What is Bible Journaling?

So many people Google this question every single day — and for good reason! If you asked 20 different Bible journalers what it is, you would probably get 20 different answers.

Is it art?

Is it journaling?

Is it Bible study?

Is it worship?

Well, the simple answer is YES. It can be all of these things. Grab a journal and a pen. Let’s learn together!

I have been Bible journaling for probably close to 8 years. In this time, my journaling has evolved, shifted, and circled back. I believe that is the beauty of Bible journaling — it is incredibly versatile. It is an outlet where I can grow closer to my Creator through His Word.

Because Bible journaling can involve different media, resources, and approaches, I would venture to say there are as many different ways to Bible journal as there are ways to be creative. As you explore Bible journaling, I would encourage you to consider these 2 questions before following a particular Bible journaler’s approach:

1 – Does this mode of Bible journaling allow me to consider scripture in context?

Seriously! You’ve been on Instagram. You know what I’m talking about here. (Check out last week’s blog post.) You have seen the beautiful Bible art with the scripture, “I can do all things through Christ.” 

That’s it. No context. But there is always a hashtag!

Hashtag image from Instagram

On Instagram, these words usually accompany a picture of overcoming some monumental obstacle or achieving some incredible feat. But have you ever read Philippians 4:12 AND Philippians 4:13 together:

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (NIV).

“Doing all things” suddenly has a different context. Paul is talking about being content, not getting an A on that test you didn’t study for, dropping those extra 5 pounds, or getting that job.

Bible Journaling Image

This is the danger of Bible journaling. If we approach Bible journaling to create an aesthetic image for social media, we miss the rich truths and beautiful relationship our Creator desires.

Now, will I share some scripture? Will I letter some verses that are encouraging? Of course! I will also challenge myself to remember the context. I will encourage you to hold me accountable for sharing Truth above all.

2 – Does this mode of Bible journaling grow my relationship with the Lord?

I remember a point in my Bible journaling journey a few years ago, where the journaling started to become all about the art. How could I improve my artwork? What new art supplies could I try out? What color combinations did I like the most?

I remember realizing that I needed to pivot. My journaling was less about learning about my Creator…. 

…and more about me. 

How many people liked MY paintings? 

How many comments did I get? 

How much of a following did MY work generate?

Around this time, I discovered Precept Upon Precept by Kay Arthur. If you’ve never done one of her studies, hang on to your hats folks! 

It’s good! 

It’s hard! 

It’s deep! 

It was exactly what I needed at the time to pull me out of the superficial Bible journaling that I had found myself doing.

Precept upon Precept Study of Judges

This deep study reengaged my cognition as I learned more about the God we serve by better understanding His Word. I was also not just learning what someone told me about God, I was reading His Word for myself. I was marking the text to discover what it said, and I was taking notes to remember those deep Truths.

This study was amazing! 

Until it wasn’t. 

I started focusing so much on the learning that I was missing the relationship with my Creator. I wasn’t spending time with Him, as much as I was learning about Him.

We know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

1 Corinthians 8:1b, CSB

So, am I saying that deep study isn’t a good way to do Bible journaling? Of course, not.

Am I saying that creating art isn’t a good way to do Bible journaling? Of course, not.

What I am saying is to guard your heart. Remember why you are engaging in Bible journaling. If your “why” includes getting to know our Creator more and growing that relationship, you are probably on the right track. If it’s to grow your head knowledge, create beautiful art, or get more likes on the socials, you might be missing the point.

So you may be at the end of this (and thank you for sticking with me!), and you are thinking, “Wait a minute, I’m still not sure what Bible Journaling is!”

That’s fair.

Feel free to check out this blog post for some more specific examples.

Click on the favorite things menu at the top of this blog for resources and supplies.

If you still want guidance on Bible journaling, you can join me this fall at the Bible Journaling Ministries fall conference. It’s virtual and free! What better way to learn and explore? You can register for free here.

Bible Journaling Ministries fall conference Armor of God - Graphic for speaker Tyra Harnishfeger in The Word will Stand Forever




One response to “What is Bible Journaling?”

  1. Debs Avatar

    For me, I have not grown my creativity ability enough for me to journal and make something “post worthy”…yet. But I do take time to try new techniques and practice outside of actual journaling. My Bible journaling at this point is mostly highlighting, coloring, and stickers 🙂 Anything more than that and my mind focuses on what it might look like to others, rather than the reason for my journaling. I’ll get better and to a point that one day my worshiping God through creativity will come more natural and be more expressive. But for today highlighting God’s word and applying a few stickers while remaining open to new inspiration works for me.

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