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The Best Pen for Writing Notes and Underlining in Your Bible

pigma-micronSo I randomly stumbled across an article called Pens for Bibles the other day. It answers the question:

What is the best type of pen to use in a Bible?

I’ve tried highlighters, dry highlighters, pencils and pens (ball point, gelly, rollerball) without being satisfied with any for underlining and taking notes.

So when I read that article, it was a light bulb moment.

The short answer is pens which use pigment ink (i.e. archive quality pens).

Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Minimal bleed-through on thin paper (i.e. those used in Bibles)
  • Extremely fine nib/tip sizes (lets you write small while still being readable)
  • Water proof (accidental coffee spills anyone?)
  • Quick drying (great for left-handed people)
  • Fade resistant (you’ll still be able to read it 25 years from now)

Apparently the chemical properties of pigment ink allow it to dry on the surface of paper as opposed to soaking into the paper. That combined with the fine nib sizes minimizes how much your writing, highlighting/underlining is visible on the other side of the page.

Those are the two biggest wins when writing on very thin Bible paper. Oh, and the ability to write legibly in very tight margins. ;)

From the Pens for Bibles post and comments, it looks like these are some of the main pigment ink-based pens.

Of those pigment ink pens, the ones that were easiest to find locally were the Pigma Micron (local arts/craft store) and the Premier Illustration Markers (Jo-Ann). They also seem to be the two most common online as well.

My Experience

I went with the Pigma Microns because my local arts/craft store had a sweet display with all the different colors/nib sizes available for individual purchase. So I was able to try them out beforehand and see which colors and nib sizes I preferred.

If you’d like to find a similar display, use the Sakura of America Store Locator and check the Pigma Micron and Micron Mega Display Dealer boxes when searching for a store.

It was like being able to sample the different candies in a candy store!

Otherwise, you can buy them online.

One nice thing about the Pigma Micron pens is there are six nib sizes (line width) to choose from.

Nib Size Width
005 0.2 mm
01 0.25 mm
02 0.30 mm
03 0.35 mm
05 0.45 mm
08 0.50 mm

Based on my tests, the best nib sizes to use for writing notes in your Bible are the 005, 01 or 02. The 03 would be fine for underlining but just a bit too thick for writing notes.

The Pens for Bibles article recommends 005 for note-taking and 01 for underlining.

I’d prefer to write and underline with one size (efficiency baby!), so I chose a single nib size. I started with the 01, but eventually transitioned over to the smallest nib size (005). I came to love how fine the tip was for writing and underlining.

The thinner nib also helps reduce what shows through on the opposite side of the page.

If you’re going with a thinner nib, I’d also recommend underlining in anything other than black. That way the color helps make the highlight stand out more.

My Recommendation

I have been using a fine-tip Pentel R.S.V.P. pen for notes and underlines. While it has been decent, it pales in comparison to the Pigma Micron.

Unlike the R.S.V.P., the Pigma Micron makes it effortless to write small, legible characters and consistent underlines.

Being able to underline without the ink skipping brings a smile to my face. :)

If you’re going to give the Pigma Micron a try, here’s where I’d start:

Go with one or the other.

If you want color options and are confident in your nib size, go with the first one. If you’re uncertain on the nib size, go with the second. From there you can buy individual pens in bulk once you nail down your preferences!

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Sharyn
Sharyn

Thank you so much Alex. This is very helpful. I’ve ordered these pens!

Daniel Han
Daniel Han

Much appreciated brother! 🙏

Juan
Juan

Does it rip through bible pages when underlying?

R.J.
R.J.

Very helpful. Thanks.

Luna
Luna

I share your enthusiasm for Pigma Microns!!! They’ve been my fave since I learned of them in an art class. I use them for everything and now have an even greater fondness of them for their Bible page friendliness.

Linda Fortenberry
Linda Fortenberry

I see after many years, your blog is still guiding people. Thank you for the information! I had a Study Bible I loved, and underlined as I read it through. That pen eventually ran out of ink. Unfortunately, I wasted too much time replacing it, then forgot what I used! A friend became a Christian and needed a Bible, and to her joy, I gave her mine. I since bought a new Bible and miss my underlines and notes. I feel like a part of me is missing. And I have a hard time finding verses I know without the underlines. So I’m back to searching for a good pen to make this new Bible my own. Thank you again for sharing your pen knowledge. I’m excited to dive back into His Word. Heading to Michaels and Hobby Lobby today. If they don’t have them, I’ll be ordering from Amazon. Thanks again!

Katie Ann
Katie Ann

I work across the street from a Paper Source (checked Sakura’s website for store locator) and I am so going to buy one when they open today! Probably a couple to be honest! I have been reading articles this am on the best Bible pens and highlighters. Sakura Pigma Micron came around in conversation a few times, but Amazon only had packs of 10-15 with colors I didn’t want. I’m excited to go buy some individuals! And now I just need to find some Zebrite Highlighters. Apparently they’re the best for Bible highlighting.

Royce
Royce

I have been using the Sharpie pen/stylo non-bleed available in a 4 pack of black, green, blue and red. Number on bottom of package is 1924222, upc no. 164 1 08677. I have aThompson chain reference Bible from the early 1960’s and certainly do not want to damage it. What are your thoughts on this product? Thank you. There are also places for the Sunday bullitins, flyers, notices, note-pad. Affords good protection from inclement weather as well.

Royce
Royce

There are book-cases that you unzip and insert bible, that have places for storing writing/notating utinsils.There are also places for the Sunday bullitins, flyers, notices, note-pad. Affords good protection from inclement weather as well.

Kim
Kim

I was wondering if you had any suggestions about a good highlighter for the Bible that doesn’t bleed/show through?

Andrea Stratman
Andrea Stratman

I’ve been looking at, buying and trying to find the best pens for years! Thank you for your article! Will try these!!

Jeff Payne

Just purchase the Pigma Micron pen set based on your recommendation. Thank you. Great post!

Mike
Mike

Any suggestions on how to attach a Pigma Micron pen to an expensive Bible? It’s easier with a cheap Bible because you can just clip to the cover, but that might wear out a calfskin or goatskin cover. Any suggestions would be much appreciated! Thanks!

Krystal
Krystal

some use a elastic band to bind their notebooks or books,with a cloth pen bag attached to the band I think it will work for hold pens&ruler along.

Royce
Royce

There are book-cases that you unzip and insert bible, that have places for storing writing/notating utinsils.There are also places for the Sunday bullitins, flyers, notices, note-pad. Affords good protection from inclement weather as well.

Bella
Bella

Zebra eco highlighter by Zebrite is a v good fluorescent highlighter with minimal bleedthrough because it too uses pigment ink. I bought a box of twelve on Amazon and can only find about three of them now! Fat slanted nib one end and fine the other.
I do a fine underline for some general verses while covering the whole word in especially interesting places
There is only the merest hint on the other side from the broad, and I see none from the thin nib
Test in the back pages

95nasb

I really like these Micro pens but I’ve found a .28 ball point retractable pen that i adore..less blend thru ..etc

micro point-Uni-ball Signo RT1 Rubber Grip & Click Retractable Ultra Micro & Extra Fine Point Gel Pens -0.28mm-black,Blue,Red,Blue Black Ink-Each 1 Pen- value Set of 4 Amazon sells a four pack for about $7

Disha

Awesome post Alex. I mean, seriously I have never thought to write about pen nibs before seeing your post.

Kristene
Kristene

Alex, This is perfect – Honestly I did not even think I would get a hit with my ?. It is good to know so many people are studying God’s word! I am on my way to the art Store. Thank you.

Deb
Deb

Alex,
Thank you so much for your recommendations and your research. I am looking to buy my Pastor and Sunday School teacher (and of course myself and a few other in my church too) some pens for writing in their bibles for Christmas. I am thankful to get this information and excited about purchasing and try these pens. God Bless!
Deb

Royce Stevens
Royce Stevens

As an additional idea, how about book markers for when the Pastor sermon is travelling thru several books of the bible. It is always good to have an extra set of book markers. Of course, the yellow stickems paper strips always works as well. Even when one is doing bible research, the yellow stickem strips are a proper tool.

Ron Sanchez

Alright…I am convinced enough to give it a try. Heading to the store today to get a couple and check them out. Thanks for writing.

Ron

P.S. Is this a WordPress blog platform. I love how clean it is!

Angela Kennedy
Angela Kennedy

Hi Alex. Did you just buy the normal Mircon’s or did you get the ones packaged for the bible?

Alex Tran

i’ve always bought the normal micron’s. when i wrote this post initially, the bible package wasn’t available!

VikingWench
VikingWench

Big difference in text size ????

Alex Tran

i like the way you underline. happy underlining!

VikingWench
VikingWench

Alex thank you for the info! My eyes aren’t what they used to be so I’m moving into a new Bible and need good pens. With your help, I know right where to go to find them.

Debbie Day McGilvray
Debbie Day McGilvray

I’m one of those who refuses to write in any of my books (not even name), including Bibles. God made quite clear to me yesterday that I am to start marking up my Bible. I have the YouVersion app and was highlighting there- thinking that should be enough. After what I heard yesterday, obviously not. I thought “Well, I hate highlighters- they’re so messy” so I Googled and immediately found your wonderful, helpful, thorough, interesting article. I just ordered a set of the Pigma Micron pens- they even make a Bible set. So, thank you for being a part of the revelation. I love your description above. My son is the opposite- a Japanese guy disguised in a white body.

Alex Tran

thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

what did you hear yesterday that made you re-consider marking in your bible?

i’m also a big fan of the YouVersion bible app. i actually work for the church that developed it (LifeChurch.tv)!

and your son is already cool in my book!

Debbie Day McGilvray
Debbie Day McGilvray

It was a quick filler anecdote between programs on a local Christian radio station. A pastor was explaining that when he has to preach at a funeral he likes to get the Bible of the person and use the verses they’ve highlighted and notes they’ve written in the margins. My first thought was “If it were my Bible, he’d have nothing to say.” I remembered when my aunt died a few years ago, the pastor read some of her margin notes. And then at the luncheon after the funeral her Bible was passed around at the tables and everyone was looking at her Bible. It was amazing. That’s when I started thinking about it, but still I thought “I don’t like to write in my books” and soon forgot about it. Then a few Sundays ago I was visiting at my friend’s church (his first Sunday as new pastor). I was sitting with his wife and noticed (not for the first time) how colorful her Bible was due to all her notes. Messy? Yes, but it looked like a well-loved book- reminded me of The Velveteen Rabbit. She’s about loved all the words out of her Bible (I think she takes Jeremiah 15:16 literally). I considered it a bit more. Then this past week, I heard the radio spot I mentioned first. I thought “OK, that’s 3. Message received.” So my new pens arrive in tomorrow’s mail. Writing in a book (especially my Bible) will be a really new experience. I intend to write a lot. Wish me luck.

VikingWench
VikingWench

It’s like moving into a new home and making it really yours

Melody Flynn
Melody Flynn

This is such a sweet story. I loved hearing it! Enjoy writing in your bible!

William Rowe
William Rowe

Hey Alex,

Just bought a ESV Clarion Reference Bible by Cambridge, the pages are really thin do you think the micron pens would work with this Bible.

Bill

Heather

I love the Micron for underlining and for writing but this is my fav for highlighting.

michelle
michelle

hi
Thanks I used 005 its way more better than ballpoint. But i can swe a slight shadow on otherside of page.

michelle
michelle

hi
I’m using Nelsons ultra thin reference bible . Its pages are very thin. Should I use 005 or 01 when i’m writing on it?

Paula
Paula

I just purchased an heirloom Holy Bible and would like to have it presented to me by my Pastor and write in it on the many pages for this including a page for a family tree, special memories and traditions, etc. I’m very concerned about the possibility of making a mess in this book with the wrong pen. I’m interested in which pen and nib size you recommend for normal size lettering… small writing is not so much an issue since there are full pages dedicated to write on.

Barbara Ford

Alex, that one looks great. Any suggestion about where I could buy it?

Barbara Ford

This is very helpful information. Along this same line, I am looking for a recommendation on a journaling Bible that has wide margins (1.5-2 inches) but larger font than 7.5. Any suggestions?

Max Dobbs
Max Dobbs

Checkout “Local Church Bible Publishers.” They have. Wide margin and a note takers Bible The quality is just as good as Cambridge, maybe even better, and way less expensive.

Diana Fritch

I’ve been looking for the perfect pen to use for underlining and making notes in my Bible. Thank you SO much for this info! I shopped around online and discovered the best price for the Pigma Micron Pen Set #005: Dick Blick Art Supplies, the same company I buy my art supplies from! (I’m a professional artist). A 6-pack set is $8.96, and of course you can also buy separate pens with the colors you choose.

Rene
Rene

Thank you, Alex. I just purchased a wide-margin bible and this info comes in handy indeed! Thanks again!

Lauren
Lauren

A little off-topic but some of you brought up highlighters in your comments. I’ve enjoyed Y&C’s Gel Stick Highlighter “Hi-Glider” for marking up my bible. It’s not as dry as the crayon so you can read it without the crayon waxed look on the words. I love it!

Sharon
Sharon

Hello Alex
I have been searching for pens to write in my bible for years (without any joy) and can’t believe all the info I needed was right here. Thanks for your recommendations, I have just ordered a black 01 and a black 005. Cant wait to try them!

May the Lord bless you for your time and intrest to help others.

Steven
Steven

Thanks for your insight on the ‘best pens’ for Bible writing! I’ve been looking around for a while (1 year) to find thee best pen to write in my Cambridge Bible. I’ve been using the Pentel R.S.V.P Fine tip myself. You can get 2 of them (Blue or Black) for 99cents at the 99Cent Store! I will definitely look into this 01 Pigma Micron pen you suggested!

Kaemale
Kaemale

Hi,

How about 01 micron pens? Is that thick to write a note?

Kim
Kim

I am a Bible marking addict. I use the Inductive Bible Study method to mark symbols and take notes. The Micron pens are incredible. I also use Crayola Twistables colored pencils to “highlight” (no bleed through and gentle enough for thin paper). With 6 different colored Micron pens and 24 colored pencils, the possibilities are endless, lol!! Here’s a link to the method I use, in case someone is interested. Blessings :) http://www.precept.org/site/PageServer?pagename=101_discover

Scott

Do you use anything to make your underlining straight, or just freehand and make the line as straight as you can?

Jackie
Jackie

I heart my nerdy brother. But somebody get this boy a Bible for his Kindle!

Alan Kirby
Alan Kirby

I like the micron pen suggestion. I will have to get one.

Here’s another arts/crafts borrowed idea for bible marking:
Instead of highlighters that tend to bleed through the thin bible pages, you can use a dry “roll out” artist’s crayon. The crayon is thin and encased in a plastic tube similar to a Bic stick pen, but you roll out the crayon just enough to expose a marking tip. These are dry enough that you sometimes have to go over the desired area twice to get a good highlighting, but they never show through the page and they outlast a highlighter many times over. The brand I found at an artist supply store was Rose Art. They come in a pkg of many different colors.

sonya m
sonya m

I’ve used regular high lighters on my bible for years. Regular ballpoint pens too.

Mary Manteuffel
Mary Manteuffel

Hello,
Thank you for your fantastic idea. I just purchased some new pens for this purpose (again) and was underlining in my Bible a few minutes ago, unhappy with the latest one I purchased yesterday. Dah, I have many of the Micron in my scrapbooking supplies. Never put the thought together of using them with my Bible.

Lord bless you as you read His word and underline!!
Thanks again.
Mary

Elisa Malo Brooks
Elisa Malo Brooks

Dude, you are talking my language! I have a geeky love for pens and I’m a reformed pen thief. Is it wrong to enjoy Reddi Arts pen shopping? If so, I don’t wanna’ be right. :-) Thanks for the info!

phyllis robshaw
phyllis robshaw

thanks! I’m going to try to pick one up tomorrow night.

phyllis robshaw
phyllis robshaw

Mannnn…I needed this years ago…you should see my Bible..I have used plenty of “wrong” pens over 30 years…can’t help underlining in it though. Just bought a new smaller one to carry to church…not sure if I’ll write in this one…but I’m picking up one of these pens anyway b/c I need to be able to write very,very tiny in my old Bible now that there’s not much room left around the old writing!

Michael Espinosa

Genius. I have been hunting for the “right” pen for years.