Seven Reasons Bible Journaling is an Effective Learning Tool

Bible teachers from pastors to Sunday school teachers are always looking for creative ways to teach and Bible journaling is definitely a winner.

I've homeschooled my nine children for thirty years (1988-2019). The first year, I realized how differently my children learned and I began studying learning styles and methods. I find how people learn and retain a fascinating subject. 

In 2015, I found Bible journaling. I'm delighted to say, in all these years I have never seen such a huge interest in Bible study.

Illustration is a Better Term

Bible journalers use the word "journaling" loosely, as most Bible journaling is actually a Bible passage with illustrations.

Shanna Noel with Illustrated Faith (the first and best known Bible journaling company) got the name right, as illustration is a better term. 

The word illustration means a comparison or an example or the act or process of illuminating.

Bryan Chapell, pastor and theologian, says that illustrations are not for the head so much as the heart. They don’t primarily explain, they motivate. 

Illustrations can be images or word pictures that elaborate on something figurative or metaphorical in the passage in order to show its significance. There are dozens of books filled with thousands of sermon illustrations available in bookstores.

How Jesus Taught

Jesus’ teaching methods were wide and varied. He taught in parables, or stories, to illustrate a point.

He used illustrations to help people understand and remember His teaching; He used dialogue, comparisons (similes and metaphors), poetry, hyperbole, and even puns to teach the lessons He wanted people to learn. His parables painted meaning on hearts. 

Lets look at the seven reasons Bible journaling is so effective. 

(Don't miss the Free Bible Journal Classes listed at the bottom of this post)


#1. Visual Knowledge

Illustrations are powerful. Business people know infographics are a powerful method to educate someone in an efficient amount of time. ​

Well-created infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than any text, they have a clear goal. 

Bible journaling is structured similarly to the way our brains function by allowing associations and links to be recorded and reinforced. While creating the page or margin, ideas and thoughts are turned into something visible and structured.

The process of planning and creating a Bible journal page enhances learning, promotes creative thinking, aids memory skills and recall while enlisting the full power of both sides of the brain. 

Bible journaling cowboy

#2. Hands-on Learning

One study shows that students who engage in hands-on learning on a weekly basis outperform those who engage in this manner of instruction on a monthly basis.

For most students academic learning is too abstract. They need to see, touch and smell what they hear, read and write about. (John Goodland)

 Students whose teachers conduct hands-on learning activities outperform their peers by 72% of a grade level in math and 40% of a grade level in science. This study indicates that the most effective class. (Educational Testing Service 2001)

If you plan learning experiences that incorporate a wide range of modalities, you are likely to produce a group of enthusiastic, engaged learners. (Dr. Patricia Hutinger)


#3. Craft Interest

Bible and crafts--what's not to love? Crafty people enjoy Bible journaling more than other studying  because they find it entertaining.

Many people like “crafty” projects. Recent research from the Association for Creative Industries. The total size of the U.S. creative product industry is nearly $44 billion,  and 63% of U.S. households participated in at least one creative activity in the past 12 months.

"Knowledge has to be sucked into the brain, not pushed in. First one must create a state of mind that craves knowledge, interest and wonder. You can teach only by creating an urge to know.” Victor Weisskopf, Physics Professor


#4. Illustrations Help Retain Learning

Clip art is popular is schools for a reason—our brains like thinking in pictures.

"By comparing visual presentations with verbal presentations, the results were vastly in favor of visualizations. Presenters who used visual language were perceived by the audience as more effective than those using no visuals—they were clearer, more concise, more interesting, more professional, more credible and better prepared. "(The Wharton School 1981).

"Visual input creates the strongest recall value of all senses, and also allows the widest spectrum of levels-of-processing modifiers. It is also one of the most widely studied. Within visual studies, pictures have been shown to have a greater recall value than words—the picture superiority effect." (Craik, FIM; Lockhart RS)


#5. Color Enhances Learning

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture with color may be worth a million. Psychologists have documented that “living color” does more than appeal to the senses. It also boosts memory for scenes in the natural world. Color helps us to process and store images more efficiently than colorless (black-and-white) scenes and, as a result, to remember them better, too. (Felix A. Wichmann,)

90% believe that they remember presentations and documents better when color is used (Xerox study, 2003).

Color improves comprehension by 73% (‘The Power of Color’, Successful Meetings, June 1992).


#6. Right and Left Brain Skills

We have two halves to our brains which think in different ways. The left side thinks linearly, following direct linkages to related ideas. The right side prefers the whole picture with flow, images, and colors.

Bible journaling  brings together left brain thinking (words, logic) and right-brain skills (images, color, rhythm, space) which dramatically increases your mind power.

The more you integrate left- and right-brain activities, the more the brain’s performance becomes synergetic. This means that each cortical skill enhances the performance of other areas so that the brain is working at its optimum. (Sperry, R.W.)


#7. Chunking Information

Our brains think in unique and logarithmic ways. Chunking refers to the strategy of breaking down information into bite-sized pieces so the brain can more easily digest new information. Working with a Bible passage is a chunk of information about the theme.

The brain holds a limited amount of information at one time. Each piece of information is best studied through a structured process of learning that assimilates that chunk of information.

Our short-term memory is on average only capable of storing seven items of information, and chunking can help us use this storage space more effectively. (Glass, A.L. and Holyoak, K.J.)

By chunking information, the author improves the reader’s comprehension and ability to access and retrieve the information. (Robert Horn)

I especially like how Memorydex card or Faithdex cards chunk information. 


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