Illustrated Faith: The Art of Bible Journaling

STYLE | BEAUTY
2017
September/October

I once heard that you could tell a book is well-loved by its dog-eared pages and notes in the margin. No book is more loved and revered than the Bible. Some of us have been taught to keep our Bibles in pristine condition as a form of respect but what if a verse pops off the page and grabs hold of you as if to say “Remember this!”? I recall my mother underlining scripture in her Bible and her tidy handwriting in a blank space on the page marking something that had once brought her inspiration or encouragement. My mother’s notes were a way of making the Bible personable and relatable. I have followed in her footsteps and underline verses that remind me of God’s promises, and I write encouragement and notes in the margins.  

Many years after I watched my mother scribble during church services; I have discovered the art of Bible journaling. Bible journaling is a form of worship and self-expression and helps me recall meaningful scripture.  In fact, I like to think that someday my children will come upon my Bible and find my doodles of art and gain inspiration from the very same verse that once spoke to me. But this is not my mother’s form of Bible reflections! Bible journaling is colorful and bold. In fact, fear of scribbling in your Bible is abandoned, and each page of scripture becomes a lively form of hope and faith. “Bible journaling is all about reading and studying the Word, letting it lead you to be creative in the ways you memorize and record Scripture,” Laurel Keller, an avid journalist and artist, said. “The goal with Bible journaling is to experience God’s Word in a new way as you spend time with the Lord.” 

To begin your own Bible journaling journey, you must first decide on your canvas. You can use a traditional Bible, but stores such as LifeWay, Mardel, and The Scroll sell Journaling Bibles. These provide the perfect way for you to keep a journal of your spiritual life right inside the Bible that you read and study each day. With beautiful covers and various formats, Journaling Bibles feature wide-margins for writing observations, reflections, prayers, praises, notes, and journal entries. Some Bibles contain thick cream paper that is sturdy enough for more in-depth artwork such as watercolor designs to stickers and scrapbook pieces. David Rooker, manager at The Scroll in Tyler recommends the New Living Translation Inspire Bible. This “coloring Bible” is the store’s top-selling journaling Bible and offers wide margins, black and white outlines, and coloring pages.

Once you have selected your Journaling Bible, an abundance of supplies awaits your choosing. For starters, you may want to begin with colored pencils and advance your way up to bold ink or dive in head first and record your inspirations with water colors! If you are like me and lack any artistic ability, stencils provide an easy way to make your Bible beautifully colorful (and neat if you like to keep things tidy). Templates are also available online, and in stores if you find a particular style you would like to achieve.  To add even more pizazz, look for free printables online and use as cute bookmarks, or tape/ glue them into the margins of your Bible as art. LifeWay suggests that you “consider marking pages with Washi tape. You can use the Washi tape on the edges of your page to help the pages in your Bible stand out. Also, add the date to the top of your drawing. You will love looking back and remembering the day that God taught you something new about His Word!”

When deciding on which page to begin your journaling, try picking out keywords in the Bible that mean something powerful to you. Words such as “hope,” “trust,” and “faith” are great places to start. Next, find these keywords in scripture and chose the verse that brings these keywords to life for you. Perhaps you already have a list of favorite verses you have gathered over the years. 

Here are a few of my favorite verses to get you started:

Jeremiah 29:11   “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.…”

I Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Joshua 24:15 “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you.”

Bible journaling can be a quiet time for self-reflection. You may just find that doodling relieves stress while helping you relate and study God’s word in the comfort of your home. Others find that Bible journaling makes for an enjoyable Bible study with a group of friends. Journaling workbooks can be purchased at LifeWay, Mardel, and The Scroll and give you step by step directions on how to get your group of friends started on an exciting Bible Journaling Study. Sharing your inspiration with others and gaining their perspective can you lead you along a walk of faith with friends among the scriptures. Spending time with God and His followers can have a profound effect on your own faith journey!

My Bible is a well-loved book, but now there is evidence of that fact. Colorful images adorn the margins and verses that speak to me are written in bold lettering. It is something beautiful to look at as well as to read. Bible journaling brings the very words of God to life and can be a lovely keepsake to share with others. I like to think God is pleased to see when we illustrate our faith and our Bibles are well-loved!

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