Why try Bible journaling?
I have read through the Bible many, many times over the years — following various reading plans offered by different organizations. Most recently, I have been a part of a Facebook group called Bible Girls the last three years–doing a chronological reading of the Bible.
The first two years in that plan I used The One Year Chronological Bible in the New Living Translation, published by Tyndale. Because I tend to mark up the text a lot, that Bible already had a lot of underlining. So, I decided to try a journaling Bible for 2016, and in addition to underlining, I tried to artistically render verses that stood out to me.
While this takes more time than the already-demanding daily reading, I have enjoyed it. Journaling in the margins of my Journaling Bible by Crossway has had several benefits:
- Meditation: I slow down and think about each of the words from the verse I have chosen. For example, when I was sketching out the words for Psalm 61:2, I truly worshipped God as the Rock, the One Who Is and Is to Come.
- Memorization: As I’m writing out the verse each day, more of God’s Word is sinking into my memory. Often as I approach my morning’s reading, I look back and take a look at the journaled verses from the previous days. That has helped more verses slip into my long-term memory, and I’m finding that more of God’s truth comes to mind in my thinking and conversation.
- Reflection: As I’m sketching a verse, I think about its application. With Psalm 61:2 I understood for the first time that God wants to lead me to a higher place–a place of protection, a place that provides the opportunity to better see and understand the circumstances of my life, and a place that is closer to the Lord I love.
I will start in using a fresh, new Journaling Bible next year, because partway through 2016 I decided that I will give each of our grandchildren one of these journaled Bibles over the next decade. Since that decision I have focused my daily search for verses that will be important for them. That focus has created a fresh way to approach and study the Bible unlike others I have done.
I was delighted last week to hear from a former student, who wrote how Bible journaling had changed her life. I recommend it to you. You don’t have to read all the way through the Bible in a year–but I would bet you would find this approach rewarding.