Do you have trouble connecting with the word of God? Are you seeking to have a deeper relationship with the scripture and applying the principles of the word into your life? Or maybe you are one of those people who love to scribble little notes, drawings, and prayers for yourself as you meditate on the word. If any of these questions or statements apply to you then what you might need to help heighten the experience of studying the Bible is using a Bible journal.
When you are seeking inspiration or help as you go through difficult situations in life, turning to the Bible for solace is something a lot of us do and having a bible journal to write in as you relate more with the word of God can really help you overcome those trying times with ease.
What is a Bible Journal?
A lot of us had diaries and journals as kids where we would write down our thoughts and feelings religiously every night before going to bed or even during the day whenever we felt inspired by something that had happened or the way we were feeling at that particular time. Growing into adulthood, the majority of us gave up the habit of keeping a diary or journaling due to our busy schedules or simply because we outgrew the habit.
A bible journal is very similar to that diary because a bible journal is where you can write down notes or drawings as you study the Bible and also write down your thoughts and feelings especially your everyday experiences. Writing down these notes enables you to go back and reflect on them from time to time as you gain new insights from studying the word, making it easier to apply what you have learnt to your daily life.
Writing every day in your bible journal helps you make sense of the things that happen in your life as you pray, meditate and use what you learn from studying the Bible to improve your life experiences. Actively taking down these notes can help you take action and become more proactive about changing your life for the better. You can also look back at the notes you made in the past and reflect on how you have transformed and become a different person by actively studying the word.
Some people like to go about their bible journaling in a more creative and artistic way through drawings and painting with watercolors in response to God’s word. However if you are not so artistically inclined there is no need to worry, you can express yourself in your bible journal however you see fit in ways that will be easy for you to understand, reflect, respond to the word and apply it in your life. You can highlight, jot down or take note of areas that really speak to you and you can also write down messages that the holy spirit impresses on your mind as you study the word.
Why you should keep a Bible Journal?
A bible journal helps you connect on a deeper level with the word of God and can be really helpful for your spiritual life, there are also several other reasons for you to keep a bible journal such as:
1. Bible journaling can help you assimilate the word in ways that are best suited to your personality.
As we stated earlier, creative and artistic people like to draw in their Bible journals and they could possibly have not had another way of letting their creative side show while they learn from the scripture without a Bible journal. Human beings are as diverse as they come so Bible journaling could be more relatable to who you are and help you better than other forms of Bible study.
2. It is a great way to keep records of your prayer points, your thoughts and your feelings as you grow and get better at engaging with the word.
You can look back on your notes and areas of the word that spoke to you at a certain time and help rediscover that feeling if you are ever feeling lost or simply need to be reminded of the impact the Bible has had on your life.
3. Keeping a bible journal helps you to pause and really process the word of God as you read.
Many times we read the word passively, so taking down notes as you read can help you focus more on the Bible and analyze the words and message in a clearer manner. It helps you dwell longer on what you are studying. It also helps you think more about what you have read as you write or draw in your journal. Bible journaling improves your memory and helps you remember bible verses better as you think about what they mean and how they apply to your daily life.
4. Writing in your bible journal helps you connect the word of God to your everyday life.
As you write down your experiences next to your notes on the word, it helps you compare them and relate the decisions you make with the lessons you learn as you study the word. By writing in your Bible journal, it will enable you to recall and apply the lessons you have learnt from studying the Bible to any situation in your life.
5. It helps you better understand what you want from your relationship with God and also in life.
Bible journaling helps you connect your prayer points to the word of God. As you note down what you learn from the word, you also learn to understand what you really need/want and are thankful for in your prayers.
What you need to begin Bible Journaling?
You will need:
- A notebook or a journaling bible app
- A Bible
A journaling bible is a diary that has wide margins on the sides so that you can freely jot down notes as you get inspired while reading the word. Using a journaling bible helps one to focus more and not get distracted or disengaged from the verse that inspired the notes you are taking, which is much more convenient than using a separate notebook. It is also fun adding pictures that make you happy as you study the word and write in your journal.
Bible journal prompts to get you started
Starting a Bible journal can seem daunting and challenging as you may not know exactly where to start and what to do first which is why you can start with a few points to use as groundwork to begin your bible journaling. We have listed some suggestions for bible journal prompts that will help you get started as you begin your journey to a more engaging relationship with the word of God.
1. Identify what areas of your life you need God to change.
Do you want to become more prayerful? Or maybe you want to help and become more giving in your community. Writing these points down will help you seek out scripture that encourages you to pursue your goals to change these areas of your life and help God mold you into the person you want to be.
2. Make better decisions through prayer
Making decisions is never easy; from the smallest decision like deciding what to wear to more important and life-changing decisions like whether to quit your job or not. Bible journaling can help guide you to make better decisions. You can journal your choices and options concerning a decision and pray and study the word as you ask for guidance and peace to make the right decision.
3. Ask God for forgiveness
We often find it difficult to forgive those who wrong us in our lives but God forgives our sins whenever we seek for his pardon and strength. Asking God for the grace to be more forgiving of those who hurt us can be a great starting point for people who want to begin journaling. Once you recognize that you want God to help you with the spirit of forgiveness you can then start taking down notes or draw verses that inspire you when you study the Bible and find passages on forgiveness.
4. Build good relationships
You may use bible journaling as a way to improve your relationships and the way you interact with the people around you. Identify the relationships that are most important to you and what you would like to do to improve them or new relationships you would like to form. You can search for bible passages that speak on relationships and take notes on what you can do to improve the relationships you currently have and how to establish healthy relationships in the future.
5. Identify areas you can improve on.
As human beings, we all have strengths and weaknesses. By writing down what you identify as areas that you wish to improve on, or by highlighting your strong points, you can then find verses and passages in the Bible that are applicable. Advice on how to use your strengths in a better manner and scriptural practices on self-improvement and growth to help overcome your flaws can all be found in the Bible. Jotting them down into your Bible journal will help you in your journey to self-improvement.
Tips to help you get started writing your bible journal
When you have laid the foundation and your reasons for keeping a Bible journal, it is now time to start journaling. Here are a few helpful tips to help you get started on writing in your bible journal .
1. Stay real and honest with yourself.
You are writing in your journal for just you and God so do not be afraid to put it all out there. God knows your heart and what you truly want so it is time to come to terms with it yourself and be honest. If you have trouble understanding a passage or verse, do not hesitate to ask questions and watch as your understanding of the word grows.
2. Remember your prompts for having a bible journal and keep the passages you study and read centered around them.
This will help you grow and develop in areas that you have put down as the points you need guidance from God with. This will help you stay organized as you study the word of God based on the themes and keywords in the Bible passages related to your prompts. And as you grow, you can add more prompts.
3. Jot down the things that are happening in your life at the moment and how they relate to the things you learn from studying the word.
Do you follow the teaching of the word of God in what you do every day? Are you consciously incorporating the lessons you learn from the Bible into your life? Answering these questions can help you know which areas to focus on more as you grow and become a stronger person in the word of God.
4. Get a journal or a journaling bible that is easy to carry around.
If your journal is portable, you will have no difficulty moving about with it and stopping to write down things you are thinking about or experiences you have as they happen.
Bible Journal Examples
You can use a notebook or a journaling bible to write down your notes in, you can also use a regular Bible with normal margins as long as you do not write in a way that makes it difficult for you to understand your notes and the passages. You can use whatever methods work best for you as Bible journaling is very flexible. Some examples of Bible journals are
- NIV Brown Journaling Bible - this journaling bible is small and can be easily carried around. It has wide margins right next to the passages and is bound like a sturdy notebook to prevent wear so you can easily study and reflect on the word wherever you find yourself.
- ESV Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling Edition - this journaling Bible is great for those who love to use art. It has more than 500 hand-lettered illustrations and enough space for you to create your own unique and personal designs.
Bible Journal Templates
Bible journal templates act as a worksheet or workbook to help set up your bible journaling experience. They act as a guide to help you figure out what approach to use in your Bible journaling. Some noteworthy bible journal templates are;
- I’m Listening To God, Bible Study Templates by Jack Gilbert - this gives you guidelines on the best ways to study the word of God and how to apply them to your daily life.
- As For Me And My House, Bible Study Templates by Karla Dornacher - this template has labels, tags, and themed pictures you can use to write down your notes or drawings based on inspiration you get from studying the word.
Bible journaling is a great way to get more involved by applying principles you learn from studying the word of God into your life. There is so much for us to gain from using the lessons we learn from Bible passages to move forward in our lives. Start a Bible journal today to build a stronger relationship with God while reading his word; remember you can write and draw while doing so, it’s totally up to you!