Someone recently asked my opinion about the journaling/coloring in your Bible craze. This is where someone uses colored pencils and such to artistically draw on pages of a Bible. In theory, I have no problem with this. Some people are artistically or creatively inclined, and this could help them focus on the Scripture by picking a theme from a page of the Bible and colorfully portraying it.
However, I do have concerns. My personal experiences and formal surveys coincide, revealing that biblical and theological knowledge is horribly low among Christians. Stats show that Bible reading is at low levels too. Here is an article from Albert Mohler: The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy, It’s Our Problem. [Please note that I strongly disagree with Mohler’s views about women in the church and married couples without children, but that to the side, he often has insightful thoughts on other things.] An excerpt:
“While America’s evangelical Christians are rightly concerned about the secular worldview’s rejection of biblical Christianity, we ought to give some urgent attention to a problem much closer to home – biblical illiteracy in the church. This scandalous problem is our own…Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli put the problem squarely: ‘Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.’ How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it’s worse than most could imagine…Secularized Americans should not be expected to be knowledgeable about the Bible…The larger scandal is biblical ignorance among Christians. Choose whichever statistic or survey you like, the general pattern is the same. America’s Christians know less and less about the Bible. It shows.”
I hope you see my point. While there is nothing wrong with creatively journaling in a Bible, are you actually reading and studying your Bible? Are you reading books of substance about Christianity?
Are you sure?
As I touch on in another post, too much of what we call Bible study is not actually Bible study but superficial glancing: Are you trying to study the Bible without reading it?
And far too many devotionals constitute a biblical and spiritual starvation diet. See this post: Devotional reading in 2017. (Yes, a devotional should be a devotional – not an academic endeavor – but see the post for explanation.)
So, if you are journaling/coloring in a Bible, that is fine, but…are you balanced? I could see Bible journaling and Bible study being combined in a beneficial way. For example, pick a book of the Bible to read/study (and actually read and study it!) and at the same time creatively journal too.
You may need to prayerfully consider where your focus is located. Is it the Scripture, and the journaling flows from that? Or is it mostly about the art and colored pencils? It is easy to be self-deceived about our motives and focus.
I’ll close with a statement from Michael J. Svigel on Twitter:
“Dear evangelicals: For every Christian novel, coloring book, or fluffy devotional you read in 2017, balance it with one book of substance.”