What Is Bible Journaling?
Bible journaling simply means to write down insights you receive as you read your Bible. It turns reading the Bible into a more active process. You read something that God says and then you respond to it in writing. It’s like having a conversation with the living God.
Taking notes as you read the Bible helps you to see what you are learning visually. Writing out scriptures in your own words helps you to apply it to your life. It also helps to memorize a verse by writing it over and over. Journaling also helps to slow you down as you read the Bible. It can be easy to read a passage quickly and then check it off as done, without really remembering what you read. Bible journaling helps you to dwell on what you read a little while longer.
You don’t have to write in fancy calligraphy. You don’t have to have perfect grammar. This kind of writing is mainly just to help you reflect on the Bible, your thoughts, and life in general. The most important part is to meditate on God’s Word because when you do, God becomes more and more real to you personally. The Bible is a love story of salvation and redemption from Genesis all the way through Revelation.
Is Bible Journaling Mentioned in Scripture?
The idea behind Bible journaling is mentioned throughout the Bible when it talks about remembering God’s faithfulness and meditating on His Word.
When the Jordan River was cut off so that the Israelites could cross it, they gathered memorial stones from the area to keep as a reminder of God’s faithfulness (Joshua 4:6-8). Taking notes within your Bible can also serve as faith markers—places where God met you in wonderful ways.
Joshua 1:8 says to study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
Psalm 1:1-2 speaks of the joys of following the Lord. Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.
Psalm 143:5 tells us to remember the days of old and ponder all His great works and think about what He has done.
What You Will Need to Get Started
You don’t need a lot of equipment for Bible journaling. The most important items are a Bible and a pen, but some other things may help too.
1. A journaling Bible with lots of white space in the margins.
2. Or simply a blank notebook alongside any Bible. Some people love to take notes and doodle in their Bibles but others like to keep their Bible clean and write in a blank book alongside of their Bible. I don’t mind taking notes in the margins of my Bible and I like to highlight specific scriptures that speak to me. But I don’t like to write or draw in such a way that covers up God’s Word. I want God’s Word to be the main thing I see on any given Bible page.
3. You could also have multiple blank notebooks to separate different kinds of notes. One for taking written notes, another for doodling and drawing, another for writing down scriptures that you want to memorize, and still another for a prayer journal.
4. You can also open up a blank document in a word processor program on your computer.
5. A Pen – if you’re writing in your Bible, make sure to get the kind that won’t soak through. Bible pages are thin and if you are not careful you’ll see ink on the back of the page you’re writing on too.
6. Colored pencils or markers can also be added to give your journal an artistic flare.
How Do You Bible Journal?
1. Before you start reading, pray for God to reveal something new to you or that you gain a new perspective.
2. Take notes as you read the Bible. Write down any insights or thoughts you have as you read.
3. Write a prayer to God or simply make a list of things you want to remember to pray about later.
4. Write down how you can apply specific Bible scriptures to your life.
5. Read the Psalms. They are like bible journals where people wrote out how they were feeling. Their experiences and feelings were written down next to the truths of God. The more they focused on God, the more they trusted in Him despite how they were feeling.
I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear. I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done. Psalm 143:4-5
And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. Psalm 77:10-12
6. Try not to censor your thoughts before you write them. You’re not writing for publication. You’re writing to visually see your thoughts and feelings as well as what God may want you to learn from His Word.
7. You can also draw pictures if you are so inclined. Even if you aren’t great at creating art, you can doodle to depict something you’re learning.
8. You can also share a scripture along with your thoughts on social media. Someone else may want to hear what you are learning. Habakkuk 2:2 says to write God’s answer plainly so that someone who reads it might be encouraged.
Writing Prompts for Bible Journaling
What did I learn from my Bible reading today?
Has something in these scriptures reminded me of something I’ve gone through in my life?
Have I received an answer to prayer recently?
Write down at least 5 ways you are blessed right now.
Have I been tempted lately to do something I know I shouldn’t do? Did I fall for the temptation? If so, write a prayer of repentance asking for God’s forgiveness. His willingness to forgive extends where we can’t even fathom.
What worries are weighing on me right now? Write them down and then ask Jesus to carry them for you. He will.
You can even write a letter to God. Share any questions you may have but also let your letter portray your love and gratitude for Him being in your life.
Bible journaling is a personal experience. You can’t do it wrong. It’s just a tool that may help you reflect on God’s Word as you learn to apply it to your life. Meditating on Scripture helps you to trust in God and peace is the fruit of trusting in God. As Isaiah 26:3 says, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Kelly Sikkema
Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write devotional articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk. Her debut novel is available on Amazon. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at her website and/or on Facebook.