Tabbing, Bookmarking, and Other Tips for Reading Your Bible

As I mentioned before, I recently purchased the Blessed Is She Journaling Bible and I absolutely love it!

It is such a gorgeous Bible, with a rich blue hardcover and filled with beautiful quotations all throughout.

It includes helpful and concise intros, as well as thorough notations throughout the Old and New Testament.

There is also a ton of space for journaling and note-taking.  I didn’t think I’d use a Bible like this because I don’t journal much in Scripture, but I quickly realized that all the extra lined space is perfect for note taking!  img_2810

The only cons are that it’s heavy and the print is particularly fine. These cons don’t really bother me though, because I love the hardcover and understand that the extra weight is due to the ample amount of space the Bible accommodates for writing.  Also, there’s no way a journaling Bible could have much larger print without making the Bible substantially heavier.

This Bible has been a blessing I didn’t even know I needed!  While I still love and use my smaller copy of the Bible, there’s something so special about this journaling Bible.


I wake daily excited to pick it up and dive in!

Tabbing Your Bible: 

I first tabbed my Bible a few years ago, and now wouldn’t have it any other way.  Having tabs on my Bible saves me so much time!  When I first tabbed my Bible, I used these goldtone-edged tabs:


Tabbing definitely took me a bit of trial and error!  (And unfortunately some torn Bible pages, too!)  The guide that was included with the tabs was so hard to use, and it took a lot of mistakes to realize it was much easier to tab by sight alone.

When tabbing, begin at the top of your Bible with the first book (Genesis).  Once you’ve tabbed this first book, line that first tab up with the next book of the Bible (in this case, Exodus).  Where the previous tab ends, use your sight to estimate about where the next tab would fall.

Tabbing this way is much easier, and I found it to be about as precise as following the guideline.

I really loved the gold-tone tabs I used with my last Bible, but since the pages of my Bible are very thin, some of the tabs ended up tearing the pages if they got caught on anything.   I’ve had to tape a lot of the tabs to make sure they didn’t rip any of the content out.  (I don’t mind it though–it’s a sign that my Bible is well-loved!)

When I got my new Bible I decided to try these Catholic Bible Indexing Tabs that Jeff Cavins produced as part of his Adventure Timeline Series. img_2001

highly recommend these tabs!  They are color-coded according to the Biblical timeline! Jeff uses the following formula:

  • Turquoise (The early world); Burgandy (the Patriarchs); Red (Egypt and Exodus); Tan (Desert Wanderings); Green (Conquest and Judges); Purple (Royalty/Royal Kingdom); Black (Divided Kingdom); Baby Blue (Exile); Yellow (Return of Judah); Orange (Maccabean Revolt); Gold (Messianic fulfillment); White (The Church)

I didn’t think I’d like them as much as the gold-lined tabs (because the gold ones are so sleek and gorgeous), but I love them much more than I anticipated!  They look beautiful on my Bible, make finding the books much easier, and help me remember which time period I am reading in the story of salvation history.

Adding a Bookmark to Your Bible: 

With this new Bible, I quickly realized that I needed a good bookmark. My kids are notorious for pulling out my bookmarks and then losing them, so I needed something sustainable.  I love when bookmarks are bound, and came across a way to do it myself!

To add bookmark ribbons to your hardcover Bible, grab a piece of cardstock and cut it to the size of the binding on your Bible.  Tape the ribbon of your choice to the cardstock, then fold the cardstock over the ribbon and tape the cardstock closed to secure it.


Open your bible to the middle, and as the bind bends, insert the cardstock into the binding.  (I found that it wasn’t as secure as I hoped, but once I stuffed it deeper into the binding with a pen the bookmarks securely stayed in place.)

So easy, and so handy! 

You can add 1-4 bookmarks if the ribbon you choose is thin.   When I first attempted this, I chose a really pretty black satin ribbon, but the ribbon was too thick, preventing my Bible from closing all the way.  Thin satin ribbon works the best!

When Picking Your Bible, Consider the Following: 

  • Is it a Catholic Bible? (Here is a list of the approved Catholic translations of the Bible.)
  • Which version of the Catholic Bible suits your needs?  (I usually find my nose in the NAB version.)
  •  Do you need a more compact version?  I have two now that I love to read from: my journaling Bible, and the smaller Bible that I’ve had for a few years.  Both of my Bibles are the New American version.  I use the heavier journaling Bible for my private prayer time, and take the smaller Bible with me when I teach my RCIA class and when I go to Bible studies.  (It’s much easier to travel with.)
  • Do you have a good pen?  The Pilot gel-pens were always my go-to, but I recently discovered the Uni-ball Signo. I quickly changed to this pen because it’s smoother with a thinner point, yet it doesn’t compromise the gel-pen feel that I love.  (It works great with the journaling Bible!)  Also, if you are into color-coding your Bible, Jeff Cavins recommends the zebra pens!
  • Are you hesitant to mark your Bible? There are so many different ways to go about it, but having a pen with you as you works to engage you deeper into the story.  If you’re at all hesitant, try listening to Jeff Cavins advice!  I love what he has to say about marking your Bible!

How to Read Your Bible: 

Believe it or not, reading your Bible so that you can understand it well involves more than just picking it up and reading.  (Though that’s a great start!)

My love for the Bible grew exponentially when I began to understand the story of salvation history in the Bible.  The story of the Bible, from the Old Testament to the New, is not found in chronological order.  I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me years to realize this! When reading the Bible, I’d lose steam at certain books, and I’d get frustrated when I didn’t understand how it all threaded together.  But it does!  Jeff Cavins is a master at explaining this, and I highly recommend his Great Adventure Timeline Bible Study Series.  (He also provides a ton of other resources here.)

In case this is news to you, the Bible as it reads in chronological order includes the fourteen books:

  • 1. Genesis, 2. Exodus, 3. Numbers, 4. Joshua, 5. Judges, 6. 1 Samuel, 7. 2 Samuel, 8. 1 Kings, 9. 2 Kings, 10. Ezra, 11. Nehemia, 12. 1st Maccabees, 13. Luke, 14. Acts

Reading the Bible in this order will give you a deeper understanding of how God’s hand was moving all throughout salvation history.  The other books of the Bible are supplemental to the timeline of these fourteen!

Understanding the story of salvation history brings insight into God’s loving plan for our lives, and helps us understand on a deeper level why he sent his son for us.  I promise that if you get to know this story a bit more, you will fall deeper in love with scripture and with the Lord!

Below are a few resources that will help you understand salvation history a bit better:

A Father Who Keeps His Promises by Scott Hahn

Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible by Jeff Cavins and Tim Gray

Bible Basics for Catholics: A New Picture of Salvation History by John Bergsma

The Bible Timeline by Jeff Cavins

my graphic line

I hope you find this beneficial!  If you have anything to add, please comment below!  I’d love to know how you read your Bible and any tools you use to understand it on a deeper level! 


3 thoughts on “Tabbing, Bookmarking, and Other Tips for Reading Your Bible

  1. Thank you for this post, friend. I’ve been wanting to dive back into my bible in a deeper way, but I’m almost intimidated. Can’t wait to check out your resources and recs! Thanks for sharing your heart and motivating me to act. 😘

    1. You’re welcome! Don’t be intimidated! Over half the battle is just picking it up! I love the Jeff Cavins resources, and he says if you find three other people you can download a study for free! ❤

  2. This literally sounds like the most daunting task ever. READING the BIBLE?! Isn’t that what I do at mass on Sundays (insert the sweating nervous smiling emoji face here) Thanks for encouraging ❤

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