The Coronavirus pandemic means that some of us now have more time while we're stuck in isolation at home. As stressful as the current situation is, the next few weeks and months could be a great opportunity to engage in a new and creative hobby. And, in such stressful and uncertain times, who better to spend your time with than God?
What is Bible journaling?
Bible journaling is a way of studying God's word that incorporates drawing in your Bible. There are many different methods and preferences, but I usually go about it like this:
1) I think about which verse I want to journal - I might have a specific verse that jumps out at me, or I might have a 'theme' in mind that I want to journal. The Youversion Bible app is useful here as I can type in 'love', for example, and a whole host of verses are suggested on the theme.
2) I seek inspiration - I pray to God to bring my focus onto Him and maybe stick on some worship music in the background. I look at websites like Instagram and Pinterest for ideas on what to draw.
3) I spend time journaling - I draw pictures, highlight the verse I'm journaling and add fancy writing in the margins of my Bible (usually just a bigger, more colourful version of the same verse, or perhaps a worship song lyric that speaks to the same theme). You can use any supplies you have at hand, you can invest in new supplies if you want but basic colour pens and markers are sufficient!
Why do I journal in my Bible?
a) It helps me to better understand God's word and builds a habit of picking up the Bible. By drawing out key verses I spend longer reflecting on His word and I'm more likely to remember it.
b) It's a very personal way to spend time with God where I can unleash my creative side. On the days where I'm struggling in my faith and find it hard to figure out the words to speak to God, I can still spend time with God through Bible journaling. Not as a substitute to prayer, but as a way to ground myself in His word.
c) It helps with evangelising; I lead at a children's Christian camp every summer and they enjoy looking at the visual depictions of God's word. I also sometimes share my entries on social media. Not because I'm super talented but because I'm acutely aware that, for a lot of my friends, they might never have the opportunity to see the Bible in other circumstances.
What if I'm not much of an artist?
No worries, you don't need the skill of Van Gogh to be able to start on this project. It's supposed to be about immersing yourself in God's word and enjoying spending time with Him, not creating a visual masterpiece!
You don't even need to be original in your ideas for your entries – there's literally thousands of examples on websites like Pinterest (or even just Google Images) and Instagram.
And even if you don’t feel like drawing, why not annotate your Bible with notes in the margins (or on post-it notes) and highlight key verses? Writing notes on bits of God's word that confuse you or stand out to you can really help you grow in your faith.
If you are afraid of messing up your Bible, why not find a spare notebook lying around the house that can become your 'journaling notebook'? You can write key verses in that and annotate around it. You can also get a 'journaling Bible' like mine, with stronger pages and bigger margins.
With my routines all shaken up I sometimes find myself being overly critical about how I spend my time. I don't want to feel 'unproductive' just because I can't get out much. But instead of overcompensating with needless busywork, I remind myself that it is OKAY to take a break. As a law student approaching my final exams, I know I need to study. But I know I need God much much more. And Bible journaling is a great way to spend my time with Him.