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“The deepest need of my soul is Christ. But the problem is, I often forget where to find Him.”

Emily Freeman

In late 2007, I remember stepping into Lifeway Christian Stores on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and purchasing my first ESV Journaling Bible. I used it to take notes for my sermons or write down some thought that the Spirit brought to my mind during my quiet time. I used it to capture lyrics from songs and quotes from books that I wanted to remember. I just started my 4th one.

A year or so ago, the #illustratedfaith became quite popular on social media accounts – not just the particular one that is hosted by women who are spear heading this movement of documenting your faith in artistic ways – but mainly this hashtag has come to mean just that – how you want to illustrate – or bring life – to your faith. Illustrated Faith has some great tools, but don’t think that you have to own everything they put out to be able to illustrate your faith (clever hashtag though)!

So many have asked for tips, tools, Bible information, for what I do, so I thought I would share some ideas and tips with you – and also some thoughts I’ve learned over the years I’ve been using my journaling Bible to awaken my time with God.

Tools of the Trade:

1. Any Bible will do. You don’t have to have one with wide columns (like this one, which I just purchased with some birthday money), but the columns are particularly helpful for space to write or illustrate. This is the base of your faith – any other books are great for add ons – but only in the Bible do you get the very truth of God! So, thankful that God gave us His Word so that we might know Him!

2. Writing utensils. Back when I was just writing in my Bible, I would use a typical ball point pens or pencils. All Bible pages are relatively thin, so even a pencil might be able to be seen through the pages, but just think how thick your Bible would be if it had sketch paper for each page (wouldn’t it be nice, though)? Now, I love to Micron 01 pens, the occasional ball point pen (when I don’t have anything else with me),pencils, colored pencils, Le Pens, Staedtler Pens, Sharpie Pens. This is a good post illustrating pens and how they bleed through pages.

3. A Sketch Journal. I love to have a sketch journal along side my Bible. Sometimes I want to experiment more with a verse or quote or be more dramatic than I ever would be in my Bible. I go through lots of these as I also use them to run with an idea – in case I want to use it for stationery or other lettering work.

4. Other tools: erasers, rulers, stickers, washi tape, markers, highlighters, scrapbooking cards, tape, glue…if you can decorate with it – I’m sure you could find some way to use it in your Bible.

Two things I’ve Learned:

1. This is your time with God. The Holy Spirit is working in you – this isn’t primarily for you to post to your social media account and get the most likes. This isn’t about how you can make something just like someone else’s picture you saw the day before. I think God can use your work in your Bible to encourage others – believe me – but your work in your time with God should be for you and for God to speak to you and work in you – not just so you can take a picture of it and share it with the world. This sometimes leads to competitiveness between your sisters in Christ and that isn’t good. Also, it leads to inferiority because you don’t get as many likes as others or your work isn’t as good as others you see – and that isn’t the desire of the Spirit, either. The desire of the Spirit when you meet with the God in the morning is to make you more like God the Father. A post I did a while back about how I use my Bible to prayer journal (the giveaway is closed, but Crossway, if you are reading this, I’d love to do another one).

2. God is a beautiful Creator and we’ve been made in His Image. God creates so beautifully and we get to see it all : experience it with every sense that we’ve been given – we get to experience HIM! And when we are creative: we reflect God’s creativity. Of course, when God creates – he only needs to speak and out of nothing the worlds are formed – but when we create we recycle. We are given the goods to create with and a creative mind and heart and hands to pour out creativity in the world. So with that, be creative. Don’t let anyone tell you that your creativity is not as good as anyone else’s.

In your time with God, pray that the Spirit would speak to you through the Word, show you truth that you need to meditate on, and go to town with your journaling Bible, illustrating the truths that God is penetrating your heart and soul with. 

Feature image taken by Kimberly Campbell

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Kimberly Campbell

Kimberly Campbell is a wife of one, mother to two energetic toddler boys, and a creative. She currently lives in the Atlanta area with her family. A lover of the South and all its charm, she loves to travel, do photography, write, cook, and stay fit so she can go down slides and run with her boys. Being a creative in all things, she loves to display the gospel in her home, friendships, and in her creative outlets. She blogs regularly over at

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