The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

The ESV Illuminated Bible

We are so blessed to have a Christian bookstore not too far from our house. In fact, it’s right on my way home from Bible Study Fellowship, so I am tempted every single week to stop and browse.

I never feel pulled in by Barnes & Noble…but then, most of their books are ones I wouldn’t waste my time on (if I’m quite honest). But put me inside a Christian bookstore, full of books about the God I love and how to be more like Him…and I’m enchanted.

Sometimes I visit the Bible aisle, not because I *need* another Bible…but because I *like* Bibles. There are so many beautiful covers, beautiful illustrations, beautiful type…And I think I love that because God’s Word is beautiful. So isn’t it fitting that it looks beautiful to match its content?

So when I was asked to try out a new Bible, I just couldn’t help myself. The ESV Illuminated Bible is beautiful.

Here’s what the manufacturer has to say about this Bible:
The ESV Illuminated Bible places the full ESV text alongside over 500 elegantly hand-lettered gold ink illustrations by renowned artist Dana Tanamachi. Printed on thick cream-colored paper, the Bible’s single-column text setting and wide margins provide generous space for additional notes, prayers, and designs – inviting readers to creatively engage with and reflect on the beauty of God’s Word.

I’ve been enjoying this Bible for a few weeks now, and here are the things I’ve noticed about it…(We’ll start with the negatives.)

Although this Bible has the entirety of the ESV text (a translation that I love), it does not have a concordance in the back. I do love having that handy index that helps me when I’m sitting in Sunday School thinking about a particular text…and I cannot for the life of me remember the reference. Sure, my Bible app can search for me…but I’m still a paper Bible kind of girl (obviously).

Along the same lines, this Bible also doesn’t have cross-references or footnotes. I do so love to know where Scripture texts are cross-referenced, and if I’m using this Bible, I have to access another resource to find out this information.

Beauty. There are many beautiful gold illustrations throughout, including full-page illustrations. Dana Tanamachi designed a full-page illustration for the beginning of each book of the Bible, and she has provided an explanation for the way she designed each of these particular pages at the back of the book.

Also, though I wouldn’t call these *thick* pages, they are thicker pages than the tissue-paper-thin pages of most Bibles. The text is single-column and the margins are wide. These things are super helpful for those of you who are artsy-fartsy Bible journalers. 😉 I wish I was talented in this arena, but even I have loved the extra room for notetaking.

This particular Bible comes with a hard, cloth-covered cover in a permanent slipcover box.

My conclusion?
This is a spectacular journaling/art Bible. It’s a beautiful, creative way to read and meditate on God’s Word.

It’s not a study Bible. As I mentioned above, there aren’t concordances, cross-references, footnotes…There are no study notes or maps. But of course, all of these things are accessible elsewhere.

This would be a great gift for a loved one this Christmas. It can be found at,, or at your local Christian book retailer.

Check out this video for more information on how it was made.

I actually really hate doing giveaways…BUT I know a few of my friends would love to try this new Bible. So, you have a week to comment on this post in order to be entered into the drawing for a free copy. What I’d like to know is this: What’s your favorite way to study God’s Word?

I’ll draw a winner Saturday, November 25 at noon.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


  1. I love to study God’s word with the study Bible Rollins gave when I graduated. I actually just had it recovered in leather and rebound because it was falling apart. I always put my Strong’s Concordance within arms reach in case I need more than what mine can offer. And then of course a notebook for when I have questions or thoughts. But then there are times when I just want to read and my notes in my study Bible distract me so I reach for my slim line.

    I will say that I have been looking at these Bibles for some time now for us to use when we read as a family, and you have convinced me to see if I can talk my husband into one!

  2. The ways I have studied the Word over the years and seasons has changed, but by far my favorite has to be cuddling up with a few different colored pens, Logos on my computer and my Bible in hand. I love digging into verses, doing word studies, understanding the meanings of the original words. More often than not, the Lord gives me a word that ends up being a theme of sorts for that season and of course it is everywhere I’m reading in scripture.

  3. I love my $5 Paperback ESV bible from college…i bought it because we needed that version for a class and i love it. I originally covered it with brown paper like a textbook and wrote notes from chapel all over it:) i love that bible. Now the cover is mostly torn off…the pages are water stained from one of my kids dumping a water bottle in my purse…and it’s in pretty rough shape. Lol. But I still prefer it since it has my notes in all the margins from 12 years of classes, sermons and study.
    Jeremy has awesome software on his computer….the name is escaping me…but that’s a pretty cool way to study God’s word if I’m feeling ambitious. Usually I try to just sneak away and sit on my bed in the quiet with my Bible to read for 5 minutes til my kids find me!

  4. I have this one on my Christmas list! I have found that Bible study has looked different ways in different seasons for me. I can really appreciate a good focused inductive study, journaling, dialogue, meditation, listening to audio of bible reading, using apps for bible reading a discussion, podcasts, etc. I think this Bible is a nice option to be drawn into God’s word a bit differently than I have before. In all seasons discipline is necessary to continuing to be in Gods word/presence consistently, but it’s really nice to sometimes have new and inspiring things to draw us in!

  5. I love the Bible Dan gave me our first Christmas as a married couple. I love the idea of wearing a Bible out, so I use the same one every day. However, I do use my YouVersion app regularly to consult other translations. I’d love to have an ESV on my shelf! There is just something about a real book in your hands!

  6. I love to read my thin line outside camping in the mountains , but if in case it is winter:) my quiet morning house will do:)

  7. I have been thinking about getting a new Bible, so hard to change, I know my Bible well and where things are and all my notes. In the morning I love to pray and study in my favorite chair and follow my proverbs 31 Bible study app on my phone, I also use the study book that goes along with it.

  8. I was just eyeing this Bible this week online! I started this way of Bible study in my teen years and loved it. I bookmark Gen 1, Job 1 and Matthew 1. Then I read from each section daily. Sometimes 1 chapter each (3 total), sometimes 2 or 3 if short…it is wonderful because I can get through the Bible while reading different portions daily. And as much as I love ways to help Bible study (like a study guide or something), I always glean the most by just digging into lots of God’s Word. Another thing…reading 5 Psalms and a proverb a day is good too. I read the Psalm for the day with the kids…it’s kind of tricky. Basically, multiply the day of the month times 5. That number is the last number of the sequence of 5 Psalms for the day. To find the Psalm for the day, use the month number. Jan=1, Feb=2, etc…then June=1, July=2…and Nov=1, Dec=2. So today’s Psalm for the day was 86. (18 times 5 equals 90…86 through 90 would be the 5 Psalms for the day, but since its November, its the first one for just the Psalm). Confused yet? Since some months have 31 days, on the 31st, we can read Psalm 119 (or a portion of it!) since that’s so long. Anyway,..didn’t mean to write a book. What Christian bookstore is close by? All of ours have gone out of business in Muskegon. 🙁

  9. Cheri Kay Sessions

    November 19, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Oh my goodness I miss you!!!! Honestly, I struggle to read God’s word. I know I need to and I tell myself “keep trying”. I do better hearing it, mostly because my only alone time is in the car! LOL!!! I have an audio Bible that I occasionally put in, but songs help me a lot. Well, let’s be real, nothing is really that consistent with me! LOL! Love you! HUGS!

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