A movement of holy creativity erupted a few years ago when a group of women began blogging, posting, and sharing the art they had created in the margins of their Bibles. Bible art journaling has since exploded over the past couple of years. It seems like a revolutionary Bible study, but creating with Jesus is not a new thing. David spent hours composing eloquent songs to his King. In Exodus, God precisely laid out the design for the Ark of the Covenant to Moses, down to the colors of the thread on the curtains. At the beginning of time the Lord breathed stars, color, flowers, mountains, everything into existence. Our God is the author of art, and He invites us to create for His greater glory.
I started Bible journaling as a way to connect with Jesus in a deeper way. Since embarking on this art adventure in January of 2015, I’ve found myself more in love with God’s word than ever before and more in tune to the story of God. I’ve learned a few lessons along the way, and I’m going to share some things that I wish I would have known before starting!
A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.
Create with Intention
So you have this Bible dauntingly full of empty margins…now what? It’s so easy just to grab ALL the art supplies and get to work on your favorite verse. (That’s what I did) While that’s okay to do, looking back I wish I would have started out a bit more intentionally. If I had the chance, I would’ve begun by setting some expectations and seeking God’s promises.
Set expectations for how your journaling is going to go. Here’s an example of mine…
My Bible won’t be perfect…but that is okay. I am beginning this endeavor not to create beauty between the pages of God’s word, but to strive for a beautifully intimate relationship with my Creator. I am beginning this journey to experience His presence in a deeper way. These pages are not to impress anyone or show off my art skills, they are just for Jesus. These pages are for freedom and adventure; fear is not allowed. My expectations for my art are low, but my expectations for my God are HIGH!
Seek out the promises of God. Before you watercolor John 3:16 to your heart’s content, meet with God and ask what He wants to teach you through art journaling.
- Father, what do you want to speak to me?
- What lies am I believing that are hindering me from fully immersing myself in Your word?
- Are there any pictures, phrases or symbols that You are giving me that you want me to illustrate?
He will reveal things to you. Hebrews 4:12 states that God’s word is alive and active; no matter how many times you read it, you will gain new insights.
How can a person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you. Don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
Create with Grace
These words that you’re about to read aren’t fun (trust me) but they’re necessary…You. Will. Mess. Up. Even if you keep a mountain of pink erasers next to you or solely use stencils and stickers, there will be mistakes in your Bible. Mine is full of them! Gracing the pages of my Bible are ink spills, misspellings, rips…you name it, it’s in there. What I’ve discovered is: THAT’S OKAY! There’s something paradoxically beautiful that we can learn more about our Father by creating smudged, smeared, mistake filled works of art between the pages of His perfect word. He is constantly redeeming us to look more like Him; He makes our messy lives beautiful. God does not require perfection. I know I am often guilty of demanding of myself a standard of perfection that Christ has never demanded of me. God is not seeking to gain anything from your art. He’s simply after your heart. Keep up your imperfect creations, because He sees them as stunning masterpieces. And so what if your pen bleeds through the pages! Jesus bled for you!
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
//2 CORINTHIANS 12:9//
Create with Depth
You’ve probably seen pictures of Bible pages covered in every art medium imaginable. There are so many photos out there of stunning Bible art, but it’s easy to see only the visible beauty. If you solely seek the loveliness of color, beauty of letters, or variety of options, you’ll miss the oh-so-great reward of digging deep into His living Word. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some cute washi tape, but it’s so much more fulfilling to stick to HIS truth. Don’t let the art part take away from the heart part. The goal of this is to know Him more and therefore change who you are. Investing in your relationship with Him is investing in eternity. When you create with the Creator of color, beauty and loveliness and He will speak deeply to you.
God, your thoughts are precious to me. They are so many! If I could count them they would be more than all the grains of sand. When I wake up, I am still with you.
Create with Confidence
In the past few months Bible journaling has become pretty popular. This is a huge praise! I love that the world is coming alive with ways to create with Jesus. On the flip side, this growing trend has some shortcomings. Your super artsy friends may be posting pictures of their adorable holy doodles, possibly planting a thought in your mind that “you’re not creative enough to do that.” First of all, that is a LIE from satan. You are a child made in the image of the Creator Himself. You were born creative! Secondly, your art is between you and Him. No one has to see it if you aren’t led to share it. Confidently go forth believing the promise that He will reveal things far beyond what you can ask or imagine!
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!
Create with Individuality
God isn’t just showing unique things to your crafty friends. He will lay things on your heart that will cause you to create equally stunning works of art! Don’t sacrifice the depth that He is offering for a copy and paste mentality. When I started this project, my goal was to only seek inspiration from the word of God. Though there are many blogs and social media accounts dedicated to Bible Art Journaling, but I didn’t want to lose what God is speaking by imitating their studies. He created you for a one-of-a-kind intimacy with Him. It’s okay to seek inspiration, but remember that your works of art hold a unique beauty that is precious in the eyes of God.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
//PSALM 139:14//The Bible is God’s love letter to you. It is alive and active; constantly revealing the mysteries of our Holy Father. It is a consistent tale of God’s plan to redeem humanity. It is a guide to walk in a manner worthy of your calling. It imparts truth to combat worldly lies and false doctrines. It is your gift to deeply know and fear the one True God. He’s after your heart.
The Heart-Worn Bible
The Bible wore her imprint, its cover soft from use,
Its pages rubbed and wrinkled, the binding coming loose.
And even if this Christian and her Bible were apart
She still would have it with her, hidden in her heart.
// GAIL BURTON PURATH //