But recently I was pleased and excited and delighted to discover Art Journaling as a Bible study method. In the process of learning about it, I gained an expanded understanding of what I refer to as Thought Journaling, and realized that I've been journaling all along.
I am hoping to not only learn these methods, but be able to introduce others to them. As far as I'm concerned, anything that encourages someone to dig into the Word is a good thing.
Since journaling involves putting your thoughts down on a page in the form of words or pictures, the first thing you'll need is some sort of paper. A lot of people journal right in their Bibles, making notes or drawing pictures directly on the pages. Others are extremely uncomfortable with violating the sanctity of the Scriptures by writing in their Bible. I sort of fall in both camps.
If you want to work directly in your Bible, you can start with one you already own. You may already be taking sermon notes and drawing diagrams in the margins. But if you want a little more space to get your thoughts down, you may want to consider getting a Bible specifically for journaling purposes.
You don't have to get a special Bible, though. But you may want to check to see if your writing instrument will bleed through to the other side of the page. There are a lot of special pens and markers marketed just for journaling.
I got around my "should I or shouldn't I write in my Bible" issues by getting a special Bible just for journaling. That way my primary study Bible gets to stay pristine. One reason I resisted writing in my Bible was, I discovered a long time ago if I underlined a scripture that spoke to me, when I revisited it months or years later, I could never remember or regain the revelation. Journaling, however, serves as a memory aid in your studies.
If you don't want to write in your Bible, get a notebook or sketchbook to use as a companion piece for your studies. That way you can take notes, draw diagrams, doodle and etc. to your heart's content.
Okay, no one calls it "thought journaling" but myself. I'm just trying to differentiate it from "art journaling."
I'm currently reading an e-book called "Journal with Jesus" by Laurie Snyman. She refers to journaling as having a "meeting with God." It was through her book that I learned that my Bible studies were already a form of journaling. I copy out scriptures, draw arrows from one verse to another, create charts and diagrams to clarify details, and write out my thoughts on what I'm reading. I was just getting ready to do it more purposefully.
Above is a fairly typical page out of my notebook. This is part of my tithing study, and where the
"Fruit of the Matrix" posting came from. Along with writing out scriptures, which helps to set them in my spirit, I have a definition from the dictionary and a doodle because I was thinking of how children are created by and given by God.
Some of you will be far neater than I. Although for myself, journaling is an extension of the read and research method that comes naturally to me, for the most part, you can think of journaling as a form of meditating on the Word, or even devotional. You may focus on just one passage of scripture, find your spirit captured by one particular verse, and put down thought and images as they come to you. It's a great way to help clarify what you're learning.
Art Journaling can also be deeply devotional. The time it takes you to get what's in your head down on the page requires that you meditate on it every step of the way. Everyone approaches their blend of scripture and creativity in different ways. From abstract renderings of just flowing color to detailed figurative studies. From focusing entirely on one verse to attempting to convey a whole passage. Some incorporate their art right into the scripture. Others can't bear to cover any of the words up and stay in the margins.
Some journalers, especially those who use a separate notebook, explore scrapbooking. Some journalers pour their hearts into lettering that speaks to them. Others are just about pictures. Most combine both. A good site to begin to explore Art Journaling is Illustrated Faith's site.
What's important to remember is it isn't about artistic ability, it's about that "meeting with God," where you pour your soul out on the altar before Him. And in doing so, your relationship with God grows ever deeper.