So many beautiful Bible journaling images are floating around the world wide web and likely finding their way onto one of your screens daily. Your Pinterest wall alone probably shows an abundance of Bible journal pages. If you are anything like me, they make you at least pause and admire the Word of God written out beautifully, and you wish you could just stop and make your own art from Scripture.
Maybe another side of you is itching to put all that drawing business aside and fill the margins of your Bible with notes and insight instead, as you study each passage in depth and dig deep. Oh, you know I am all about that!
Which is a better use of my time - Bible journaling or in-depth study? What will bring me closer to God? Is there a right or wrong here?
We should definitely discuss that, friend! I have a question in return for you: Why do you read the Bible? What are you hoping to accomplish with your devotional time?
Personally, I want to connect with God daily, worship and praise Him, learn from Him and listen to Him, and lay my concerns at His feet. I never want to stop learning new things about God and being challenged to grow in my faith walk.
The Benefits of Bible Journaling
I've shared with you how God has been convicting me of my need to take rest breaks to allow Him to fill my cup. In response, I started a little Bible journaling experiment... or rather, I bought a coloring book because I'm not artsy. You've been seeing the results in my "Meditate on Truth" series over the last month.
- Bible journaling or Bible verse coloring books allow you to take a mental break. I don't mean that you would check your brains at the door during this exercise. Rather, it's not hard mental work like studying. I often opt for this when in-depth Bible study feels to much like an item on my to-do list.
- Bible journaling can be less intimidating than in-depth Bible study, so it could be a great place to start. (Again, the intimating factor may be your lack of artistic abilities, if you are like me, but that's quickly solved with the "Bible verse coloring book" solution.)
- When you are Bible journaling or coloring a verse, your focus is completely on your connection with God. It's a tool to meditate on a verse of Scripture (Psalm 1:1-3) and allow it to sink in, prompt conversation with God, and give your hands something to do as you listen to God's reply.
The Benefits of In-depth Bible Study
To truly know and understand God, we need to study His Word in-depth. Quick glances can cause us to take verses out of context and miss the point entirely. That's no good! We want to learn the truth about God and His will for us.
- You are confident that you truly understand what a Bible passage is saying. In-depth study considers every phrase, every question, interpretation, and application. You read the passage within its immediate context and placed it in the Bible's storyline. You've read it for all its worth.
- The Holy Spirit is working while you are working. Have you ever noticed that when you are studying Scripture in-depth, your spirit cried out, "Yes! This truth about God is so refreshing." or, "Man or man, do I have to work on that. Help me, Jesus!" When you choose in-depth Bible study, you are not deciding against connection with God. You are deepening it.
- You keep on learning more and more about God and His will for you. The more you study, the better your understanding will be of the Bible, of God's nature, and of human nature. We are lifelong students of God's Word!
Finding a Balance
I LOVED my month of Bible verse coloring because it launched me into this new habit of resting in God's arms daily, laying my woes at His feet, worshipping Him, and allowing Him to refresh my soul.
Admittedly, I used to look down on Bible journaling a little. It didn't seem to be the "real deal" or even a fad that kept women from really digging deep into God's Word. In reality, it helped me connect with God on a different level, so I encourage you to give it a try.
On the flipside, I really don't want it to replace your in-depth Bible study. That's important! We have so much to learn from Scripture and if we merely color without studying the passage also, we are prone to miss out on so much goodness and fall prey to so much misinterpretation!
I highly recommend regularly studying the Bible in-depth. If you are not sure how, you can find tons of resources on this page to get you started. Look for the "Mini Tip Motivation" blog posts especially or watch me at work in the "In the Word" category.
You can also sign up to download this free ebook: "10 Steps to Approaching the Bible with Confidence." It's full of tips to get you started and then deepen your time in God's Word step by step.
In-depth Bible study is key to growing in our faith. Friends, we need that strong foundation of understanding Scripture to truly live in a way that honors God. We want to keep growing in knowledge of Him.
When you've studied a passage and enjoy Bible journaling in addition or on a "day-off", I highly encourage you to use this method as a tool to deepen that connection with God. Pray as you sketch and color, meditate on what you've been studying.
In-depth Bible study and Bible journaling should complement each other, not compete against each other.
So tell me, how have you found a balance between the two? I'd love to read about it in the comments below.
Now, with a new appetite for connecting with God over His Word, I wish you a Scripture-confident week. Open that Bible and learn, connect, worship!