The Best Pens for Bible Journaling

There are many factors that go into choosing the best pens for Bible journaling. But perhaps most important, is to ask: Which pens are right for YOU and what you’re wanting to get out them? That’s what I aim to answer in this post. I give you my top three picks, with pros and cons, so you can choose the ones that are best for you.

Best Pens for Bible Journaling

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You’ve probably heard me say this before, but it still boggles my mind. I can’t believe that I used to see someone writing IN their Bible, and think that’s so CRAZY. Even just scribbled notes in pencil (which is totally erasable) seemed absolutely insane to me.

But, what’s even crazier, is that I now paint and stamp and take notes in my Bible! Because now, I GET IT. Bible journaling and note-taking is so beneficial for understanding, remembering, and applying God’s Word in my life. Sure, you can write key Bible verses and takeaways in a notebook, but having notes, artwork, and bookmarks right there in your Bible is just better. At least, I think so!

How about you? Do you write or create art in your Bible? Or are you still not quite sure about this whole Bible journaling thing? It’s okay if you’re still weirded out by the thought of putting any kind of markings in your Bible. Just start small: try highlighting a single verse, and writing a few words or symbols in the margin next to it. After a while, you might wonder why you didn’t start doing that sooner!

Best Bible Pens: Factors to Consider

When you’re taking notes and creating art directly in your Bible, it’s important to choose the best pens for Bible paper. The first and most important consideration is, of course, finding Bible journaling pens that don’t bleed. Most Bible papers are wafer-thin, so any pen that has even the slightest tendency to bleed, will likely bleed through those thin Bible pages.

BLEED-THROUGH vs. GHOSTING: Most Bible paper is so thin, even if something doesn’t bleed through to the other side, you may still be able to see a faint outline (“ghosting”) of it on the other side of the page.

With true bleed-through, the ink goes completely through the page (like using a permanent marker on a notepad—sometimes it not only bleeds through the paper to the back side, but also gets some ink on the page underneath it as well!) With ‘ghosting’ though, the ink hasn’t bled through the page, but you can still a ‘ghosted’ image of your writing or artwork on the back of the page. In fact, even colored pencils can still ‘ghost’ on the back side of a Bible page!

No matter what Bible journaling supplies you end up using, it’s ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA to TEST them first (like, on a blank page at the back of your Bible, where it won’t matter if they do bleed). You can see in the image below, how I’ve tested nearly every supply I have on a back page of my Illustrating Bible. And you can also see, how nearly every supply is visible on the back side, but only a few things actually bled through.

Bible journaling supplies - test page front

Illustrating Bible - test page back

Other than that, I would say the second question you need to ask is “What am I looking for in a Bible pen?”. If you could only have ONE type of pen to use in your journaling Bible, what would you want? Bright colors, shimmer, a fine tip for detailed artwork…every type of pen has its pros (and cons). Especially if you’re just getting started Bible journaling, and you don’t want to acquire a bunch of different pen sets right out of the gate, you need to think about what you’re really wanting in your pens.

The Best Pens for Bible Journaling: My Top 3 Picks

Before I get into my top recommendations, I just want to pause, and say this: If you already have pens on hand that you like, and they’re not prone to bleeding through the paper, then by all means use them! The pens I talk about here are simply the three favorites that I use and like best (in other words, this is not an exhaustive list of all the pens out there, just my top picks).

1) Pigma Micron: The Best Pens for Basic Black

Way back in 2015, before I ever purchased a journaling Bible, my first foray into journaling involved highlighting a verse in my regular Bible and creating some art on a separate scrap of paper. I used the only Bible marking pens I had on hand at the time: Pigma Micron pens.

my first Bible art – Bible marking pens

And today I still use them quite a lot! They come in different tip sizes, but the extra fine tip (number 01 // 0.25mm) black pen is the one I find the most handy. I have this three-pack, which includes the fine tip (0.25mm), plus two bigger tips (0.35mm and 0.45mm). They’re the best no bleed pens for Bible journaling, hands down. I especially love them for creating black outlines of artwork to color in…since they’re water-proof and smudge-proof, I can paint in and around the lines (even with watercolors), and the ink doesn’t budge.

If you’re just starting out, Pigma Micron pens are definitely one the best Bible journaling supplies for beginners that you can buy. They’re also great all-around pens for using in your planner or for sermon notes! You can get a set of basic black pens (like this set of three pictured below), or you can even get a Pigma Micron Bible study kit which comes with eight different color pens.

Pigma Micron pens – best Bible pens

CONS: The color availability of Pigma Micron pens is somewhat limited, and the colors they do have are muted and dark (not very bright or vibrant). For that reason, I reach for my other two favorites when I want brighter colors and more variety…

2) Tombow Twintone: My Pick for Bright Colors + Dual Tip Sizes

Tombow TwinTone pens are among the best pens for Bible art journaling, because they offer such a wide variety of colors, and two different tip sizes built right into each pen. On one end, is a broad tip—great for coloring in a shape, or drawing a thick line. On the other, a fine tip that works well for detailed doodles or handwriting. These pens currently come in three different sets: rainbow, brights, and pastels. (I have the rainbow and brights sets, which you can see pictured below).

Tombow Twintone – best pens for Bible journaling

CONS: There is one major problem with the Twintone pens, though, and that is that they can bleed through some thinner Bible pages. In the Illustrating Bible (which has thicker pages), they won’t bleed through as long you’re not coloring them heavily. But in my regular journaling Bible, they absolutely bleed right through the page. So, I recommend applying clear gesso first, before using these pens in your Bible. And like I said at the beginning of this post, it’s always a good idea to test the pens first on a back page of your Bible, so you’ll know how they do with your specific Bible paper.

3) Gel Pens: The Top Choice for Glitter, Neon, and Other Special Effects

If you like bright colors, metallic, and glitter as much as I do, a big set of gel pens is the way to go. I used this 48-piece set for three years before some of the pens ran out of ink; it includes basic colors, plus glitter, metallic, neon, pastel, and more. Just recently, I purchased this set of 30 glitter gel pens, which I’m loving. Besides having so many different special color effects, gel pens are also great because they’re opaque—so you could, for example, write with a silver gel pen on top of a dark blue page, and it will show up great!

using gel pens for Bible journaling - Psalm 19

You might be wondering though: Do gel pens bleed through the Bible paper? In my experience, they don’t actually bleed through, BUT you can see a faint image of them on the back side of the page (in other words, there is significant ghosting). Like I said before, it’s always a good idea to test your pens first on a blank page in the back of your Bible, before using them for journaling.

CONS: Gel pens are a lot of fun…but, do keep in mind that they take a while to dry, especially when used on a gessoed Bible page. The gel ink has a tendency to sit on top of the page, rather than absorbing into it, so it can easily smudge if you’re not careful. I usually do gel pens as a last, finishing step in my Bible journals. Then, I can leave the page to dry overnight (even aiming my heat drying tool on it, won’t dry the gel ink completely). But, the results are fantastic!

best pens for Bible journaling

In the Bible journal above, I used all three pen types: First, Pigma Micron (0.25mm) for outlining the fruits of the Spirit in black. Then, orange and red glitter gel pens to fill inside the black outlines, and to draw a box around the whole passage. And then lastly, I used the fine tip of a red Tombow Twintone pen to underline verses 22-23.

Honestly, if I had to pick just ONE of these pens to be the #1 best pens for Bible journaling, I would choose the gel pens—just because they’re so versatile. They come in fabulous variations, like glitter or neon, and you even can get white gel pens. The gel pens and Pigma Micron pens are the two pens that I use most in my journaling. If you want Bible pens with absolutely no bleed through, definitely go with the Pigma Micron pens.

What pens do YOU use for Bible journaling? I’d love to hear what your faves are!

» If you like this post, you might also enjoy 5 Creative Ways to Use Colored Pencils in Bible Journaling, and How to Use Stamps in Your Bible Journaling.

16 thoughts on “The Best Pens for Bible Journaling”

  1. I also like Tombow twintone. While writing in my planner the ink did not bleed to the next page, however in my journal, there was some bleeding. The variety of colors is great for a lot of different artwork and styles. The pens write really smoothly and appear to be made to last for a long time.

    1. Yes! The Twintones are such great all-around pens, so versatile. I always use gesso first before using them on my Bible pages though, since otherwise they bleed right through the page.

    2. I also use Sakura micron pens. These are pretty great pens. They don’t smear (awesome especially since I am a lefty!!). They are of archival quality. They last a really long time before they run out of ink. But they still bleed through bible paper

      1. Hmm, I’ve never had my Micron pens bleed through. There is definitely still a faint hint of them visible on the other side of the page, but I haven’t had them fully bleed through. Pretty much anything will show a little bit on the other side of thin Bible pages though, even colored pencils.

  2. The Bible Study kit, Pigma Micro pens are a good marking pens when marking verses, underlining a verse and etc. The Micro 01 or 05’s work good . It doesn’t bleed through Bible pages. They are fine enough if you write something in the margin or next to a verse they seem to blend in. Not bold. The colors you use can mean wnat’s meaningful to you. I like them and will buy more.

  3. I am going to buy the Inspire Praise bible and was wondering which pens or markers would you suggest for coloring in the Bible?

    1. For coloring, I would go with Prismacolor Premier colored pencils. For writing/drawing, I recommend the Pigma Micron pens. Any pens/markers that you color with heavily will have more risk of bleeding through the page, so those are best reserved for drawing/line art or writing.

  4. My favorite pen for bible journaling is Mr. Pen. The best thing about these pens is that they are reasonably priced. The ink does not bleed through pages and writes smoothly.

  5. I tried using gesso but it made paper rough and couldn’t get any goog color on it esp trying to blend. The prismacolors kind of gummed up

    1. Hi Yvonne! Gesso is best for when you want to apply wet media, like paints or inks, to your Bible page. For dry media like the Prismacolor pencils, those things work better on the bare paper (without gesso). Gesso does make the paper rough (and it curls too), but that doesn’t matter as much if you’re just painting over it. If you want to something to color with on a gessoed page, I would try gel pens, markers, or even paint pens like these. Also be sure and check out my gesso tutorial, if you haven’t found it already. 😉

  6. I just got an one year chronological expressions journaling/coloring Bible and wonder what markers to use to color in it’s as well that don’t bleed through and have great color selection? What is your top pick for that?

    1. Hi Molly! The safest (least likely to bleed) are the Pigma Micron pens, however those don’t come in very many colors. For the absolute best color selection, I recommend going with a large set of Prismacolor pencils… yes, I know, totally not markers, but they really do work well for coloring. The largest set comes with a whopping 150 colors!

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