You dutifully attend church on Sunday, go to Tuesday night Bible study and try to set aside private time with God each week. Still, your relationship with the Lord seems to be at a standstill. You are confident in your salvation through your faith in Jesus, but you're looking for a closer relationship with Him. We have a suggestion that might help you achieve that goal—Bible journaling.
Bible journaling has been around for years, but it is growing in popularity as more and more people discover its benefits. It's an exciting way to draw closer to the Lord by getting creative in your approach to spending time in His Word. You won't just read the Bible, you'll take time to let God speak His truths to you as you enjoy a more relaxed and fun approach to Bible study. If this is a new concept to you, we're here to help you understand what Bible journaling is and how you can get started.
WHAT IS BIBLE JOURNALING?
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Bible journaling is about expressing your individualism as you spend time in God's Word. It can be as simple as using a marker to underline, highlight, or make margin notes about Bible passages meaningful to you. Or, you can break out your watercolors, colored pencils, and paint pens and get crafty with your journaling. The point is, there's no wrong way to do it. This is all about you and the Lord, and there's no need to compare your Bible journaling methods with others. It's simply a way to enliven and enhance your relationship with God as you read and reflect on His Word.
Below are a few popular methods of Bible journaling. You can use these to inspire you or you might already have your own way in mind.
Remember, it doesn't matter how you express yourself with your Bible journaling, the important thing is that it creates more quality time for you to spend with Jesus. It's a way to enjoy and get more out of Bible study.
BENEFITS OF BIBLE JOURNALING
Bible journaling is just another way to study and spend time with God as you allow Him to lead you through His Word. For those of you to whom this method of Bible study might appeal, it becomes a fun and rewarding way to make your relationship with the Lord a stronger one.
1. BIBLE JOURNALING CREATES INTEREST
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We all like to have fun doing anything. If something is enjoyable for us, we're more likely to look forward to it. Coupling two things you like to do (spending time with God and enjoying a creative project) will only increase the likelihood you'll make it a priority.
2. IT CREATES SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE
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At the beginning of your Bible journaling, it could be the fun aspect of it that draws you in. As time goes by, however, the Lord has a way of working within us. The Bible teaches us that as we draw closer to God, He will draw closer to us (James 4:8). The more quality time you spend with Jesus, the more comfortable you're likely to become with making it a part of your routine. This is true at any age.
3. IT MAKES BIBLE PASSAGES MORE MEMORABLE
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Let's face it, there are times we all struggle with distractions when we sit down to read the Bible. Our minds wander to the daily stresses of life and we might gloss over important things God is trying to reveal to us. Bible journaling slows down the process of Bible study. As you take the time to associate your margin art to what you've read, you'll find that you have a much easier time reflecting on the importance of what the Lord is revealing to you. You might be surprised at your new level of concentration during your Bible study time.
4. IT GIVES YOU SOMETHING TO SHARE
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As we've said repeatedly, Bible journaling is a personal endeavor. But that doesn't mean you can't share it with others if you choose. What a great way to introduce a young child to the Bible, by showing them how Mom (or Dad) creatively studies God's Word! What aging parent wouldn't be proud to see how their adult child is enjoying his or her time spent with the Lord? Your Journaling Bible becomes a sort of artistic record of your journey with God. You might even decide to hand it down someday.
5. IT SOOTHES THE SOUL
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Bible journaling gives you an outlet. It's a way of spending time with God that adds the benefit of being relaxing and refreshing. Life has a tendency to become a never-ending stream of things to do. Journaling provides you with an outlet to quietly take a breath or two. Meditating, reflecting, and enjoying peace alone with God daily or a few times a week will refresh and recharge you.
OUR BIBLE JOURNALING HOW-TO GUIDE
Now that you know what Bible journaling is and some ways it can make your Bible study time more interesting and fruitful, here's some advice to get you started. Remember, there's no wrong way to journal, so take the suggestions that work for you and leave the rest for someone else.
1. WHERE TO BEGIN
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As with any spiritual activity, you should begin with earnest prayer. Pray for God's guidance with your new method of Bible study. Pray that distractions are kept at bay and that your heart is pure. Though Bible journeling is and should always be a fun activity, the primary focus must always be on the Lord and growing your relationship with Him.
2. GRAB YOUR BIBLE
This one may seem obvious, but you'll need a Bible you're comfortable writing in. While you don't have to run out and buy a new one, if you are planning on getting creative with your Bible journaling you might want to. There are Bibles of every translation made specifically for journaling, with wider margins for notes and artwork.
3. READ YOUR CHOSEN PASSAGE(S) WITH PURPOSE
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Once you've prayed for the Lord's guidance, immerse yourself in His Word. Thoroughly read the scripture passage you've chosen for the day. Reflect on its meaning and what it might tell you about God. Look for ways to apply it to your life and ask if God is speaking to you through it. Before beginning any note taking or margin art, ensure you have a basic understanding of the scripture you've read.
4. CHOOSE KEY WORDS TO FOCUS ON
After you've read the entire passage, hone in on words and phrases that have special importance to you. These will be the keys that help you commit the scripture to memory. This is also the time to let your creative side take over if you like. Get artsy with your note-taking, doodle an illustration or use a special script that helps to tell the story. Make it your story by personalizing it any way you please.
5. TAKE TIME TO RECAP
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When you're ready to wrap up the day's work, take a minute or two to soak in what you've done. A final reading of the passage and a look at your notes and illustrations is a great way to help you remember that day's time with the Lord. Closing with a little prayer is never a bad idea.
THREE TIPS FOR BIBLE JOURNALING
Here are a few ideas that might make your journaling more enjoyable.
1. USE THE RIGHT SUPPLIES
If you will be illustrating with pens or markers, use a set that will not bleed through the pages of your Bible. These can be found at most craft stores. It's also a good idea to test them first in a non-conspicuous place in your Bible. If you will use paints or watercolors, you can ask someone at your craft store about "paint-on" protective coatings that allow you to be artistic without ruining your Bible.
2. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Actually, you shouldn't be shooting for perfection, but depending on your artistic skills, you might sketch your ideas with a pencil before committing to paint or marker. Once you are happy with what you've created, simply color in with the instrument of your choosing.
3. TRY SOMETHING NEW
Don't be afraid to try a new technique or add something different from the usual to your notes and margin art. There's no wrong way to go as long as your focus is on God.
Maybe you've heard of Bible journaling but have never tried it. Or, maybe it's a completely new concept to you. Either way, we hope that this article has piqued your interest and that you'll consider trying this unique and creative way to enhance your time spent with God while studying your Bible.
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God's Word teaches that keeping a journal is a smart way to stay on the narrow path that leads to heaven (Jeremiah 30:3, Habakkuk 2:2). Spending time with the Lord and sharing your creativity with Him is a form of worship that can be very rewarding. However you choose to study and worship, may God bless you richly for it.