I know! You are freaking out at the very thought of writing in your Bible, well calm down Betsy 🙂 We live in a brave world where writing in your Bible is approved of, so why not get creative with your notes and journaling?
I started writing notes in my Bible way back when I became a Christian in the early 1980s… no I am not dating myself…much. My student Bible is chock full of various colored pen inscriptions and I treasure all the notes. Each entry marks my growth and understanding of scripture, it adds to the grounding of my faith by anchoring my thoughts on His written word. As my faith increased so did my notes; they grew to be color coded, then too many to write in the tiny margins of my study Bible and so I opted to stick note paper in between the pages. My Study Bible is well worn and even has had to be rebound. I treasure this book and hope to continue to add to it.
So with notes in my Bible being acceptable and useful, I suppose the natural progression was to illustrate in my Bible and it’s messages being revealed to me. Back in November 2015 while doing a Google search of Bible verse coloring pages, I ran across beautiful pictures of other women being creative with their Bible journaling. This intrigued me so much that I immediately looked at my collection of various Bibles to find an appropriate one to try this out on but nothing seemed appropriate and I ordered one online at Christian Book . I was so excited and waited patiently for it to arrive. But let me warn you, illustrating in your Bible can be addictive. I found that once I started, I was spending more time in the Word. The readings in my quiet time became a beautiful time where the Spirit would flow and help me focus on the verse I was illustrating and thereby often memorizing it. What a tremendously useful avenue to take in the study of scripture.
The journaling Bible arrived and bam! I couldn’t bring myself to draw in it. I struggled, and I worried that I was not going to be good enough to illustrate in it and eventually ruin it by drawing in it. So I continued to scroll through Pintrest posts gleaning inspiration from hundreds of pins of women who were courageously drawing in their Bibles. That is when I ran across an entry from Lauren at the Thinking Closet blog titled Permissions Page. and so this is the #1 site I would recommend starting at. Not because of beautiful pages (there are those), but because you may need to give yourself permission to be imperfect, to express what you are led to illustrate. It was a very freeing exercise and one that I periodically go to when I come across another area that I need to give permission for. I need to frequently remind myself that I am not an artist but I do love being creative and that is just fine and perfect enough for me and it is one of the ways I can worship my Creator God.
The 2nd site I love is Rebekah R. Jones Blog. I spent many months on her site. Yes, I did say months. I found that her tutorials were what I needed to lead me to the creativity that lurked just below the surface. Her website has access to “challenges” from 2015 to present. These challenges offer video tutorials along with a chat about the passage being illustrated. I learned an incredible amount from Rebekah and cherished the time I labored over my Bible during my grandchildren’s naptime. Learning about journaling was not all I gained… so be warned! My Journaling supplies increased from Crayola colored pencils to Prisma Pencils, from kids watercolor pans to Inktense blocks and pencils and oh so much more!
After a while I realized that by doing these challenges – I was doing one every day for a while, that it became more of a list I was checking off and I did not want God’s word to be a list that I checked off. So I reverted back to doing my devotional readings and Bible studies. From my regular quiet time I began to illustrate on my own as the Spirit moved me, and that felt right and good. That is about the time when I came across Shanna Noel’s Illustrated Faith Blog site. This 3rd site has devotionals, videos, supplies and more. I ordered a booklet devotional called Beautiful and began to use the devotional booklet to journal. Many of the contributors to this blog use vivid color, print and paste add ins, and stamps. You will enjoy the upbeat and heartfelt ladies here as they share their experience with you.
So, there you have it. The 3 sites I have frequented most for inspiration and tutorials. Be not afraid to embellish the pages of the Word of God with your creativity, after all the Gutenburg Bible had spaces set aside for “illuminated” decoration. If you would like to see more posts on Bible Art Journaling leave a comment below, or if you have a favorite site you turn to for inspiration please share it in the comments below. I would love to see what others are doing in their study time with this worship art form.
***just a word of wisdom: if you are using someone else’s design be sure to link back to the original artist and give them credit where credit is due.