Pitt Minion? Meet Filofax.

In the past, I've written about the relationship between notebooks and Bibles, and also about my hunt for tan notebooks to complement my tan Allan's ESV1. Don't be surprised if it's a topic I return to more in the future, because I find that many of us who are interested in quality Bibles also have a soft spot for companion notebooks. To me, there are two things that make for a good one: a harmonious color combination, and a nice proportion. If the notebook isn't the same size as the Bible, it should at least be close enough that carrying the two together is convenient.

As you can imagine, when it comes time to grab a Bible and head to church, I'm somewhat spoiled for choices. In worship, my preference is for a small, handy edition, something that's there when I need it, but doesn't get in the way when I have hymnals or an order of worship to juggle. I'm unlikely to use cross references or study notes during worship, so I don't care much about that. Size is the thing. 

Recently, though, I've been doing a lot of volunteer work at church, which needs organizing, and so I've brought along something I don't ordinarily: my Filofax. If you came of age in the Blackberry era, you might not know what this is, so imagine a PDA made out of paper. Better yet, here's a picture:


Above: A vintage Filofax in tan calfskin and a Cambridge ESV Pitt Minion in brown goatskin.

One of my projects recently has been to determine how much use the brown goatskin Pitt Minion requires before the cover starts to feel really supple. This may sound like licking the lollypop to see how much effort is required to reach the candy core, but it made sense to me when I started, and I've gotten into the habit. One thing I never realized before was that the Pitt Minion and the personal size Filofax are pretty much a perfect fit.

Above: Uncanny proportions.

Such a little thing, but the difference it makes is great. Now that I've realized, it's hard to separate the two. The similarity in size makes carrying them a breeze, and whenever the need to jot down a note occurs, I'm ready. The neat thing about the Filofax, of course, is that its six-ring binder allows for the internal pages to be re-shuffled and re-configured at will. You can take all the notes you want, then refill with blank pages, archiving the written-on sheets in a separate binder. For obsolete technology, it's not too bad. Plus, if you crack it open in church to write something down, nobody suspects that you're playing video games or checking eBay auctions, which is the fear that keeps my iPhone tucked out of sight.
Above: When opened, the Filofax has a slightly bigger footprint.
There are some things I don't use the Filofax for anymore. My calendar is on the computer, synched automatically to my phone, so I've gone for the ultra-streamlined month-on-two-pages diary. Also gone are the handwritten address book pages, also computerized. This gives me more room for blank sheets and a variety of custom inserts. In the photo above, you can see a few. The book of Hebrews (along with the beginning of James) is tucked in there, part of a Filofax-sized NASB I picked up over a decade ago. I've also printed the ecumenical creeds, prefaced by a selection of benedictions. My most recent undertaking was to format the entire text of the Westminster Confession of Faith for output on pre-punched Filofax pages. 
Above: Can't convince a publisher to include doctrinal standards in the back of a Bible? Outwit them by inserting the relevant text in your Filofax. Imagine their chagrin!
(By the way, if you see my Westminster Confession pages and are overwhelmed by the nerdy conviction that you, too, must have a six-hole punched copy, I've posted the file as a PDF, already arranged in spreads. All you have to do is buy some Filofax pre-punched sheets, print them front and back, and pull them apart.) 
If you're wondering, a little use and abuse has done nothing but good for my Pitt Minion. I've noticed a couple of tiny flakes on the leather — one on the spine, visible in the first photo below, and one on the top front edge, visible in the second — but otherwise it could pass for new. I tell myself that the stiff boards under the goatskin have softened a little, but that might be wishful thinking. It still has no trouble standing upright on its cover, as you can see.

As trivial as it may seem, the whole Pitt Minion/Filofax discovery has me excited. I know I'm no Einstein, but I think I could give the guy who dropped his chocolate in the peanut butter a run for his money. Has anyone else hit upon such a happy coincidence? If so, I want to hear about it.

20 Comments on “Pitt Minion? Meet Filofax.

  1. LOL – I clicked on the link that you have for the Filofax and literally jumped back when the first one that pops up is the $2300 Alligator bound edition. As I clicked, I was thinking, “I wonder how much one of these….WHOA!”
    But, the others are much more reasonably priced. I’m a little old school too. I still keep my addressed “backed up” in an old organizer that I’ve had since I can’t remember how long.
    Thanks for this post.

  2. A good match for the owners of the black Pitt Minion is the Franklin Pocket Size Planner in black napa leather. The availability of lined pages is nice and the ability to catalog filled pages in the designed keepers is a good tool for those wanting to organize their notes.

  3. That is such a great idea. I’ve been thinking about organizing my notes and was thinking maybe carrying around some notebook paper and filing it away in a 3 ring binder. But this is such a great alternative because I could still carry around notes in a compact form.

  4. Real, electronic PDAs have advantages too. Imagine having a dozen bible versions plus commentary in a single hand-held device. Original languages are available too (Greek, Hebrew). Font size can be changed on the fly, and one can switch between verse and paragraph format. This means it is possible to read the bible in single column, paragraph format, which is often requested here.
    Any two or three bible versions, including original languages, can be displayed in a split screen, with verses kept in sync while scrolling. So the reader can create a “parallel bible” of their own design, with whatever bible versions they want.
    It is also possible to take notes, and have them associated with a particular bible verse.

  5. I’m so depressed. I carry a Franklin Planner and have for a long time. After seeing the Filofax above I decided to look for something similar for my own binder. I have looked everywhere I can think of and it appears as though no one makes binders of this quality any more.

  6. I prefer not to have a ring binder in my planner and prefer the x47 system instead (http://www.x47.com). You are not as flexible in filling your planner as with a ring binder, but using it to write notes is much better experience, just like a real notebook – you can use the whole space inside.

  7. I have two setups I use. The first and favorite is an older Ghurka 6 ring (same as Filofax) along with my vintage KJV Zondervan (Eyre & Spottiswoode) both in brown. Both are nearly identical in size being 7.5 X 5 x 1 inches. The other is an old Filofax (ahh, the smell of that beautiful English leather) and a vintage Cambridge Cameo, both in black. Montblanc in the Ghurka and vintage Waterman (small loop) in the Filofax. Both have their merits. Strange how they seem to match Bible dimensions so well……
    Hey! My Filofax is the same as the black grainy calfskin one shown on the link above! Cool…. Such a small world. Is that the Winchester mentioned?

  8. I read somewhere that Filofax were used by the military and the clergy. Looking at the size and propotions of the Bible and Filofax now makes sense.
    I recently got into the Filofax system too and got a Guildford. It’s modern and doesn’t have that Vintage quailty but it’s a start. I find that I can take notes on 4×5 and use the punch to fit the pages into the binder of a personal size.
    I would like to configure to print on the Filofax page. I’ll be sure to make use of your PDF page.

  9. I think its a great idea to have the bible in a filofax format. Its a very neat way to mark your favorite chapters or if you are a religious practitioner it can be very useful.

  10. Hallo, sorry for me bad english,
    i`am from germany. x47 is very good, but http://www.roterfaden.de is very flexible with different kind of little Books. It has a very easy clip system. Please see my pics on flickr
    I use the DIN A6 Formate. I have integrate DIN A6 Version`s from the Bible Evangelium. I switch between the Books.
    The ROTERFADEN TASCHENBEGLEITER System is fantastic to use.
    Best regards
    Frank Sziedat

  11. Anybody looking for a great deal on a Filofax, why not visit these two websites:
    All organizers are 20% off the MSRP and if you order over $75 (US only) you’ll get Free Shipping.
    Keep up-to-date with new Filofax Organizer by joining us on FaceBook:
    Hope these links will be a great resource for anybody that is looking to save some money on a beautiful Filofax Organizer.

  12. I would love to buy the filofax bible.
    Does any one know where i can get a filofax bible page inserts to fit the personal binder in the uk?
    This is proving very frustrating – Pablo B.

  13. Paul,
    I’m afraid a complete Bible, even if written in very small print, would fill up several Filofax notebooks because the normal filofax insert sheets are much thicker than the bible paper they use in Bibles. There are a couple of loose-leaf Bibles on the market, about 8.5×11 size, which allow users to insert complete pages of their own notes when large margins are just not large enough (!) but these tend to be at least 2 inches thick.

  14. In Japan, what we in the West call “Personal” size is known as “Bible.” Maruman Data Plan make diary refills and several types of lined paper in this size. They also sell binders.

  15. Hi Mark
    Just found your website and enjoying it immensely!
    I’d be interested in the Westminster Confession PDF for filoFax but the link doesn’t work. Please can you re-post?
    Thank you


  16. I just so happened to have stumbled across your site. and began to read. I like your idea of putting the bible into a Filofax. I have been wanting to do this as well, but I didn’t know how to go about it…how did you get the bible to personal size. I’m curious. Please share I would like to try this myself. Thank you for your time.

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