A Scripture Journal: What is it? and why you should be keeping one
If you've been reading my posts about scripture study, you'll probably have noticed that I've mentioned keeping a scripture journal more than once. I decided that maybe I should take a few minutes and elaborate on scripture journals, what they are, and how to use them.
A Scripture Journal is exactly what it sounds like.
We're all familiar with journals and how to keep one. I still have the journals I kept as a pre-teen and teenager and every once in awhile I pull them out just so I can have a cringe-fest. (Teenagers are so angsty!) Several years ago, I actually started keeping a journal again (just one of those run-of-the-mill journals with your day to day goings-on) but I am hot and cold on keeping up with it. Does anyone really care what I cooked for dinner or that I went to Target looking for new throw pillows? I think not. I like to keep my history in scrapbooks (but more on that another day).
So, again, what is a scripture journal?
A scripture journal is the recordings of the things you read, the lessons you learn, the revelation you receive, and your personal testimony about important gospel principles. I had never kept a scripture journal until about a year ago, and now I can't live without it. Keeping a scripture journal has changed my scripture study from reading to learning to internalizing. I don't feel like there is a way to adequately express how this has changed my life in all areas.
Related: Come Follow Me: 5 Tips to Get You Started (or keep you moving)
How do you keep a scripture journal?
The BEST thing about scripture journals is that they are as personal as your study! It doesn't matter, because you won't be graded, judged or scoffed at no matter what you choose to do! And there are a million ideas of how to do it. If you google scripture journaling you'll see exactly what I mean.
Some basic things to keep in mind are:
- There is no "right way" to do it.
- It involves a lot of trial and error. If the system you've chosen to use is not working for you, try something new.
- What you are studying/how you are studying will largely determine how you decide to journal
I'm going to show you some ideas based on the things I've done, just to get you thinking.
What type of journal or book do you need?
You can honestly use whatever works for you. Consider things like if you'll be mostly writing or if you like to doodle, Do you want to be able to tear out the pages and put them elsewhere? Do you like light lines or dark ones? Does bleeding pen drive you nuts? (It does me)
These are some of the journals that I have been using:
Every book is for a different challenge or study that I'm doing, and before you think "wow, she must do nothing but read scriptures all the time" bear in mind that NONE of these books are full. I switch back and forth depending on what I'm reading from day to day.
What type of study are you doing?
I'm going to share with you some of the ways I have used my journals, and I have some pictures of some of the pages. In addition to having these different journals, I also have a different set of scriptures to go with each journal. I mark that set of scriptures according to the type of studying I'm doing, and the markings coordinate with the journal.
President Nelson's 2200 scriptures about the Savior
You may remember President Nelson talking about his time reading ALL of the scriptures about the Savior as listed in the Topical guide. I decided that I really wanted to try that one for myself too, so I got myself a set of LARGE PRINT scriptures for it, and I'm glad I did. I did a lot of writing and cross referencing in those books, and I could have used a wide margin set instead. If you'd like to read President Nelson's account of this challenge, you can do that here.
The Scripture journal for this challenge:
I decided I wanted to journal about each section and what I learned about the Savior from it individually. Here are a couple sample pages from this journal:
I like to doodle and do fancy lettering to highlight important points, and I also love clipart! (it's the cut and paste side of me)
Any time I found a title for the Savior, that became it's own page so that I could think about what that title means.
President Nelson: What Would your life be like without the Book of Mormon?
This is actually the first thing I started studying. President Nelson gave a talk about discovering things about the Book of Mormon, and he had his own list of things that it affirms, refutes, fulfills, clarifies, and reveals. You can go back and revisit that talk here if you'd like. I got one of those cheap Books of Mormon with the blue cover and wrote a legend in the front so I could color code what I found.
The Scripture journal for this challenge:
I followed a system my daughter taught me that she learned on her mission. I wrote a brief synopsis of what was happening, and I labeled the page with one of President Nelson's categories. Under the synopsis, I wrote what I learned. I added an additional category and wrote all of that in pink, and that is my personal revelation.
This one was simple and mostly just writing, although if I wanted to highlight a particular scripture, I did an occasional doodle of it.
President Nelson's End of Year Challenge
When President Nelson presented the challenge to all the women last fall, I decided that even though I was about halfway through the Book of Mormon, I was going to take the challenge and I started from the beginning. I did as he asked and marked all the scriptures that spoke of the Savior, and that is absolutely all I did in that book. It's amazing how riddled with yellow pen it is!
The journal for this challenge:
I literally used a plain composition book for this journal. All of my writing in it is my personal feelings about the Savior, and I journaled specifically about the reading each day. I didn't do pictures of this because there isn't much to see, and it's pretty personal stuff.
Come Follow Me (of course!)
Most of my journaling for the Come Follow Me lessons are on the worksheets I have been sharing with you, a lot of scribbles in the Come Follow Me manual, and notes and doodles on the talks that go with the lesson. However, at the very beginning of the year I found this A-MAZING book on Amazon!
I love this book! One of the things I love about it is that it is a dotted page, rather than lines. If you're a doodler, those types of pages are perfection!
Here are some sample pages from my book:
Art in Scriptures
One thing that absolutely fascinates me is people that put artwork in their scriptures. I bought a bible specifically for this purpose, but I haven't started yet. There are a few reasons.
I don't dare because what if I screw it up...
This is a stupid reason. Seriously. But I'm just being honest. I have a slight issue with perfectionism.
I decided that what I really need to focus on is actual scripture study and learning.
This is NOT a stupid reason, and I don't mean to say that those that do artwork aren't studying as well. But I just know that for me, right now, I don't have the time to do both, so I'm choosing the better part. One day I will start, I just don't know when.
Some of my favorite scripture journaling resources
I want to share a few sites that I visit frequently. They have some great resources!
I love the website called Worthy Written Words. Aimee's video about why she started scripture journaling is inspirational! One of these days I'm going to tackle making one of her coptic journals.
The other is a website called A LIvely Hope. She has fun sketchnotes you can print out to go with each Come Follow Me lesson if you like to doodle, plus other good resources for studying with children.
If you're not keeping a scripture journal yet, I hope this inspires you to start! I'd love to hear what you decide to do and how it's working. Feel free to drop a comment on this post or visit me over on Facebook!