I know what you’re thinking… Why is she telling me to stop Bible journaling? What’s wrong with it?
In my honest opinion, with the proper intent – nothing. I used to doodle, draw, highlight, underline, and take notes in my Bible before it became a popular trend. It was a way to help me remember important points or highlight Scriptures that I wanted to memorize or easily go back to.
My husband, on the other hand, would have something very different (and valid) to say about it. Bryan, among many others, sees the Bible just as sacred as the relationship with the One from which it came and believes that it should not be tampered with much more than a bookmark to hold a place.
I truly understand his point of view as well as most intents behind Bible journaling. But I must be honest and share something that plagues my mind about what it has become in these recent days.
Bible Journaling Today
Nowadays I’m noticing the extent to which Bible journaling has gone. I come across images of full-blown pictures written all over an entire page of a Bible, and it makes me wonder if the person is even reading the Word anymore. How are they able to when it is completely colored over?
Other layouts I’ve seen had so much tape, stickers, and extra things taped on the page, I wondered if the person even remembered what was there to begin with. Now before you start throwing stones at me, hear me out (and don’t forget that I too scribbled in my Bible for a period of time).
What to do instead.
If you write, doodle, color, draw pictures, tape tons of extra things in your Bible to the point of it being unreadable and/or just for looks, then I recommend that you stop Bible journaling. However, if you’re truly trying to grow spiritually and journaling is a means that helps you do that then I highly recommend considering various styles that can accomplish the same goal without turning your Bible into an art show.
I’d like to suggest a [not-so] new style of journaling that will allow you to maximize space and creativity – binder journaling! This style of journal keeping is also known as a journal binder (what I like to call it), a war binder, prayer binder, Scripture study binder, and so on. Simply put, instead of using your Bible to doodle, draw, note-take, and the like, use a binder!
There are many ways you can set up a journal binder, but I’d like to share the way I created and set up mine.
The most basic journal binder starts with a few basic supplies:
- 1 binder (typically a 1.5″ or bigger)
- Doodle pens, markers, coloring pencils, etc.
- Extra accessories (Washi tape, stickers, bookmarks, Scripture cards, etc.)
Once you’ve gathered your supplies, choose what sections will be in your journal binder. I’ll talk about the suggested sections next, but in the meantime let your creative juices flow. You can either hand doodle art on your tabs or create images using something like Canva and print them on your tabs.
There are five main sections that I put in my journal binder:
Affirmations is the go-to section for reminders using Scripture in the first-person and present tense. It brings an entirely new connection with the Word for me because I am able to put myself on the direct receiving end of the affirmation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a renewed creature…” becomes “I am a new creation in Messiah!”
Encouragement is the section used much like affirmations except it comprises of Scripture and journaling about specific passages. For example, I get super encouraged about the story of the woman with the issue of blood. From the courage she had to leave her home to the faith she had to be healed just by touching the Messiah tzitzits speaks volumes to me. This is something you’d find journaled out in my encouragement section.
Praise is self-explanatory of course, but I like to think of it as a way of writing actual thank you cards to the Father and putting them in this section. There is something to praising the Father, especially when facing difficult times. I’ve never known anyone to come out of a moment of praise feeling down and out. Nope. Praise definitely has a way of shifting moods and lifting spirits!
The prayer section is another self-explanatory section, and this is where things can get really detailed. My husband gave me the idea of giving every person I could think of in my immediate and extended family and page to pray specifically for them. After giving it some thought, I found it to be a lovely idea. Other pages I have in the section are prayers for:
- My husband Bryan
- Our Marriage
- Our Children (they each have their own page(s)
- Our Homeschool
- Our Business(es)
The last section I have is Studies. This is where all my Bible study notes go. Whether it’s a topical, word, or any other kind of study – it goes here.
Why I Use A Binder to Journal
I upgraded to using a binder journal for two main reasons, (1) to maximize space, and (2) to allow for unrestricted creativity. I can write, doodle, draw and get creative with tapes and stickers without completely covering up the Scripture in my Bible. I can also easily add to and take away as needed (no pun intended, LOL).
One of the biggest issues I ran into with using standard journals was running out of space. With a binder, I get double, if not triple the amount of space and can always upgrade without having to leave any past notes behind.
Lastly, I use a binder to journal because I can personalize it. I named mine after my very first blog that I started about a decade ago called DIGG LIFE. DIGG LIFE stands for Digging in God’s Grace & Living in Faith Every Day. Beyond this being super sentimental to me, it also speaks of my walk with the Most High. I want to always dig in His grace and live in faith every single day.
Other Bible Journaling Ideas
Keeping in line with not writing in your Bible, I created several printable journals that you can download and print however many pages you want. Each of these has been created with the writer and doodler in mind. You can add these to your very own journal binder, use it to create one, or keep them as individual pages. Access them below:
- Dwell: Psalm 91 Declaration Journal (FREE)
- Make the Most of Your Prayer Life Journal (FREE)
- Intentional Self-Improvement Journal ($5.00)
CHIME IN: Do you keep a journal? If so, what kind and why? Let me know in the comments below!