My Bible Journaling Story
When I was wrecked by meeting God, whom I had heard so much about since I was a child, at the age of sixteen my mom bought me a journaling Bible. That was five years ago when Bibles with lines were still new and my young group leader had one. It seemed so hip. I was that child that bought school supplies, pens, books, and yes Bibles, just to have them and to experience that new purchase feeling.
I would take them home, read a few chapters then forget them on my book shelf until I talked my mom into buying me another at Lifeway (thank you mom for being so supportive!).
This time it was different. God called me to Him and revealed Himself. God showed me how much He loved me, wanted me, and desired a RELATIONSHIP with me. So of course I needed a Bible to acknowledge the occasion.
When the camp was over my mom, dad and I traveled 9 hours north for a wedding in Dallas and there my mom and I had a little Christian book store date. I picked out my journaling Bible. It was just black and it was the only option (unlike today) and since that day I’ve been using it.
Being creative means that when the Illustrated Faith movement came about everyone was wondering what I was doing. The answer was a big nothing. Not sure what I am talking about? Check out these photos. Simply put Illustrated Faith is where scrapbooking met quiet time.
BIBLE JOURNALING MEETS SCRAPBOOKING
It was kinda like people stopped seeing the Bible as this untouchable place that wasn’t a space for this kind of creativity. Permission was granted for creative pursuits of their Bible reading time.
Over the years I have redefined what Bible Journaling is to me. This is how I define it.
MY DEFINITION OF BIBLE JOURNALING
Bible Journaling is the interaction between the reader and God on the pages of His word using any medium that they love. This can be with paint, stickers, pretty pens or simply a black pen!
I, Ashley Jo Bruce, give you permission to do whatever you want in your Bible in the pursuit of God. THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY OF DOING THIS. (Excuse the aggressiveness of the last sentence, I just think it’s necessary to say boldly)
I believe God is going to interact and talk with us all uniquely since we are all made so differently. I believe this applies even to His word. So if painting and adding stickers connects you to God, Go! Talk! Listen!
MY TOP TIPS!
I don’t want you to get caught up in what I do because I want you to develop your own way of interaction. Here are just a few tools that I love.
- These fine tip pens don’t bleed onto the next page and are thin you can underline easily! You can find them anywhere.
- Post notes often make it onto my pages just with extra notes that didn’t fit.
- I love writing down the overview points of a book of the bible on a notecard then taping it onto the first page of the book. That way I can grasp the context of the book without commentary.
- I use recurring symbols through mine (+ learned from Kay Author’s inductive Bible studies) to mark when the Holy Spirit is talked of, when Jesus resurrection is mentioned, when creation is spoken of, etc.
- I also will retitle sections in my own words so I can show my perspective of the section.
LET’S THROW OUT ALL THE LIES //
- If you feel like God doesn’t want to meet with you kick this lie in the face. Your God CREATED you, who shook extra sparkles over you, He formed a plan for you, He so deeply desires for you to know Him to, He is seriously waiting, like right now.
- If you feel like you are going to do it wrong. Girl you should see the misspellings in my Bible. I tried to make them into flowers. It’s okay it’s not perfect! Don’t have that high expectations, it will take the joy out of the process. Just interact!
- I am not creative. Hon, you do not have to be creative to interact with God. It doesn’t matter what you write or how you write it. It matters you are simply talking with God and listening to what He has to say. Stop letting that lie hold you back.
- God’s word is holy, I don’t want to mark it. I completely agree with the first part. God’s word is Holy, it’s God’s words to us, extremely special letters written just for us. But God is inviting, beckoning us to Him, I don’t believe He cares about the method just about you.
WHERE DO I START READING THE BIBLE?
I got you friend. I created a 6 day Bible reading email party to get you started reading the Bible WITHOUT a Bible Study. Check it out here!
WHAT IF I MESS UP?
Then mess up and move on. I have staple marks in my Bible. I have 16 year old ugly handwriting all over the place. I can see the progression between surface thoughts to deep thoughts over time. Everyday is a learning experience, embrace it! It will make your Bible YOUR BIBLE.
Follow my Pinterest board on Bible journaling!
WHAT IF I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURE?
Ask the questions. Don’t just give up because it’s hard, dig deeper. Grab a commentary OR watch the Bible Project video on the book you are studying. These videos are amazing to teach you the overview of the book so you can understand the verses. Still have questions, ask me or a mentor in your life! Don’t be afraid! You are not alone in this.
Try different things. Get inspired then ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING. Don’t just dream of this full Bible where God met you over and over again, make it. Choose today to interact with Him.
I created a Bible course that teaches you how to read the Bible and be confident in it! Learn more here.