A few months ago I decided to get my Bible reading habit back on track. After some searching, I found the NET Journal Bible and decided to give it a go. Here is a review including a video version with some differences.
Why I was interested in the NET Journal Bible
When I’d wake up in the morning to read the Bible, I’d find that either before I started or during my study times, I had become distracted by a notification or opening my email app.
As a keen sketchnoter, I also wanted to try a journal Bible and start adding more notes in the margins.
At first I was interested in a wide margin or journal Bible in a translation I was familiar with. But after a friend recommended the NET version, and I saw the journal bible, I decided to give it a go.
After all, a different translation like the NET would help me look at the same scripture with different eyes.
What is the NET translation?
The New English Translation (NET) takes a different approach than most Bible translations as it includes notes from the Bible translators. These notes make it something between a traditional Bible and a study Bible.
They also allow for a theoretical balance between dynamic and formal equivalency by providing a more dynamic translation in the text, and more formal translation in the notes. It was originally created as a digital Bible. After a couple of revisions, there are now paper versions of the NET Bible including the “full notes” and the Journal Bible.
What is a journaling Bible?
A journaling Bible or Journal Bible is a Bible that is made to take notes in. I’ve seen examples of Journaling Bibles where there is a page of the Bible, and then a page for taking notes, but the majority I’ve seen take the same approach as the NET Journal Bible: A page with a wide margin to write in next to the text.
What’s good about NET Journal Bible?
The first thing you notice with this version of the NET journal Bible translation is the fake leather cover.
Although you can get the Bible in a hard canvas cover, I opted for the fake leather as I prefer that style. Plus, I am usually at a table for study so the hard cover isn’t so important for me.
As soon as you open the Bible, you’ll notice that the paper isn’t like most other types of Bibles. Instead of the insect-wing-thin, pure white paper of most Bibles, you get a thicker, cream white paper.
This is combined with a single column layout, wide margins and lines on the side to provide a Bible that encourages note taking.
Although I’ve underlined and highlighted Bibles in the past, I hated that I could see the content on adjacent pages. That is not the case with this Bible.
Once you start reading the NET Bible, younotice the other more unique aspect of this Bible, the translation.
The NET translation came out of Bible.org. The idea was a Bible that included rich notes made possible by the type of hyperlinks and text common in the web. This has lead to some difference in how certain words and phrases are translated.
These small differences can make certain words or sections stand out more which can be really beneficial when you’ve read the Bible many times.
Finally, there are a collection of little features that add to the quality of the Bible, although some will be polarizing. These include maps in the back, two different colour ribbons and back letters for the words of Jesus.
What about the NET notes?
Although there is a “full notes” version of the NET Bible, the journal version does not have any of the notes. This makes sense for a journal Bible, but it also feels like it is missing the main advantage of the NET version of the Bible.
If you have read the NET version and really like their decisions, then that makes it a great choice. For me, however, this was my real introduction into the NET version and in hindsight, I would probably have done better by choosing a different translation.
The NET Journal Bible is a well designed journal Bible which feels smooth, works well with pens, and is a nice size for a Journal Bible. The choice of translation will either be a great selling point or immediate red line for many. If you are unfamiliar with the NET translation, you can go to netbible.org or download the NET app to see for yourself.