JOT Bible Life-Notes – Review
I’ve always liked the idea of keeping my notes in a journal. The problem is journals are small and I end up having many different journals over time. I really want my notes in a single journal but there isn’t one large enough to hold notes for every book of the Bible. Until now. That’s what Bible Life-Notes from JOT Publishers is. A single volume designed specifically for notes on every single verse of the Bible.
Cover and Binding
The cover is genuine leather. It has a pebbly grain that looks and feels great. This is the supplest genuine leather I’ve ever seen. The liner is paste-down vinyl. It’s the most flexible vinyl liner I’ve seen. It will even do yoga if I want it to. It’s sewn around the perimeter. It’s sewn and lies open anywhere I want it to. The text on the spine is gold and it has 5 spine ridges that give it an elegant look. Overall size is 6 5/8 x 9 5/8 x 2.
The paper is 42gsm (!) acid free. It has an ivory hue which is easy on the eyes. The edges are gold gilted. It’s extremely opaque at 80%. I’ve only written in it with mechanical pencil (I love the look of ink, but I prefer the mistakes in pencil). I don’t bare down hard when I write, but this didn’t leave any marks on the back side of the page when it would have in many Bibles that I’ve written in. It doesn’t show through much at all. This might be different in ink, but with pencil it’s amazing.
The layout is simple: ruled lines with a verse number at the start of every other line, giving you two lines per verse for notes. If you need more space than this you can continue your note on the pages at the end of the book. The lines are close together, almost 3/16”, just slightly closer than college-ruled paper. I like lined pages that are closer to college rule than regular. I write small. These lines are perfect for my writing style.
The lines give a writing space of 4 7/8” wide and 8 1/8” high. There’s a little room in the header and footer, and around ½” margins – both inside and outside. There is no shortage of writing space. The first line has the book name and chapter number. You can write a page summary or other note on this line. When there’s a new chapter, it skips a line and prints a line the same way it does the header. This looks great and sets the chapters apart without being disruptive to the layout.
There is a page in the front to write your name, date, contact info, etc. There are 8 thick pages in the front and 8 in the back for more notes. There are several verses of Scripture from the NASB. A page in the front contains 1 Chronicles 16:9-11 and a page in the back contains Luke 15:4-6, John 15:1-5, Ephesians 1:17, and James 1:5.
Who puts ribbons in a journal? Who goes a step further and puts 3 thick ribbons in a journal? JOT does, that’s who. There are three thick ribbons in dark shades of black, red, and blue. I don’t think they’re Berisfords, but they do look great and add some serious style. They’re just long enough to pull to the corner and still have something to hold on to.
I usually don’t mention the boxes that Bibles and books come in but… wow! This storage box is the thickest and sturdiest I’ve seen. It makes the boxes from Cambridge, Allan, TBS, and Schuyler feel thin (and they’re not really). I always keep my Bibles in their original boxes and a well-built storage box is something I appreciate.
Life-Notes vs Wide Margin Bible vs Journal
I love writing notes in a wide margin Bible but I can’t get enough information in the margins. Sure I can get a lot, but the notes have to share space with the Bible text. Also, I end up using a different Bible.
For detailed notes the Life-Notes journal/notebook far outshines the other options. It doesn’t have to share space with the Bible text, so I have all of every page to write on. There’s more space per verse than any wide margin Bible I’ve ever seen. And at 1622 pages (not counting end pages) there’re more pages than any journal I’ve ever seen.
It’s true that most of the pages are labeled for verses, but you don’t have to use them for that if you don’t want to, and there are around five pages after each book (single chapter books have 2) that you can write sermons, extended notes, lists, thoughts, commentary, sermon notes, definitions, outlines, references, etc.
There’s another good reason to have your notes outside of your Bible: you can use any Bible you want and you still have your notes. I’ve written notes in a wide margin Bible and then decided I want a different Bible, but this means I have to rewrite my notes. I like to use different Bibles (a lot actually, but I can stop anytime I want. I just don’t want to. That’s all. Yeah. I’m telling myself that). You can write your notes in the journal just like you would next to the verses, and then pick up any Bible you want in any translation you want and not lose you notes because of the Bible you chose. Score.
It’s also true you can get smaller journals, but you can’t get one large enough to hold notes for every verse in the Bible. You have to use multiple journals, which makes it difficult to find your notes and carry around. Also, buying individual journals adds up over time. This is easier to use.
Life-Notes vs Digital
This is the same argument as any printed journal vs digital. Some prefer to write by hand and feel the texture of paper and leather. Some love the touch and smell of printed books. The interaction of a printed journal can’t be duplicated by digital means. Handing a physical book with your notes in it down to your heirs will mean more to them when it’s done in your own handwriting (or even your dictation to someone else) than something that’s typed. Physical handwriting is more personal. Many feel that writing with a pencil or pen helps to improve their understanding and memorization of a text.
How to Use it
Here are a few ideas of how to use this journal:
- Personal commentary
- Personal journal
- Notes for teaching
- Notes for preaching
- Create notes for your own study Bible
- Create your own reference system
- Compile commentary from other sources
- Write insights from others
- Raise questions for study
I’m creating my own commentary on the text. I’m actually writing this on my PC in detail, but in the journal I’m writing just the main points. It’s kind of like Twitter. There’s enough room for the meat. This forces me to decide what’s really important.
Talking With the Publisher
I’ve had several conversations with Fred from JOT. He has a great way of putting things. I enjoyed his passion and insights about this project and the value of writing in a journal by hand. I’m including some of his comments here (with his permission).
It is your hand, your fingers and how they form words. The feel, smell and sight of a real book can never be replaced. After having a special book for a time and putting into it wisdom and thoughts that come from Gods’ love in such a personal way, it can bring on a smile just seeing it and picking it up. It becomes like an old faithful friend.
I have noticed that people that really enjoy reading and studying have a love for paper. It is kind of like when you were a boy and played baseball. The glove made special memories. So I guess it is the young boy in us. I am happy with that thought. – Fred – JOT
I love publishers that have a passion for what they’re publishing. That’s JOT.
Where to Buy
You can purchase it direct from their website – https://jotbiblelifenotes.com/shop/
Here are some photos with the Pitt Minion for size comparison.
I received this journal free for review. I was not required to give a positive review – only an honest review. My opinions are my own.