I homeschool my 4 amazing children and I would like share a few tips and tricks on how we incorporate bible journaling into our lives. My oldest is 13 and my youngest is 5 and we all started bible journaling 3 years ago (ages 3-11). At first my kids used inexpensive bibles they had received from church at different events. They would just come and sit down next to me and color, paint and add stickers to their pages. As birthdays and Christmas rolled around they each asked for a specific journaling bible, matching their personalities of course!
My firstborn and only son is a lot like me. We are very analytical and tend to use words more then pictures in our journaling. He requested a NKJV journaling bible with nothing in the margins but lines. He does not journal as much as the girls but does use this as his reading bible and will highlight and make notes in the margin as he reads his bible from cover to cover each year. His artistic journaling tends to just be big splashes of bold colors and a key point that he either hand letters or uses alpha stickers for.
My oldest daughter liked the Inspire Bible it was the perfect shade of teal and she loves the pretty design down the sides. She is my most artistic child and has been taking fine art classes for 7 years. She quickly filled up this Bible and requested a Interleaved version for her next birthday. She had come to the conclusion she didn’t care for other artwork in her bible and wanted more blank pages to create beautiful drawings and paintings. She tends to use very little wording but instead create very colorful and detailed drawings with artist grade color pencils or watercolors.
Our middle daughter is all about pretty purple things. We chose the HCSB Illustrator’s Bible for this very reason. It has beautiful line drawings that she enjoys coloring in, and they are faint enough that if she wants to do something over top of it then she will. For Christmas she got a new Inspired Praise Bible, again purple and she is in love. I have to say the vellum insert pages are really pretty. She loves to use Pitt Pens and cut outs. I love the Print and Pray shop for this reason, I can re-print as many as I need! She is also a huge fan of Washi Tape. Since she is still young, she doesn’t read or write in her bible much so she doesn’t care about covering words and is extremely free in her journaling. I actually love this aspect so much! When we do journaling together I will give a scripture and help her find the right page and she still is able to journal something meaningful to her based on what we discussed.
The youngest is our fierce and spirited child. She is so passionate and loves with a great intensity. I chose a pink bible for her, something bold and bright and a different color from everyone else so she could easily spot it. It is in KJV but since she is not reading yet I didn’t worry about the translation being something easy for her to understand. The line drawings in this bible are dark so it is easy for her to see. She will use whatever medium I allow her to use and often commentates on her entire process like I do when I am recording. She makes me laugh! She also loves the cut outs so she practices her cutting skills at the same time. She knows there is no wrong way to do art and will stick pages together, saturate pages with water color and color Jesus green because “He died on the cross for us to give us life and things that grow are green.” She is perfectly imperfect in her artistic expression of her young faith and loves being included. After she filled up this bible she got a NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls to continue journaling her faith.
I had someone in a class I taught tell me that we should be teaching this to children in a vacation bible school (VBS) setting, not at a women’s event. The thing is, kids don’t need to be taught how to be artistic, free and colorful in the pages of their bibles. They just need to be told it is ok, that this is for you to draw pictures, write stories and be with Jesus. It really is that simple. My kids didn’t go around and start painting and coloring in every book in our home, they know that their bible was theirs, it was special and they could do with it as they wished. They know from art classes that there is no mistakes in art, just happy accidents and so they just roll with whatever comes.
From a mother’s heart, it fills me with great joy to see my kids digging deep into the Word. Discussing deep truths and principles with me and my husband, with their siblings, with Sunday school teachers, Grandma, Papa and Pops. (Their great-grandfather!) They even discussed scripture with our pastor as they helped set up chairs in our sanctuary after VBS this last summer. Is this all because I let them color in their bibles? I don’t think so, but they do know that Jesus wants to play with them, that He enjoys color, fun and art. They can easily picture a Heavenly Father, like their own amazing dad, picking them up and coloring alongside them and sharing beautiful stories about love and faith.
I think when it comes to bible journaling, we all need to be MORE like children. Less caught up in the perfection, the legalism and just be free to color with our Dad and let him tell us a story. Let Jesus speak to you as you paint along side those red letters and let us all be transformed by this renewing of our minds.