Whether you're a Bible journaling beginner or familiar with the rabbit hole known as creative worship you more than likely have a few (or a whole load of questions). I'm going to be answering a few Bible journaling for beginners questions such as what is Bible journaling, how to choose a journaling Bible, what journaling supplies are needed, and what are some Bible journaling tips?
While Bible journaling is not necessarily a new concept, it is just recently increasing in popularity. I've been Bible journaling for about three years now and I can honestly say that it has completely changed my relationship with God. I used to struggle with reading my Bible consistently and when I did read it I forgot everything pretty much as soon as I closed my Bible.
However, Bible journaling makes what I read actually stick with me because I'm actually spending time in the Word. It’s crazy how many scriptures I have memorized by associating them with the artwork I journaled for them.
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What is Bible Journaling for Beginners
The biggest question I had when I first started was simply, “what is Bible journaling?” I discovered Bible art 100% on accident while mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest and it was a foreign concept to me. I found that there are many different ways to Bible journal. There are Bibles specifically made for art journaling with extra-wide margins and thicker paper and in various translations, some people do their journaling in a separate notebook and others journal in their regular Bible.
You can journal over an entire page or just in the margins, use paint and stamps or just colored pencils. With all of that being said, I know Bible journaling for beginners can be intimidating so I have a few practical guidelines and tips to help you get started in your own Bible journaling adventure. These are just a few of the questions I had when I first began Bible journaling.
Is Bible Journaling Disrespectful?
Is Bible journaling disrespectful? Should I only journal in the margins of my Bible? Is covering the text disrespectful? This was a big concern for me when I first began Bible journaling and I believe it's a fairly large concern for others as well. I felt very conflicted because I was unsure whether or not doing artwork in my Bible was blasphemous.
After a lot of prayers, I personally feel that it depends on each individual. Some people abhor the thought of even highlighting in their Bible and that's perfectly fine. Other people have no problem painting and stamping their Bible pages to their heart's content and that is perfectly fine as well. If it feels wrong or disrespectful to you then don't do it.
When I first began journaling I stuck strictly to the margins of my Bible because I was not comfortable covering the words up even though I read and studied from a separate Bible. It wasn't until I was reading in John that I found the freedom to creatively worship on the entire page of my Bible.
This is the verse that spoke to me: John 1:1 (NIV), “In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” When I read this I had been struggling with the concept of Bible journaling for a while and it felt like God was telling me it's okay. It was like I could hear him saying, “If you want to do this then do it. My Word has always been and always will be. There is nothing you could do to change it or take away from it.”
If you're wondering if Bible journaling is disrespectful I encourage you to seek God on the matter. Approach Him with an open heart and an open mind, then listen to what he says. If you feel like Bible journaling is wrong then don't do it. If you feel covering the text up is disrespectful then stay in the margins. The bottom line is, if you're doing what God is leading you to do then you have nothing to worry about!
Who is Bible Journaling For?
My not so simple answer: Bible journaling is for everyone but it's not for everyone (confusing, I know). Let me try to explain. Everyone is capable of Bible journaling; it isn't limited to those with amazing artistic abilities. However, not everyone is comfortable with doing artwork in their Bible (as mentioned above) and are better off not dabbling in it.
You may like the idea of Bible journaling but be worried you can't do it because you're not an artist, but you CAN do it! I have no artistic ability at all and yet I have over 160 entries in my journaling Bible. Granted, most of them look like a 5 year old did them but that's okay because it's not about the art, it's about God.
Keep your focus on worshiping and honoring God and the artwork doesn’t even matter! And if you're not comfortable doing your own art there are several Bibles with coloring pages printed inside of them! If you’re still unsure about being able to journal, here are a few Bible journaling tips and tricks I’ve compiled for those who are artistically challenged like me.
What If I Make A Mistake?
The thought of messing up your Bible can be hard to swallow but the truth is, Bible journaling for beginners means that at some point or another, you will mess up. For me, it was my very first page. I literally ripped the bottom of the page in half and let me tell you, I was disappointed.
In my mind, the page was ruined BUT I realized that no matter what I've done or what has happened to me, God never considered me to be ruined. I slapped some decorative tape over that ripped page and now you can't even tell it was there!
So there you go, you don't have to worry about messing up or making mistakes in your Bible because mistakes and messes are going to happen and when they do, God will be right there to remind you of how beautiful they are. Acknowledging that you’re going to mess up at some points alleviates a lot of stress, worry, and it gives you the freedom to simply worship God with your creativity.
And just so you know, I still mess up on almost every page I do!
How to Make a Bible Journaling Notebook
Choosing a Bible study notebook can be hard because there are so many options available. I've simplified the process into a few simple questions:
Am I Comfortable Journaling in a Bible?
The first thing you need to decide is if you are comfortable journaling in a Bible. Some people are not comfortable with painting, drawing, coloring, etc. in God's Word and that's perfectly fine. Never do something that will cause conflict within your self or make you stumble in your faith. Even if you are not comfortable journaling in a Bible doesn’t mean you cannot do Bible journaling! You can always do you're journaling in a sketchpad or the Illustrated Faith praise book which is designed specifically for Bible journalers who don’t use a Bible! You can also look into an interleaved Bible, which is a journaling Bible with one blank page for creative worship opposite each page of text.
Do I Want a Bible Specifically for Journaling?
There are dozens of journaling Bibles out there but they can get pretty expensive. A lot of people choose to use a spare Bible they have lying around the house. If you don't have a spare, you can pick one up from a second-hand shop or even the Dollar Tree! You can also use a regular Bible just to see if Bible journaling is something that you want to do. There’s no need to rush out and get a brand new journaling Bible and a ton of supplies at once. Fancy Bibles and expensive supplies aren’t what make Bible journaling beautiful, it’s the heart and praise that goes into each page that makes it something exquisite.
What is my favorite Bible translation?
If you decide to get a journaling Bible, I recommend picking one based on what translation you like. I know several people who picked out a journaling Bible and ended up being disappointed because they didn't like the wording. The translation may not be that big of a deal if you are doing your primary reading from a different Bible, but in my experience, most people prefer to have their favorite translation.
Do I want blank margins or pre-illustrated pages to color?
Once you pick a translation, you need to decide if you want a journaling Bible with blank margins or illustrations. I went with a blank Bible because I wanted my entries to be something personal from me to God. If you're worried you aren't “artsy” enough then a pre-printed Bible is a great option for you! Even if you choose a pre-illustrated Bible there are still plenty of blank pages to add your own work!
Here are several different styles of journaling Bibles!
What Bible Journaling Supplies Do I Need
There is no end to the different supplies you can use in your Bible. You can use colored pencils, acrylic paint, watercolors, chalk pastels, stickers, stamps, washi tape, scrapbook paper, ribbons, etc. What supplies you need really depends on what kind of journaling you want to do. Are you comfortable covering up the words or do you want to leave everything readable? If you want to be able to read the text you’ll want to avoid heavy, opaque mediums like acrylic paint; mediums like watercolor paint and colored pencil can be used over the Bible’s text without covering the words. I recommend you pick something you're comfortable with and enjoy using, however, I would like to share a few things that I think are useful for every journaler.
- Clear Gesso
If you're going to use any kind of wet media (acrylic paint, watercolor, etc.) clear gesso is a must. All you have to do is apply a thin layer to your Bible page and let it dry before you start. This will keep paints, markers, etc. from bleeding through the page! ***Make sure the label says CLEAR and not white or black. Don't be intimidated by the fact that the gesso is white in color because it applies clear.***
- Micron pens are great for writing in your Bible because the tips are small and they don't bleed! I typically use the Staedtler Fine-liners; I love being able to color code as I study! You can even use them in your regular Bible if you want.
- Washi tape is a decorative, paper tape and is fantastic for tabbing the pages you have journaled. I find it especially useful for covering up any “boo-boos” that happen (it's what I used to fix my ripped page)! You can find it at pretty much any craft store; Hobby Lobby has a lot of Christian themed tapes
- Bible journaling stamps are great for those who aren’t the best at drawing (i.e. me, again). Also, they’re super cost effective since you repetitively use them, unlike stickers and die-cuts!
- Prisma Premier colored pencils -I told myself I would never pay more than $5 for a pack of colored pencils but once I did I will never be able to use anything else. They have a soft core, meaning the colors are vibrant and they blend like a dream!
Of course, you don't have to have everything on the list for Bible journaling. Just get started with the basics like colored pencils or pens. As you get comfortable with it, you'll find your creative flair and know what other journaling supplies you'll want to add. I encourage you to use whatever supplies you already have and slowly build up your collection to see what media and methods you like/dislike.
Read about adding Bible Journaling Tip-Ins.
What is the most important aspect of Bible journaling?
God. Worshiping and honoring God is the single most important aspect of Bible journaling. I really cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your focus on God. You can easily get caught up in all the new Bibles, supplies, and Bible journaling methods, and having the perfect, Instagram worthy Bible pages.
Yet these things mean absolutely nothing if your heart is not in the right place. I always pray for God’s guidance for the right frame of mind before I start each page in my Bible. When I pray for any pride that may be hidden with me to be removed I am able to keep the focus of my Bible journaling 100% on honoring God.
To close, I encourage all of those who want to dig deeper and experience God in a new way to give Bible journaling a try. You don’t have to have a ton of creativity or artistic skills, you need only a desire to worship your heavenly Father! Bible journaling can take your relationship with God to a whole new level if you’re open to it!
What Are My Bible Journaling for Beginners Tips?
I've been at it for a while now so I've built up quite the arsenal of Bible journaling tips and tricks. Here are a few that I believe every creative worshiper should know!
If you'd like a little help with staying focused and accountable, be sure to sign up for the Bible Journaling Challenge from Divine Creative Love!
1. Take the time to reflect
It is so incredibly easy to get caught up in the art and lose focus of the scripture. Before I even pull out my journaling supplies I take the time to really think about the passage of scripture I read and consider how it can be applied to my life. Lately, I've been using the S.O.A.P. Bible study method which has really helped me with this.
2. Give yourself permission
I know this sounds odd, but before each page, I journal I take a moment to give myself permission. During this time I think about everything my journaling is and everything my journaling is not. For example, my journaling is for God. My journaling is not for me.
My journaling is an expression of my love for God. My journaling is not about showing off my artwork. After I take a moment to go through what I'm doing and why I'm doing it I feel much more free and prepared to worship!
3. Don't compare
Comparison really is the thief of joy. I can't tell you how many times I have felt ah-maz-ing after journaling only to see someone else's work and feel disheartened because my page could not hold a candle. Keep your focus on your own work and walk with God and you'll be 100% happier! Honestly, God couldn't care less about what your page looks like; he's more concerned with your heart!
4. YouTube is your friend
I have zero artistic abilities but I love trying new art methods (go figure). Thankfully, YouTube is full of Bible journalers who offer step-by-step tutorials on awesome Bible journaling methods like using napkins, distress inks, photo transfers, and more!
Are you new to Bible journaling or an experienced creative worshiper? What has been your biggest challenge in Bible journaling? I'd love to hear of any Bible journaling for beginners tips you might have and want to share! Please comment with them below so others can try them out!
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