You may have seen Bible journaling, or Illustrated Faith, filling up your Instagram feed over the last year or so. Popularized by Illustrated Faith and its founder Shanna Noel, Bible journaling is a popular spiritual practice for many Christian women. At Minno, we see a lot of potential for Bible journaling to be an amazing family experience and a great way to get your kids into the Word of God! Arden Ratcliff-Mann, a popular Instagram artist and children’s pastor in Kansas City, writes below the supplies needed to start Bible journaling. Over the course of our blog series on Bible journaling, Arden will cover how to start Bible journaling and how to Bible journal with kids. Check out the first post in the series here, the supplies you need here and Arden’s secret to Bible journaling here.
I’ve already shared several reasons why Bible journaling has become a meaningful devotional practice for me, but another reason I love it is that it can be a fun way to get kids excited about spending time in the Word. Bible journaling probably won’t be a good fit for every kid, but if your children enjoy coloring, it might be an activity to try with them.
I always think it’s helpful when first introducing the idea to kids to show them lots of examples of the different ways people journal their faith. I like to show examples from Instagram or Pinterest where journalers have used stickers, stamps, markers, watercolors, etc. One of my favorite Bible journalers on Instagram to share with kids is Wes Molebash; he draws cartoons in his Bible of the Bible stories he’s studying, and those are always a hit with kids!
When it comes to what supplies to use with kids, I think anything already in their art arsenal is free game! A special journaling Bible probably isn’t necessary for young children; they can use a journal or a regular Bible. I have friends who have encouraged their younger kids to journal in a regular children’s Bible, and then when they reach a certain age have gifted them a journaling Bible.
With younger kids, I always think it’s best to encourage them to journal Bible stories that are already familiar to them & lend themselves well to illustration—stories like David & Goliath, Jonah & the Whale, baby Moses floating down the Nile, or Jesus in the manger. You can always try to find Bible stories that match their interests. If your child loves princesses, maybe have her draw Queen Esther as you tell her Esther’s story. If your kids love animals, you could direct them to Daniel in the lion’s den, or the sheep & shepherd in Psalm 23, or the creation story. Supplies like stickers, die cuts, or big stamps can be helpful for younger kids. You can even print off lion coloring pages online, have your child color them, and then cut them out and help him glue them in the Bible to illustrate Daniel’s story.
For older kids and teens, I like to try to direct them to verses that have good imagery. Verses that mention mountains (like Isaiah 54:10) or light (like Matthew 5:14-16) are good examples. Passages like these can also help you encourage your kids to think more deeply about what kinds of images come to their minds when they read Scripture. What are different ways to represent light? The sun, a lightbulb, a flashlight, a lantern, stars—which of these images do they see when they read Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world”? I also like to encourage older kids to break away from the familiar crayons and markers and try different mediums, like acrylic paint, watercolors, or pastels.
I don’t have kids of my own yet, but have introduced Bible journaling to kids in Sunday School and other groups at church several times. In those settings, I have always encouraged kids to journal on a separate piece of paper, or I’ve made photocopies of a Bible pages and let them draw on that. Just knowing that parents might have different opinions on the appropriateness of writing in a Bible, I haven’t let kids in Sunday School color directly in their Bibles. So if you lead a children’s Sunday School class or other church group, you might consider trying Bible journaling with them!
Arden Ratcliff-Mann has an MDiv from Candler School of Theology and currently serves as the Associate Director of Children’s Ministries at Liberty United Methodist Church. Originally from Franklin, TN, she now lives in Kansas City, MO, with her husband Biff and adorable cat Loki.