So I have this idea where we all come together, when we can. And we all open our Bibles, where we can. And we share, what we can. Maybe this Bible Journaling with The Littlest Way is for the more introvert at heart…or just born out of the distance of time and place that separates us? Either way, welcome to Bible Journaling with The Littlest Way. The disclaimer should be made, I am a total and complete beginner to Bible journaling. I am not overly artistic, I prefer word painting to mixed media and weaving sentences to sketching. Some days my Bible journaling may look more like a collection of verses strung together rather than an artistic interpretation of the verse read…that’s ok with me. That’s ok with God. This post may contain affiliate links to products I love and recommend.
Bible Journaling with The Littlest Way
Update: I’ve written a book explaining the “Why” and “How” of my Bible Journaling. Bible Journaling Tips, Inspiration, and Permission will hopefully remove any and most obstacles you may have to Bible Journaling–“What if I mess up? I don’t know where to start? Am I defacing my Bible?”
See that picture of a light bulb up there? That is my artistic interpretation of our first day’s Bible reading. (The FREE One Year Bible Reading Plan printable is found here–Bible Journaling in the New Year.) That light bulb took me a couple of attempts–I know, it’s basically a circular shape sitting on a rectangular shape…and it took me a couple of tries and lots of erasing in between those tries. But guess what happened each time I had to erase or I sat there trying to figure out how in the world I was going to draw a light bulb…I repeated the verse to myself trying to get the picture in my head and translate it through my fingertips…
“God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.”
†1 John 1:5
And if I thought the drawing was hard…the highlighting was even harder!
What color do I highlight “…the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” I could use pink, because it was for love of me that Jesus shed His blood for me. Or, should I use yellow because the verse specifically applies to Jesus and God? I mean to tell you, this took me some time to figure out. (Please, if you are looking for a Bible journaling site/person that has it all together, clearly you are in the wrong place. On the other hand, if you are looking for someone to learn with, because of or in spite of…Welcome!)
Here’s what I decided for myself when it came to those tricky scripture verses–which now that I pay closer attention, it seems lots of them can and will be for me–I highlighted with the future in mind. I asked myself, “Six months to a year from now when I am flipping through my Bible trying to find words of _____, what would this be useful for?” Clear as mud? For this verse in particular, I thought, “Would I want to identify this verse about Christ shedding His blood to cleanse me from my sin in yellow–telling me about Jesus…or in pink–telling me what Jesus did for love of me?” I choose pink…YOU MAY CHOOSE YELLOW…that is ok; there is no right or wrong here. But guess what? As I thought and considered and pondered what color to highlight those eleven words…I kept repeating them to myself. I rolled them around in my head. I considered Christ’s love and Christ’s actions.
Are you starting to see just a little bit, in an extremely informal way how Bible journaling and lectio divina are going to pair nicely?
In lectio divina, you typically read the verse more than once–lectio. Next, the passage, the verse is meditated upon–meditatio. During this time, the verse is pondered from different angles. This pondering is not to produce some formal interpretation but to allow the Holy Spirit to work within and to encourage a communion with God, with the Word. Following this pondering is prayer–oratio. St Teresa of Avila is quotes as saying, “Prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.” According to the Catechism, “Prayer is defined as “the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or requesting of goods from God.”” And finally, contemplation–contemplatio–rest in the presence of God.
In the above example where I read today’s assigned Bible reading, if a passage stood out to me as one I knew I wanted to highlight for easier reference in the future, I stopped and reread it. Sometimes I had to read it a couple of times because I was trying to discern in my heart, how I wanted this passage marked–lectio. This process of discernment was considering the verse from different sides. I had to discern if this verse was speaking to me as an example of Jesus or more specifically as an example of Jesus’ love for me–meditatio. While in this process of pondering and considering, I was raising my heart and mind to God; my consideration could be likened to a conversation with God the Father, God the Son and/or God the Holy Spirit–oratio. Finally, resting in the presence of God in the form of His Word–contemplatio. Ah, that would have been nice, but as you can see from the picture above, I had company. Leo was wallowing all over and around me this morning. I’m not sure I could have rested in the presence of God if I tried. And that’s ok.
Here’s an important point about Bible journaling and lectio divina…mine will look differently than yours. If examined closely trying to follow the letter of the lectio divina law, mine may not even fully qualify as true lectio divina…I was sitting in bed (although I’ve not read any rules that say you can’t sit in bed), with a toddler all over me…that’s my lectio divina for today. Some days it will look a little “holier” if that’s a term I want to use. I might use my prie-dieu some days, I might sit in a quiet chair or the front porch while my children run around the yard. Any one of those places will be perfectly fine for my quiet time with God. I am a wife and mother and my time with God will reflect that vocation…and that’s ok with me and God.
You can get your own Journaling Bible here at Amazon…Journaling Bible
I use these pens–Perfect Bible Journaling Pens. They don’t bleed through even the thinnest pages, come in a variety of colors and are thin enough to write legibly between lines, in the margin, etc.
My favorite Bible marking kit. Again, no bleed through and they have a chisel tip on one end and a fine tip on the other.
My Bible Concordance for the Revised Standard Version .
More posts on how I’m using my journaling Bible:
Bible Journaling in the New Year
Bible Journaling as Lectio Divina
Bible Journaling and Bible Study
Bible Journaling: Favorites Tabs
Thank you so much for sharing your ideas for bible journalling here. I have been thinking deeply on how I can colour my new bible as I study it, and choosing which colours has been difficult. For example, I want to colour knowledge of God, who He is, what He thinks, and what He loves. I couldn’t figure out how then to colour God through the prophets – should this be a new colour for prophesy, or the same for God. This your ideas though I could use the same colour, and shade in one instance, underline in another, etc! I love this. It is much simpler, and as you describe I can also easily add 3 or 4 colours the the exact same piece of Scripture!
Martha Johannides says
Another fun hint… I’ve found crayola crayons, especially the twist up variety, to work well for highlighting.. They don’t tear or bleed through, and you can get more variety for your money. 🙂
Thank you for this! I’m finding it inspiring! Just getting started with bible journaling and I’m not at all artistic! My accomplishment today was getting tabs in my bible to mark the books. Step by step!
I’m so happy you found this helpful! Be not afraid, the Lord is well pleased with you–Bible journaling or not 🙂
It’s lovely reading someone with the Word approach to Journaling. I have used exercise books to write in scriptures and my thoughts and prayers long before Bible Journaling as such became a huge phenomenon. And used my own code for colouring verses (eg. Purple – divinity of Jesus, blue – precious promises etc). However I do love the beautiful pictures I am seeing on the different sites but am aware of my extremely limited artistic abilities. I use some of the great online bible app helps on my iPad eg The Blue Letter Bible app has an easy look up facility for Greek and Hebrew meanings and I have a variety of commentaries linked in to my Olive Tree Bible app. But the most important thing is writing what the Lord is impressing on your heart at that time. Looking at a particular verse in a variety of translations is very rewarding too and can be done in seconds with the YouVersion app. I use the NKJV Note Takers Bible to write in the margins – but I also recently bought an INSPIRE paperback bible on special because I decided that if I can’t draw – I can at least colour in any of the 400 lovely pictures in the margins! And as a quilter I do love colour and craft.
I have seen the Inspire Bibles online and they look neat. One of my favorite people in the world, my grandma, was a quilter.
What kind of markers do you use to keep it from bleading thru yo the back side.
I use Zebrite http://amzn.to/1UqZlAB
There are people who feel that drawing, doodling, and highlighting in color in a Bible is wrong, and there are people who live for it.
I for one, live for it.
It makes reading the Bible more rewarding, more colorful and highlights verses and scriptures that I love that hit home for me.
I don’t have a fancy area on the side to draw a picture on, so I normally just do it in the small margins that I have, but I haven’t gotten too artistic, mostly colorful highlighting.
I didn’t choose colors based on anything, although I like that idea!
Great light bulb btw!
ALL I CAN SAY IS “I AM IN!!” I haven’t purchased a journaling Bible – yet! I have loved looking at art work that others are doing in theirs – but it is almost a turn-off for me because I AM NOT an artist; and certainly cannot do what I have seen in theirs. I AM a highlighter…and sometimes I over-do it! I love your suggestions, and have subscribed to your blog and “liked” your FB page…I will bookmark this blog (because I sorta scanned it right now, and need to read it again!).
Thanks for sharing this info; and I’ll be following!! (Still looking for a good deal on the Bible though!)
I agree Barbara, some of those images of Bible journaling are intimidating to me as well! I lvoe that this time spent in the Word is totally my own concoction. I can add stickers (especially if I do “mess up”), I can journal, keep pertinent quotes that compliment the passages…it’s really up to me.
It’s “open range”! You can do what you want to do with it!!! Exciting!
Love this! I too started a Bible journal this year and had to push past the “I’m no artist” barrier to start my first page. Also, I tend to highlight with whichever color I feel is the “prettiest” that day and I imagine as the year gets closer to ending I’ll start adding the colors that didn’t seem to get enough page time! But the important thing is that I’m digging into the Word!
So you understand my obstacles! As a matter of fact, this morning I struggled with whether or not to use a lovely purple highlighter to highlight affirmations as I went along. “I hadn’t planned for that dolor to be used, I mean it’s not even on the Bible Key…but the affirmations highlighted in purple could also be highlighted in blue…” Oh the struggles of Bible journaling!
Happy New Year Jenny!!
DARN! My husband gave me a new bible for Christmas…new journey…new bible ; ) I got a nice leather cover NRSV. I also got some bible markers and started already ; ) I WISH I would of seen your post on the journaling bible before Christmas. The one I have is beautiful…but not much room to write. Any suggestions?
Also, I am using blue for Old Testament, yellow for New Testament and pink for verses relating to love in action….something I will be focusing on this year. I also use post-it flags to go back and read them.
I am going to make very good friends with Jesus this year through scripture…I can hardly wait!
Much love and blessings~Theresa
Yea Theresa! No DARN–grab a lovely journal to write in! You can also keep your daily gratitude list in the journal, plus any quotes that you run across in your reading. Yea for a new Bible and companion journal!
I want to thank you, too. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a long time. I think it will work better when there is someone I can communicate with if I want. My attempt this afternoon was more academic than prayerful but I am trying to “fit” everything in today. Football in the background; my daughter texting with concerns about my 7-year old granddaughter and her sugar obsession//allergy; my brother making car arrangements for tomorrow; it goes on…
I do like the quote. In fact, I think it’s going on my desk, bathroom mirror, the frig… God bless you for your blog and this sharing of your life with Our Lord right in the middle! It does inspire me.
Hi Cathy. So glad this interests you. It does help to know there is someone else at least walking through the same pages you are. Academic vs prayerful equals still time with God.
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup says
Thanks so much for sharing this! I love the idea of a journaling Bible.
I also love that precious little foot in the background!
Happy New Year to you and yours!
Thanks Heather. That precious little foot made for a good picture of a momma during her Bible time, but made having the actual quite time a bit difficult. That’s when I remind myself of the lovely quote from Frances of Rome, “A married woman must, when called upon, quit her devotions to God at the altar to find him in her household affairs.”
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup says
I can imagine, Jenny, but what a precious interruption. Mine are teenagers now. They grow up SO fast, so enjoy. Love that quote. Blessings.