All the Pretty Bibles

May 22, 2018  - By Bonnie Willoughby

I recently started working for Well-Watered Women as the Customer Care Specialist. Part of my job is to help manage our Instagram accounts, allowing me to see and interact with our community. After a few weeks, the internet's inexplicable algorithms did their work, and I also started seeing companies and ministries similar to WWW pop up everywhere on my personal Instagram and Facebook feeds.

Suddenly, there were all these lovely posts with lovely pictures with lovely notebooks—lovely everything. And then I saw the lovely Bibles. Bibles of all different shapes, sizes, colors, and covers that were so pretty and appealing sitting there with cool page tabs, coloring areas, and notes columns.

With those in mind, I went to a Christian bookstore and naturally wandered over to the Bible section to take a peek. Sure enough, there were more lovely Bibles like the ones on Instagram. There were cloth-covered ones that looked like they belonged on a shelf in Jane Austen's house. Some covers' designs were floral, others were marbled or leather-bound. Some were advertised as coloring Bibles, journaling Bibles, reader's Bibles, thinline Bibles, or.…

It was overwhelming. So. Many. Bibles.

I wanted them all. My eyes craved a new pretty Bible. Never mind the one I had at home. These were beautiful. My little magpie heart wanted to scoop them up.

But then I opened one of those pretty Bibles and found that it had the same words that were in my Bible at home. I thumbed through, feeling the pages and reading a passage or two, then moved to the next one. And again, this had the same words as the last one, and the one before that, and the one before that. The Holy Spirit pricked me hard.

That's right. They don't say anything different. And if you don't make time for the one you have at home, you won't make time for one of these. No matter how pretty it is.


I sighed and put the Bible down. I walked out the door convicted, and a little wiser.

I was drawn to a pretty Bible because I was hungry for something new and exciting in my quiet time. Lately it had seemed a little dry. But it wasn’t because my copy of the Bible wasn’t as good as any other. It was because my heart had grown indifferent to the Word. My time with Jesus had become an obligation instead of a privilege, and felt more like chewing on stale crust than feasting on the Bread of Life. In my mind, a pretty new Bible would make it exciting again and then it wouldn’t be so … blah.

The Pretty Bible: They don't say anything different. And if you don't make time for the one you have at home, you won't make time for one of these. No matter how pretty it is.

God tells us in His Word that “pretty” wears off. Lovely gets smudged and scratched. Beautiful turns gray and shows fingerprints. But He also contrasts that with the enduring presence of His Word. "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever" (Is. 40:8). Did you hear that? “The word of our God will stand forever.” The eternality of the Word is not because of the design on the cover—it’s because its content is living and active, dividing soul and spirit, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12). If our hearts are indifferent to the content and message of the Word, then no amount of embellishment will keep our attention.

Please don’t misunderstand. Beautiful Bibles are not evil. They display the God-given talents of artists and designers, and journaling Bibles can encourage our own worshipful creations! They can be beautiful tools to encourage us to read the Word. But our physical Bibles' attractiveness should not be the motivation for our time in them. We should not read our Bibles because they are pretty. 

We should read our Bibles because they point us to Jesus!

Jesus is enduringly engaging. His love is steadfast and His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22–23). The Gospel never fades, or gets boring or old hat. Jesus is the substance. The mortar. The weight.

Friend, don't get let the enemy use the Bible—our very weapon against evil—to distract you from reading the Word. Don't put off spending time in Scripture until you find the perfect Bible. Pick up the one you have, open it, and study it. There is a lifetime of wisdom and knowledge contained within that will delight your soul day and night (Ps. 119:97)! And if your quiet time is a little dry like mine was, ask the Lord to renew a steadfast spirit within you—one that treasures the Word and holds it in high regard. The Father promises that He will satisfy us with good things, and His Word is the best thing (Ps. 51:10; Ps. 103:5).

"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103)

your sister,


The Pretty Bible - When we focus on the wrong things and miss out on the best thing: They don't say anything different. And if you don't make time for the one you have at home, you won't make time for one of these. No matter how pretty it is.

Fix your mind on gospel truth

and apply God's Word to everyday life with our weekly articles. Sign up below to receive the full article in your email inbox every time a new one is released!

  1. Scarleth says:

    What a timely word.

    As one scrolls through instagram you see so many pretty bibles, journaling bibles, study bibles, reference bibles and so many more. I can totally relate to see the prettiest bible and wanting to purchase it, been there done that; It still doesn’t satisfies one’s soul. It isn’t until one begins to open the books of the bible and start engaging the word, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, this is where God reveals Himself to His children. Thank you for writing this great post! Blessings!

  2. This is so true and speaks loudly to me! I found myself getting sucked into all the pretty bibles on Instagram and feeling envious of other people’s drawings and bible journaling skills. Like as if I was less enthralled with his word because I wasn’t doodling in the margins. I needed to remind myself that my quiet time with the Lord isn’t about being picture worthy. It’s about opening my heart to him and hearing his voice. Thank you for sharing and reminding me that the attractiveness of our bible makes no difference in the quality of our study.

    • YES! I know that feeling well. I spent a lot of time Bible journaling when I first got a journaling Bible, and as an artist – I LOVED that time and used it to worship. But it soon became about the art and the image and less about the Lord. I have to ask myself often what my motivation is and if I am more worried about showing others than seeking Christ! -Rachael

  3. April says:

    This post spoke to my heart this morning as I read it. I have been feeling a little bit that way – dry and in need of a facelift to my routine, but perhaps I just needed to pray that the Lord would show me something new in the verses I have read time and time again. It was a good reminder that our focus should always be first and foremost – Christ.

  4. shary says:

    This is so good and so true. I am in the season of being too familiar with the stories and feels like I am not getting anything new on the Word. But the thing is it’s not what I just get but Who do I cherish the most. Thank you for this ~ ‘ And if your quiet time is a little dry like mine was, ask the Lord to renew a steadfast spirit within you—one that treasures the Word and holds it in high regard.’.

  5. Lacey says:

    This post was so good! We have so many options and our culture loves to promote things that are prettier and better. I just finished reading the missionary biography, God’s Smuggler, and seeing how people love and cherish the Bible in countries where access was super restricted and the Bible was forbidden, was convicting. I am thankful we live in a country where we have so many options and it’s a good test in contentment 🙂

  6. Lori Ginsberg says:

    I know this is an older post, but I read it for the first time today. Yes. I too, have coveted those “pretty” Bibles. I also love my Give Me Jesus journal. When I first started using it, I felt like I had to fill in all the spaces everyday. That became an unspoken goal for me. I still love my journal (so much), but it is only a tool. Some quiet times with the Lord are quiet and others leave much to be journaled about. But both are so good. Thank you for the lovely tools you have made available. Are they necessary? Probably not. Are they edifying? For me, definitely! I am an older woman (65 to be exact) and it is so wonderful and encouraging to see the younger women loving the Lord Jesus and seeking Him. I didn’t think when I first became aware of your ministry (through a give-away by the way) that it would be for me, but I have been so blessed. And I love the loveliness of it all.

  7. Karla says:

    This is exactly what I needed to read tonight. I’ve been wanting a new ESV Bible but I’ve been disappointed because I haven’t been able to find a pretty study ESV Bible. This helped remind me that it doesn’t need to be pretty. That you for posting this!

  8. Maura says:

    Thank you Bonnie…. Wise words spoken at the right time. I, too, have thought much about wanting to have that shiny new beautifully illustrated Bible and then I remind myself that if I took it with me to church I might just want the praises of my friends. I should really want the praises of my Lord and Master rather than the praises of men. His Word does endure forever and it is life for all of us. Thank you again for sharing.

  9. Jenn K says:

    This is so thought provoking, however for me, getting a new “pretty” bible was just what I needed to get back into studying Gods word. After 4 years of bible college, my bible unfortunately felt like a text book, and the notes in it reminded me of the exams I didn’t score the best on or the amount of reading I said I completed but truly just skimmed the pages (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my biblical education and am incredible thankful for it, the tests and classes were just stinking HARD!). I got a brand new “pretty” bible for Christmas and the words of scripture became exciting again! The beautifully laid out and designed pages were the draw to get me to open it but the scriptures are what kept me coming back.

    All that to say, I do agree with you – that you don’t need a pretty bible if you already have one that works for you at home, but for me, a “pretty” bible was the exact tool God used to bring me closer to Himself.

  10. Vicki Haid says:

    <3 Love this reminder- I get caught up in the pretty bibles , I want it to “match” my well watered journal. ( Which I Love and Use!) But yes, the Bibles still contain the most important thing- The Word of God.
    Thank you for your ministry!

  11. Mari Johnston says:

    The Lord has brought me to this great article for reasons this morning. I am convicted for my unstable habits to keep purchasing the Bibles. I read a little and end up to give them to my family or donate them. I will stick with what I have at home and get the most out of it. Thank you for this timely article!

Leave a Reply


join the

helpful links

When you sign up for our emails you will receive encouragement straight to your inbox, shop discounts just for our subscribers, free gospel-centered resources, and Well-Watered Shop updates!


give me jesus journal

the well-watered woman book

free resources

back to top

affiliate program

rewards program


contact us

refund policy


what we believe