A Peek at My Journaling Bibles

Can I preface this whole post with the fact that I know there are countless people in Instagram-land who are far more artistic and creative than I am? And that some days all the beautiful pages in their journaling Bibles  just flat out intimidate me to the point I don’t share my own?

Also, I don’t share a lot of my pictures because I don’t really know how to reply when I’ve written about what God is showing me and people compliment my handwriting. 

But I’ve been wanting to tell you more about I use my journaling Bible and a plain old notebook and give you some ideas for how you can use a journaling Bible even if you don’t want to (or feel like you can’t) draw pictures and paint and all that in it. I wrote previously about three reasons I love my journaling Bible. But the longer I’ve had one {well, now I have two}, the more ways I’ve found to use it.

There are so many ways to use a journaling Bible! Here's a peek inside two of mine as well as my quiet time notebook.

My First Journaling Bible {the one for me!}

Journaling Bibles are a great way to highlight big ideas in Scripture, to add personal reflections, and to record what God reveals as you study.

I’ve had this Bible for almost two years and it is pretty marked up.  I used it as I was teaching through the last few Minor Prophets and the entire New Testament so those books especially are annotated, illustrated, and FULL.  As you can see from the images, I use this Bible in several ways. I love to try my hand at lettering so there are many verses I’ve done that with. But I also have highlighted specific words or ideas (middle row, right). You can see in the bottom left photo where I’ve drawn hearts every time the word “love” appears.

I also like to look up words and add their definitions to help me understand the meaning of passages. Sometimes I use my Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible to get the original languages but often I use dictionary.com as you can see in top right image on the middle row. I also like to add quotes from other books related to specific verses (bottom right).

This Bible has layers of notes in it from my personal study, group Bible study, and sermons. It’s got prayers written in the margins and notes on many of the blank pages in the back.

Journaling Bibles are a great way to highlight big ideas in Scripture, to add personal reflections, and to record what God reveals as you study.

My Second Journaling Bible {the one for my girl!}

A journaling Bible can also be an awesome gift for someone special in your life. Using it record specific prayers, reflections on verses in light of that person, and even your own notes about Scripture make this a deeply personal and special gift.My second journaling Bible I am using to create a special gift for my daughter. I plan to give it to her when she graduates high school in two years. I use it every day for my quiet time, marking the date and verses read along with the study I’m using if applicable. I make notes it in like I do with my first one but for a different purpose — as I read I share my own thoughts but also my questions and struggles. I want her to be able to see how I’ve wrestled at times with the Word. Mostly because I believe she will also have those hard seasons and perhaps seeing my path will be an encouragement to her.

I’ve been highlighting the names of God in this Bible (bottom right image) as well as indicating the verses I’m praying using the Prayers for Girls calendars. Sometimes I write out my prayers in the margins as well.  I have lettered a few verses along the way and done a little bit of illustrating but not as much as in my first Bible. I recently ordered one of the Illustrated Faith journaling kits from Dayspring and have added a few embellishments with it. Mostly, this one is about giving my girl a picture of what my time with God really looks like.

A journaling Bible can also be an awesome gift for someone special in your life. Using it record specific prayers, reflections on verses in light of that person, and even your own notes about Scripture make this a deeply personal and special gift.

My Quiet Time Notebook

A quiet time notebook can be a great alternative or addition to a journaling Bible. There is definitely more space for reflection, notes, and even images and lettering.

I use a plain old five-subject wide-ruled notebook for my quiet time. I ran out of pretty journals in January this year and just grabbed a notebook. Since then, I’ve found I like that better. The images above area all from the past couple of weeks.  We’re praying through the Psalms this month on the Prayers for Girls calendar and while I’ve been writing some prayers in the Bible for Casiday, I’ve been using my notebook for reflecting on them for myself.

As you can see, I interact with Scripture in lots of ways. Some days I just write it all out and underline the phrases that stand out to me. Sometimes I do more annotation and cross referencing. Some days I letter simply and others I add more embellishing.

This morning as I read Psalm 11 (bottom image), God just whispered peace over my anxious heart. When I shared the Prayers for Girls prayer on Instagram, I wrote this:

Today already has more questions than answers. And before I even sat down with my Bible, I felt that weight of wondering and wrestling settle in my heart and on my shoulders. As if it all depends on me being able to sort it out and fix it.

It’s ridiculous, I know. But somehow I always land here in this place, scratching out my fears and worries and questions and begging God to give me wisdom and peace and hope in the midst of all the doubts and uncertainty.

And there it is: “The words of the Lord are pure words …” (Psalm 12:6)

We can lean deep into the refuge of His Word, His character, His very presence in us.

Verse 7 continues, “You, O Lord, will keep them …” He holds it all. The old children’s song echoes in my mind, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” And He really does.

Maybe your day began like mine. Or maybe you know someone who is weighed down with fear or worry or doubt. Point here to this beautiful truth: His Word is pure and He keeps us.

Scott walked by as I was pulling out my box of “creative stuff.” {It’s a very small box honestly!} And I told him I needed to meditate on the words I’d just read. Stamping the flowers, coloring them in, adding the lettering, and adding the definition for “pure” helped me focus on the promise of the Lord in this verse. Here is the whole image (which didn’t fit on the collage):

Psalm 12:6-7

I guess that’s the big thing I want to say about journaling Bibles and all that has come along with them —

This can be a way of meditating and reflecting on God’s Word and that is awesome. But if it’s just one more thing that makes you feel inadequate or if you just can’t figure out what the big deal is, don’t worry!  If it works for you, good. If it doesn’t, that’s good too.

Some days I don’t do anything fancy. Okay, most days I don’t. In fact, a lot of days I don’t even do any fancy lettering or anything. I just record what I’ve read, write out what God showed me and my prayers.

And maybe you have no desire to learn to hand letter or draw pictures or use stamps or any of that, but you like the idea of having a Bible with wider margins for notetaking. Let me tell you a secret — that’s actually what the original purpose of the first journaling Bibles was, to give people space to journal in their Bibles. 🙂

I do suggest using one of these Bibles to make notes and write prayers for a child, grandchild, or even someone you are mentoring. Over the years I’ve given several of my “regular” Bibles, full of notations and underlining, to women I’ve mentored and it has always been a sweet gift. I have already told Scott’s grandmother I want the Bible she has used to teach Sunday School for all these years.

So, this was a super long post and image heavy. I don’t write a lot about my journaling Bible but I do share on Instagram pretty often. If we haven’t connected there, we totally should!!

Do you have any other questions about journaling Bibles? Have you got one? How do you use yours?


Teri Lynne

Here’s what I use (affiliate links):

ESV Journaling Bible {two-column and single column, I prefer the single column because there is more space but they are thicker so it’s just a matter of preference}

Sharpie pens {the pens not the permanent markers. little to no bleed through}

Papermate pens {in notebooks, they tend to show through in my Bibles}

Micron black pens {these can be used in either. I am considering getting Micron black pens also.}

Prismacolor pencils

Illustrated Faith “Yes & Amen” kit

5-subject, wide-rule notebook {NOW is the time to get these! School supplies are out!! For reference, I use one every 2 months or so but I write big and typically use 2-3 pages per day.}

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. It’s just so interesting to me that you feel intimidated by other Bible journalers, and yet I sit here intimidated by you and your beautiful Bible journaling. That is why I won’t do it…the comparison game is strong, and my perfectionism gets in the way.

    • That is funny. I guess it’s all about perception, huh? But I have found such a deep love for doing it … and I quit sharing pictures for awhile because the comparison was eating away at me. 🙂

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