I have been enjoying my time Bible journaling. I still struggle with my perfectionist tendencies; my frustration when my journaling does not look on paper ANYTHING like what I saw in my head and the deadly thief of
Pinterest Perfect comparison. But what I have gained…time in the Word of God; time spent rolling a passage around in my head trying to get a feel for what I want it to look like in the margin. This time has been spent looking up different translations of the same verse in an effort to have a clearer understanding and then just the physical act of handling the “living and active” word of God…Time well spent. Today I want to share some tips on Bible Journaling for the hesitant and those who think they are not artists.
*August 17, 2016 Update: I’ve written a book, Bible Journaling Tips, Inspiration and Permission, to encourage and inspire you in your Bible journaling!
Bible Journaling Tips for the Hesitant
This post may contain affiliate links to products I love and recommend.
Whenever I cruise around Pinterest I come across some beautiful Bible journaling pages and examples…that look NOTHING like mine–Not.Even.Close. And that can be discouraging, defeating and downright depressing. Here I am trying to spend time with and glorify God in His Word and compared to the images I’m seeing splashed across the internet, well, mine looks like a child got a hold of my Bible, a sheet of stickers and some glitter glue.
And that is Ok. It’s ok. It really is Ok because Jesus Himself said in Matthew 18:3…
I’m not an artist, at least not by the world’s definition of an artist. But guess what, I’m not striving to be an artist. I’m striving to spend more time with God and my Bible journaling is helping me do just that.
So here are some tips, beginner to beginner…hesitant to hesitant…perfectionist to perfectionist–the one who is afraid of making a mistake–I’ve got an easy solution! This is for you, the one convinced you are not an artist–sure you are, you just haven’t found your medium. Even the one who is concerned about writing, drawing or somehow defacing the Word of God–I’ve got a super simple answer for you. Here are my tips:
Wait, before I get to the tips and tricks to use in your Journaling Bible, I may need to explain a Journaling Bible. It’s a Bible with wide margins so you can get creative as you spend time in the Word. Do you love writing the tender conversations between you and God as you read His love letter to you? There’s room to write those conversations out. Do you love getting your artistic flair on with lots of bold color? There’s room for that too! I’ve included a couple of examples of Journaling Bibles I found on Amazon at the bottom of this post. And for the truly, absolutely, scared to death of making a mistake in your Bible, I even found an adult coloring book using the Psalms so you can still get your creative juices flowing while enjoying the Word of God.
1. Choose a Favorite Verse or Book of the Bible to Get Started
It helps if it’s a verse or book of the Bible you’re comfortable with already. That way you won’t be trying to translate or understand it; it will already have some personal significance to you and you will have a heart knowledge of what it says and means to you, not just a head knowledge. Make sense?
2. Use Washi tape
I used to think, “What’s the big deal over tape?” Let me tell you the big deal…instant, easy and simple adornment. A strip here and a piece there and it instantly adds a more personalized feel to the pages you are reading. You could even use it to edge important or favorite pages so they can easily be found when your Bible is shut.
3. Use stickers
I know, almost too easy to be true right? I was amazed at the amount, quality and variety of stickers available; these aren’t the rainbows, Ziggy, Garfield and unicorn stickers I grew up with. If you’re a scrapbooker this will not come as a surprise–obviously I’m not. You can find typography (letters), illustrations, word art, flowers, birds, religious items, ribbons…I mean you name it and you can find it in a sticker form.
4. Use your favorite pen
There are some lovely pens out there. Some are distinguished by tip size and archival quality and other stuff…use your favorite pen to get started. Yes, even if your favorite pen happens to be from the local bank, optometrist or hardware store. This is just like starting in a book you already feel comfortable with. You already like how the pen feels and writes so use it.
5. Buy some clear/white glitter glue
Again, so simple and maybe even a little more childlike than you’d normally stray, but it is so easy and fun to use. Use a smudge over a favorite verse or around a sticker or to accent something you’ve drawn in the margins. I mentioned in my last Daybook post that Picasso had his “Blue Period” and I’m in my “Glitter Glue Period.”
6. Use a piece of scrap paper first
This will help you get a feel for what you’re doing and what you want to do. You’ll be able to figure out size, shape, etc. Plus, working in rough draft form on a piece of scratch paper first will teach you important things like: how long does my ink need to dry before I smear glitter glue over it…or is this ink water proof so I can watercolor over it?
Now to address the other concerns I mentioned above. If you are concerned about “defacing” the Word of God, purchase a Bible specifically designed for journaling and illustration. The one I am using right now is getting harder to come by, The NRSV Notetaker’s Bible but you can still find them in “Used-Good” condition on Amazon.
And finally, afraid your art won’t look like the lovely art you see in the journaling Bibles on Pinterest; it may not. Here’s a recent entry I made that garnered a great belly laugh from Chris and the kids. I was trying to…and I think I accomplished a very clear picture of Ezekiel 34:11-16. See the sheep skull and bones in the darkness? And the the Shepherd holding His hands out, calling the sheep to Himself in the green pastures. Pretty good huh? I’ve stated early on, “Please, if you are looking for a Bible journaling site/person that has it all together, clearly you are in the wrong place. On the other hand, if you are looking for someone to learn with, because of or in spite of…Welcome!“
Afraid of making a mistake? Cover it with stickers, scrapbooking paper, or Project Life Cards.
And finally, if you make a mistake…you make a mistake. Find some deeper level meaning, like “I make mistakes in life and yet God forgives and loves me anyway.” Make the mistake and move on.