How to Start Bible Journaling (and Why)
What is Bible journaling? How do you get started? Why might you want to try it? If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, you’re not alone. I’d like to share what I’ve learned about the practice.
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If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest or Instagram lately, you’ve probably noticed that Bible journaling a big thing right now. Beautiful images of open Bibles with colorful pages, artistic hand-lettered notes in the margins and whimsical doodles illustrating various verses are a regular feature in my social media feeds.
I watched from a distance for a long time before trying it myself. I didn’t understand what the purpose was at first, but I’ve grown to appreciate it. For many, it’s an act of worship, a creative pursuit, and a way to slow down and let the truth of God’s word really sink in. For me, it’s all of those things.
What are the benefits of Bible journaling?
Until a few months ago, I did all my Bible reading online. It was efficient, convenient, and I appreciated the fact that if I had questions, with only a few taps of the keys, I could often find a wealth of answers from a simple search. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with those benefits, but for me, online Bible reading became too efficient.
It was a part of my routine, and it was easy for me to skim and check it off my list, like a chore. I was also easily distracted. I didn’t want my time in the Word to be that way. I wanted to savor it. That's when the idea of Bible journaling began to intrigue me. It was a way to slow down.
Bible journaling can be widely varied in application:
· It can look like simple notes in the margin and highlights in the text, a response to the reading, with regular handwriting. Or, it can be fancy hand lettering.
· It can be drawing in the margins, however detailed or simple you like.
· It can include stamps, stickers, watercolors, acrylics, tabs, and whatever else your creative mind comes up with!
Bible journaling is whatever you want it to be. Some people buy special Bibles that have wide margins, and some people use separate journals. I use something called, The Message Canvas Bible. I love it. It has wide margins that I can write in, but it’s also extensively illustrated. It’s essentially a coloring book.
Since my purpose for Bible journaling is, foremost, to help me slow down and savor what I’m reading, the coloring pages work well for me. I do my reading, and then I think about what the passage while I color. Some days the reading plan I use doesn’t have a picture in the margin. On those days, I usually just write a prayer or a few notes in the margin- and maybe draw a little doodle.
I have a lot of admiration for the more elaborate Bible journals I see, and I follow a few Instagram feeds for inspiration. I will probably attempt some of these ideas at some point.
If you need some inspiration to get you started, here are a few of my favorite people to follow on Instagram.
How to get started with Bible journaling.
Supplies (pick and choose):
What to write:
Prayers, victories, re-write verse in your own words, phrases from verses, struggles, quotes that relate to verses, praise, etc.
Practice doodling on scratch paper
Practice hand lettering
Sketch out a rough design on scratch paper first
Let go of perfectionism.
Meditate on the scriptures as you journal
If you don’t think you can draw, let me encourage you to watch THIS TED talk by Graham Shaw: Why People Believe They Can’t Draw: and how to prove they can.
My style of Bible journaling is casual. It’s fun, easy and it’s relaxing. You can make it whatever you want it to be (maybe, for you, something more challenging IS fun). Bible journaling serves a purpose for me in that I savor (and remember) what I’ve read much more. I enjoy coming across the pages I’ve already completed when I read my Bible, and I like creating something personal and meaningful.
If you have never tried Bible journaling before, let me encourage you to give it a try.
What is your favorite way to slow down and savor God's word? Let's discuss in the comments!