Bible Journaling: A Humble Beginning

This is my Bible.

my old women of color bible rev 1

I should correct that.  This was my old Bible.   I should have replaced it years ago, but it represented a number of stages in my spiritual development.  First, it represents my first commitment to truly understand God’s Word by reading the King James version–not a translation, not a paraphrase, but the nearest I felt I could get without learning Hebrew (though football legend Reggie White has motivated me to not leave learning Hebrew off the to-do list). When my husband bought me this Bible, I was hungry for Truth, and it felt good.  I also liked the perspective of this Bible’s commentary.  This is a ‘Women of Color’ Bible, inspired by women who shared my passions and my love for our history.   Finally, I will also admit that those worn-out seams and wrinkled pages were a source of pride for me.   I once read that ‘a Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.’  With that thought in mind, I carried around my Bible in tattered pieces and relished my peace.

But the truth is that I couldn’t take it anywhere.   The few times I’ve dropped it in public were nothing short of embarrassing, and that’s before I spent 5-10 minutes putting the pages and books back in order.   I will continue to keep it for its specific history and perspective, and for what it represents in my growth as a follower of Christ.

When I think about it and peruse the pages of my old Bible, I’ve been journaling– in some form or fashion–in my Bible for years.    I just never thought about the other benefits of Bible journaling:

  1. As a visual learner, journaling helps me remember more of the Word.
  2. Journaling allows me to return to the scrapbooking art that I love and miss dearly while embracing a newfound joy of God’s Word.
  3. My journaling leaves a legacy for our children.

So…I went to my favorite time waster social media network, Pinterest.   Yes, I found a good, inexpensive notetaker’s Bible.   I also found keys to all the right brands of pens and watercolors and artist-quality supplies for my new-found interest.  I pinned the most elaborately illustrated pages in my new board, “Writing in my Books” (an amusing bit of irony as I was learning to do exactly what I was taught not to do throughout my school years).   Then I took advantage of the tax-free weekend to load up on a few unlisted supplies.   After all,  if it gets me more in the Word, it’s all good.

bible journaling tools july 2015 rev 1

But there’s a problem: I’m not that great of an artist.

From that admission, it isn’t difficult for the enemy to sneak in with a spirit of intimidation.  You can’t draw.  You’re going to mess up a totally good Bible.   So you need to buy this and that so that when you screw it up, it won’t make a permanent mistake in your Bible.   But you don’t have the money to keep buying this special pen and that special watercolor.  Plus, you didn’t buy the right stuff anyway, and your handwriting isn’t that good.  And doesn’t all of this artwork block your ability to read the page, anyway?  Who is this about–His Word or your feeble attempt at art?  Maybe you should just junk this whole Bible journaling idea.

Then I remembered the words of a famous evangelist when she spoke of that inherent fear when God says, “GO”: do it afraid.

So I stopped worrying about the type of pen, and the right brand of marker, and should I have gone the sticker/ tape route, and I stopped looking at Pinterest for journaling ideas (thank God!!), and just allowed the Lord to speak to me.

bible journaling ministry of reconciliation rev 1

This is an early attempt; I have done more, both in my practice sketchbook and in my actual Bible, since the stick men made their debut.

I know from my studies with the kids that even books like Exodus and Leviticus have lessons for us all.  And the Lord has so honored our willingness to read through these books with lessons that I believe to be true seeds in the lives of our children.   But as He gives me grace to teach the children, I also look forward to His work in me.


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