’s a whole cult-like world out there that revolves around these old school, quality, journals. Google “moleskine hacks” and see what I mean.

I learned about Moleskines a few years ago (thanks, iMonk!), and even though I don’t often use a journal I really like the simple, quality, feel of them. Plus they’re hip and cool, and I’m… well, I’m 45, and not.

Why not marry the two? A Moleskine version of a Blank Bible, only just the Gospel of Matthew? Surely someone has done this before and has a how-to online to help me, right? Well if they do, I couldn’t wade through the zillions of google hits to find it, so I decided to try it on my own. 

This is my contribution to the world of moleskine hacks.

Here’s what I did.

  1. Decided that a Moleskine Large Ruled Notebook was my best option. Big enough to hold all of Matthew, and leave three pages for notes between each text page. Also small enough to carry around with me.
  2. Looked online for a ready to use text. 
  3. Decided that I’d have to cut and paste my own text. Turns out this was best anyway, as I needed to get rid of section headings and such, and re-size to fit the notebook.
  4. Bought color matching paper (Moleskine uses a cream colored paper in their notebooks) at a Staples. Opted for 20#, the lightest weight I could find, to cut down on the thickness of the end product.
  5. Used my wife’s scrapbooking roll-on adhesive to glue down the text pages. I remember from my VBS days, that Elmer’s has a tendency to wrinkle paper. I also used her scrapbook paper cutting tool, but next time I’ll use one of those pivoting-machete paper cutters down at the church office to cut many pages at once. 

What I Learned

  1. It’s always safest to ask your wife before you use her scrapbooking stuff. Lesson learned. (Just a joke, she was a big help with this, answering all my questions, knowing what to use, getting extra supplies)
  2. It ain’t cheap. The notebook is around $12 on Amazon. I had to buy the paper at about $7.29/500 sheets. And I used a lot more of the adhesive than I thought I was going to. 2 1/2 rolls @ 2.99/roll. Plus printer ink, time and effort.
  3. Speaking of time… it takes a while. It took me the better part of a day to format the text, buy the supplies, and put it all together.
  4. Matthew is as big a book as I’d put in this sized notebook. Moleskine has a larger sized notebook if you wanted to use it, but I think I’d just make a longer book into 2 volumes. I like the size (5.25″x8.25″) of this one. I ended up with about 15 journal pages left at the end.
  5. When choosing your font and text size make sure you’re comfortable with them on paper. Screen and paper are very different animals, and what’s easy on the eyes on one isn’t necessarily so on the other. I used MS Reference Serif, 9. I like it, but you may not. 
  6. I will probably do this again for other studies. I like the results. And while I’m not a big note taker, I really like having three blank pages to one of text. I don’t feel like I have to ration out the space and only write what’s “important”. I can write pretty much whatever I want and still have some room left over. I know some of you could write three pages on one verse, but I’m not one of you.
  7. I do feel a little hip-er when I pull this out. And this has already lasted longer than the macaroni art in VBS.

The Results

  1. The good. It’s small, readable, plenty of note space, simple, and a useful tool. 
  2. The bad. Sometimes the adhesive causes to pages to stick together, but just a little. The notebook’s not designed to fit a extra 46 or 47 pages in its binding, but it’s a sewn binding, so it’ll last a good long while. 
  3. Overall I’m really pleased with the way it turned out, and I’ll probably do it again (as I have lots of paper left over) with various books I’m studying. 

The Pictures





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7 Responses to “Moleskine Version of a Jonathan Edwards Blank Bible… Sort of”

  1. The Boar’s Head Tavern » Matttttheeeew… Says:

    […] How to turn your Moleskine into a Bible-note taking book. This guy inserted the text of Matthew into his moleskine. […]

  2. wdennisgriffith Says:

    Sounds so very… art-sy. More than I can muster.

    Hey, if you are looking for a good commentary for Matthew, while remaining faithful textuaully & theologically, focuses more on Christian Formation, check out Frederick Dale Bruner’s 2 volume set: V. 1 The Christbook (1-12); V. 2 The Churchbook (13-28)

  3. seaton garrett Says:

    Thanks man, I’ll look for the Bruner volumes.

  4. Greg Gordon Says:

    nice work on the edwards bible. You would think someone would publish something like this already. I am a big fan of moleskin!

  5. Says:

    That’s so interesting ~ I’d love to have the whole Bible in a soft covered Moleskine book with pages in between for notes, … but to still be the same size as a normal book, magically.. hehehe..

    If you want to get a small sized Moleskine Bible – click my name above –, you can also get materials to make your own ~

  6. Says:

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS.

    I don’t understand the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anybody getting similar RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

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