(This post contains affiliate links, but I never suggest you spend money on anything I haven’t or wouldn’t spend my own money on!)
If you are new to the idea of Bible journaling, I can’t wait to fill you in. It came on the scene a few years ago, and it’s still popular among kids and adults. It started out as an adult thing, and publishers even started publishing journaling Bibles. Now, kids are getting in on Bible journaling, too, and it’s a fantastic way to deepen Bible study.
The point of Bible journaling is only partly about having a creative outlet. It’s more about connecting with the text in a new way that you express with some kind of artwork, diagram, or whatever. When I taught Revelation to my 4th-6th graders, I used Bible journaling to help them with the text. It’s one thing to read about a man with woolly hair and a handful of stars, but it’s a whole other thing to read the text closely enough to draw it. My rule was that the kids had to draw everything the text told them, but nothing else. Stick figures were fine. They loved it.
If you know about inductive Bible study, you can see what a fantastic way this is to do Observation. If you’re unfamiliar with inductive Bible study, you can read more here. But Observation is the first step, and it’s where you get real familiar with the text so you know that you know what it says. No glossing over anything, and no scanning through. Bible journaling is a fun way for kids (or adults) to do this. I mean, to draw or list it, you have to know what it says.
Bible Journaling 101
There are a lot of different ways to journal in your Bible, and there aren’t a lot of rules. Like any other journaling, Bible journaling is very personalized. When I taught it to my kids, I just gave them a few basic ideas and let them go. Here are some ideas to get you started, along with some examples from other blogs. Wherever possible, I’ve linked to them in the photos, so you should definitely go check them out.
- Pick one image from the passage and draw that, like a rainbow or feet being washed.
- Draw a more encompassing image, like the armor of God.
- Draw something that is described with a lot of detail, like the vision in Revelation 1.
- Make a list, like the fruit of the spirit.
- Write out a verse in a creative way, like block letters, script, or other lettering. If you get ink that won’t bleed through, an easy way to do this is to get a set of blocky alphabet stamps. You can even trace around the letters after you’ve stamped them.
- Write keywords in the margin, and embellish them with boxes, rays, lightning bolts, whatever.
Also, you can fill a whole page because it’s even okay to draw over the text!
So, that’s an overview. What I noticed right away with my class was that the girls took this on very differently from my guys. Let’s talk about that. Blanket statement warning: These are generalities. I already know there are exceptions, so there’s no need to give it to me in the comments. But, generally speaking, there’s some truth here.
What about the girls?
Girls tend to me more artsy-craftsy. As you can imagine, they were a lot more interested in doing this than the boys. Their little eyes lit up when I dumped all the supplies out on the table. Markers, stamps, ink, stickers, oh my! Here’s what I can extrapolate about girls and Bible journaling:
- Girls are going to start off more enthusiastic and need less prodding.
- Girls are going to be more open to suggestions and new ideas for inspiration.
- Girls want more color.
- Girls are willing to spend more time, which means they are more likely to do things like hand lettering and shading.
- More girls connect to the emotion of text, so their artwork may reflect that. For example, if she’s journaling a passage about the love of God, expect more hearts, glowing, bubble letters, etc.
- Girls like kits.
And the boys?
- Boys are fine with a few basic colors.
- Boys are fine with a few basic supplies, like pens and colored pencils.
- Boys don’t want to spend as much time on their journaling, so they are way more likely to use letter stickers than stamps or hand lettering.
- Boys are more inclined to do things like lists and diagrams. Nothing wrong with that. Maybe encourage them to add a small drawing or symbol to the lists, but it’s not necessary.
- If you have traditionally boyish stuff, they’re into it. For example, the only stamp the boys touched from my stash was the one of the dragon.
- Boys are going to do better if you give them specific directions, like, “Read this passage and make a list of God’s blessings.” You can take it up a notch with something like, “You’re going to list the good kings and the bad kings, so pick a color for each. If you want, put a smiley face and a frowny face at the top of your lists.”
- Boys may show creativity with drawings of things like explosions, blood, funny faces, and so on. As long as it’s reflecting the text, it’s okay. Give them some latitude.
- Start boys off with passages that are more boyish, like soldiers, battles, fire, or hunting. This will help them find the fun in Bible journaling.
- Boys also like kits.
What Bible Are We Supposed to Use?
I’m sure you’re wondering where on earth I expect all of this drawing and writing to go. Depending on the Bible your child currently has, you can certainly try your hand at it with that Bible. If you want to see how interested your child is going to be, print off the passages on your computer so they are drawing on totally separate sheets. If they’re really getting into it, I highly recommend investing in a journaling Bible. They have lots of space for journaling, thicker pages to avoid bleed-through, and sometimes even lightly lined pages. You can see in some of the example pictures that there are wide margins. Those are journaling Bibles.
Here are a few you can check out (but feel free to poke around and see what else you can find if you’re not crazy about either of these):
And Some Cool Supplies
You can also pick up some handy-dandy kits with colored pencils, non-bleeding pens, stencils, stickers, etc. Here are a few:
A word about those Frixion erasable markers. A friend got me a set, and they rock my socks. The colors are beautiful and saturated, and they legitimately erase. So much fun!
You can certainly put together your own supplies from the craft store (head straight to the scrapbook section) or an office supply store. Just be sure you’re looking for supplies that won’t bleed through, even with thick paper.
There are also printable pages of Bible verses to color, which is a nice introduction to this concept. And it’s a good way to get your little ones in on the action!
I can’t emphasize enough that Bible journaling isn’t just for artistic kids. Remember, the point is to read the text more closely and represent it in a new way. Artistic kids are going to take to it more easily, but encourage less artistic kids to give it a try.
Want More Information and Inspiration?
Be sure to find me on Pinterest (Jen Lassos Truth) because one of my boards is Bible Journaling and Coloring Pages. There are TONS of great resources there, from page inspirations to techniques to videos, plus printable coloring pages. Have a great time Bible journaling with your kids, and if you want to post pictures of your journaling, I’d love to see what you guys do!