Bible Journaling

I began Bible journaling at the beginning of 2015. It seemed like a natural thing for me because for years I have been journaling, doodling, drawing as I pray and study the Bible. Bible journaling brings this all that together. It is a way I listen to God, to respond, and to play like a child. When I Bible journal I feel inspired to dig deeper into the meaning of Scripture, and visually reflect my relationship with God. It is a place to record word studies and write personal prayers in the margin of my Bible.

Starting in a pristine Bible can be intimidating. I was intimidated, so I eased into it by first working in pencil, colored pencils and no-bleed pens. Then I worked on translucent paper (deli wrap or vellum), cut it out and glued it onto the Bible page with an acid free glue stick. It was very low risk. Then I graduated to the challenge of working with acrylic wet media on the thin Bible pages.

My process:

First, I do a word study*. In my everyday journal, I write down insights, definitions, and personal meaning gained from the word study. This is also beneficial for future reference. The verse highlighted to me becomes the prompt for the imagery. For example, in 2 Corinthians 3:18, my theme is transformation. I immediately thought of the metamorphosis of a butterfly. A number of years ago, I bought a chrysalis from a pet store and watched it turn into a butterfly. At each phase, I drew the butterfly, so I had the imagery as a reference.

Being a “toe in the water first” kind of person, I approached Bible journaling with the least risk possible, drawing lightly with a pencil to begin with, before I used pen. I began with the word study definitions in the margin, then I added the metamorphosis process: pencil, pen, and colored pencils. The butterfly was painted on a piece of translucent paper, sandwich/deli paper. Vellum could also be used. I cut out the painted butterfly and glued it down on the Bible page, using an acid free glue stick. I was very happy with the results and that process has become one of my favorite ways to put artwork and meaningful text in my Bible margins. Often, I will highlight the text I was focusing on with colored pencils.

The Bible I use:

I have been using the hardcover ESV Bible. I like the size and the cream colored paper. The lines on the side margin are very faint. They make it easy to write straight, and are hardly noticeable when artwork is done on top. The version is satisfactory for me. If I find a featured verse in another version that moves me, I will often include that translation in my Bible Journaling.