Inspire Bible
Literary Pursuits

Bible Journaling and Weird Things

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed my new Inspire Bible. It’s actually a birthday gift from last fall. When Lyle asked what I wanted for my birthday I told him I would like to have a journaling Bible, with wide lined margins. He said, “Okay. Pick out the one you want and order it.” He’s good to me like that.

(Standard disclosure: This post includes affiliate links which means if you order from Amazon I may receive a small commission. Other than that, this is not a sponsored post.)

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The Bible I picked out is illustrated in some of the margins and white space with line drawings designed to be hand-colored. There is still plenty of space for journaling, but sometimes I like to color within the lines. The thing was, it hadn’t yet been released so I had to pre-order it. My birthday is just before Thanksgiving. Finally, just before Easter, it came in.

And so… this was the first page I did…

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Sometimes I create my own art and sometimes I just embellish what’s already there. This was an embellishment where I got a little carried away with the rainbow colors in my Prismacolor pencil set. I love the soft-core style of these pencils. They’re kinda spendy so I only have a set of 12. Maybe I can get a bigger set eventually.

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I added a strip of printed washi tape to this page. I had seen washi tape before, but had never used it before I got my journaling Bible. Oh, my. That stuff is fun to use, too.

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Below is a page I did with watercolor pencils one night on our moving trip in the hotel. The verse in the margin was already there. I just colored it. But then I created the mountains and the road in the background with my pencils. You’ll notice that you can still read the text of the Bible even though I’ve colored over it. That’s just me, but I don’t like to get so artsy on the Bible pages that you can no longer read the printed text, so I tend to have a light touch when it comes to coloring the background. Watercolor pencils are lovely for that because after you’ve colored, you can go over it with a wet paintbrush and it smears and blends the colors together and gives it a softer effect.

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Here’s a verse I added to the margin myself. I hand-lettered it with a regular, erasable pencil first, then went over it with colored pens. After that I erased the pencil marks. The bird pictures are Mary Engelbreit stickers that I had leftover from scrapbooking.

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Here’s a picture of a page just as I was starting to color it with dual-tip markers. Other than the washi tape I haven’t bought art supplies for my journaling Bible, though I’m very tempted. I have just been using what I already have on hand. I guess I didn’t mention that I’m a little bit addicted to colored writing utensils, did I?

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This is one of my recent pages where I free-handed the “more important aspects of the law” from Matthew 23. I penciled it in, outlined the words with a metallic gel pen, then colored in with water-color pencils, and added a little washi tape.

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I kinda got addicted to those metallic gel pens which leads to the weird part of this story. While I enjoy coloring and embellishing this creative Bible, I also like to dig in to find things to highlight and write about. The metallic pens were so fun, I decided to go “mining for precious metals” in the Scriptures. I pulled out the gold, silver, and bronze-colored pens and circled those words (gold/silver/bronze) every time I came across them. That sounds a little silly, doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised at how often they are mentioned in the Old Testament.

I got a little obsessed with it and ended up blitzing through the Old Testament in about 2 weeks. Seriously! Obviously, this was not an in-depth study, but I was impressed at how much I got out of it, and how it seemed to all fit together digesting it all at once that way. I’ve always found it baffling how God’s people would promise to obey and do okay for a generation or two, and then wander away from God until they got into serious trouble again… and then come back. Over and over. This time it struck me that this was over several hundred years and it wasn’t the same individuals having to relearn the same lessons. I think we see that in our society. We don’t always learn from previous generations. Some things we have to learn the hard way by experiencing them ourselves. That’s sad to me how we insist on not learning from history.

Along with the “big picture” overview, I also picked up some really weird things I had never noticed before. There are some truly strange and horrible stories in the Bible. Don’t get me wrong. I know they are there for a reason, but they sure aren’t pleasant to read. Ever read the story of Judah and Tamar? And those people were ancestors of Jesus! Wow.

There was a bit in the story of Joseph that struck me funny. You know how the brothers all go to Egypt to buy food, all except Benjamin? He’s the younger brother and somehow I had the impression that he was just a kid. His father can’t bear to let “the boy” go and all that. The story even refers to him as “the boy.” Of course he does end up going, and finally Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. They go back to get Jacob and the rest of their family… and the Bible names all the ones that included. Ever noticed that Benjamin– the boy! — had 10 sons? This wasn’t years later. It was right during the same time. So I guess he wasn’t really a kid.

In Exodus, after all the horrible plagues on the land of Egypt, the pharaoh finally gets so fed up with it that tells Moses: “Just go! Get out of here! But… bless me before you go!” Whut?? After the way he treated the Israelites he expects a blessing?

There are some strange images in some of the books of the prophets, too. One that especially baffled me was Ezekiel 4. I never did figure out what that was all about.

When I finished speed-reading through the Old Testament–marking all the precious metals as I went along–I started over again with a chronological Bible this time. I’m marking other things this time through and taking it a little slower. As always, I still discover new things, because the Bible is alive.

Inspire Bible

Have you tried Bible journaling? Or do you prefer to not mark in your Bible?

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