How To Use Your Journaling Bible If You Can’t Draw

I have a beautiful ESV journaling Bible. It is a hardcover version and has a blank page after each Bible page for me to write or draw in. I had that Bible for two years before I had the courage to write in it. What took me so long?

I had dreams of filling it with art, with beautiful illustrations that highlighted the message and the things I was learning. I had visions of handing down this Bible to one of my children and having it become a treasured family heirloom.

  1. The most obvious one is that I can’t draw or paint.

  2. And then, I had built up my expectations so much that I felt paralyzed. I didn’t want to do anything with it because what if it wasn’t going to be perfect, and then all the generations that come after me are stuck with an ugly Bible?

Of course, I know this is ridiculous, but those were the things that were stopping me from enjoying my Bible.

Until one day, I gave myself a stern talking-to. I knew I was not going to suddenly one day turn into an amazing artist because I have no interest in practicing. And if the Bible turns out so ugly that it somehow becomes unusable, well, my children and future grandchildren can just go buy their own Bible.

I told myself, “All you have is today. Just do it already.”

And guess what? It is kind of ugly! But it is also kind of wonderful. It’s full of chicken scratching and doodles, song lyrics and prayers, questions, and quotes. Let’s be honest: it’s a bit of a scribbly mess. But every time I write in it, I grow closer to God. I dive deep into His Word and come out knowing Him more. So I hope you’ll believe me when I say that I no longer care about what it looks like. I care about what it means.

Do you want to use your journaling Bible but feel like you won’t measure up against all those beautiful Pinterest-worthy pages? Here are some ways you can use your journaling Bible if you can’t draw: Because not studying your Bible for fear of ruining it is much, much sadder than ending up with a scribbly mess!

Write summaries.

I love going through my Bible and writing short summaries of each chapter. Writing summaries has always helped me learn, and I find it a great way of retaining information.

Write out your prayers.

After reading a piece of scripture, ask God what you can learn from it, what it means, and how you can apply it to your own life. Ask God to open your eyes to what He is saying. And please don’t worry about your prayers being beautifully worded. Let it be an honest conversation between you and your Creator without thinking about making it “good enough”.

Doodle.

I like doodling. It helps me remember what I read and understand what is going on. You don’t have to be an artist to draw. I just doodled my way through the Creation story. Are my pictures of little trees and fish worthy of a museum (or even Pinterest, for that matter)? No. Not at all. But they were fun to draw, brought the story to life, and helped me look at the story of creation in a fresh way.

Paraphrase.

Is there a specific verse that stands out to you? Rewrite it in your own words. This will help you to both understand and remember what you have been reading.

S.O.A.P

Use the S.O.A.P. method to work through a book of the Bible, and write down each of the steps as you do them. A quick reminder:

S-Scripture. What did you read, and which part stood out to you?

O-Observe. Write down what you read, what God is saying, and what it means.

A-Application. How can you apply what you read to your life?

P-Prayer. Pray about what you learned and ask God to open your eyes to His truth.

There are so many ways to use a journaling Bible. The key is to use it! Pray before you get started, ask God to show you what He wants you to learn, ask Him to reveal Himself to you. These are the things that matter most. Much more than what the end result looks like.

If you end up with an “ugly” Bible that brought you into a deeper relationship with God, then guess what? You did it right.


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