You know how you read a post and the author sounds angry…or judgemental (maybe both) – and you leave the site feeling condemned? Oh, my, if people ever felt like that after reading any of my posts, I’d be quite concerned about what I was writing! Convicted – yes (this comes from the Holy Spirit). Condemned – never – because it would come from me. But finding these kinds of posts is pretty easy – even when you search for a topic as harmless as Bible journaling. Wow! There are some strong opinions out there! And, friends, that is exactly what they are – opinions. So, I thought I’d address the question Is Bible Journaling Wrong? Or Even Evil? in my last post in the series.
There are a few arguments out there against Bible journaling – let’s go one-by-one.
It Will Replace True Bible Study
This seems to be the biggest argument against Bible journaling. You know, I am tired of hearing this argument because it assumes that anyone who Bible journals is an idiot and completely gullible – helpless against the flesh. It assumes that their faith and self-control is very weak. Let me say this:
I have yet to meet someone who is dim-witted enough to actually think that Bible journaling is a substitute for in-depth, fruitful Bible Study.
You see, Bible journaling ideas and inspiration don’t just magically pop into my head out of nowhere. My ideas are motivated and stirred through my in-depth Bible study! When I read a passage of Scripture, meditate on it, consider what God is saying, what God wants to teach me, and think of how I can apply it to my life – that’s when I might be inspired to journal. Then, if I have a bit of extra time, I just may journal.
IF Bible journaling ever took the place of actual Bible study in my life, then that is a heart issue. Not a Bible journaling issue.
It Is Satan’s Work
Bible journaling is being called the work of the devil by some. Now that can be scary, can’t it? I mean I never want to be caught up in the work of the devil! Especially when I am reading the word of God! YIKES!
And…to say another Christian is under the devil’s influence is quite an allegation to be making against your sister in Christ, wouldn’t you say?
Years ago, I was part of a church that split and I overheard an incredibly angry woman declare that the remaining members of the church were under the influence of Satan and doing his work. Honestly, I just felt sorry for this woman – she was the one who was so angry! So malicious! As Christians, we do not need to be so quick to pronounce that another Christian is working for Satan when we do not agree with what they are doing, saying, or believing.
It simply is not fruitful.
And it is wrong.
I know the devastation this kind of accusation can cause. The pain lasts a very long time. The scars never quite heal. This is NOT the kind of accusation to make against the Bride of Christ casually – or spitefully. Or out of ignorance…or pride. This kind of behavior is just to make trouble, cause strife, and divisiveness.
I read a comment on one post where the commenter went as far as to say that Bible journaling is another way the devil is corrupting faithful people…then I look at her gravatar (from Nightmare Before Christmas, perhaps? Never seen the movie, but the image caused me to investigate further). I click on her name and I am taken to her Facebook page – which has a horror movie character on the cover. As I scroll through her wall, I see it is littered with OMG, wtf, and other curse words as well as posts with sexual innuendos. And here she was concerned about Bible journaling giving Satan a foothold…
I think there much bigger issues to deal with than whether or not other Christians should be drawing in their Bibles. Take Note: Be careful to whom you listen to!
It Is Disrespectful and Dishonoring
Some people believe that writing in their Bible dishonors God. I can understand this idea and I would not hesitate to respect that belief. However, things get a bit dangerous when that belief leads to accusing other Christians of not honoring God or being deceived by Satan because they do write (or draw) in their Bible (see above). And that is what I take issue with.
If you know my story – if you know what God has brought me through, then you would expect to find a woman who reveres God with her whole heart.
And that’s the key word right there, friends – heart. I could say that writing or drawing in my Bible dishonors God and then go for coffee with my church friends and gossip about the Pastor’s Wife. Or I could be in the check-out at the grocery store and treat the cashier with disdain because she has tattoos and piercings (or for whatever reason). On Sunday, I could glare at the young mom sitting in the pew trying to keep her toddler quiet – or maybe just be judging her in my heart.
But, hey, I don’t write in my Bible like those heathens do. I honor God by keeping my Bible clean and wrinkle free.
Do you get what I am saying here? We get so focused on some silly thing being dishonorable and we begin to lose sight of LOVE. We disregard the condition of our own hearts because we are so consumed by what others are doing. A good reading of Matthew 15 might be helpful for some who are so wrapped up in man’s teachings.
And you know what? I would think that flippantly and angrily saying a fellow believer is being controlled by Satan (see above) dishonors God much more than writing or drawing in a Bible.
Writing in my Bible and drawing in my Bible Journal helps my heart honor God (see, it’s about my heart. Not someone else’s). My notes, highlights, and ‘doodles’ help me to remember who He is and who I am. To me, this is evidence of a Bible that is well-used, read often, and loved dearly. Below are some photos of my Bible – the one I use for studying.
It Distracts From God’s Word
I’ve read in some posts that God’s word can become secondary to my own ‘self-expression’. It could if my heart wasn’t in the right place. And, really, I’m not that great of an artist – I don’t think quite that highly about myself. And my God is so much bigger than my ‘self-expression’.
Then there is the issue of sharing photos of your Bible journaling and how it leads to pride and competition because you aren’t doing this in your ‘inner room’. Matthew 6:6 was quoted here – ummm…I think it has been taken way out of context in order to make an argument. Reading that entire chapter will help you understand the idea of praying in your room. And you’ll see that it simply does not apply to sharing photos of Bible journaling.
If you are easily distracted from God’s word by art, then there are more serious issues at play here. And it has nothing to do with Bible journaling (can you guess where the issue is rooted?).
It Defaces God’s Word
Another argument was that painting or drawing over the words in scripture is defacing God’s word. The argument was likened to Thomas Jefferson tearing out pages of God’s word he didn’t like – now, being Canadian, I’m not familiar with this story, so I don’t know how true it is. BUT…tearing out pages of scripture that is uncomfortable for someone toying with sin is completely different than painting or drawing over words in a Bible as a form of worship after reading a piece of scripture that brought hope to a broken heart.
Defacing something is solely for the purpose of ruining it, for destruction. Bible journaling – even full page journaling – is not destroying God’s word (ummm…nothing can destroy His word). Again, the issue here is the condition of the heart. Someone who is defacing something will have a hardened heart full of hatred for whatever they are defacing. Someone who is Bible journai\ling is more likely to have a softened heart full of love and respect for God’s word.
But I would think that would be just common sense.
It Adds To God’s Word
There are those who believe that for someone to write or draw in their Bible, they are adding to God’s word, which is clearly wrong (Prov 30:5-6, Rev 22:18).
Now, I know that there are ‘prophets’ out there who declare that they get special revelations from God just so you’ll drink their Kool-Aid (whatever that Kool-Aid might be). But Bible journaling is a far cry from this kind of madness.
I highly doubt that anyone who journals in their Bible would dare say they have a brand new revelation from God and, thus, they are adding it to His Holy Word.
Hey, you know what? The above statement is simply me thinking the best of someone rather than assuming they are a crazy fool or a complete idiot. Imagine what would happen if we started to give our brothers and sisters in Christ the benefit of the doubt…especially if the strife is coming from Bible journaling…
God’s word isn’t being changed. It isn’t being edited. Bible art journaling actually quotes scripture, usually word-for-word.
BUT, if it is changed, then the issue is not with Bible journaling. It’s with the…HEART.
That’s just common sense, too. Isn’t it?
It Leads to Materialism
OK, this reason is quite unreasonable. Seriously? Buying pencil crayons, markers, paints…whatever…leads to materialism and coveting. I think there is more to it than that.
If I can be lead astray to materialism so easily over coloring tools, then I think I have bigger problems than Bible journaling. I have a very serious problem with the condition of my what??? Yes, my heart.
If you are at risk of being led to materialism through Bible journaling supplies, or any other means…know that this has much more to do with some form of bondage deep within your heart than it has to do with actual objects. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.
Most people are linear(auditory)-sequential – meaning learning is step-by-step. There is a logical progression and thinking is in words. My husband has this kind of thinking. Then there are people like me – the visual-spatial. We think in pictures – holistically. When I read anything, it is like a movie playing in my mind. Being a visual-spatial makes Bible journaling very appealing to me. It is very visual, I see it fully. It helps me root the word of God deeply within my heart.
And I think this fact is either overlooked, ignored, or not even considered by those who are against Bible journaling. To try and squeeze me into a religious mold of who others think I should be would negate who God created me to be.
I wonder if we are just too focused on everything we shouldn’t do and not focused enough on all that we ought to be doing. What we are doing for His glory should far outweigh our concerns about what others shouldn’t be doing.
My God Is Bigger
The God I serve is so much bigger than such a tertiary issue. We desperately want to fit Him into our little box so we can understand Him better. We try to pull Him down to our level, making Him smaller than who He is. At least we try. Because we are uncomfortable with things that are out of control. Things that are beyond our understanding.
I am working on an in-depth Bible study of the book of John and there is a chapter that touches on this kind of divisive behavior. If you are interested in this study when it releases this summer, sign up here.
Some questions to consider:
Are you having a critical spirit towards someone who uses Bible journaling to draw closer to God?
Is there fruit in their life?
Is there fruit in your life?
What is the condition of your heart?
Is your concern over a secondary (or even tertiary) issue such as Bible journaling greater than the welfare of a person? In other words, are you more concerned about being ‘right (in your own eyes) than about the person you are arguing with?
Has your complaint with a secondary or tertiary issue caused you to lose focus on fulfilling God’s plans for your life?