Are you looking for a way to engage with God’s Word in a way that makes it come alive? Bible journaling is a unique way to express your faith visually, and to deepen your relationship with God. My life is significantly impacted by the power of God’s Word since I have engaged with it creatively. Studies show that when we engage both the logical and creative side of our brains, we retain the information longer and more effectively. Today I’m going to show you 5 easy steps to start illustrating the truths God shows you in His Word.
Although many people purchase Bibles with wide margins, you don’t need to invest in a special Bible; you can simply get started with what you already have on hand.
Here is a simple way to start:
Step 1: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to your heart
Take a moment to set aside all the concerns of the day and seek the truth God wants you to know. It’s worth the time it takes to quiet your heart and ask God what He wants to say to you through the passage you’re reading. I like to keep a notebook handy so I can write down the distracting things that come to my mind that I might need to take care of later. This allows me to set it down mentally and keep my mind focused on God’s Word rather than on the concerns of the day.
Step 2: Read your selected Scripture passage
Look for a verse or phrase that resonates and speaks to your heart. Depending on where you are in life’s journey, you may be drawn to certain concepts. Once you identify a scripture you find especially meaningful, you can begin the process of bringing it to life by lettering and/or illustrating its message.
Ask yourself these questions:
What does it say?
What does it mean?
What part is most important to me?
What words should I emphasize?
How can I express the meaning visually?
Step 3: Determine placement
One of the purposes of Bible Journaling is to spend time contemplating God’s Word so you can bring it to life. Most Bible journalists work in the margins of their Bible; some boldly cover the entire page with art; others prefer to journal Bible verses in a sketchbook, or on vellum sheets that they attach to their Bible. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it; it’s your process and your journal, so you get to decide where to write and illustrate God’s words. Do whatever YOU feel comfortable doing.
If you don’t have a journaling Bible with margins, you can create your art on a piece of paper and insert it into whatever Bible you use. Many Bible journalers use a translucent stock, such as vellum, tracing paper or even deli paper so they can see the page through the art. For new Bible journalers it can be less intimidating to try your layout and any new techniques on a separate piece of paper. If you like how it turns out you can add it as a “tip-in” (taped to the inside edge of your page) or a “tip-out” (taped to the outside edge of your page). The advantage of this method is if you don’t like how it turned out, you can try again.
Step 4: Choose which words you will be emphasizing and plan your lettering layout.
Consider the verse or key concept that you want to draw attention to through your journaling entry. Take into account the amount of space you have to fill, as well as the shape of the area you will be working on. You might want to do a ‘thumbnail’, or rough pencil sketch, on a piece of scratch paper before you start working in your Bible so you can make sure all the letters will fit and be balanced on the page. If you struggle with spacing, some women find it helpful to use graph paper. As an additional part of the planning process, you also need to decide if you will be hand-lettering or adding your text with stamps or stickers.
Step 5: Get brave and go for it.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Technique can be the #1 hindrance to getting started. The focus should not be the art, but rather the significance of the message and what it means to you. It’s about the journey of faith you are documenting. Take one step at a time. There are as many different styles of Bible journaling as there are people who do it. Create your own style of beautiful and jump in right where you are.
A quick and easy way to add interest to your Bible without pulling out a bunch of art supplies is by adding a shortcut border sticker. These photographic stickers have a paper backing so you can write on them front and back, then stick it in a regular Bible, or you can remove the backing and stick the border directly onto your Bible page. Voila! It’s just that simple to create a canvas to record your thoughts, prayers, or scriptures that are especially meaningful to you. If you would like to try them, you can find them in my shop.
This is your chance to unleash your creativity.
Add a marker if desired
Although it’s not necessary, I like to add a tag or a tab so that I can easily find the page again. Some of my tabs are created by tying ribbon through a paper clip, or by simply folding a piece of washi tape onto itself right on the Bible page so that half of the tape is on the front side of the page, and half on the back side. Today I decided to use a small piece of ribbon and tie it to a paper clip. Make sure to date your entry so you can keep track of your journey and what you are learning in your walk with God.
Use your journaling time as an act of worship. The time spent reflecting on God and His truth is invaluable.
Enjoy the journey.