How to Start Bible Journaling

I have been posting a lot recently about Bible journaling. Instagram stories, posts, blogs posts, you name it. This morning I posted one of my newest designs to Instagram and a friend simply responded with “…but how?” My friend’s response got me thinking about how one can start their own journaling in their Bible. Forget all those long videos, Instagram pages and long ‘how to’s’. Follow this guide and you will be on your way to creating a vibrant and creative journal in your Bible in no time.

Bible journaling is whatever you want it to be

For me, Bible journaling began by simply highlighting scripture in my Bible and writing my thoughts next to the passage. In fact, I did this for a number of years before it evolved into hand lettering my margins. About 6 short months ago I busted out the big guns… paints!

Before I get stuck into some ‘how to’s’ that I have found helpful over the last few months, it is important to remember that Bible journaling is whatever you want it to be. Paints, colored pencils, writing sermon notes in the margins, stickers, ball point pens, whatever! As long as you are having fun and connecting with God through the process, then keep doing that. That being said, if you want to start creating things like my own example here, read on!

How the heck do they do that?!

All you need to start is a Bible and a pen. That’s it! You don’t even need a specific journaling Bible, however the extra space in the margins is much appreciated, especially if you are someone like me who likes creating and drawing in your bible but not covering up the words.

Some extra materials you might like to use are colored pencils, stickers, paint and stamps. You can even print off images you like and use those as DIY stickers as well. A side note to this: I have recently realized Illustrated Faith has stamps for just about everything! Brush stroke effects, crosses, letters, numbers and so many darling themes and kits. If you find painting to be the super intimidating part of journaling then worry not. So many of the beautiful pages you see online are created with these stamps and kits or similar products. Using them can mean you won’t have to draw a single thing. Your local $2 store should also have many basic supplies for super cheap such as alphabet stickers, washi tape, die cut scrap-booking materials, paints, etc. There are links below to some of my fave resources for beginners. You’re welcome!

Look for inspiration but don’t get stuck on Pinterest

As someone who is creative but not a really a painter or an artist, I was stumped with where to start. Everything looked so beautiful and simple but oh so complicated at the same time. If this is you, Pinterest and Instagram is full of examples you can try. Save images that have elements of things you like; the color, the paint effect, how they have used stickers or their page layout. Use these ideas in creating your first page but don’t get stuck looking there. The reason I say this is it can be tempting to compare your work to that of others online and feel disheartened that yours is not as good. I also got stuck in a place recently where I only wanted to create something so I could post it on Instagram, and let me tell you friends, that stole the joy and worship that comes when I Bible journal. If you find yourself getting discouraged, log off. Blast some worship music and just create the things your heart wants to. This can be a little terrifying, and you might use way too much paint or make some spelling mistakes or cover the whole page in alpha stickers, but hopefully you will find the joy that comes with being creative for an audience of One!

Okay, but what about some concrete steps I can follow?

This is the hardest part about this whole post, because as you may have gathered by now, there is no right or wrong way to journal…but here we go!

  1. Find the main thing that you are inspired by/want to create?
    Did you just read a passage of scripture that you loved, or heard song lyrics you want to create in your Bible? Do you feel inspired right now to create something to do with Fall colors? or is there something God is telling you that you want to journal about?
  2. If you want to, draw some ideas on paper
    In the beginning I used to do this as it took the pressure off putting something permanent down on a page you can’t rip out. #nopressure
  3. Start with a medium (if you would like)

If I am using paint, this always goes down first. You might like to prime your page with a medium like gesso, which helps your bible page cope with the paint and ink being used. I have only just started doing this in the last week and while I like it I wouldn’t say it is necessary. I do like having it on hand if I think I will go to town with the paint (and I have pages in my bible that really could have benefitted from its use) but using it is up to you.

  1. Create
    Gather supplies that you would like to use or that relate to what you want to journal. In a recent entry of mine I wanted to use autumn colors since I am counting down the days until Fall is here in Australia. In another instance, I was feeling really encouraged by the words in Matthew 6:26 so I grabbed all my bird stickers and set about creating a cute little bird scene in my bible.
  2. Journal/write
    As I have a background in graphic design/hand lettering. almost all my Bible journaling entries involve hand lettering as the main focus. I don’t often journal my thoughts alongside the artwork. Keep this in mind if you want to include personal thoughts alongside your art and make sure to leave a space where you can fit them in. Or you can do this really cool thing with prayer cards!

I’m ready. Gimme all the resources!

This has been the most exciting part of writing this post and I really hope you find some goodies in here that inspire you. Most of what I have listed comes from Illustrated Faith but any craft store will have a trove of treasures you can use. I’ve also listed a few YouTube channels that have really good process videos and instructions on the different types of materials out there in the bible journaling world.

Helpful Youtube Videos
+ Bible Journaling for Beginners | Hello Jillsky
+ Bible Journal with NO DRAWING Whatsoever | Hello Jillsky
+ Stamping 101 | Illustrated Faith
+ Gesso Hints and Tips | Southern Couture
+ A Simple Way to Use Acrylic Paint | Southern Couture


1 comment

  • Vicki

    Great read …. Faith Journaling (as I like to call it) is just that! Journaling my faith in the Bible (I own 5) or on a piece of paper while doodling- it’s your expressive way of reading the scripture and then – if your a visual learner – you place your creativetouch to the scripture for memory and expression. I can flip thru my bible and look at a art, drawing, picture doodle and immediately know what scripture it is and I’m swiftly taken back to the day I did it — WOW THAT IS POWERFUL STUFF! and I will continue to do it and my gift to my boys … each get a bible to “see” My faith, My God, My Heart …. priceless!

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