Roughly half of my bible study time is spent writing or keeping a journal. I have my pen and paper – usually a regular spiral bound notebook like you’d buy your kid for school – by my side as I pray, read, and study, and I simply write down my thoughts.
Sometimes I write a basic summary of the scripture I studied. This helps me remember what I read, but it also helps when I need to hash out the lesson or the story because I still don’t fully understand it. I write/talk myself through what I read, what I think it’s saying, what I don’t understand, and any insights God gives me as I’m writing/talking.
Sometimes I write my thoughts and feelings about what I read – an evaluation, if you will: questions I’m still pondering after researching bible commentary, how it challenged or convicted me, how it made me feel, how I could apply it to my life, or what I think God is saying to me about my life. (The hyperlink takes you to Part 1 of this series).
Sometimes I research and record the original Greek or Hebrew meaning of words in a verse or verses that stand out to me. This is called word study, and it is useful for researching and internalizing scripture. (The hyperlink takes you to Part 2 of this series).
Sometimes I write my prayers to God word for word as if I am talking to Him out loud or praying inside my head. (I stay focused better this way during the actual prayer time). I typically use the P.R.A.Y acronym to format my prayers, but sometimes they’re free-form – I simply write what I’m saying to Him.
Sometimes I ask Him a question – for clarification, for insight into how the scripture is relevant to me, for guidance on what I should do with the conviction I feel, etc. – and sit with my paper and pen and wait until I hear from Him and record what He says.
Often, I record prayer requests – my requests and those of others. This is helpful because I go back later and look over the requests and see how God has answered.
I even sprinkle in comments about my day – what I did yesterday, what I plan to do today, things I’m worried about, situations at work or with family – just like you’d find in a regular diary or daily journal.
I also write in the margins of my bible. I’ll write notes from other sources of commentary. I’ll underline or box-in verses that catch my attention. I’ll write quotes from speakers I hear and include the speaker’s name and date. I make connections with other verses.
There are multiple ways to use writing or journaling as a bible study technique. Just pick up your paper and pen (or turn on your laptop or use a notetaking feature on your smartphone), and write. It’s that simple. (I don’t do the creative bible journaling technique of drawing in my bible…because I stink at drawing…but some of the links below address this method as well).
I’m naturally a writer; I have always been one to write down my thoughts, so I just go with the flow, writing whatever I feel I need to write at the time. It is something simple and easy you could incorporate into your quiet bible study time as well. Just start writing. Don’t worry about whether or not you’re doing it the “right way” – just write.
Keeping a daily study journal/prayer journal/bible journal – whatever you want to call it and whatever form it takes for you – is a great way to learn to talk to God and to deepen your relationship with Him. I strongly encourage it.
How do you use writing or journaling in your bible study time? Share your tips and tricks.
Other Bible Journaling Resources
Five Reasons to Journal Daily from wellwateredwomen.com – This article discusses the benefits of keeping a daily journal from a Christian standpoint.
How to Bible Journal from NIVBible.com – This article focuses more on artistic journaling (drawing artwork based on what you study, but it touches on some other, basic journaling tips as well.
Bible Journal Guide: Tips, Prompts, Ideas, and Examples – The title of the article tells is all 🙂