One thing that can really stump a newbie Bible Journaler is knowing where to start! It can be quite intimidating to randomly go to the Bible and pick something to journal on especially if you are new to Bible reading. Today I wanted to talk about a few ways that I go about picking a verse to journal on.
1. Through my daily reading
One place I encounter verses is through my daily Bible reading. Over the years, I've used several Bible reading plans including reading through the Bible in a year, reading through the Bible chronologically, reading through the Bible in two years as well as reading through a book as the Spirit leads me. There are lots of great bible reading plans. (Just google Bible reading plans and you'll find a ton.) If you are new to reading the Bible, I recommend Psalms, Proverbs, the gospel of John or 1 John as great books to start with.
Right now, I'm reading through Psalms so a lot of my journaling has been on Psalms. Sometimes I'll read a verse and journal on it that day but if I don't have time or if I find a verse elsewhere (like in a sermon or class), I'll jot it down for a later journaling session. When I'm feeling uninspired, I have a handy list to read through.
In the case of this verse, I found Psalm 27:10 to really resonate with me. It reads "For my father and my mother have forsaken me but the Lord will take me in" (ESV). Being rejected by your earthly family is one of the hardest things a person can go through. I have been estranged from my mother since 2008 so this verse really spoke comfort to my soul. I didn't know it at the time, but when I did this journaling I was less than a week away from seeing my mom again after many years.
Even though this encounter with my mom didn't bring the tear filled healing of our relationship that I desperately wanted, this verse was such a comfort to me while my mom hung onto the things that had come between us. Because I had journaled on this verse, it was so easy for me to find it again in my bible and to commit it to memory even though I am not a memorizing type person!
2. By searching topically for a verse that speaks to my life right now
Sometimes, I will go to the Bible and look specifically for a verse that has to deal with something in my life right now. About two weeks ago, my grandfather passed away a bit unexpectedly and I really needed some comfort from God. He lead my to Psalm 34 which is chock full of great verses.
One place to help you find verses is by using a concordance which lists verses that a word is used in. My study Bible has a small concordance in the back which I use frequently to look for verses. You can also use a Bible app or website like Biblegateway.com to search for things like "comfort", "joy", "forgiveness" and "peace" depending on what you need. As you grow more experienced with Bible study, you will learn where these verses are but there's no shame in looking them up!
So sometimes God gives me a verse and sometimes life sends me looking for one. These where the two verses I took with me to my grandfather's funeral where I had to see my mom again. (I was out of town for 5 days which is why I took last week off from blogging.) Both ways are equally valid expressions of God speaking to me in love.
3. Through a Devotional or Bible Journaling Challenge or Journal Along
As the Bible Journaling Community has grown, more interactive journaling activities have arisen. There are devotionals, such as those by Illustrated Faith, Journaling challenges (see Bible Art Journaling Challenge) and other journal alongs (such as Seasons Illustrated). A lot of them exist on Facebook so go check them out. They may be centered around a theme, an artistic technique or a particular scripture that everyone journals on.
This particular journaling is from the Seasons Illustrated Esther study and while it doesn't have as much of a personal connection for me as the previous two, it is so cool to journal along with others especially if you live somewhere that Bible Journaling hasn't really caught on yet.