I LOVE spending time with God! I love spending time reading Scripture. I love being creative too, so I was excited when I discovered the art of Bible Journaling. You may know it as Bible Illustrating. But either way it’s another opportunity to be in Scripture; sharing your heart with the Lord. It has becomes such a special time for me that sometimes I fail to complete household tasks because I just want to do a little bit more!
I know Bible Journaling has been around quite a while, but I started this activity about a year ago and it’s been super rewarding. I thought I would write a few entries about what it is, how to create great pages, and some of my favorite tools that allow me to interact with the Scripture. This will be Part 1 of a 2 part series on How To Bible Journal.
Is This for Me?
There are a few basic things to keep in mind as you decide whether or not you want to undertake this kind of thing. For instance: Are you OK with writing in a Bible? Do you have the money to buy a new Bible designed specifically for journaling (margins on sides that allow for illustrations)? Do you enjoy doodling, drawing, and sketching? Is it OK if your drawings aren’t perfect? If you answered yes to these questions, you are ready to move forward!
Purchase a Journaling Bible
I have an ESV version of the Bible that I love, but there are a few others available. Right now there aren’t any specific Catholic translations, but you may find one that has wider margins than others, or you may be fine with using an NIV version for this purpose. I know many folks are hoping that a Catholic Journaling Bible will be printed soon. Once you have your Bible, it’s time to select tools that will help you decorate.
Markers, Pencils, and Embellishments
Caution! You can spend a fortune on these things, but you don’t need to!! Search your house for colored pencils and crayons. Use what you have and spend money on a few things you might really need. You will most certainly need a good writing pen that will have minimal bleeding. NEVER EVER US A SHARPIE pen as they seep through thin Bible paper. Sharpies are great for some things, but not Bible Journaling. You might like brands like Zig Millennium, Micron or Faber–Castell, as they work quite well. I like a very fine pen for writing .005, but many people are happy with a thicker line like a 0.3 or .05. My favorite brand is Micron for thin lines. If you think you might like some really bold lines, try the Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen brush (awesome). Most store have paper you can try line size out on to help you decide. Supplies can be found at local artist stores, craft and hobby stores, on Amazon or even at your local Target.
Pen, colored pencils and crayons are your basics. If you want to add more to your diversity, you could try my favorite, Gelato pastels by Faber-Castell. You might even want stickers with pictures or letters. Sometimes I even use little raised dots. Pick whatever inspires you! As you get better and more confident, you can branch out and get more things like Mister Huey’s Misting Spray, Washi tape, Distress ink pads and watercolor pencils. The list is endless.
Journaling is for connecting with and honoring God. It is a way of expressing your love for Him. As humans we can get caught up in perfectionism and pride. Don’t allow yourself to think your work isn’t good enough, pretty enough, bold enough, or realistic enough. God is pleased with your expression of love and the time you are spending meditating in His Word and finding ways to personalize them. Bible Journaling is like any other diary or journal. It is PERSONAL. There is no reason to share it with others if you choose not to. I like to get together and journal with friends from time to time and share ideas, but mostly I like to settle in and praise him privately. Do what suits your style best.
That’s it for now. Part 2 will list some great Scriptures you might like to try if you’re feeling a bit intimidated (remember, you’re not supposed to) and some more picture ideas.