A close-up shot capturing a beautifully adorned Bible with colorful illustrations, hand-lettered notes, and artistic doodles, serving as a beginner's guide to Bible journaling.

How To Bible Journal For Beginners

If you’re looking to strengthen your faith and connect more deeply with God’s Word, bible journaling may be just the spiritual practice for you. Bible journaling combines creative art and reflective writing to help beginners actively engage with scripture.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick overview: bible journaling is all about artistically responding to bible verses in order to better understand them. You’ll mark up bible passages, illustrate what certain verses mean to you, and thoughtfully process god’s word.

This comprehensive guide will walk first-timers through every step of the bible journaling process, from choosing supplies and planning your first journaling session to developing your own unique style.

In this detailed guide for beginners, you’ll learn how to start bible journaling including choosing a bible, gathering supplies, preparing your heart through prayer, actively reading verses, creating journaling pages, and developing the habit for the long term.

You’ll also discover tips for beginners as well as unique bible journaling methods and ideas to inspire your own engaging, creative time in God’s Word.

Choosing a Bible for Journaling

Pick a Version You Connect With

When selecting a Bible to use for journaling, it’s important to choose a translation that resonates with you. Popular options include the New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), English Standard Version (ESV), and King James Version (KJV).

The NIV and NLT use more contemporary language, while the ESV and KJV use traditional wording. Read through passages from different translations and pick the one that feels most meaningful to you.

Go for a Wide Margined Bible

Look for a journaling Bible with at least a 1.5 inch margin to have enough space to add your notes, art, and reflections. Bibles designed specifically for journaling tend to offer the widest margins. However, you can also use a regular study Bible or even write in the margins of a pew Bible if needed.

Some popular wide margin journaling Bible versions include:

  • Crossway ESV Journaling Bible – 1.75 inch margin
  • Zondervan NIV Beautiful Word Bible – 1.5 inch margin
  • Thomas Nelson KJV Journal the Word Bible – 2 inch margin

Choose Durable Materials

The binding and paper quality used impacts how well your journaling Bible will hold up over time. Look for editions with sewn bindings and thicker, opaque paper that can handle different pens and highlighting without too much bleed-through. Premium leather covers also tend to be more durable.

Bible Cover Material Durability Level
Hardcover Good
Leather Better
Premium Leather Best

No matter what Bible you select for journaling, the most important thing is that it supports your faith journey and connects you closer to God’s word.

Gathering Your Bible Journaling Supplies

Starting a new hobby like Bible journaling can be exciting, but gathering all the necessary supplies can also feel overwhelming for beginners. Here’s a helpful overview of some of the basic items you’ll want to have on hand before creating your first journaling Bible pages.

Art Journaling Basics

Every Bible journaler needs a good art journaling Bible to work in. Popular options include single-column Bibles with wider margins and minimal show-through for adding color and designs without distracting from the text. Quality paper and printing are also key.

Beyond the Bible itself, collect an assortment of mixed media art supplies like acrylic paints, watercolors, pens, pencils, and more based on your specific creative goals.

Brush Pens

Fun and versatile brush pens for hand lettering Bible verses are a must-have. Top brands like Tombow, Arteza, and Faber Castell offer brush pen sets with both bright vivid colors and neutral shades. Brush pens feature flexible felt nibs that create gorgeous calligraphy.

Colored Pencils and Markers

High-quality colored pencils from Prismacolor or Arteza allow you to add fine details, shading, and color blocking to journaling pages. Water-based markers from Crayola, Tombow, and Zebra offer bolder, brighter colors for decorative lettering and floral designs.

Having an assortment of both types gives you more artistic options.

Stencils and Rulers

Pre-made stencils allow you to quickly trace elegant banners, wreaths, and scrollwork. Get a pack focused on Bible journaling motifs or make your own custom templates. A clear plastic ruler also helps create clean lines for framing Scripture passages and dividing sections on the page.

Washi Tape

Decorative washi tape adds the perfect pop of color and texture to journaling pages. Use it to accent verse titles, create borders and frames, mask off sections for paint, and more. Washi tape is removable, so it won’t damage delicate Bible paper.


Pre-made stickers provide quick embellishment for Bible journaling. Florals, butterflies, banners with inspirational words, and small icons are all great options. Stickers come in clear, white, or colored designs to suit your project.

Consider a Bible Journaling Kit

An all-in-one Bible journaling starter kit bundles together everything you need in one convenient package (HobbyLobby’s Flourish kit). From quality pens and pencils to stencils, stickers, acrylic paint and more, these sets provide great value and eliminate the guesswork when buying supplies.

Preparing Your Heart Through Prayer

When beginning a new Bible journaling practice, it’s important to start by preparing your heart through prayer. Here are some tips for getting into the right mindset:

Ask for Guidance

First, ask God to guide your journaling time. Pray something like: “Lord, as I spend this time in your Word, I ask that your Holy Spirit would give me fresh revelation and wisdom. Help me to hear your voice through the scriptures.

Asking for guidance sets the tone that this will be a spirit-led time.

Confess Any Sin

Next, take a few minutes to confess any sin that might be causing distraction or static in your connection with God. As 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Getting sin out of the way makes room for greater intimacy.

Thank God for the Opportunity

Don’t take this journaling time for granted! Thank God for the privilege of opening his Word and gleaning from it. You could pray something like: “Lord, thank you for the gift of your Word. I don’t want to just glance over it today but really feast on your truth.”

Ask the Spirit to Teach You

Since the Holy Spirit inspired Scripture, ask him to instruct you as you read it. Jesus said in John 14:26, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things.” Pray in faith, believing that the Spirit will give you fresh revelation.

Getting your heart prepared through targeted prayer sets you up for an enriching, spirit-led Bible journaling session. As you lift these requests to the Lord, expect him to speak to you in special ways through his Word.

Actively Reading and Studying Scripture

Read Slowly and Intentionally

When reading the Bible, it is important to read slowly and carefully in order to fully understand and digest the meaning. Speed reading through the Bible prevents deep meditation and reflection. Pay attention to details and read portions multiple times, perhaps out loud, to grasp the full meaning.

Take notes or highlight key words and phrases that stand out. Look up words you do not know to expand your biblical vocabulary. Engage with the text by asking yourself questions about what you are reading.

Meditate Focused on God’s Words

Biblical meditation is not about emptying our minds but filling them with God’s truth. As you read the Bible, pause frequently to reflect deeply on verses or passages that stand out to you. Think through the meaning and how it applies to your life.

Ask God to reveal to you the significance behind His words. Pray over scripture, turning it into a personal conversation with God. Memorizing key verses provides opportunity to ponder them throughout the day.

The goal is to meditate on the truths of God’s word until they saturate your mind and shape your thoughts and actions.

Look Up Cross References

As you study scripture, looking up cross references enhances understanding by connecting different passages that relate to each other. For example, Matthew 5:14 references being the “light of the world” which John 8:12 further illuminates as Jesus saying “I am the light of the world”.

Cross referencing scripture with scripture brings deeper revelation than just taking verses individually. Writing cross references next to the verses in your Bible can help you track themes that develop across books. Programs like Treasury of Scripture Knowledge make looking up cross references easy.

Research Context and Commentaries

Using study aids like Bible dictionaries, atlases, and concordances can provide cultural, historical, and linguistic context for scripture. For example, understanding Jewish customs concerning marriage sheds light on verses regarding marriage.

Quality commentaries from scholars provide verse-by-verse explanations of meaning which aid comprehension. Websites like BibleGateway and BlueLetterBible conveniently provide research tools and commentaries.

Gathering information on context turns reading the Bible from an intellectual exercise into a transformative encounter with deeper meaning.

Creating Your Bible Journal Pages

Start Simple by Marking Up Verses

One easy way to begin Bible journaling is by simply highlighting or underlining verses that stand out to you. Use colored pencils, pens or markers to draw attention to meaningful passages. This creates visual interest on the page and makes important verses easy to find again later.

You can also jot quick notes in the margins about how certain verses apply to your life.

Add Images That Connect You to The Passage

Drawings and doodles make a Bible journal page more personal. For example, if you’re journaling about Psalm 23, you could include a small sketch of a shepherd. Pictures and symbols that are meaningful to you aid your reflection and memory.

Over time a visual language emerges that allows you to recall lessons from Scripture just by glancing at your creative Bible pages.

Use Colors and Symbols Meaningfully

Assigning specific colors or symbols to recurring themes or emotions takes Bible journaling to a deeper level. With this system you can easily track what attitudes, actions or outcomes God is highlighting for you in His word. For instance:

  • Red = sin, danger, warning
  • Green = spiritual growth, flourishing
  • Blue = peace, comfort, stillness

Your choices are highly personal, so pick colors and symbols that will help you identify important patterns and truths.

Try Your Hand at Bible Lettering

Adding thoughtfully lettered quotes and key verses gives new life to ordinary journal entries. With practice, anyone can learn attractive Bible lettering. It just takes patience! Watch YouTube tutorials, use lettering guides, trace fonts and mimic examples.

Going step-by-step allows you to develop your own lovely style over time.

Craft Inspiring Bible Quotes

After studying a passage, identify a particularly meaningful excerpt. Hand letter this Bible quote artistically, incorporate small drawings that reflect imagery from the verse, add a tangible item like a leaf or feather as a keepsake – get creative!

Display your crafted quote where you’ll see it often to provide ongoing inspiration. Let it lift your spirits whenever you need encouragement.

Developing a Bible Journaling Routine

Schedule Regular Journaling Sessions

Setting aside consistent time to journal in your Bible is key to developing a sustainable habit. Try blocking off 15-30 minutes 2-3 times per week to start. Mornings can be a great time to journal before the busyness of the day sets in. But find a time that works best for your schedule.

Put your journaling sessions on your calendar to help make it a priority.

It also helps to journal in the same spot each time, whether it’s at your kitchen table, favorite coffee shop, or comfy reading chair. Having a designated journaling space can get you into a creative flow more quickly.

And keeping your supplies gathered in one spot eliminates the hassle of having to hunt them down each time.

Create Space and Unplug Distractions

In today’s distraction-filled world, it’s crucial to unplug and create space for quiet reflection as you journal. Turn off screens, phones, and notifications so you can focus. Let loved ones know you’ll be journaling for a set time period so you won’t be interrupted.

Place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your journaling space if needed. Light a candle or diffuse essential oils to set a peaceful atmosphere.

Before you begin journaling, take a few minutes to still your mind through prayer or meditation. Release any stress or anxiety into God’s hands. Center your thoughts on His presence. This mental preparation can help receive whatever He wants to speak into your heart during your journaling session.

Join an Online Community for Encouragement

Connecting with other Bible journalers can provide inspiration, creative techniques, and accountability on your journaling journey. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook offer thriving communities of journalers sharing their pages and processes.

Follow creators who motivate you or join a Bible journaling group to exchange ideas.

You can also look for Bible journaling workshops and retreats in your local area. Immersing yourself alongside other journaling enthusiasts can spur creativity and encouragement. And take advantage of the many journaling blogs, YouTube channels, online courses, and books available to glean fresh inspiration.

Tips and Ideas for Beginner Bible Journalers

Start with the Psalms and Proverbs

The books of Psalms and Proverbs are great places for beginners to start Bible journaling. The Psalms are full of poetic verses expressing a range of human emotions, making them ideal for reflective journaling. Proverbs contains many wise sayings that you can mull over and apply to your life.

Try keeping a psalm journal where you copy out one psalm per page. Decorate the page with colors, stickers, or images reflecting the theme of the psalm. Under the verses, journal your thoughts, prayers, insights, and how you can apply the psalm to your life.

Over time, your psalm journal will become a treasured record of your spiritual journey.

Practice God-Centered Journaling

Bible journaling is most meaningful when it helps strengthen your relationship with God. Keep the focus on listening to His voice through meditating on Scripture. Ask yourself, “What is God saying to me through this passage? How can I apply biblical truth to my life today?”

Jot down a prayer to God responding to what you read.

You can also practice lectio divina while Bible journaling – slowly savoring the words, reflecting on them, responding to God, resting in His presence. Allow God to refresh your spirit as you thoughtfully engage with the living Word.

Try Bible Art Journaling Methods

Bible art journaling combines Scripture meditation with creative expression. Along with writing reflections, try illustrating verses through doodles, drawings, word art, or visual symbols. Simple stick figures, geometric shapes, flowers – anything goes.

Finding unique ways to visually reflect on God’s Word helps His truth sink deeper into your heart.

Other Bible art journaling ideas include:

  • Highlight key words or phrases in bright colors
  • Make the verses into a poem or prayer
  • Draw a symbolic response to what you read
  • Sketch a meaningful scene from a Bible story

Let the Lord guide your study of the Bible. Be patient with yourself as you develop this spiritual practice. Take it verse by verse, day by day. Bible journaling helps spark creativity and makes spending time in God’s Word more engaging.

Stay focused on encountering Jesus through reflective Scripture meditation.


Bible journaling provides a powerful way to actively engage with Scripture, strengthen your faith, and grow closer to God. By combining bible study and reflection with creative expression, anyone can start an incredible spiritual practice to last a lifetime.

We hope this comprehensive guide gave first-time bible journalers a helpful overview of everything involved with getting started. Remember to choose a bible version and journaling bible you connect with. Gather supplies like brush pens, colored pencils, and washi tape to have on hand.

Prepare your heart through prayer before opening God’s Word. Then actively study passages, looking up cross references and historical context to inspire journaling. Start simple by underlining verses or drawing symbols before advancing your bible art skills.

Schedule regular sessions while minimizing distractions in order to establish a transformational habit. With some basic tips for beginners plus unique journaling methods for inspiration, you now have all you need.

So order your wide margin journaling bible, collect your favorite art supplies, and begin experiencing the countless blessings that come through meeting with God on the pages of His Word.

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