A Tribute to The Saint John’s Bible

Lisa Nichols Hickman suggests doodling some butterflies in Mark as in the St. John’s Bible, so I googled “The Saint John’s Bible.”  Whoa!  Can I just say that I am glad she suggested this toward the middle of her book.  If I would have discovered the St. John’s Bible sooner in my journey, I would have been totally intimidated and probably would never have started this project and definitely not this blog.  For me it was one of those, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” kind of moments.   The Saint John’s Bible is an incredible modern, illuminated manuscript written by hand in beautiful calligraphy and accompanied by fine art.  I was awestruck and suddenly felt the urge to travel to Minnesota!

Images of The Saint John’s Bible can be found online; so I tracked down the Mark resurrection accounts and was touched to see a realistic portrayal of monarch butterflies.  As I humbly created my own little sketch of monarch butterflies in the margins of Mark, I just felt happy thinking of the gift of time that went into the creation of the St. John’s Bible.  It’s hard to put in words, but it was sweet to discover something that means as much to me as butterflies do in the margins of a holy piece of art.  I especially love monarch butterflies.  We have a butterfly garden and plenty of milkweed in our backyard; I have always marveled at the monarch migration and look forward to their arrival in my yard every year.  As I drew a tiny caterpillar, a chrysalis, and the butterflies, it made me think of the resurrection in a new, deeply personal way–as something amazing that we already know happens!  Feeling grateful for discovering such a beautiful work of art (and heart!) and saying a little prayer for the monarch butterflies tonight!


Donald Jackson the artistic director of the St. John’s Bible shared a practical tip in the video “A Lifetime’s Dream” that I thought I could share:  When working with text in an artistic way, it can be really helpful and time-saving to do the layout on the computer first.  This takes some of the guess work out of how the text will fit in the space available.  Honestly, I’ve been doing this myself to save time.  For example, on the last two pages of my Bible where I simply wrote down 24 or so Bible verses, I tested the concept for those pages by setting them up in Microsoft Publisher before trying to write it down in my Bible, which helped me get all the verses to fit and line up well.

2 thoughts on “A Tribute to The Saint John’s Bible

  1. Sally: On behalf of the Saint John’s Bible staff and department, thank you for this lovely post. We are so pleased to read your inspirations and are impressed by your marginalia. We truly hope you do make plans to come to Minnesota!

  2. I’ll second Constance’s post. As an ambassador of the Saint John’s Bible and also a fan of journaling Bibles, I’m deeply impressed with your posts on this website and the artwork in your Bible. I’m embarrassed to admit it never occurred to me to be so artistic in the open spaces of my journaling Bible, but you’ve given me a whole new range of ideas to consider. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *