M y days of Bible journaling began many years ago with my Grandma Wheeler. She was an amazing Christian lady who loved the Lord and was never afraid to share the Word with others. She shared with me her love of the Good News Bible and many life lessons. She valued the beauty within the canvas of the Bible and the opportunity for creativity within the margins. Thus began my early days of Bible journaling and a passion for dialogue with God in the margins of my Bible.
Some people would never dream of writing, drawing and painting in their Bible. However, a Bible provides the perfect canvas for creativity and spiritual revival. There are many benefits to Bible journaling.
- You spend quiet time in God’s Word.
- The physical act of writing out Bible verses and writing anecdotes in the margins typically helps people to memorize Scripture and connect with it.
- Bible journaling provides a platform for discussions of the text and what its purposes and effects were and are.
- Journaling can help you to remember the location of a specific verse.
- It is an artistic outlet that gives one a mental picture of key verses.
Bible journaling has inspired and encouraged me and made my faith an even bigger part of my life. Bible journaling begins with faithfully reading God’s Word daily, connecting with the Word and establishing a relationship with the Bible. God’s Word is meant to permeate every aspect of our lives. Jeremiah 15:16 says, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.”
Bible journaling is not about making beautiful art. I am guilty of wanting to make something really beautiful and extremely creative in the margins of my Bible. However, that is not how one should perceive this time in God’s Word. Bible journaling is about connecting with Scripture and one’s own beliefs. Only two simple tools are needed to get started on this amazing journey: something to write with and a Bible. If you are feeling creative and want to take things up a notch, try using watercolor pencils, paints, stickers, markers, washi tape and more.
One will find many different ways to journal within the Bible margins. My preferred method for journaling is SOAP, which stands for Scripture, observation, application and prayer. I have found that this is the best way for me to achieve my desired outcomes of the time spent in God’s Word.
Scripture: Typically, I study a particular verse or verses that has stuck out from my Bible readings. Sometimes I write parts of the verse in the margins and at the top of my pages. Other times I draw little doodles that help me connect with the verse.
Observation: Observation for me is somewhat tied in with the Scripture, as I doodle and just put down whatever God has laid upon my heart from my reading.
Application: Application is applying my observations to everyday life. Again, this is typically written somewhere in the margins and includes drawings, sometimes stickers and just about anything that will help me in applying God’s Word to my life.
Prayer: My prayer time is usually silent and kept to myself, however there are times when I am led to pray out loud. Either way, I am asking God to help me apply the truths that I have been studying to my daily life.
When you choose to embark on this journey with God and creativity within the margins of your Bible, remember there is no wrong way to journal—there is no wrong way to spend time in the Word of God.
I am blessed to have been a part of my grandmother’s journaling days and the recipient of her beloved Good News Bible, which I will happily pass down to my daughter someday. Bibles that contain journaling notes, doodles and personalized prayers are a treasured keepsake to be passed on from generation to generation. I hope that you are inspired to join the Bible journaling momentum and become connected with God’s Word in the margins of your Bible.
Read this article on the SOAP approach to Bible study from the CL archives: Reading my Bible with SOAP
Michelle Wegner is a student in the Tabor College ministry entrepreneurship and innovation (MEI) program.
Connie Faber joined the magazine staff in 1994 and assumed the duties of editor in 2004. She has won awards from the Evangelical Press Association for her writing and editing. Faber is the co-author of Family Matters: Discovering the Mennonite Brethren. She and her husband, David, have two daughters, one son, one daughter-in-law, one son-in-law and two grandchildren. They are members of Ebenfeld MB Church in Hillsboro, Kansas.