My love for all things art propelled me from booth to fantastic booth at the local Scrapbook Expo (yes, that’s a thing).
I mingled with hundreds of artsy ladies who all shared a love for scrapbooking or card-making—dozens of booths filled with craft supplies made this annual event feel like Christmas in July.
Scrapbook paper, photo templates, spools of ribbon, rubber stamps, jewelry-making supplies stole my attention until I landed at a Christian booth with stamps about freedom and hope.
But everything changed for me when I spotted the watercolor paints.
A lady stood behind a tall table and started painting with watercolors on a white piece of cardstock.
Vibrant shades of yellow and hot pink danced on the page, and when the paint was dry, she stamped an image of a flower on top of the colors.
Exquisite, beautiful, and easy to do. I was sold.
Then I stumbled upon the Scripture journal.
I had never seen one like this before—an ESV Scripture Journal that featured just one book of the Bible, with Scripture printed on the left and room to journal on the right.
The watercolor artist flipped through the pages, showing her colorful backgrounds with images and quotes on top of them.
I wanted one.
A few months later, that same stamp company, Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps, held a virtual retreat in their Creative Worship Facebook group, and all weekend we learned different art techniques and about Scripture journaling.
In my new Scripture journal of the book of Philippians, I followed along, creating watercolor backgrounds for my thoughts about Scripture and stamping flourishes here and there.
My adventure at the Scrapbook Expo and virtual retreat became a lifestyle when I learned how to do hand lettering.
With colored markers, I found a meaningful way to capture a favorite Bible verse or an inspiring quote I read.
With special fonts, I recorded the words in my journal and embellished them with hand-drawn flourishes and flowers.Colored markers and a Scripture journal give a meaningful way to capture a favorite Bible verse or an inspiring quote I read.
Scripture Journaling is Not Just About the Colors
Having colorful pens or paints to be creative with is soothing. Creating art—even if it’s just for yourself—is fun and relieves stress.
But for me, Scripture journaling isn’t just about the art.
The art gives me a reason to slow down, really slow down, and look at the Scripture.
It gives me space to ask questions like: What do these verses mean? How do they relate to life today? What principle can I take and apply to my own life?
Hunting for the perfect principle to write in my Scripture journal gives me another reason to study my Bible.
As I take time to capture a biblical concept in my Scripture journal, I also thank God for His promises or ask Him to work a specific principle into my character.
When we take time to meditate on what a passage means, it becomes a part of who we are. We can understand God’s truth better and live it out more fully.
Scripture Journaling can give those of us who find it challenging to maintain focus during our Bible study time another way to connect with our Heavenly Father.
The creative aspect of Scripture journaling, painting, or hand lettering keeps us in the chair a bit longer, so we can ponder the promises and truths of God.
That pondering transforms us.
As we think more like God does, our hearts look more like His Son’s, and our daily steps fall into line with God’s plan and purpose for us.When we take time to meditate on what a passage of Scripture means, it becomes a part of who we are.
Let’s Practice Journaling Together
Want to try it with me? Get out some computer paper or a journal with smooth paper and two colored pens or markers.
It’s okay if you have no experience with hand lettering or Scripture journaling. We’ll create a simple but pretty page about Philippians 2:2.
“Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” – Philippians 2:2 ESV
This is what the apostle Paul wanted for the Philippian believers. To be united in how they thought and how they loved. To be of the same mind and in full accord.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every church acted this way as much as possible? If the global church practiced this? We can strive for this. Each Christian has a part in making this a reality.
Notice the four phrases in our verse:
- Same mind
- Same love
- Full accord
- One mind
These words show us that unity is the goal, and how we think and love is the way to get there.
So let’s make a list of these four phrases on our paper, and give the list a heading.
Pick one of your colored pens, and write this on your paper: Complete My Joy.
Write the words clearly or in a special way—I like to use a font that has wider-than-normal letters.
Now let’s plan how to write the list of four phrases.
Scripture journaling can be as short or long as you want. Pick one color for the first word in each phrase and the other color for the second word.
On your paper under “Complete My Joy,” write each word in the appropriate color, using the same font you used for the heading, or use different fonts.
Mix it up! Use one style for the first word in every phrase and a different style for the second word.
You can add bullet points to your list. Or draw brackets on either side of the list. You could also draw a flourish or wavy line under your list.
Add flowers around your journaling, or draw corner flourishes in the four corners around your words.
Your page is yours to dream on and be creative with. Don’t be afraid to write down your own thoughts about this verse.Scripture journaling can be as short or long as you want.
Scripture Journaling Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect
Do you like what you did? Most of the time, I do like what I’ve written and drawn.
Sometimes my “first draft” of a hand lettering page is just that—a first draft. I learned where I should have written words if they tend to bunch together, or I can see if a flourish design worked or not.
You can always do a second draft.
The main goal is to take time to meditate on God’s Word and capture its application on your paper and in your heart.
If you’re the kind that hesitates to write in books because it seems too “permanent,” practice your journaling and designs on computer paper first.
When you’re happy with the design, then you could do it again in your Scripture journal.
But more than anything, have fun.
Bible study should be anything but boring. Scripture is alive and powerful (Heb 4:12), and God wants us to meditate in it as much as possible (Josh 1:8).
We can use every kind of good resource to meditate on God’s Word—books about Scripture, small group Bible studies, Scripture memorization, and art.
Being creative unleashes a joy in our hearts that keeps us tied to Scripture in a special way and connected to the One who wrote it.Being creative unleashes a joy in our hearts that keeps us tied to Scripture in a special way and connected to the One who wrote it.
Listen and Flourish in Community
If you try some Scripture journaling, take delight in listening to God’s Spirit speak to your spirit, and write down the understanding and application you receive.
Flourish in time spent alone with God, and let His Word powerfully transform your thinking and your heart.
Then share it with someone. Either with a friend or in a Facebook group like My Artsy Tribe.
You may pique a friend’s interest and gain an art-loving buddy to try Scripture journaling with.
Then you can share what you’re discovering with each other.
The power of God’s Word and the joy of creativity can be an amazing combination in the life of a believer.The power of God’s Word and the joy of creativity can be an amazing combination in the life of a believer.
Let’s connect with God in His Word, and use creativity to write His truth on our hearts.
Katy Kauffman loves to combine art and Scripture whenever she can. As a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies, she is a Bible study author, editor, and teacher. As the head of My Artsy Tribe, she enjoys creating arts and crafts with like-minded artsy friends. Connect with her at myartsytribe.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.