This year, I’m trying my hand at the devotional practice of Bible journaling. There are many forms Bible journaling can take, from lovely works of art and scrapbooking to simple or ornate hand lettering. For those of us who haven’t developed those artistic skills yet, there is also more traditional journaling–writing. The last week or so, I’ve been using a commentary as I read my Bible as well so now I’m combining Bible journaling and Bible study.
Bible Journaling and Bible Study
When I first came across the idea of Bible journaling, it was through some lovely pins found on Pinterest. Some of these were simple drawings, decorated quotes or even actual works of art. I’m not quite an artist yet, even though I have quickly progressed from nothing, to stick figures and now tracing…moving through the artistic ranks fairly quickly wouldn’t you say?
Then Elizabeth wrote a post about how she is Bible journaling with the intention of giving the Bible to her oldest daughter. Elizabeth’s form of journaling is making use of the margins to share her words of wisdom. And both are equally beautiful forms of Bible journaling. But there was still a missing piece for me in my attempts at Bible journaling–Bible study.
Not only do I enjoy looking at beautiful pictures or doodles, I also enjoy looking into good words. That’s why I have a Thesaurus installed on my computer toolbar–I click over to it that much. I also have an Etymology Dictionary saved in my favorite. Words fascinate me. And The Word especially fascinates and intrigues me. So I’ve begun using some Bible study aids as I read through and then journal while reading my Bible.
The first commentary I keep beside me is A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture. From an Amazon reviewer
This is an invaluable book. As mentioned in other reviews, it is not a book by book commentary. It provides a narrative of an (abridged) section of scripture followed by a fascinating commentary that weaves together orthodox theology, history, and scripture study. This book is presented in a way that takes you through the bible so that you grasp the overall cohesiveness of the entire bible.
For example, in the story of the Prodigal Son, below the reading, it has a notes section. This section describes more of the story: listing geographical information, customs, word meaning, etc. Then there is a Commentary section. This section still includes notes, but in a less cut and dry factual way and more of a conversational teaching. For example
God’s reception of the penitent sinner. The prodigal son carried out his good resolutions at once. Thus must it be with the sinner: he must not put off his conversion, but must be reconciled to God as soon as possible. And then, even as the father in the parable went to meet his son and received him lovingly, so will God meet the sinner by His merciful grace, forgive him his sins, and give him the kiss of peace. Them by the hands of His servants (i.e. his priests), He re-clothes him with the robe of innocence, i.e. sanctifying grace, and adorns him again with the supernatural virtues befitting the state of a divine sonship (ring), and enabling him to walk justly before God (shoes). Finally God prepares a feast for the converted sinner, giving to him the Lamb of God, for the nourishment of his soul, in Holy Communion. The Lord God rejoices and calls His Angels and Saints to rejoice with Him, because a man who was dead, who had lost the supernatural life of grace, and who was under the sentence of eternal death, is alove again, and is once more a child of God and an heir of heaven.
Wow! And that was just a small paragraph.
And then there is a short application. “You too have offended God, though perhaps not so grievously as did the sinner in the parable; and God has forgiven you your sins in the holy Sacrament of Penance. Have you thanked Him for this? You ought to make a devout thanksgiving each time you have been to confession. Do not repay the love of God with fresh ingratitude.”
A recent page from my Bible journaling.
The NRSV Notetaker’s Bible
More posts on how I’m using my journaling Bible: