Bible Journaling 101: How to Start Being Creative When Reading God's Word
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Okay, I'm going to be completely honest with you, I never saw myself as someone who would get into bible journaling. I have seen all kinds of really beautiful pins on Pinterest, but I never thought I would have the time or the inclination to do it.
I was an avid scrapbooker for years when my children were younger, so I like crafty things, but I am not really artistic, I can't draw, I can't do the fancy lettering, and it all seemed like too much work. That all changed when I was given a coloring bible for my birthday.
I'll admit something else, I received the bible on my birthday in September, but didn't do anything with it until the beginning of this new year. So, I understand if you are someone who is hesitant about trying something new. I especially understand if you are a person who admits that they are not artistic. I felt the same way...until I tried it!
Now that I have started, I am LOVING it! It does take time and effort, but I have found my time in the Word so much more enjoyable, relaxing, and fulfilling. For me, it feels like a form of worship; like singing a song, or performing a dance, I am creating something beautiful for God. I set aside time in the evening where I go to my room or my office and I read, take notes, draw, color, highlight, decorate, and study the scriptures in a way that I never have before. It has become my favorite part of the day. Rather than something that I used to check off my "Good Christian To-Do-List", I really want to read the bible.
Many Christians I have talked to say that they want to read their bible, but they don't know where to start, how much to read, how long to read, and so on. Some have told me that the bible is just so big and overwhelming that they just don't read it at all. I believe all the answers to the questions we are seeking are found in the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God. But, we can't find those answers if our bibles are collecting dust on the shelf. Journaling goes beyond just reading. It takes you to a whole new level of actually studying the bible, focusing on specific scriptures and passages, writing down what the verses mean to you personally, and connecting with God's Word in a new and exciting way.
If you want to take your faith to a new level, I would highly recommend that this is an excellent place to start. In this blog, I will provide you with the tools that you need to get started on your bible journaling journey. If you are seasoned at bible journaling, this blog is probably not for you, but if you have been thinking about trying it for the first time, then this is definitely for you!
Are you ready? Let's start with the basics.
1. Get a good Journaling Bible, or a Journal Coloring Bible.
What's the difference?
A journaling bible is a bible that simply provides lined sections on every page or every other page for you to take notes, draw by hand, use a pre-made stencil, color and/or paint.
A Journal Coloring Bible (which is what I have and is pictured above) has journal pages and ready-to-color images. This is a great option if you aren't a great artist, but you want to add those pops of color and beautiful images.
There are many benefits to coloring. New studies reveal that coloring can help to improve your mood, reduce stress, and boost creativity. This is because when you color, you relax the fear center of your brain found in the amygdala. It induces the same state as meditation. You reduce the thoughts in your restless mind. This creates mindfulness and quietness which allows your mind to get some rest after a stressful day.
There are many different bible options for you to choose from, and you can choose a bible in your favorite translation. I have the NLT Inspire Coloring Bible, but I have given you several options below in different translations. You are going to be spending a lot of time in this bible, so make sure you choose the translation and the style that you like the best!
I have linked a few of them down below. (You can order these from Amazon right from the link!)
2. Supplies you will need to get started.
Once you begin bible journaling, there are lots of really cool ideas out there to enhance your journaling experience. There are ideas on Pinterest and on YouTube, all you have to do is type in bible journaling in the search bar.
For now, we will focus on the basics:
fine point journaling pens (a must!)
highlighters (also a must!)
colored pencils (my favorite for coloring!)
bible journaling starter kit (optional)
hand lettering for beginners (optional)
books of the bible tabs (I love these!)
For highlighters and pens, make sure that you buy ones that are specifically designed for journaling. You want to find highlighters and markers that have little to no bleed. The pages of a bible are very thin, and you don't want these bleeding onto other pages.
I have used crayons, but the Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils are my favorite. I use the fine-point pens for both taking notes and for coloring tight spaces.
I have a packet of sticky notes with me every time I read my bible. If there is a verse or something that God has shown me in the passage, I write it on the sticky note and put it in my bible.
There are hundreds of uses for Washi tape (craft tape). I use it as a border for pages, to attach sticky notes, for just a pop of color, and for homemade book marks.
There are starter kits available that provide you with stencils, templates, stickers, and other ideas. This is optional, but may be a good place to start.
If you want to learn how to hand letter or do calligraphy, there are books designed to help you learn how step-by-step, so that you can add your own hand-lettering in your bible.
I love having bible tabs in my bible. I know where all the books of the bible are, but the tabs I have in my bible are so cute and it makes finding where I want to go so much easier.
These supplies are available at most craft stores. I am providing links to the products I use from Amazon below. (You can simply click on the link and order right from home!)
3. Get journaling!
Sometimes the hardest part is getting started, but I encourage you to just dive right in! The great thing about journaling is that it is uniquely YOU. You get to choose the colors and the the overall aesthetic of your bible. It won't look like anyone else's bible. I know you may look on Pinterest and see what other people have done and you feel like you couldn't measure up. Don't let that discourage you! Remember that this is not a contest. No one will see your bible, typically, but you. As long as you are enjoying it, and you like the way that it looks, that is all that matters. If you get stuck, go to Pinterest or YouTube, there is so much help out there.
Bible journaling is about growing closer to God by studying the bible in a creative and unique way. It is about you spending some quiet time, relaxing your mind from the stresses of the day, and absorbing what God wants to tell you in his Word. My prayer is that you would learn to love to spend time in the bible and you would look forward to it as I have learned to.
I hope the links to the various products give you some good ideas! I love that you could create your whole bible journaling experience from the comfort of your couch!
Be blessed as you spend time in His Word.
Susie O'Neal is the founder of Between the Gardens Ministry, LLC. Her heart is dedicated to encouraging believers with the truth of God's holy Word.
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