Elevate Your Devotional Time: Try a Journal Bible

Elevate your devotional time

Amy shares how she has enjoyed using a journal Bible for the past few years. We recently started carrying journal Bibles at ChristianBooksCanada.ca to help Canadians discover meaningful Bible time. 

When we take our reflections, observations and questions and place them outside of us through writing, doodling or art, God can use the practice to deepen our engagement with the Word.

– Dr. Lawson Murray

My journey with writing in my Bible began several years ago. It was a simple act of noting the date beside each reading to keep track of my progress through the Bible. Gradually, I started jotting down quotes or personal notes in the tiny margins to retain what God had spoken to me through that passage. After years of struggling to fit growing thoughts into my Bible’s small margins, I made a decision- it was time to get a journal Bible.

What is a Journal Bible

A journal Bible is a versatile tool, accommodating notes and doodles on each page. It features a single-column layout, a departure from the classic two-column layout, making it easier to read and annotate passages. This accessibility and versatility make journal Bibles a perfect companion for anyone seeking to deepen their engagement with the Word, regardless of their artistic inclinations.

If you search “Bible Journaling,” you’ll find images of Bible pages with beautiful illustrations and word art – verses with doodles or sometimes even total pages covered in watercolour. Many creatives are drawn to journal Bibles because they are an outlet for creatively engaging with the Bible.

Not just for creatives

However, most people don’t use journal Bibles in the same way. It’s not just for creatives. I’ve come to accept that my journal Bible will never look as pretty as the ones I see on Pinterest or Instagram. Instead, it’s filled with words that have touched my heart, verses I’ve memorized, or prayers.

Bible Engagement Basics says it so well: “Journaling isn’t about the quality of word-crafting or the splendour of the art. It’s not about the outcome; it’s about the process. The process is simple: pray, read and reflect on the text, figure out how to respond, and do it.” – Dr. Lawson Murray.

It isn’t about the outcome; it’s about the process. Taking time to reflect on the Bible is essential, and being able to do so on its pages is helpful.

It’s not about the outcome; it’s about the process.

How to Use a Journal Bible

Here are some ideas on how you might use a Journal Bible.

Remember Bible Verses

Rewrite verses you want to memorize in the margins. Highlight them first, write them, and then add simple doodles around them while re-reading the verses.


Rewrite a verse that pops out to you as a prayer to God. Personalize the verse and write it in the margin as you pray it back to God. I rewrote Jesus’ prayer in John 17 into a little prayer for my children on the margin of my Bible. Every time I flip through the Bible and see it, I pause and reread that prayer.

Easy Word Studies

Words or phrases that pop out to you from the Word. I like to rewrite a word that popped out while reading and then do a little word study on it.

Memorable Quotes or Facts

Daily Bread, the Scripture Union Bible guide, regularly shares a statement or challenge that resonates with me, and I like to write that beside the passage I’m reflecting on. Other times, information vital for context is shared, and I like to write that in the margins for future readings as a reminder.


Sometimes, I doodle while reading and praying. There’s research that suggests doodling can help you focus while reading and reflecting.


Every day, I write the month and year beside the reading. It’s fun to look back and see the different parts of the Bible I’ve read, revisit past encounters with God through His Word, see how God has answered prayers, or be reminded of powerful truths.

Pictured: Daily Bread Bible Reading Guide


Check out the NIV Journaling Bible in our bookstoreChristianBooksCanada.ca.

Related Posts: Praying ScriptureHow a Study Bible Can Be HelpfulHow to do Lectio Divina

© Scripture Union Canada, 2021

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