Everything You Need to Know To Start Journalling With God
If you’re wanting to get involved in Bible journaling lately but don’t know if you should, or where to begin, I’ve got you covered.
I totally understand the appeal in using a bible journal/notebook. I use to struggle reading the bible. It wasn’t until I actively started scribbling notes down and highlighting in my bible where I actually started taking in what I read.
Turns out, I’m a skimmer. I would read the bible for the sake of doing the right thing, and I didn’t actually allow it to move from my mind to my heart. It’s like having a sword in a battle and keeping it sheathed. What’s the point?
So I started studying the bible like I studied for university. I hightlighted, scribbled, or wrote down notes and attached them to the bible using post-its.
Later I started getting into calligraphy and lettering, which made learning the bible a way prettier experience. However I didn’t learn calligraphy purely to make my bible notes prettier. It did help, though! It made bible journaling more fun (simply because of how much I enjoy calligraphy) and it also made it a new creative outlet. Now, I spend time with God and His word in art & calligraphy, and I love it.
I want to share this passion with you too. So if you’re interested in the benefits of bible journaling, note taking, & journaling with God and you want to learn how to start, then I am really glad you are here.
Reasons To Start Bible Journaling
What a HUGE topic! We could go through plenty of reasons & benefits of bible journaling but I want to zoom in and focus on a few.
Meditate On The Word & Learn
I mentioned this in the intro but I want to dive a bit deeper on it here. If God isn’t the focus, what’s the point? I understand the desire to start reading and actually enjoy the bible. It’s easy to read without it actually reaching your head or your heart. As christians we get told so often how good it is for you but I understand the struggle.
It’s as though you know you “can” be one of those people: the bible obsessed followers who read it every morning in every season, and can experience and see Jesus in every word, His presence dripping from the pages. You know you can get there, but it still can feel like hollow religion. Reading the bible because we should, not because we enjoy it.
I’m a note taker, I always have been. I always notice that I learn better and recall information better when I take extensive notes. It one of the reasons why I started calligraphy: I noticed how easier it is to remember (as well as mediate on) what I write when I write it slowly and carefully. Bible journaling can include pretty notes, but that’s not (and shouldn’t ever be) the goal.
The goal always has to be Jesus. It has to be understanding God better, understand His word better and know what He is saying to you.
This may not be a goal, but it’s definitely a benefit. There’s something very pure and calming about reading the beauty of God’s word and writing it slowly and carefully to let the words permeate your heart.
The bible is essentially a love letter from God to His beloved children and intentionally sitting down to be with Him in this way can let Him ease your stress and relax your mind.
There can be nothing more inspirational than the word of God and spending time with the creator himself. The bible (along with the Spirit of God as you read) can inspire pictures to enter your mind and feelings to provoke your heart which can then be captured onto canvases and page in a way only you know how.
Let the word of the Lord and the time together inspire you to be creative and letter out His heart for you. Sitting with Him in an intentionally creative mindset can bring about beautiful (but more importantly, meaningful) artworks.
Organise Your Thoughts
There’s a lot to learn and figure out when reading the bible and trying to understand it. You can learn about the Hebrew and Greek words and their translations for certain concepts, you can link the passage you’re currently reading with many others, you could follow a person or concept through the entire bible and see how it all connects.
Many of this can be confusing so putting a pen to paper can help organise the thoughts you have while studying the good book.
On the flip side, you may have many thoughts whirling around in your head and heart about something very specific that’s stemming from circumstances in your life.
Writing as you read can help centre your heart and mind on Jesus and his view of your circumstances and of your life. It’s a great way to sift through your thoughts and see which ones line up with His thoughts.
Finding A Bible Or A Notebook
Now you can make a choice: you can Bible journal in an actual bible, or you can write your notes in a notebook.
The notebook has been the more popular choice but nowadays so many people are leaning towards journaling in the actual bible, that bibles are now being printed with space specifically made available for this purpose.
So you have a choice to make: you can either choose to use a bible translation that you know and love and use a notebook, or you can find a journaling/notetaking bible and use the space provided. Either way works well and can give you a great experience with God.
Journaling in a Bible
Keep in mind that not all translations have a “notetaking/journaling” bible available. If you love the translation you use, then you can see if there’s a bible for journaling made available in that specific translation. You could also see if there’s a journaling bible you love the look of and try using that translation for a while, see if it works for you.
Keep in mind that a bible made specifically for journaling can be a little expensive. Here’s a few I recommend:
Using A Notebook
Otherwise, if you’re going to be using a notebook I suggest dedicating a notebook specifically for this purpose. Don’t use the same notebook for shopping lists and budgets etc.
Keep the book seperate so that you can go through it later and be encouraged and inspired by the word of God and not bored by temporary lists and work.
Lastly, if you’re using a notebook try grab one with dots instead of ruled lines. This always looks a lot cleaner and you can use the dots as guides to create borders and columns.
Use The Right Pens
If you’re going to be journaling in the bible, you may need to consider making sure you have the right pens. Bibles have thin paper that often can’t handle some of the juicier pens.
Use one of the information pages at the back of the bible to test your pens and see which ones bleed through the page or spread the ink. Try both highlighters, black and coloured pens and see what you like.
Keep the successful pens together in a case and use them specifically for your bible so that you don’t get confused in the future and ruin your bible.
What To Write
Now that you have the bible, notebook and pens, it’s time to write.
This is the part that gets a lot of people stumped. What are we meant to write? To figure this out, the first thing you should do is read.
Read one chapter. Did anything stand out to you? Did you get confused by anything? Go through the chapter and see if you recognise any of these things happening, that you can then write:
Specific verses or lines that stand out to you or speak to you
This can be any verses that the Lord highlights or speak to you about your current season. You can rewrite these verses in a pretty way in the journaling space provided (or in the notebook).
Prayers to God from your heart
This can be a response you have to a verse you have read. Something you want to say back to God as He speaks to you through His word. For example, I recently wrote:
I want to ascend your mountain and stand in your holy place
I wrote this as a response to Psalm 24: 3-4.
Any research you do
This isn’t for everyone, but finding out the Hebrew/Greek word for some passages can be really enlightening and informative. It may be useful to write these down so that you can understand the context of verses better.
If you want to deep dive into some word studies then writing these down along side the verses they relate to can help you read the passages in the original context and understand them even more.
Learn The Foundations Of Calligraphy/Lettering
I can’t talk about bible journaling without talking about calligraphy, simply because of how much I love calligraphy and lettering.
As you might know, if you have been part of the Cherry Pearl Creative family for a while now, I am more of a brush calligrapher than I am a letterer. Though both calligraphy and lettering can be an amazing asset when it comes to bible journaling if you want to make things artistic and pretty, and have it as a creative outlet while spending some quality time with God.
I’m not going to go into how to write calligraphy here, since most of the entire site is dedicated to that. What I will do is link a few spots to get started if you want to go down that path and start (or improve) your calligraphy & lettering for free.
This site has a resource library that is dedicated to bringing free resources to help you not only get better at calligraphy & lettering but also to bring out the creative spark in you and help you get closer to God. That’s the goal, anyway – the library is still in it’s early days so most of the things in there are about calligraphy & lettering but there’s a lot planned and on it’s way!
If you haven’t gained access to the resource library yet make sure you pop your details in here:
You’ll get the password sent to your inbox and you will have access to everything in there for the life of this website – and you will be kept up to date on any new freebies that come out too.
Otherwise, here’s some links to help you get started in calligraphy & lettering:
Start Here – Learn Brush Calligraphy – here you can follow the steps and learn the foundations of calligraphy through a series of free articles. It leads you through choosing the right pens and paper, basic strokes, creating words and even starting to flourish.
Brush Calligraphy Fundamentals Ebook – this is a (paid) ebook that you download, print and trace as you learn everything to do with the foundations of calligraphy. Start at the beginning and learn & practice basic strokes, the entire alphabet, words & phrases, in one easy to follow workbook.
Calligraphy & Lettering Supplies List – Here’s a list of my recommended pens and supplies for calligraphy and lettering. It goes through what tools are great for beginners and what are better left for the experienced callgiraphers.
Final Notes for Bible Journaling
Sketch It Out First
Not only does this help you read the same verses over and over, but it helps you make plan what you’re writing and where, so that you don’t miss anything out. I recommend a 2H pencil for this because it seems to be the softest pencil thats easy to erase without leaving any smudges.
Don’t Be Afraid
Bible journaling can be messy but it can also bring out any insecurities you have on your creative gifts. Do not be afraid of the blank page. Don’t be afraid of it looking messy and riddled with mistakes. The important thing is that you are reading and meditating on the word, and that God loves it.
Meditate On It
This brings me to my last point: remember the purpose. You’re bible journaling so that you can learn more about Him & His word. It’s not just to have a pretty looking bible. It’s not drawing for the sake of drawing. You can draw as worship and letter as worship but if it’s not about Him, there’s no point.
Don’t get sucked into having an “Instagram worthy” bible or notebook. You’re doing this to have a spiritual life that’s pleasing to the Lord.
That’s it! We are done. If you have any thoughts or questions about bible journaling make sure you get in contact with me through email or social media, I’d love to help in any way that I can.
Until next time, keep creating!