How to Start Bible Journaling for Beginners

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Ever wanted to know more about Bible journaling? Here’s the low down for beginners who have never done it, Bible journaling ideas, and everything you need to know to start Bible journaling even if you’re a beginner.

Bible journaling seems to be the newest trend in Christian women circles, doesn’t it? It’s taken Pinterest by storm, not to mention my Instagram feed.

But what exactly is it? How do you get started Bible journaling? Do you need to learn any special skills or have natural artistic talent? Where do you even get your Bible journaling ideas?

photos of woman praying with Bible and Bible being journaled in with text The Beginner's Guide To Bible Journaling By Graceful Abandon

Bible journaling is all about reading and studying the Word in creative ways. It can transform the way you spend time with the Word. 

What is Bible Journaling?

It is, quite simply, taking your time with God just a bit deeper by journaling creatively as you study Scripture. It’s simply another way to express your thoughts, record your impressions, and document your faith journey.

[Bible journaling is] a spiritual discipline recording the path of our journey with God to show us where we came from, where we are going, and to clarify our thoughts as we learn and grow along the way.  As we pray, study Scripture, and listen, we chronicle our thoughts about those experiences.  –Mitzi Smith

Bible journaling isn’t to be confused with merely illustrating the pages of your Bible; it’s heart is to enhance your faith and your quiet time with God.

What Bible Journaling Is Not

It’s just as important to talk about what Bible journaling is not as it is to define what Bible journaling is.

Bible journaling isn’t about showcasing your gifts and talents. You are using your creative gifts to give God glory and to enhance your relationship with Him, not using the Word as a canvas. 

It is essential to remember to honor the Word instead of using it.

Bible journaling isn’t about perfection. This is hard for me, honestly, because I like things neat and tidy and, well, perfect. But Bible journaling is about the process, not the product.

It’s not about creating pretty illustrations (even though that may happen). It’s about the result of a deeper understanding of the verse(s) you’re studying and time spent thinking over them.

And it’s not all art, either. Yes, there is indeed Bible art journaling…but there are also several other methods that bear examining (source).

woman using her journal to deepen her bible study time by Graceful Abandon

6 Bible Journaling Methods

Thankfully, you don’t need to be a creative genius to do Bible journaling (although, if you are, congrats!).  There are many methods for different personality types as well as those with different skill sets to partake in Bible journaling.

You can do your journaling in a special Bible designed for journaling (has extra wide margins to journal in) or in a separate notebook.

And some Bibles are already illustrated here and there to give you a solid start and to spark your inspiration.

Free Writing Bible Journaling

First, read scripture and pray.  Then free write whatever comes to mind into a notebook.

This might actually sound intimidating, but it’s a great exercise. You may end up writing a prayer or seeing a connection to another verse or gain insight into a recent situation in your life through this method.

Free write Bible journaling is exactly what it sounds like – write freely about your discoveries in and from God’s Word.

Dialogue Bible Journaling

Write down your prayers and thoughts to God in dialogue mode. 

Record anything you hear back from God in His Word or in your heart. This is also usually done in a notebook

When Bible journaling in this sense you might choose to personalize a Bible verse such as “God loved me so much He sent His one and only Son to die for me…” (from John 3:16).

Or write what God is speaking to you through His Word and what your response needs to be.

List Making Bible Journal Method

Bible journaling with list making is pretty simple, and very interesting.

After reading a chapter or book in the Bible, write a list.  List out topics, words, questions, and thoughts.  Notice any topics or words which come up repeatedly for you in study. 

Following your list making, do a concordance study on those items and write what you learn in your Bible journal.

Bible Character Sketching

When I was a little girl, I loved this and it’s been fun to start doing it again.

For Bible journaling through a character study you dive deep into what God did in and to and through a person in Scripture.

Identify a biblical character and write out everything you learn about them. Pay special attention to the person’s values and personality. Record any lessons from this person’s life.

Topical Bible Journal Sketch

Topic sketching is like a word study.

The focus is to choose a topic or word then go deeper looking up additional references Those references may be concordances, different versions of the Bible, or commentaries. 

Check out this list of free online Bible study tools and apps which will support you in topic sketching.

Bible Art Journaling

Bible art journaling is traditionally what you will see on Instagram and even Pinterest when you search Bible journaling. 

It is one form of Bible journaling that focuses on creative expression. People use all kinds of art media to create text and images related to the scripture they are studying. 

Bible Journaling Ideas

Wondering what to do or how to start? It can be as simple as writing out verses in your journal and marking words and what you see in a verse…

Or it can be as complex as creating gorgeous artwork on your Bible pages. My friend Lillian has some gorgeous inspiration like the pages above and below on her website, Embracing The Lovely. 

How To Start Bible Journaling As A Total Newbie

Beginning your Bible journaling adventure can be challenging if you don’t know what you’re looking for, or what you want to get out of it.

Fortunately, there are a few starting points that you can use as the foundation.

Tip #1: Bible Journaling Is For Savoring The Word

Don’t be in a hurry. Slow down.

It is easy to be in a hurry to quickly read a text and move on with the demands of the day. If you really want to enjoy your time with God’s Word and Bible journaling, there is a necessity to slow down so that you can get a fresh perspective as we approach God’s Word.

Tip #2: Pray Before & During Bible Journaling

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the Word to you. The Word of God is so much deeper than the stories you read. 

The verses in the Bible are connected, Old and New Testament, and asking God to help you see it will enrich it.

Tip #3: Have A Bible Journaling Blueprint

Have a study plan.

Whether you are also using a devotional or a topic guide or just diving into the Word on your own, have a particular focus and structure to your Bible study time. It will help you to systematically learn from the Bible.

Tip #4: Ponder the Bible

Read and reflect on the scripture.

Carefully ponder each Word and its meaning. Ask yourself what the passage is saying about you, God, and how to apply it to your daily life. 

Tip #5: Use Your Bible Journaling Time For Reflection

Pick out the word(s) that stand out. When reflecting on the scripture, something, a new light, or a new revelation will pop out!

It will be as if it speaking directly to you (and it definitely is). Pick up on those words and let them be your memory verse or special Word from God to you for that day.

Tip #6: Use Creativity In Bible Art Journaling 

When you find the scripture or words that God is drawing your attention to most in your reading (Tip #5), write them down, creatively.

Now, while writing them down might seem like your usual Bible study technique, Bible journaling involves you writing it down in a way that stands out.

You can sketch out a drawing with a pencil/pen and add some color.  There are stencil images for sale you can also use specifically for Bible journaling.  You can choose a stencil image that speaks to you about that scripture and include it in your journaling. 

Express your creativity with a hand-lettered design, watercolor painting, or even a song.

Tip #7: Have Fun With Bible Art Journaling

You can add any additional elements to your work such as stickers, stamps, fun borders to further brighten your bible journaling page.

This is where you take your journaling into artistic expression. It’s okay to enjoy it, too; it’s not all serious, even if it is all intentional.

Tip #8: Use Bible Journaling For Memorization

Don’t forget to reflect and memorize after the whole work is done.

While all the artistic talents in you might be pouring out and things are getting interesting, do not forget the main purpose of journaling is to know God more.

So make sure the new journal design for today is visible to you throughout the day. That way,  it can sink into your memory.

The Best Bible Art Journaling Supplies & Must Have Tools

Before you set out, you will need to acquire some of these items.  Not all the tools are necessary, get only the ones that are most helpful to the type of Bible journaling you will be doing.

The Potential Danger Of Bible Journaling

The one challenge with anything -not just Bible journaling- is keeping it where it belongs in your priority list. Our hearts are so good at taking something good and idolizing it (even unintentionally), and that’s something to be aware of as Christian women.

Not something to be afraid of, but rather alert. I like to regularly ask myself 4 questions to determine if I’m struggling with idolizing something in my life.

Bible journaling can become an idol when you are more concerned with making beautiful art in or about your Bible than you are about hiding it in your heart and living it.

When Bible journaling replaces your study of the Word and your meditating on it, then it’s a pitfall. When it enhances your time with God, it’s a blessing.

The difference? Your heart. Only you can decide.

Should You Start Bible Journaling Today?

Sure! It’s truly a beautiful way to dive deeper into the Word of God. And it doesn’t have to be artistic; remember that Bible journaling can be making notes, lists, writing out verses…there are so many ways to use it to enhance your faith and record your faith journey.

how to start bible journaling by Graceful Abandon with photos of woman writing

This post is a combined resource from Lisa Yvonne of Graceful Abandon and a post that originally appeared on Faith It Like A Boss, by Rosemarie Ramsingh-Blackaby.

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