Bible Journaling Update


Back in February of 2016, I wrote a post “Has Bible Journaling Gone Too Far?” To date, it has been my most popular post and has received the most comments (75!). As the comments keep occasionally rolling in, I realized I should write an updated post about this obviously interesting subject.

I want to make sure that I’m clear about one thing: If you read your Bible and you connect with God – that’s a GOOD thing. Whatever way you choose to do that is between you and God.

I’m thankful that I had so many comments on this original post because it means that this topic speaks to many people. It is a blessing that this post has engaged people the way it has and I’m so very blessed for that. If any of my posts can help people dig deeper in their walk with God – I feel like I’m doing what He’s asked me to do.

In addition, I’ve heard a lot of opinions about this topic and I can honestly agree with most of them. I still hold firm that the Word of God should NOT be covered up in any way. I’ve also since seen a lot of journaling that does glorify God and does connect the person to Him. That’s a good thing – no matter how you do it.

But I want to share a story with you that, I hope, illustrates my original point better.

I recently saw someone post about her Bible journaling. Most of what she was doing seemed benign to me and I did connect to her as a fellow Christian. But then she posted a new piece of artwork and I was concerned. She had been inspired by a Christian TV show to focus on a particular scripture. (That’s GREAT by the way! Anytime we can utilize mass media to teach the world about God is a great thing for the body of Christ.) However, when she completed her artwork with something that had nothing to do with the scripture, but, instead, the TV show, it bothered me. And, in addition, her artwork covered up a large portion of the scripture to boot. (To be fair, she said this was her “journaling Bible” so I assume she has another where she does not cover up scripture.) She proudly shared this artwork on social media saying, “I’m proud of how this turned out! I think I did a great job.”

Folks, that’s exactly what worries me about this trend. That is not focusing on the scripture. That is not focusing on Christ or His Word. That is focusing on worldly things (the TV show), on her achievements, on her skills and on her own pride without giving credit to the One who has given her those things. In my opinion, she wasn’t connecting to the scripture by doing this, she was creating artwork for her own enjoyment. And she defaced the Word of God to do it. For me, that is putting worldly things ahead of Him.

This is where, for me, it becomes a slippery slope. It can be so easy to focus on ourselves and on our talents. But those talents come from the Creator. He created us and gave us all the skills we have. Anything we create is as a result of how He made us. (Even this blog post, for example.) Bible journaling is supposed to connect us to Him. Proponents of this trend say it brings them closer to the Word. But, in this instance, I don’t think she was brought closer to the Word. The scripture she originally referenced was “Seek and ye shall find.” How ironic. She didn’t find Christ at all in this exercise, but only her own selfish pride.

I want to also say that I do highlight my Bible with a yellow highlighter occasionally. It doesn’t cover the words, only “highlights” them. I do occasionally underline something for emphasis. I do occasionally write things in the margins as well. But I don’t cover up any of the words. Ever. And when I read the Word of God, I treat those words with respect and reverence. I’ve been re-reading my Bible and have started a few new studies that help me reflect on the words of God in new ways.I want to know what God intended for each and every word He has given me. How could I do that if those words were covered up? How could I understand every single nuance that the Lord is trying to teach me if I can’t see the words?

So, yes, it’s okay to doodle, create artwork, underline, highlight and make notes in your Bible. I’m not the Bible journaling police! It’s all between you and God in the end, not you and me. But please, please be sure when you are creating these works of art in your Bible that you’re doing it for the right reasons. Not for your own gratification or your own pat on the back, but because God truly is speaking to you and leading you in the process.

I am SO thankful for those 75 comments on my original post. I’m thankful because it was a post about God that garnered a lot of attention. Any way I can cause my readers to consider His ways, is a good thing to me. And I’m thankful that it was enough for me to create this follow-up post. God has certainly opened up a doorway of conversation here and I’m anxious to keep it going. May it all be for His glory.

I thank each of you for reading and having opinions and commenting!

God bless.


12 thoughts on “Bible Journaling Update

  1. How interesting, I didn’t realize people did this! I guess I’ve been living under a rock? 🙂 When I want to write something down about scripture, I use a paper notebook/journal, I never mark up my Bible. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

  2. I have been Bible Journaling for two years and have almost 100 entries in my Bible. I have read the Bible more in these two years than I have my almost 45 years of life. I do it and share it to draw others to Christ… yes that’s a pun….but it’s true. And it has. More and more of my friends and people who see my pictures are getting into the word and focusing on what God is trying to tell them. I always give the glory to God and want others to know they can do this too. It’s not about the art….but the heart. My pastor loves it and even had me share with the senior adults about what it was and how to get started. He loves the fact it has me thinking about his sermons all week and how God spoke to me in the sermon. Again….if we can get someone to read God’s Word…. it’s worth it.

    1. So true I read my bible first than I decide if I want to do something special on the verse. I would never disrespect the word if God.

  3. I thank you so much for this discussion. I have just purchased my first journaling bible and can’t wait to get started. I came across your article because although I love the artwork and color in the journaling bibles I was very confused as to what I wanted to do and what is right. I do think it’s a matter of personal opinion . In my up bringing you respected the bible and if something was Blessed by a priest it was respected as well. My journaling bible will not be blessed by my church but I decided I still can’t paint over His Word. I will highlight and maybe highlight in waterpaint but only if it’s translucent and you can still read it. I have margins to paint darker pics etc. and that will be enough for me. Anyway God bless us all to do the right thing whatever it is and forgive us if we don’t.

  4. I was so excited when I purchased my first journaling bible, but it wasn’t long before I couldn’t read it. Not because it was covered up, but because I was continually distracted by my own notes, which as I grew I thought were stupid, and even by my underlining, which always made me wonder why I’d underlined that verse and not others. Now I’ve gone back to a simple King James Bible without any space for writing and I will keep my notes in a note pad. I feel so relieved that all I see is the crisp, clean text of God’s word. I feel like I can breathe again! As much as I’d like to, I just can’t stand writing in my bible! It drives me crazy!

  5. Nice blog. through my point of view, whenever i read bible it always gives me good vibes. it helps me solve many of my bad problems and give me good solution and always stay happy in life.

  6. I think I have a different twist on the Bible journaling “issue”. I’m trying to read through the Bible completely every year. I thought for next year I would use a journaling Bible, but then I realized – I can’t draw!!! I was thinking what a waste of money until the Lord opened up an opportunity for me AND the journaling Bible. My best friend’s daughter is a sweet and pretty girl but she is missing a front tooth. As a gift of love I offered to pay for her crown and she has been overwhelmed with gratitude, trying to figure ways to “pay me back” though she is extremely poor. Turns out she loves to draw!!! Her payment to me is to draw (in the margins only – no covering God’s Word) whatever comes to mind, based on my favorite Scripture of each week. Then, the following year, when I use the journaling Bible for my study, her pictures will be there to remind me of her “payment”, but more importantly to pray for her unsaved soul (which I hope she remedies long before then). A blessing for me, her mom and a potential of getting some of the Word into a non-believer’s heart. Win, win, win. 🙂

    1. I love this! Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. I do believe that this is a true way to experience Bible journaling in a way that connects you not only with God’s word but also with God’s world and his other children. Thank you again for sharing!

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