FAQ Series #1 —Where Do I Start?
Welcome, and thanks for joining us for our FAQ series—you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! We’ll kick this series off by answering possibly the most frequently asked question in the Facebook group— “How do I get started Bible Journaling?"
Let be the first to tell you, there is no “right” way to have quiet time with the Lord.
If you’ve spent any time on our Farm Girl Journals Bible Journaling Group (join here), you’ve probably noticed that everyone’s Bible journaling method looks a little different.
For a beginner, this can add to the confusion or intimidation factor of knowing where/how to start. A huge part of what makes our FB group so amazing is that it’s a place of freedom, accountability, and encouragement. There is no right or wrong way to study, and this is a wonderful place to learn from each other.
With all of that said, for the sake of being practical and having a jumping off point, I am happy to share with you my personal routine—but I do so with the disclaimer that this is what works for me—it’s not the gospel! Feel free to try on different study methods until you find one that “fits” (And don’t give up if the first one(s) you try don’t feel right. Finding a study method can be like searching for the perfect pair of jeans… it may not be the first one you try, but it’s worth it to keep trying until you find the one that feels just right—and your style/fit may change as you grow and age!
I like to find a quiet place where I can be alone and have few distractions. I also prefer a table to work on because I have lots of stuff (I know TONS of people like to do their quiet time on their couch or in a favorite chair, and that is totally ok! You do you).
Once you’ve decided where you’re going to study, gather your journaling materials. For me, this includes my Bible, colored pencils, pen, and a notebook/journal (this can be a simple spiral notebook, or we have a whole line of journals in the shop if your prefer a little more direction, or if pretty things help get you excited about journaling!).
I also like to have a cup of coffee, tea, or a bottle of water (depending on what time of day it is). Sometimes I’ll put on some praise music in the next room over (but quiet, so it’s not overwhelming). It’s also a good idea to either turn your phone over, or leave it in another room…it can pull you off-track in a hurry!
Getting Down to Business:
Now, you should be ready to go! I ALWAYS recommend beginning with a prayer. (I know—you’re probably just ready to dive in, and it can be tempting to skip this step, but I assure you, it’s vital in my process. I can tell a real difference when I take the time to prayer first) I like to ask God to show me a specific word or message for that day. I ask that He would multiply my time, give me a fruitful study, and that He would help keep me from getting distracted.
After praying, I open my Bible to the passage I plan to study. For some, this can be the most intimidating part. It’s helpful to know that the Bible is actually composed of 66 individual books. Each of these books can stand alone, meaning you can read them in any order. Additionally, then books are divided into two sections—the Old and New Testaments. We’ll share a separate post to explain the differences in the two and a sort of “roadmap” of what to find where—but for today, just know, it’s best to start at the beginning of any book.
If you’re new to reading the Bible, the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are excellent places to learn about Jesus (I’d recommend starting with John or Luke).
I personally like to study a chapter at a time. If the chapter is very long (Psalm 119 is a doozy!) , I may break it down into something more digestible (you’ll notice many of the chapters are broken into smaller sub-sections, so that can help you find a stopping point).
I read through the entire passage once without stopping, just to let the words soak in. Next, I read through a second time, looking for words/passages that stand out/speak to me (since I prayed, asking specifically for that). As they occur to me, I mark them in my Bible. (Some people prefer not to mark in their Bibles, and that is ok…to each their own!)
Finally, once I’ve read through the passage twice and marked the text, I make notes in my journal about what I observed. This looks different for me every time. Sometimes I doodle a little or write a particular word or phrase really big and bold because it stood out to me. Other times, I like to define specific words that grabbed my attention, to help myself understand the meaning of the passage better. If I don’t understand something cultural, sometimes I even write down questions (“Why did He wash their feet? What was the purpose of it? Whose job would that normally have been?”). Sometimes I come back later and research those questions if I want to dig deeper.
Once I’ve finished, I read back through my notes one more time and say another prayer, thanking God for my time with Him, as well as inviting Him to lead me in the rest of my day. (Sometimes I forget to pray when I end, but it really is a sweet way to close out my quiet time).
**A word of caution—release yourself from any expectations of what your journaling “should” look like. Some days I really love the way mine looks. Other days, I’m thankful no one has to see it but me. Some days the Lord gives me something really profound, and others, he astonishes me with something incredibly simple that I had never noticed before. Sometimes I can’t keep it to myself. Those are the days I’m super thankful for our FB Bible Journaling group. Don’t ever feel obligated to post in the FB group…but know that it’s always there if/when you’re ready to share (or to borrow inspiration from the FGJ community!)
Thanks again for joining me. I hope this post was helpful in providing the tools to get started, but if you have any questions, feel free to message me or comment below. Also, keep your eyes open for upcoming posts as we continue our FAQ Series!
Thanks for sharing this information because I am one of the ones who “had no idea where/how to start” but wanted to get into this!! So now that i have some direction, I’m ready to start!!
I too am a perfectionist and when I got my journal I was so worried that I would do it wrong or messy. That it wouldn’t look nice. The blank pages really intimated me. I did know where to start! In addition I have Parkinson Disease so my handwriting isn’t pretty or steady anymore. Well a week ago I decided I was going to just jump right in and I did! I love it!!! I love my quiet time with the Lord and my time in His word! Girl somedays the pages are beautiful and other days it looks an awful mess! But it is my journal and it is between me and the Lord anyway. So go for it jump right in and get started! Love In Christ, Maria
Loved your how to get started. I have looked at May ways to start journaling and have been intimated. Your tips have help me dive in. Thank you 🙏🏼
Thank you for sharing this how-to. The fear of an empty page and perfectionist is overwhelmingly
I’m ready to jump in now.
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