A Note from Chris Adams: Recently, my daughter Alycia began sharing photos of how she includes her beautiful artistic abilities into her biblical note taking. I am constantly amazed at these creations since I am SO not artistically creative at all! Today’s article is by another Christian artist, Shara Willming, who will share how she began her artistic journaling and how you as a leader can wake up this talent in your own women’s groups to help nail down the principals in Scripture God is teaching them.
Anything that causes women to get into The Word for Bible engagement is something that turns my head. Bible journaling is such a head turner right now and as a women’s ministry leader, I don’t want to miss the moment. Actually, I have embraced this new trend with every spare pen, sticker, and colored pencil I own. It is such a blast!
A year ago, I started following a few gals on Pinterest who were doing more than just taking a Bible verse and drawing it on art paper. Many of these women, were actually putting art work in the pages of their own Bibles! These sweet women were coloring, doodling and diagramming Scripture passages that not only illustrated a verse but added great personal commentary. Some of it is very deep and personal.
In my opinion as a Women’s Ministry Leader and fellow Bible Journaler, the draw to this craft, is that it causes the creator to slow down and seek out the Holy Spirit’s voice in the passage. In doing this, it is allowing the artist to have license to add to the page, never to change the text, but add to her unique notation to what it says to her. So many of our daily activities are based upon sudden decision making and hurried notations. This discipline of journaling within the pages of the Bible is different. The student of the page can’t just begin to write or draw without letting the written Word process in her heart. It just won’t work.
As I follow women on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, I am seeing them take their Sunday morning Bible teaching from their pastors’ and rewrite them in the margins of their Bibles. Diagraming concepts and adding illustrations. That pastor’s sermon just went from a Sunday morning outpouring into the forever pages of a personal Bible.
A few tips and notations about this craft. You have to have a Bible with wide margins to make the best impact. Most women are finding a specific “Journaling Bible” to use, and I will tell you that LifeWay and other online stores have a lot to choose from. Again, this is pointing to how big this is becoming as a viable industry for creatives. For example, there’s a brand new HCSB Journaling Bible with 1.75 inches of margin.
You also will need pens that will not bleed through the paper. I can only recommend Pigma Micron Pens. They come with different pen widths that allow you to really get a lot of words on a page. These are archival ink and will not fade or seep through your papers. Several colors are created by this company and are very useful as the you interact with the passage.
Artistic talent at all levels is still talent and God is pleased with our efforts as we spend time in His Word. Don’t judge your artwork or pages against others. Take time to love your creation because you worked on it prayerfully with the Lord. That time is never wasted and should never be measured up against another’s work. Praying for insight and engagement is the first step in the journaler’s time with the Bible. The Holy Spirit will guide you if you are willing to listen and create. It is a lot of fun to interact with the Bible in this way.
At my home church, we are hosting a “Journal-A-Doodle class,” where the purpose and techniques of this craft can be guided. It isn’t something that all the women will want to do, but it is a big hit for a number of gals in our congregation. I love being able to offer a fresh approach to events we put on the church’s calendar and this event for Bible journaling certainly has hit the mark. We just put it on the calendar, and women are crying because it is in October instead of September. Wow!
Here are a couple examples of what I am describing from my Bible journaling journey:
While reading Psalm 70 one day, I saw a pattern of how to pray when you are wounded. I added color to note the steps and a plan emerged. No great artistic talent here just an eye to see where the Lord revealed a plan through David. This is Bible Diagramming.
By adding artwork and personal commentary to Proverbs 15:23, I found a deeper connection with the word “timely.” As I prayed, the Lord guided my journaling to the places I can find the words that I offer to others as caring words.
Are women in your ministry digging into Scripture through Bible journaling? We’d love to hear about it!
Shara Willming served for 12 years as the Women’s Ministry Leader at First Christian Church in Washington MO. She has been married for over a quarter of a century to her husband and they have 3 children, 1 daughter-in-law, and are mildly content with two grandpuppies. Shara also is a Bible Literacy Advocate and Coach who helps regular every day Christ followers develop Bible Engagement strategies and intentional appointments to connect with God and Scripture. She writes a blog at sharawillming.com that encourages daily Bible reading and teaches a Bible Journaling classes called Journal-A-Doodle.