IS IT KIND? #BibleJournaling

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Mother’s Day has just passed and I would be surprised if, in the last weekend of honouring mothers, you haven’t bumped into some reference to the model mother and wife of Proverbs 31.

In a Bible Journal instruction email I get regularly, Rebekah R. Jones challenged us to journal about this chapter. She demonstrated what she did in her Bible using a lettering stencil with a phrase from Proverbs 31.

Trouble is, I don’t have the stencil or the space on my Bible page needed for it. So instead, I thought about my favourite (and probably most challenging) verse from Proverbs 31:
“She opens her mouth with wisdom
And on her tongue is the law of kindness” – Proverbs 31:26.

Considering the space I had on my Bible page, I decided to frame my response to this verse as a short question I can ask myself: “IS IT KIND?”

I made the letters by typing the words in Cooper, font size 120, printing, then tracing them in my Bible.

I noticed a reference to this woman making tapestry (vs. 22) so doodled tapestry-like designs inside the letters using various sizes of Pigma Micron pens.  At first I was going to add colour as well but after doing the flower and heart decorations (pencil crayons) I felt the page was busy enough, so left the words in black and white.

Prov 31-26 IsItKind

This isn’t the first time I’ve meditated on the “law of kindness.” My 2015 Mother’s Day meditation in Other Food Devos was on that very subject. It even contains a list of some of the things that are part of the “law of kindness.” You can read it HERE.

I asked myself then, and still today: If someone wrote about me in a Proverbs 31 way, would they say my tongue was governed by kindness? I know the answer. A little more adding and diligence is definitely in order (2 Peter 1:5-7). What about you?

A new focus—Bible Journaling

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For the last little while things have been quiet on this blog as I haven’t been reading and reviewing as many books as I used to. However, the discovery of a new “art”—Bible journaling—will be changing that.

A little over a month ago I received, for the purpose of review, The Complete Guide to Bible Journaling. As someone who has always loved the graphic arts (though I’ve never excelled at them) this book with its examples of people’s visual responses to the Bible inspired me to try my hand at it.

As I’ve started Bible journaling and checked it out online, I’ve discovered it’s a big and only-getting-bigger area of interest for, especially, women who love the Bible, are visual learners, and good at making beautiful things. There’s so much to learn and so much to be inspired by.

I don’t expect I’ll ever reach the skill heights of lettering and drawing that many of these journalers show in the creations that illuminate the margins and sometimes entire pages of their journaling Bibles. But I love how the practice challenges me to interact with the God’s Word in a new way. And since the focus for my writing over the last few years has become “Bringing the Bible to Life” and I have this blog, I’ve decided to share a weekly Bible journaling post here. I have met other Bible journalers and hope to also feature some of them and their work.

To get started with this I searched my bookshelf and found an old Notebook New Testament from the 1970s. It’s only slightly used and with its wide margins is perfect for lettering and drawing. (I have since also bought an NKJV Journal The Word large print Bible, pictured below.)

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My first entry was for John 10:3-4—the verse connected with my one-little-word LISTEN for 2017. (I used ballpoint pen and pencil crayons.)

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Entry for John 10:3-4

My second entry was journaling my favourite passage in the whole Bible, which I think of as my life’s verses – Philippians 4:6-7. When I recite these words to myself, I envision taking off all my cares, worries, anxieties, and fears as I would a backpack, and leaving them with Jesus.

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Philippians 4:6-7

Verses from Isaiah came to mind as I worked. I especially wanted to remind myself that when I left those cares behind, I could leave wearing something far more wonderful. (I used ballpoint pen and pencil crayons for these drawings as well.)

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The 2-page spread.

I’m finding that in addition to being a lot of fun, these lettering and drawing exercises inspired by Bible passages are quite stickily helping me retain what I’ve learned.

Are you a Bible journaler? How did you discover it? What is it doing for and in you?

Complete Guide to Bible Journaling (review)

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Complete Guide to Bible Journaling: Creative Techniques to Express Your FaithComplete Guide to Bible Journaling: Creative Techniques to Express Your Faith by Joanne Fink

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Before I got this book, I had only a vague idea there was such a thing as Bible journaling and no idea how to go about it or what a movement it had become. But now that I’ve read it, I’m a convert!

What a comprehensive and gorgeous guide this is!

Six sections take the reader through:

Getting Started: An explanation of what Bible journaling is and how to begin.

Tools and Techniques: A walk through many Bible journaling techniques including lettering in different styles, tracing, using stamps, drawing, coloring with colored pencils, preparing Bible pages for paint, painting with watercolour and acrylics, the use of washi tape etc. The book is lavishly illustrated with colour photos that show processes step-by-step and display the finished designs.

Artist Profiles: An introduction to eleven Bible journaling women who have connected and attracted a following on the internet (through their websites and social media). Their stories are as varied as their styles, which go from demurely decorative illustrations filling the margins of journaling Bibles to scrapbooked Bibles chubby with bold whole page paintings and attached memorabilia.

Gallery: An embarrassment of riches here, featuring 20+ pages of Bible journaling reproductions in full colour, organized by themes (“Patterning,” “Coloured Pencils,” “Line Work” etc.).

Resources and Index: In addition to an index of the book, here you’ll find lists of resources—artist websites and the favourite social media hangouts for Bible journalers.

Bonus Section: A final 30+ pages feature examples of lettering styles and simple graphic items as ideas and to copy, stickers and traceable line drawings printed on see-through vellum.

I was impressed by the artistry and beauty of the work with which these women (no, there was nary a man to be found in the pages of this book—pity, I’ll bet some guys would enjoy this as much as the girls) illuminate their Bibles.

The purpose of Bible journaling—to get individuals to interact with God’s word—gets lots of emphasis in the explanations by the authors and the stories of the profiled artists. I appreciated that.

Over and over the authors remind readers that the object of this activity is not to achieve perfect art. The tone is accepting of any effort and a celebration of the wide variety of styles and personalities that come through in the artists’ works as they dig into the Bible. The book makes you feel like you can do it too.

In addition to people who journal in their Bibles, I can see this book being useful to anyone who scrapbooks, as well as to those who enjoy crafts like making cards and wall hangings.

Perhaps not surprisingly I’ve picked out a journaling Bible (Bibles with wide lined margins, especially designed for journaling) in my favourite version and can’t wait to get started. I’m sure my Complete Guide to Bible Journaling will soon look quite used.

I received the Complete Guide to Bible Journaling from the publisher (Design Originals, an imprint of Fox Chapel Publishing) as a gift for the purpose of writing a review.

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