To Tab or Not to Tab

Not talking about drinks here (and if you get that reference you are older than me!).  Talking about adding tabs to your bible to mark the books of the bible.  In the bible industry we call them indexed or non-indexed bibles.

Indexed bibles have the books of the bible marked, usually in groups of three books, sometimes called thumb-indexed because they are literally cut into the page’s edge so that your thumb rests in the cut out and you can easily flip to the book.  Non-indexed simply means…well, no index.  You either have to use the table of contents to find the books or learn the order of the books of the bible.


There’s always the trusty “flip-til-you-find-it” method.  Not always a speedy method, but it works too.  Unfortunately most people give up on this method when sitting in church because by the time you find it, the pastor has already moved on and you missed his point and probably several more.

If you have a bible that is non-indexed (as all journaling bibles are), you might consider adding your own tabs to mark the books of the bible.  There are pre-made tabs that stick to your page’s edge or you can make your own.

IMG_20150613_084646There are advantages and disadvantages to either, so let’s discuss them and this “tabbing” that the bible journaling world talks about so much.

Advantages:  If you don’t know the books of the bible or where to find them, indexing or tabbing is very helpful.  In journaling bibles, because the margins are so wide, you can’t easily flip through the pages to find the book you are looking for since the book reference is set so far into the bible page instead of near the edge.

Disadvantages:  You become dependent on these tabs and never learn the order of the books of the bible.  They have a tendency to tear off, tearing your page or get crumpled into your page.

All this to say….I tabbed my journaling bible (with topics, not the books of the bible) and I wish now I had not done it or did it differently.

As I’m reading through the bible this year, I started putting tabs for references to Jesus in the Old Testament.  ( I knew there were a lot, but this quickly got out of hand.)  I think my tabbed bible probably resembles most bibles tabbed with the books of the bible now.  But now, they get in my way more than are helpful.

IMG_20150613_083618I mark the book of the bible that I am reading with a decorative tape across the page top edge.  I can quickly see where I’ve read now and it gives book divisions without something in the way.  You can see from the picture below that I also mark with tip-ins and add ribbons of thread to them.  Being at the top is my favorite way to mark this way.  I have some on the side (of another bible) and I tend to fiddle with the threads while I’m studying.

IMG_20150613_083731If you decide to go with your own tabs, there are patterns all over Pinterest.  My daughter already had this tab punch out, which creates a folded tab.  I used double sided card stock or decorative paper so that I have a variety of looks from the same paper.  I find that I’m using them more in my notebooks than my bible lately.  They help to divide up the notebook into different projects that I have going (VBS planning notes, ladies conference planning notes, Sunday School lesson notes…).



I simply  fold them, write the topic, and either attach with decorative tape or a glue stick.  Also, with the tabs at the top of my page, when I put my notebook in my carrying bag (usually long side down) the tabs don’t get messed up.


Hope this helps.  Follow along with others on the Creative Bible Study Facebook Page.

Creative Bible Study



Back in November I started adding art to my bible study time and it has truly changed the way I study the bible.  I’ve always been a note taker, but adding the art let my whole mind capture the Scripture.  However, I’m hearing the same comments with this type of creative bible study as I hear with anyone starting a bible study regiment….

How & where do I start?

The book of John is a good place to start for both.

I’m working a formatting the KJV version of the book of John for anyone to print out and have space to journal with words or art.  I’m adding some simple commentary notes and ideas for art journaling.  You can find chapter 1 on the Facebook page I’ve created devoted exclusively to creative bible study.  Click Here.

Thought I would show how I made a simple banner for John 1.  I used a curved ruler I use for quilting/piecing.  I drew the two curved lines.



Then draw the two small lines for the tips of the banner, placement is determined by how you want the banner to look., tips on top or bottom.  To draw the “folded” part of the ribbon, draw an angled line from the tip of the banner to the bottom line of the tip, then draw a straight line from the top up to the bottom of the banner.  It sort of makes a “V” shape.




Add some shading, with a flicking motion, drawing small lines and the simply color in with your desired color.  I used blue, black and gray on this banner.



I did a practice banner using one of my quilting rulers and then did the same in my bible.



Here’s the ruler I used.  I made a smaller banner in my bible.  Notice this is not a journaling bible.  It’s a minister’s bible I’ve started doing some bible art in for my son.  It is single column and has lots of open space for journaling.





I only used this purple woodless colored pencil to add the color and a purple pen for the lettering focusing here on verse 1 and the word “beginning” which reflects back to Genesis 1.


As I read through John 1, I listed all the names and descriptions of Jesus.  This morning as I was reading in Psalm 148:5, I thought this verse would go good with listing all the name, so I did a “tip-in”.  A tip-in is something added to the page that opens up for more journaling area.  This was a piece of decorative paper I’ve had in my supplies for a long time.

IMG_20150612_070835It is added to the page using decorative tape, fabric tape in this instance bought for $1 at a local Dollar Store.  I add it to the front of the paper (half on, half on the bible page) and then to the inside of the tip-in too for extra support.

IMG_20150612_070822 IMG_20150612_070908

So that’s it…a few creative bible study tips.  Give it a try and let me know how it is going.  Join the Creative Bible Study Facebook page and add pictures of your bible and any tips you might have.