Delve Deeper into God’s Word with Scripture Journaling
Journaling helps you fully understand and remember God’s promises to you in Scripture
This is the second in a five-part series sharing creative ways to engage with God’s Word. Using practices from The Abide Bible, these blogs will guide you in slowing down and letting Scripture refresh your heart. Today, you’ll learn how you can engage with the Bible by journaling Scripture from Dr. Phil Collins, who serves as the general editor for The Abide Bible.
But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean.
Luke 2:19 NET
I’m a chronic note-taker.
When my wife asks me to pick up groceries on my way home from work, I jot down a list. When my friend gives me advice on how to fix my leaking sink, I write down step-by-step instructions. My doctor has come to expect that I’ll take notes during my yearly checkup. And my colleagues can testify to the numerous notes I take during meetings.
Over the years, I’ve learned that this seemingly mundane habit does more than help me remember important information. By writing things down, I can catch important messages and reflect on what I’ve been told.
I’ve learned to put my note-taking habit to good use when I engage with the Bible, which contains messages directly from God to us! It’s through Scripture that we learn about God, his saving work through Christ, and his indwelling Holy Spirit—all of which result in our learning about who we are and how we should live. Journaling Scripture—the process of writing about what I read in the Bible—helps me remember what God has said, clarify my understanding of his message, and feel God’s presence more deeply as I absorb the good news of his Word.
This creative way of delving deeper into Scripture is something you can use to enrich your personal time with your heavenly Father.
Journaling Scripture Helps You Catch Important Messages from God
As we engage with God’s Word, we have an opportunity to pause and meditate on the words we read.
Seventeenth-century pastor Thomas Manton called meditation a middle ground between reading the Bible and prayer. The Bible feeds our meditation and then our meditation feeds our prayers. In Manton’s view, reading or hearing the Bible without reflecting on it is unfruitful. It’s like trying to carry sand in a bag with holes—when we don’t focus on catching important messages in Scripture, our hearts and minds retain very little. Instead, Manton calls us to take in the Bible, digest it by meditation, and respond by letting God’s Word infuse our prayers.
Journaling Scripture is a conversation between you and God. It’s a way to listen, to ask questions, to clarify what you’re hearing, to commit to what you’ve been told, and to be open and honest in your relationship with God, which deepens your affections toward him.
Like Mary in Luke 2:19, journaling can help you ponder God’s message and treasure it in your heart.
Scripture Journaling for Beginners
Journaling Scripture can look different for everyone. The goal is not to follow a strict pattern but to express yourself, seek clarity, explore themes and stories, and—most importantly—experience growth in your relationship with God. You can experiment with a few different Scripture journaling methods to find out which ones work for you. Grab a pen and paper and try one of these journaling methods!
Write Down Verses That Stand Out to You
After you read a passage, write down the verses that stand out to you or a truth you noticed in your reading. Use these notes to reflect on what you could learn from this passage.
Write Down Responses to God
Respond to Scripture by writing down something you learned about God. You can also express yourself to God by journaling a prayer in response to the passage. This could be a prayer of praise; a prayer for yourself or someone in your life; a prayer of confession or repentance; or a prayer that God would help you live out his Word.
Write Down Practical Applications for Your Life
In response to Scripture, write down action steps that can help you live out the passage you read. You can also write down questions to discuss with a pastor, friend, or family member.
In addition to these methods, you can find inspiration for creative ways to journal Scripture on websites like Pinterest. Examples include adding drawings to your journaling pages or creating a scrapbook page that reminds you of certain themes in Scripture. Because so many people find journaling Scripture to be spiritually valuable, you’ll have no problem discovering helpful tools like journaling Bibles, blogs, and journaling supplies. The number of resources is truly amazing!
Helpful Tips for Practicing Scripture Journaling
If you’re new to Scripture journaling, here are a few ideas to help you get started!
Choose Your Journal
Start by choosing where you’ll write your notes. You might want to write in the margins of your own Bible, or you might want to invest in a journaling Bible (which provides much wider margins). You can also use a notebook, a Word document, or even your phone’s Notes app.
Location, Location, Location!
Choose a time and place that is free from distractions. Physical space, comfort level, and posture can all affect your ability to focus and learn. Simple things like a comfortable chair, sitting up straight, and good lighting can make all the difference in your journaling experience.
Unburden Your Mind
Use your journal to clear your mind of distracting thoughts before diving into Scripture. Write down any worries or distractions weighing on your heart. You can even turn these words into a prayer and hand them over to God before you begin reading.
As you enjoy your time with God and allow him to speak to you through Scripture, remember to be totally honest with yourself and with your heavenly Father. You may find this easier to do if you can confirm that others around you are willing to respect the privacy of your journal. It is important that you can write in your journal without worrying about who might read it.
Reflect on God’s Goodness
Review your journal occasionally. You’ll be encouraged by what you’ve learned and how God has faithfully worked in your life. You might even learn something new from rereading your notes!
Catch the Message!
There is nothing more important, powerful, or delightful than to ponder God’s words to us in Scripture. I hope you’ll try Scripture journaling and discover for yourself how it can help you grow in your ability to catch God’s messages to you. Above all, I hope that this creative practice helps you get to know your heavenly Father better as you are continually transformed into his image through his Word.
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