STOP! Are You Missing the Heart of Bible Journaling

STOP! Are You Missing the Heart of Bible Journaling? Are you only washing the outside of the cup (making pretty pages).

I get a lot of emails and message questions about Bible journaling and I feel like some are so focused on the craft that they miss the heart of Bible journaling.

I've seen something similar in homeschooling. The goal of teaching children God's ways gets put on the back burner for the state standards. It is the reason I wrote What Your Child Needs to Know When, over half the book is explaining the goal is not the end product but the process. (Why I named by homeschool publishing company Heart of Wisdom.)

There is nothing wrong with seeing a beautiful page and trying to reproduce it. But the real goal is to document our faith not produce a beautiful page.

How do you do that?

The heart of Bible Journaling starts hours before you start the page. I use these four steps it might work for you. Bible journaling is something you do all day not just when you sit down to craft. It's praying and listening God through the day,

Step 1: Pray

Step 1 is not optional. Ask God what He wants you to learn. Pray for wisdom. Remember that God promises us wisdom when we ask for it (James 1:5); therefore pray for wisdom. Watch this video about wisdom to learn more.

Prayer comes from a humble spirit that is willing to ask for assistance and acknowledge need. Praying shows that you recognize your dependence upon God (Proverbs 11:2; James 3:5-6). Pray when you open your eyes in the morning.

Your Bible Journal craft time might be 9:00 at night but the heart of Bible journaling starts when you open your eyes in the morning and as you walk along the way (Deut 6). I like to pray "What would have me do today Lord. What would you have me say? Teach me guide me and lead me in your way." And then thank Him and praise him for all He has done.

Pray He will whet your appetite for His Word. Ask Him to help you become closer to him by recognizing His truth in HIs Word. Keep a notebook handy.  Go to the Dollar Store and get several small notebooks. Keep one by your bed, one in the kitchen and one in your purse. Jot down things God reveals to you through the day.

Read 2 Kings 22. Josiah finds the book of the law and reads it. Distressed, realizing how far they've departed from the Word of God he tears his clothing. America's founding principles are based on God's Word but now not allowed in our schools. We have to get back to the Bible like Josiah. God had mercy on Josiah.

Step 2: Examine

Remember these steps are a guideline not rules. Some days you will have time for a deep nutritional study somedays you will only have time for fast food. But please do not just read one verse and coloring one verse that would be missing the heart of Bible journaling.

We can read through the entire Bible in one year in only 15 minutes a day! But if you stop and study (look up words, related passages, etc.)  for in-depth study it will take longer.

If you have a verse in mind read the chapter. Maybe read the before and after chapter. Pray, read, and ponder. Take notes about what God is showing you.

Download the free worksheet here

I am blessed to have a pastor who teaches chronologically one chapter a week in depth. And you can hear him too, his classes are free at TorahClass.com. Free Audios, videos, and PDF lessons. The videos by Tom Bradford are in-depth. One woman told me she learned more from Tom's classes than she learned spending $50,000 at a Bible college. 

Many Bible study teachers recommend you read the passage three times. Silently, aloud and in other version (which is easier that ever with all the free Bible tools online)

Remember these steps are a guideline not rules. Some days you will have time for a deep nutritional study somedays you will only have time for fast food. But please do not just read one verse and coloring one verse that would be missing the heart of Bible journaling.

We can read through the entire Bible in one year in only 15 minutes a day! But if you stop and study (look up words, related passages, etc.)  for in-depth study it will take longer.

If you have a verse in mind read the chapter. Maybe read the before and after chapter. Pray, read, and ponder. Take notes about what God is showing you. 

Jesus taught by asking questions:

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    1. Who: Who is the author of the book? To whom is he writing? Who are the major and minor characters?
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    2. Where: Where do the events occur? Are there any references to towns, cities, provinces? If so look them up in a Bible atlas or on a map. Many Bibles contain historical maps just for this purpose. If you are reading a letter, where do the recipients if of the letter live?
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    3. When:  Are there any references to time, day, month, or year? Are there references to the timing of other events happening in relation to this event?
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    4. What: What actions or events are taking place? What words or ideas are repeated or are central to the passage. What is the mood (joyous or somber, soft or stern, intense or peaceful, instructional or informational)?
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    5. Why: Does the passage offer any reasons, explanations, statements of purpose? Why did the Holy Spirit move the author to write these words?
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    6. How: How is the passage written? Is is a letter, speech, poem, parable? Does it use figures of speech (similes, metaphors)? How is it organized (around people, ideas, geography)?

Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. Stop when prompted by your own interest. 

Use Bible Study Tools: 

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    A. Do a word study using the concordance.
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    B. Look up customs and manners in a Bible handbook.
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    C. Look up words in a Bible dictionary.
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    D. Look up the location in a Bible atlas.
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    E. Look up passage in a commentary
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    F. Compare different translations.
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    G. Look up cross-references.

Step 3: Bible Journal 

The third step is as unique as you are. Everyone technique is different, there is no right way.

You can doodle icons, circle and double line key words, make an amazing painting, sketch  a cartoon, use die cuts, stickers and washi, color a page, watercolor a background, use the Inductive method or placing symbols, or what I do me a digital page on my computer or a combination or all the above.

Where you journal is also unique. In a Bible margin, in a devotional, in a notebook, a sketchbook, a Praise Book, etc. 

Step 4: Share

In Mark 5 Jesus said, "Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.

Have you ever prepared to teach a child's Sunday school class? If you prepare a story on Ruth by the time Sunday morning came around you know more about Ruth than you ever had. When we share what we learn during the process of learning to share and sharing helps us cement what we learned.

I challenge you to share a few lines of what God taught you ever time you share a Bible journaling page. Its OK to share  your methods or supplies you used by do not miss the heart of Bible journaling. What did God put in your heart as you colored or painted?

The transformation in your heart is much, much more important than a pretty page. Don't just wash the outside of the cup! Develop your relationship with God. Grow to know Him. Your pages will reflect the beauty from your joy of knowing your Father!

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