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Have you heard of Bible journaling? Also called Bible Art Journaling, it’s a way of using your creativity at the same time that you study the Bible. We have “some” journaling on our YouTube channel. We’re adding more all the time.
With Bible Journaling, you read a section carefully, several times and discover what speaks to you. Then you journal (with writing, art, or use artsy lettering) what stands out to you. There are even special journaling bibles that have wider margins so you can make more art. And if you don’t feel artsy, you can cut out magazine pictures or use templates to trace your images. There are templates for lettering if you aren’t confident in your writing.
Some people also use the term “Bible Journaling” for taking sermon notes. We’ll write about that in a future article.
Either way, you can journal inside your Bible or in a separate lined notebook. The choice is up to you.
You can use stamps, stickers, washi tape, colored pencil, paint, or just an ink pen to journal. Some people use their Bible highlighters or markers to make their art. It’s all in how you want to proceed. It’s easy and fun – and maybe a little bit addictive. Some people say that if you’re a visual learner, it helps you to absorb Scripture better.
Bible Journaling is mostly about getting into Scripture and knowing the Lord better. We at BSP strongly believe if you get so caught up in the art that you miss biblical truths, then you need to back up and focus on Scripture more. It’s all about your relationship with Jesus and studying the Word – not about the beauty of your work. Besides, as you continue to work on your pages they naturally will improve.
Is Writing/Drawing in Your Bible Disrespectful?
I researched this carefully before starting, and I don’t feel that it is. I understand that a lot of people freak out if you make a mark in your Bible. My spouse is one of them. Here’s my take on it. If I lived in a country where Bibles were scarce, I might have another opinion. But I live in the USA, where you can get them for under $20 and there are tons of different ones available. I usually have about 6 different ones on hand (I give them away a lot). So to me, it is fine to set one aside to use as the journaling Bible.
Besides, our Creator is creative. He loves our inborn creativity, and enjoys (I believe) seeing it expressed as a sign of our devotion to him.
Do You Cover Up the Words?
Many people do cover the words with stickers or paint, by covering the whole page. I have tried it but I’m not comfortable covering the words, because even if it is my “art” Bible it is God’s Holy Word. So I only do my art in the margin. For the first few years I used a regular Bible, but now I bought this Bible which has a really wide margin for that. You can see the first few pages of art in it in this video:
If you cover your words during Bible art journaling, I still respect you. Hopefully you also respect me for my decision not to cover the words. I don’t think any of us should look down on each other for the choices we make. It is an intensely personal thing.
For people who still feel that this kind of art is beyond them, there are some beautifully illustrated coloring Bibles you can use – just color in the art outlines with colored pencils or markers, and you’re done! This is one.
How to Get Started Bible Journaling
Get settled for your daily Bible study like you normally would. Bring your pencil, pens, markers and an eraser with you. You might even choose to start with your favorite verse of the Bible.
Read the verses several times. Really think about them. Then ask yourself, which verse or phrase stands out to me? Try to think of how you would represent them in art. If you can’t think of anything, think of how you could vary your own handwriting to represent them.
Hint: look on Pinterest for inspiration.
Now take a pencil and lightly sketch out your idea. I erase a LOT during this time. Very often I sketch it on scrap paper first and do a lot of erasing until I get the design I want. Then I copy that into my Bible. Once I’m happy with it, I trace it with a Pitt pen.
Next, I color in my letters and pictures. I might use colored pencil, gelatos, watercolor pencils, or watercolor paint. I also use a lot of inexpensive paint pens. Recently I have begun to explore using magazine cut-outs in my Bible. It is a lot more important to enjoy the process and study the Word than it is to make a great piece of art! (Which is good, because as you’ll see if you follow my YouTube channel, I do mess up a lot).
That’s really all there is to it. You can go really simple and draw with a pen or pencil. You can purchase various Bible study sets that have accompanying Journaling cut-outs or stickers. You can explore new mediums. Most of all, enjoy your time with the Lord.