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I think I started noticing the Bible journaling trend about a year ago. I'd scroll through Pinterest or Instagram and see these beautiful doodles, drawings, and hand lettered pages in Bibles and wonder how in the world people became so creative.
Obviously it's because we were created by the most creative being ever but I still wonder who was sitting with their Bible one day and decided, "I'm going to color in this."
I'm sure the first people that did it felt scandalous and were seriously shunned by people around them. I can hear it now:
The Bible should be treated with the utmost respect!
It's the Word of God and needs to be treasured and treated kindly, not scribbled in!
I don't agree with that attitude at all. I think the Bible is there for us to build our relationship with God and if coloring in the pages of your Bible is what strengthens that relationship then why is that wrong?
So here it is a year or so later and I still haven't started. Why? What was holding me back?
Excuses. Reasons. Lame thoughts.
Oh, I don't have a journaling Bible.
I really only use the Bible app on my phone.
I don't have money for fancy supplies.
I don't even know where to start.
Excuses. Reasons. Lame thoughts.
A few months ago I began to doodle and fake hand letter using colored pencils in a small notebook. Nothing fancy, simply copying verses down with some color and maybe a little flair. It was something.
I realized how enjoyable it was to force myself to meditate on these single verses. When I read a section of the Bible I typically read and then I'm done. I have some verses memorized but I'm not great at pausing and really letting verses or sections sink in deeper. There are always other things on my mind. Always a next "to-do" item. Always someone needing something from me. I didn't expect Bible journaling to make those things go away but I did find that it was easier to focus my mind when my hands were just as actively involved in the task.
But I wanted to take another step into this creative venture. I wanted to actually color in my Bible! I still hesitated because, well, it's my Bible! What if I screw up? How will I know what to do and where to start?
Then I came across Adventures in Bible Journaling: An Extensive Beginners Guide to Art & Bible Journaling by Bethany Floyd from The Southern Couture. This book spoke directly to my concerns! Bethany herself had many of the same concerns when she started. He is a creative God and he designed us to be creative as well. And those mistakes we might [will] make? So what. We aren't perfect and our imperfections are what make us human. If we strive to be perfect we will miss out on the beauty of God's grace.
I devoured this book in about a day. I wanted to see more and more of her techniques, her advice, and her supplies. At first I was discouraged because she has a great single column journaling Bible and sooooo many different supplies. Would she push me to get the same items she has?
Phew. Piece of mind given. I mean, it's not like I really needed permission to do on a smaller scale but sometimes when we start a new endeavor we want to see what the experts say and then we think need to do it the same way.
I dug out an old Bible. It was one I received during my confirmation class but I never use it anymore because I like physical Bibles that have notes and references and 99% of the time I use my phone. This Bible was sitting on a shelf being ignored. Bible journaling was the perfect way to give it a second chance.
While the little kids splashed in the bath I sat right outside the bathroom in the hallway with my supplies. Moms need to take advantage of every moment, am I right? They were occupied and I was within a safe distance - close enough to get them if something happened and far enough away that no water could get me.
I didn't know where to start! I flipped around and finally landed on the story of Jesus' birth in Luke 2. I had images in my head of the sketch of an angel, stars, a manger scene, and the words, "Glory to God in the highest." As I sketched it out on the page I realized it wasn't all going to fit. I lightly drew what I could, just dark enough for me to see.
Then I went over everything with color.
Is it perfect? Nope. My letters in "highest" got a little squished. My manger scene is really clunky and amateurish. But so what? I did it! I pushed my hesitations and fears aside to try something new.
My kids were so confused since we have a pretty firm "no coloring in books" rule in this house. But I explained how this is another form of worship. That I'm spending time in God's word and creating art that is in my heart. I think I'll start them with some verse coloring pages this summer.
Since that first night I've gone on to do several more entries and I'm itching to do more.
Have you tried out Bible journaling yet? Do you want to try it?
Do you have a special Bible, do you use a regular Bible, or do you use a notebook? What are your favorite supplies?
I'd love to hear all about your Bible Journaling experience in the comments!