My personal introduction to Bible Journaling happened one spring afternoon. I was scrolling through Facebook and there it was: a link in my sidebar to a group all about Bible Journaling. I had never heard of such a thing. Intrigued, I clicked over and was amazed at what I saw! Post after post after post after post… Christian women using the margins of their Bibles to illustrate the truths they were learning in their Daily Devotions.
And they weren't just doodling stick people. These women were artists! There were several pictures that I could have happily hung in my living room to gaze at every single day.
Here are some examples of Bible Journaling by my friend Darlene Schacht at TimeWarpWife.com. She graciously gave me permission to share her work here so that you would know what I am talking about. Darlene's style is sweet and adorable. I saw many artisitic styles represented as I scrolled through various Facebook Groups. Those ladies clearly had a God-given gift and were using that gift in their personal worship time. It made me want to draw beautiful worship pictures in my Bible, too. There was just one problem.
I'm a Non-Artist.
If you are artistically gifted, you might be wanting to encourage me by saying, “Oh everybody can draw!” But you haven't met my eleventh grade art teacher. She took one look at my term assignment and said, “I've seen better things done by a kindergarten student.” (True Story, y'all!)
So when I say I'm a Non-Artist, what I mean is I'm really, really, really not an artist. There are lots of things that I am good at, but art is not one of them.
And yet I wanted the incredible, life-changing Bible Journaling experience these women were having.
My Personal Introduction to Bible Journaling
I spent hours and hours scrolling through the Bible Journaling Groups, gazing, plotting how I could become more artistic. I studied what pens people were using (because you know…. if you have the right pen the pictures will just draw themselves). I bought several pens that were recommended on various websites and tested them (more about that in a minute). Finally I realized that I was way-overthinking this. I am not an artist and by putting undue pressure on myself to create something beautiful, I was missing the point, which was to be spending time with Jesus! So here's what I did… (Some of the following links are affiliate links)
1. First, I chose an appropriate Bible.
Really, the best Bible for Bible Journaling is the one you already own. You don't need to buy a new Bible to start journaling. But I found a beautiful KJV Bible with extra large print and 2″ margins which was exactly what I wanted. I bought leather bound ones for my husband and I and inexpensive vinyl covered Bibles for the children. (Yes, they have become Bible Journalers too). So now we all have the same Bible, which makes family Bible Study very convenient. Large print and Large Margins means a double-win for me! (As unromantic as it sounds, I'm more likely to read God's word diligently if I can see the print without squinting.) There are also some really attractive (and affordable) Journaling Bibles on Amazon.. Here are some that I recommend:
2. Then I bought my Pens!
I read a lot of blog posts about Bible Journaling. I poured through hundreds of Facebook posts discussing what is the best pen to use for writing inside your Bible. I spent way too much money buying a whole bunch of them. Do you know what I discovered? Bible pages are thin. All the pens can be seen on the other side of the page. I took one page in the back of my Bible and tested them all so you won't have to.
Here are the pens I tried out. I really liked all of them, but my favorite for writing in the Bible were the Micron Pens and the Le Pen. (However, the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens and the Papermate Flair pens have become a “necessity” when I am working with my Day Planner.)
Bible Study Deluxe SetStaedtler Triplus Fineliner PensPapermate Flair PensBlack Micron 01 PensPapermate Ink Joy Pens48 Gel Pen Tray SetLe Pen – 24 Pack of Every ColorInfinity UltrafineMicro Line Ultra Fine Ponit Ink Pens
Turns Out, I LOVE Colored Pencils!
I really enjoyed using fancy pens for writing, but for highlighting I settled on using what would have been cheapest in the first place. The same thing our grandmothers used: pencil crayons! I wanted to have a variety of colors so I purchased this package of 50 Pencil Crayons by Crayola. (The cheaper pencil crayons tend to be less vivid and the more expensive pencil crayons are…. well… expensive.) I also purchased a set of 24 Crayola Watercolor pencils in case I feel fancy one day and want to try that in my Bible. They aren't top-of-the-line as far as watercolor pencils go, but they do the job. (For better quality watercolor pencils, try the set by Kimberley or Derwent.)
I did splurge (in the name of “field research”) and purchase the Pigma Micron Inductive Bible Study Kit which has 8 colored pens for note taking. If you want to take your notes in color, these pens are a great choice. If you want to save money, just use the pencil crayons and get one black pen for notetaking. The Micron Black 005 and the Micron Black 01 are both great choices. The 01 is a little thicker than the 005. You can see samples of this pen in the upper right corner of the picture above.
3. I Developed a Color Coding System.
This step took a while. Over time I made a list of the topics I would be studying and assigned each topic its own color. I created a bookmark to keep in my Bible so that I will be able to remember which color represents which topic!
I'm delighted with the way my bookmark turned out! To download a copy of this bookmark for yourself, simply fill out the form below. I've made a printable for you that offers 4 versions of this bookmark:
- One version shows the bookmark exactly as you see it in the picture
- One version gives you the study topics, but you assign your own color to each topic
- One version gives you the colors and you decide which topics you want to study
- One version is completely blank for you to customize as you wish
4. I Joined A Group For Encouragement And Accountability
My friend Darlene Schact has a wonderful Bible Journaling Community on Facebook. (It's one of my favorites!) Everyone is welcome, but most people in that group are impressively artistic. I began another Facebook group called Bible Journaling For Non Artists. Please come join us! You're welcome in both groups whether you're an artist or not!
5. I Started Following A Bible Reading Plan.
Having a plan means I am more likely to follow through with Daily Bible Reading. I'll read more intentionally and thoroughly because each day I'll know what to read next. I won't be tempted to skip parts that may seem difficult to understand. Here are some of my favorite Bible Reading Plans and Bible Studies for you to choose from.
Bible Reading Plans:
The Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers and Slackers (My Favorite!)
Chronological Bible Reading Plan
60 Day Overview of the Bible
90 Day Overview of the Bible
121 Days of People in the Bible
180 Day Guided Tour of the Bible
30 Days For New Christians
30 Days in Psalms, 30 Days in Proverbs
30 Days With Jesus
30 Bible Stories You've Probably Never Heard
Getting Started Bible Journaling Is the Hardest Part
When my Bible was new, I was having trouble actually writing in it. What if I messed it up? What if it wasn't “pretty” anymore? And then my baby decided to “help” me and she made the first few marks in my Bible.
At first, I was horrified. But then I realized she had done me a huge favor! My Bible wasn't perfect any more. What a relief to know that I wouldn't be the first one to mess up those perfect pages. So go ahead… write in your Bible! The beautiful thing that you are going to create is not going to be on the pages of your Bible (although they may look pretty).
Are you ready to start Bible Journaling? Come join us in the Facebook Group Bible Journaling For Non Artists and start with the supplies you already have on hand!
Bible Journaling Challenge
From here on out, every Monday I plan to start the week “right” by posting something about Bible Journaling. Please join me in this adventure by making sure you are subscribed to my emails. Click here to sign up. You'll automatically be taken to the Free Bookmark download. See you on Monday!
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