Since my daughter began kindergarten, my alarm has been set to awaken me at 5:45 A.M. The plan had originally been to rise before the children at 6 A.M. for a little alone time with God. However, once my daughter realized mommy was getting up early she reset her biological clock in order to join me on the couch. I backed up my alarm 15 minutes and prayed, “God, if you want me all to yourself, then you are going to have to keep my baby girl in bed.” Still she rose to meet me. As time went on, my daughter began to ask me to read to her. On days when the material was not age appropriate (see Judges 19-21), I would either find another portion of scripture or encourage her to read from her children’s bible. Our time together has become very precious to me, and in hindsight I can see God’s blessing in that unanswered prayer.
Occasionally her interpretation of scriptures through a childhood lens sends me into fits of laughter, but more often I am astounded by her depth of understanding. Time and again, I am humbled by my role in discipling to this sweet girl and raising her to know and love the Lord.
Three years into our shared morning reading time, I began to think I should record some of our conversations for posterity’s sake. I’d like my daughter, her daughter, and her daughter’s daughter to have a physical reminder of their spiritual heritage.
I have numerous bible translations offering a variety of features. Yet for this purpose I wanted one that was both beautiful and functional. In February, I learned of Crossway’s plans to release a large print journaling Bible this summer, I felt it would be the perfect fit for my needs. When it arrived, I opened the box and was greeted by the pleasant smell of genuine cowhide leather. The craftsmanship of this Bible coupled with it’s timeless design give it the rich feel — worthy of a family heirloom. The ESV Single Column Journaling Bible, Large Print is the most well-made, handsome Bible I’ve ever owned.
At 38 years of age, my eyes can appreciate the 9.5 point text over the 7-8 point text common for journaling Bibles. In addition to minimizing eyes strain, the print size and overall layout are easy for my daughter to read as well.
The pages inside are a creamy yellow verses a stark white. To make annotations, I use either a pencil, colored pencils, or a gel pen. While the first two do not show through the page, the gel pen does create ghosting similar to the printed text. Determined to use my margins for writing more than art journaling, I cannot comment on how the pages will take paints or markers. The ESV Single Column Journaling Bible, Large Print features a table of contents, table of weights and measures, and a one year reading plan. There are no book introductions or study notes, it’s a Bible — plain and simple. I’m very pleased with my selection and believe it will make a wonderful gift some day.
I’ve used my ESV Single Column Journaling Bible to record:
- Our discussions about portions of scripture.
- New discoveries that we’ve made together and questions she’s asked.
- Verses I’ve turned into prayers specifically for her or our family.
- The impact or significance of a particular passage of scripture in my life.
- How a story or character has encouraged or convicted me.
- God’s faithfulness
- Truths she can hold onto when life gets her rattled or her faith is challenged.
- Potential pitfalls and challenges she may face.
- God’s love for us.
I believe God will use this Spiritual Heritage Bible to:
- Strengthen our faith.
- Improve our biblical literacy.
- Help us to acknowledge where we need to grow and how far God has brought us.
- Inspire us to praise and worship Him.
- Establish the discipline of Bible reading my daughter can carry into adulthood.
- Create a treasured keepsake for future generations.
- Demonstrate His faithfulness through a record of answered prayers.
Of course, you do not need someone to read with you in order to create a Spiritual Heritage Bible. You could be a parent or grandparent who simply desires to preserve a record of your faith and God’s faithfulness for future generations. Consider what a treasured gift this would be to receive perhaps for a high school or college graduation, wedding, or the birth of a 1st child.
Do you have a Bible that once belonged to a parent or grandparent? Did they underline verses and write in the margins? What is it like to possess a record of your spiritual heritage?
Deuteronomy 4:9-10 “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— 10 how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Psalm 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Proverbs 22:5 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.