Bible Journaling: ART vs. NOTES (Which is better?)

There are two camps in Bible journaling: the note-takers, and the art-journalers. Is one better than the other? And which one is right for you? Those are the questions I aim to answer in this post.

Bible Journaling: Art vs. Notes

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Last week, someone unsubscribed from my e-mail list. Usually people don’t leave any comment as to why they chose to stop receiving my e-mails… but, this person did. Her comment was “I journal with words, NOT art, so your content no longer interests me”. And I have to admit, I was a little miffed at first.

But more than that, I found myself questioning: Is it any more or less valid to journal with art rather than simply taking notes?

Is one method of Bible journaling better than the other? And also, do creating art and writing notes have to be mutually exclusive?

As I thought and prayed about it, the answers came clearly: no, no, and no. Each type of journaling is valid and useful, and you can absolutely combine them! Let me explain…

Art vs. Note-Taking: Which is better?

What method of Bible journaling you or I or anyone chooses to do, should be based on each of our unique ways of learning. It’s really about how God created you; in other words, how did He wire your brain to work?

For me, creating art is essential. It helps me meditate on each passage of Scripture that I study, and it makes it so easy to refer back to it and remember it later. I tend to get easily overwhelmed when there too many words or numbers… I mean, it’s easy to read from point A to point B. But when it comes to studying the Word, and recording what I learn, I think it would drive me bananas if all I had was a Bible full of highlights and underlines and notes, and nothing to stand out visually.

But, that doesn’t mean that I never take notes in my Bible. Sure, sometimes I simply create art that repeats the key verse, like “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (for Proverbs 3:5). But other times, I’ll hand-letter something specific that God revealed to me in my studying of that passage (like the “Salt & Light” passage below).

salt and light Bible journal

And occasionally, I’ll write a paragraph or so of notes on top of a painted background, like this study of Joshua 1:9…

Joshua 1:9 Bible journaling

The art just helps my mind process and remember the Bible passage better than writing alone would!

Art and note-taking definitely don’t have to be mutually exclusive; rather, I think of them on a spectrum, like left-brained to right-brained. Some of us are in the middle, while others are closer to one end or the other.

If you’re extremely creative, you may desire to only use art in your Bible journaling, because maybe for you the art speaks way louder than words. Or if you’re extremely analytical/methodical in your thinking, maybe you’d prefer only words and no art. But really, most of us are probably a bit of both, like 80/20, or 70/30. So it’s really about determining what combination works best for you.

Three Questions to Ask Yourself

If you’re not sure whether you’d like to do art journaling, or simple note-writing, or some combination thereof, then ponder these questions…

  1. Do you consider yourself more left-brained/technical/analytical, or more right-brained/creative?
  2. How do you learn and retain information best? By reading words alone, or by reading text that also includes visual cues like symbols, pictures, and diagrams?
  3. What would best help you to study, understand, and remember God’s Word? Ask Him to help you see what journaling methods would be most helpful to you.

In the end, each person’s method of Bible journaling is unique…no two are the same. In 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul says “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” So, by the same token, I would say: Whether you paint, draw, write, sticker, stamp, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Make your Bible journaling an act of love and worship for your Creator, and you can’t go wrong. ❤️

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