If you have been Bible journaling for any length of time and have shared it with others, you may have met some resistance to the fact you are writing and/or drawing in your Bible. Well meaning folks may have questioned, “Is Bible journaling Biblical?” and rightly so! It is a good question to ask.
However, you might have been accused that you are being disrespectful to God’s Word or even sinning by creating art in your Bible. Today, I’m going to share with you what the Bible says and what is people’s opinion.
Let’s look at what the Bible says:
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we cannot create something inspired by His Word next to His Word. The Bible does not even directly say that we cannot cover up God’s Word.
Okay, so why do some Christians have a problem with Bible journaling? The issue arises because they have a different opinion of how to treat something holy.
For many of those who believe Bible journaling is desecrating God’s Word, they see the Bible as inviolable because it is holy. To me, this sounds old fashioned, but that doesn’t make their view of holiness wrong.
For some, Bible journaling is not the right choice. I have a friend who is a Messianic Jew and she wouldn’t even highlight or underline in her Bible. With her traditional upbringing, it felt wrong in her heart. Did she tell me that what I was doing was wrong? No, because the Bible doesn’t say it is wrong: it is a matter of opinion.
Bible journaling being right or wrong is a matter of opinion, not interpretation of the Word.
One of the cool things that God talks about in Romans 14 is that there is an aspect to your walk of faith that is based on your personal convictions, meaning that some of what God does not directly address in His Word as wrong or right depends on your personal convictions. If you want to eat meat as a Christian, that’s great! If you want to be a vegan as a Christian, that’s great too!
Like many things in Bible, Bible journaling depends on your heart. For example: If I tell a guy friend, “Hey, you look good today!” because he is recovering from being sick, that is okay. If I tell a guy friend, “Hey, you look good today!” because I find him attractive and I want to see what kind of attention I can get from him, that is wrong.
There are other things that the Bible is very clear about: do not get drunk (Eph5:18), do not be quick to get angry (Jam.1:19), love one another (1 Jn 3:11), etc.
There is no “thou shalt not” in regards to Bible journaling. So, who is right and who is wrong? Neither. Bible journaling depends on the heart of the person doing it.
Speak in love
One of the most important things to remember when you meet another Christian who doesn’t approve of what you’re doing is to TREAT THEM WITH LOVE.
Ask them why they think that, if they have any Bible verses that support their views, and do not be quick to assume or disregard their opinion. In God’s eyes, the person you disagree with is more important than your opinion. Treat them as such.
What about these verses?
So, what if they bring up Proverbs 30:5-6, Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32, or Revelation 22:18?
There are also some folks who believe when you even write a quick note or highlight in your Bible, you are “adding to God’s Word” like these verses above strongly warn against. Unfortunately, they are taking these verses out of context and trying to apply them to a situation that does not apply.
When we journal, we are not saying our art is a “new revelation” from God or that we should change what God’s Word says and add our art to all Bibles. That is the sort situation to which these verses would apply.
Our Bible journaling is not that. It is a personal act of worship, and while we may receive a personal revelation from the Lord or gain a deeper understanding of the Bible while journaling, we are in no way implying that our self-expression or interpretation of the Bible should allow us to change or edit the written text of the Word.
For example: In Exodus 20:17, the Bible says don’t covet what your neighbor has, so that means, I shouldn’t covet what my neighbor has. I am not allowed to change what the Bible says and my painting or journaling around Exodus 20:17 doesn’t do that.
Do you have questions?
These are hard questions, friends. In our culture, we are so opinionated, we often forget that disagreements should be handled respectfully, especially in the body of Christ.
I would LOVE for you to ask any questions in the comments regarding this. I am very passionate about this topic and I think it is important we have a safe place to ask the questions that are on our hearts.
Also, please share this with any of your friends who may have encountered the situations described above and have not known what to say in response. Let’s empower each other with Biblical knowledge so we can confidently spread God’s love through the creative expression of Bible journaling!
Peace and love,