Bible Journaling Made Simple: An Art-Filled Journey for Creative Worship

Bible Journaling Made Simple: An Art-Filled Journey for Creative Worship

by Sandy Allnock


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Draw closer to God and creatively unlock more of the Good Book!

Your relationship with God is unique. Shouldn't your Bible reflect and celebrate that bond? In this introduction to Bible journaling, you'll discover meaningful ways to combine art, heart and scripture—from backgrounds to hand-lettered verses to beautiful full-page drawings. No expensive supplies or artistic skills are required...only a desire to honor and enhance your spiritual life.

To guide your creative worship experience, this book provides:

   • Prompts to engage you with the text, then visually interpret Scripture in words and pictures
   • Basic techniques for working with colored pencils, watercolor pencils and watercolor paints
   • 21 step-by-step tutorials for drawing trees, flowers, skies, mountains, maps, water, light and other popular themes
   • Tons of inspirational page samples and suggested verses to illustrate
   • Downloadable icons and technique videos available on the author's website

Whether you're new to Bible journaling or looking for fresh ideas, this book will lead you on a rewarding spiritual journey. Success is not measured in the complexity or polish of the art, but in a deeper, more personal connection with God.

"Our lives are busy, and we leave a trail of things-we-should-remember on the ground behind us. Instead, scoop them up and journal them. Preserve the lessons vital to our growth as Christians." ~page 12

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440353338
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/23/2018
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 393,534
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt


Creative Worship

Preparing the Heart for Bible Journaling


I waited all my life for a heart transplant.

Not a physical one; my ticker is just fine. But for decades I begged the Lord to give me a clean heart. A pure heart. A heart of flesh, not stone, that craves the Word of God. My time spent reading the Bible had always felt more like a duty than the act of a child who adores her heavenly Father's teachings. A spiritual mentor assured me that a regular study discipline would lead to a hunger for the Word. But ... it didn't.

Years of trying different reading plans kept failing; I just couldn't stick with them. I was embarrassed and felt like a failure as a Christian. What was wrong with me?

Then I found the creative worship process of Bible journaling.

I now hear God in different ways than before — through a visual experience of Scripture. Words that I had never noticed jump off the page, and images and color come vividly to mind. I was never able to memorize verses or their locations before, but once I've illustrated a verse, I never forget it.

My time with Scripture is now a treasure in my day, and my soft heart loves every minute of it.

Psalm 51:10

Colored pencil

Bible journaling need not be serious all the time. Add a little humor to a page; whimsy can make a verse memorable!

* Web content available

The Secret of Bible Journaling

Bible journaling is gaining worldwide interest, in part because we are attracted to the beauty and truth of art. Images conjure emotions and thoughts in ways that are impactful and memorable. As children of the Creator, we have an innate desire to create, too. If we lose ourselves in just making pretty things, however, we miss the real blessing of Bible journaling.

The secret of this process is that it's not about the art.

Certainly, art is a part of it, whether in fancy drawings or simple color applications. But Bible journaling only becomes a creative worship experience when the focus is primarily on the relationship with our Lord. Capture a moment of God's tender grace that took your breath away. Document a truth from a sermon that opened your eyes. Praise Him by journaling what honoring God looks like to you. Create art that brings these things to your mind. Our lives are busy, and we leave a trail of things we should remember on the ground behind us. Instead, scoop them up and journal them. Preserve the lessons vital to our growth as Christians.

When we set aside how well we're drawing and, instead, remember that we're chronicling our lives with God so we can grasp His love more deeply, Bible journaling transforms our lives with new thinking and actions.

As we move forward on this journey, we'll definitely learn art techniques, but more than that, we'll learn more about Jesus.

Romans 8:28-30

Watercolor paints

Bible journaling doesn't require drawing skills — a beautiful background is enough to highlight a verse! The background shown here is a variation of the plaid demonstration on page 48. This book contains many ideas for simple images and backgrounds that will attract the eye while flipping through pages of a Bible, constantly bringing up God's goodness.

Develop a Prayerful Process

Every relationship with Jesus is unique. So is the process of Bible journaling! Schedules, spiritual disciplines and a myriad of personal factors lead to all kinds of study based on reading plans, word studies, sermon notes, song lyrics and online devotionals. Whatever you're studying, include these basic elements:


Make a habit of your creative worship time. Plan a time each day or each week for Bible journaling, or create a group with others.


By the power of the Holy Spirit, ask God for a soft heart, open ears and the humility to receive truth.


Follow any reading plan, devotional book, or word or topical study and jot down words, phrases or ideas that jump out to you.


Meditate on one or two chosen phrases throughout the day. Watch for the Lord to draw your attention to deeper understanding and any visual ideas.


Pray before creating and journal your reasons for choosing the image or colors to help you recall God's inspiration.


Show your creation to a friend or family member, or post a photo online and encourage others to worship God creatively, too.

I begin my day with prayer and study in the morning. I carry a note with my verse for the day, seeking God's inspiration for visual interpretation, then I create in the evening. At times, the day is filled with unexpected confirmations of what was on that note. Other days, the blessing is time with the Lord — with no creation at all. I don't beat myself up if I'm not inspired to create, but I celebrate that I heard God that day!

What Is God Saying?

Meditation is an extended waiting period, anticipating God's inspiration. Some days, we may stare endlessly at words on a page, not grasping their meaning. What is God telling me? How do I come up with a visual about the verse? Meditating on a verse with some questions in mind may help a nugget bubble up as God speaks.

Any one of these categories would also make an excellent series to journal. For instance, do a study on God's character, and create a series of pages about ideas like holiness, faithfulness and love.

Psalm 119:164

Watercolor pencil

Sometimes, a whole chapter inspires an idea — like this book within a book. I created the outer frame with dark colors to allow the white gel pen journaling to show up.

* Web content available

Overcoming Fear

God is already aware of your abilities and your fears, but even more, He knows the possibilities He has placed within you. The Lord knows how this Bible journaling adventure will improve your relationship, and He'll walk beside you every step of the way.

Perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18). Since God and His love are at the heart of Bible journaling, why do we become afraid? Purchasing a new Bible just for journaling is often one big step that takes away the fear of ruining the book you've come to love over a lifetime. But fresh new pages can be daunting. Here are a few tips to help you over that hurdle:


For those not used to note-taking or highlighting in the Bible, making that first mark can feel daunting. Try creating on the unimportant pages first: the introduction, the title page or the index.


This book is written with non-artists in mind. We'll start by creating backgrounds, which do not require an ability to draw. If your confidence rises, the instruction will help you grow your art skills with simple images. But remember that it's perfectly okay to fill your Bible with simple backgrounds, too.


Your handwriting is your handwriting — rejoice in it! The journaling is about your relationship with God and should be chronicled in your own style. Time and practice will help you improve; I've filled sketchbooks with practice verses to increase my own confidence.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Colored pencil

Colorful signage break up the verse into critical phrases and add other memorable quotes on the topic.

Ephesians 4:32

Colored pencil

A drawing can be simple stick figures. What it means is more important than how it looks!

Comfort Zones

Not all Bible journaling has to be created in a Bible. Comfort level should be assessed by each journaler based on personal desires, doctrinal teachings and family traditions. Most journalers purchase a separate journal or Bible just for their art; see Selecting a Journaling Bible on page 30 for more information on the different types available.

Bible journaling is a way for people of all personalities, styles and comfort levels to enjoy creative worship. Some people even utilize multiple journaling methods depending on mood, topic or season of life.

This book focuses on styles, mediums and techniques that

1. permit text to remain visible through applied color;

2. limit or eliminate bleed-through;

3. do not require page prep, such as gesso;

4. promote Bible journaling as an inexpensive venture.


Stamping and pen with watercolor paints


Purchased or handmade journals — even old hymnals — are great options for Bible journaling. Test various mediums since papers vary widely.

Psalm 48

Colored pencil


Several publishers off er Bibles with up to 500 pieces of printed art to color and paint in the sidebars of the pages.

1 Peter 1:22

Watercolor paints


It's common to see art created in the standard 2" (5cm) columns of journaling Bibles, with drawings in the margins away from the printed text.

* Web content available

Ephesians 1:3–14

Watercolor paints

Page Backgrounds

Full page transparent backgrounds integrate the printed text, and the Scripture remains readable through the color.

* Web content available

Psalm 98:4


Covering Pages

Adventurous Bible journalers take advantage of having a special Bible for their art by covering everything except a focal verse.

Psalm 127:5

Mixed media


Dimensional items can be added to a Bible, including photos of family being prayed for, sentimental prayer cards and other embellishments.

Fruit of the Spirit

During the writing of this book, "Fruit of the Spirit" was the focus of my studies. Watch for chapter themes, page samples and devotionals that address each of the fruits!

"How can I be sure I have Jesus inside me?"

The question shouldn't have surprised me. That day I was a panelist at an event held at our local women's prison. The incarcerated women had been told they could write down any question about Christianity, and we'd do our best to answer.

I took a deep breath and silently prayed. I stood far outside my comfort zone, but I led my first-ever out-loud prayer, inviting attendees to pray after me to receive Christ and be filled with the Holy Spirit. It was a tender moment.

"If you gave your life to Jesus just now or at another time," I said, "you can trust 100 percent that He loves you and lives in your heart — and He wants to make you just like Him."

A hand went up. "How can I be like Him?" I read to her from Galatians 5:22:

But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

"These fruit are Christ-like traits," I continued. "Look for them to grow in your behavior, thoughts and attitudes, and nurture each one."

As I sat down, I silently thanked God for His help. These were answers from a much smarter person than I — but Jesus had just spoken, and I knew it.

Galatians 5:22

Colored pencil

The Fruit of the Spirit can be illustrated in any number of ways. Here a graphic pencil drawing labels fruit slices with the spiritual titles.

* Web content available

Galatians 5:22

Watercolor pencil

A full-page drawing in watercolor pencil, with color moved using the baby wipe method (see Watercolor Pencil Tips on page 36), gives this page an artistic feel.

Minitutorial: Keep an Idea Log

Over time, build your own bank of ideas to use when inspiration strikes you. These don't need to be complete ideas. Just jot down partial thoughts that catch your notice so you can come back to them later. You can keep your idea log as a text list or as a notebook full of doodles. Items in my lists include:

1. Full or partial verses for journaling

2. Song lyrics that catch my attention

3. Phrases from sermons

4. Quotes from books

You may also wish to keep a list of images to explore in your journaling. Consider items like hot air balloons, sheep, a suitcase — simple-shaped items that might work with a verse someday.

How to Use This Book for Independent Study


Develop a schedule that fits your own commitment for how often you'd like to create. Will you study in the morning and create in the evening, or vice versa? Are you aiming for one page per day? Per week? Set a calendar reminder on your phone to keep you on track.


The coming chapter discusses supplies. Read through each section and decide what suits you. Gather your chosen supplies into a basket or box to have handy when it's time to create. You may wish to pick up a journal to get started while awaiting the order of your journaling Bible.


The lessons in this book build on one another, so follow them chapter by chapter.

Step-by-step tutorials begin in Chapter 3, with three per chapter — one in each of the three suggested mediums. Each tutorial can be adapted for the other mediums, too. See the tips included for each technique.


Take your journaling Bible to church with you and share with others. You'll encourage others by sharing what God has shown you. You may even discover friends who would enjoy getting together to create in their Bibles, too.

Bible Journaling with Groups

Pray with interested friends first, then choose a date and location to begin your group meetings. You could meet weekly or twice a month, at church or at someone's home. Order a copy of this book and a pack of colored pencils for each member. Alternatively, ask each person to purchase the book.

Assign Chapters 1 and 2 for reading prior to the first meeting, and leave enough time for members to purchase a journaling Bible and art supplies.


Open in prayer, then share your thoughts and excitement with the group as encouragement. Ask everyone to introduce themselves:

• What is your Bible journaling or art experience? (None is okay!)

• What is your favorite Scripture verse?

• What encouragement did you receive from Chapters 1 and 2?

Show one or two of your own pages and explain what your thinking was behind them. Share the results of any medium test you completed.

To "baptize" members' new journaling Bibles, have each person color the very first page in the Bible — the one with only the title printed — to get a feel for working on the thin paper. Doodling is fine at this point. This exercise is simply about making a mark in the book, which can be nerve-wracking!

Encourage questions and relay that you may not know the answers yet, but you'll all learn together. Assign Chapter 3 to study for the next session. Each person should attempt one of the techniques with any verse they choose by the next meeting.

Paper Hearts

Provide some cut-out hearts for everyone to trace if they're stumped about what to create! These can be purchased or cut by folding a piece of cardstock in half and cutting half a heart with scissors.


Opening: Join together in prayer.

Sharing (15 minutes): Allow group members to share their work and what it means — what God said to them, how the page was created and what they learned from it. In a large group, ask only a few to share and take turns each week so everyone participates.

Learning (15 minutes): Take turns giving a demonstration from the past week's lesson. It can be an exact representation of a tutorial in this book or an adaptation. It can also be a small portion of a page, in the interest of time.

Creating (1 hour): Next, it's time for everyone to create! Members can use another tutorial from the chapter or a technique seen from another group member. If discussion lags, suggest each table discuss the What's Your Story? questions at the start of each chapter.

For next week: Assign the next chapter, and ask everyone to create a page based on one of the tutorials.

Closing: Close in prayer.


Excerpted from "Bible Journaling Made Simple"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Sandy Allnock.
Excerpted by permission of F+W Media, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

How to Use This Book, 6,
Introduction, 8,
1 | Creative Worship: Preparing the Heart for Bible Journaling, 10,
2 | Preparing for the Journey: Recommended Supplies and Tools, 28,
3 | Patterns of Kindness: Background Patterns, 44,
4 | The Colors of Love: Choosing and Using Color in Bible Journaling, 56,
5 | God of Heaven and Earth: Drawing Land, Sky and Sea, 68,
6 | Growing in Christ: Simple Trees, Flowers and Plants, 80,
7 | Walking With God: Mountains, Maps and Trails, 92,
8 | Engulfed in Christ: Drawing Water, 104,
9 | Burning Bright: Light and Fire, 116,
10 | Always Keep Growing: Advanced Applications, 128,
Index, 140,
About the Author, 142,
Acknowledgments, 143,
Dedication, 143,

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