Scripture Engagement/ Journaling Scripture
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Journaling Scripture

Journaling Scripture is distinct from journaling to record daily life. A Scripture journal is not meant to be primarily a diary or a log of daily events. Though all journaling is useful for general mental health and spiritual growth, journaling can become richer when integrated with Scripture.

Journaling Scripture helps you to reflect on a passage, focusing your mind and helping you concentrate. Writing often helps us clarify our thinking. Most of us, when we take notes for a class or during a sermon, engage with the content at a deeper level and remember it more completely—and, as a result, the content has more impact on our lives. This same principle holds true when you journal Scripture. Writing down your thoughts about a passage helps you to engage the Bible more deeply.

Journaling Scripture is not just about a better understanding of the content of the Bible; it can also help increase your expectation of meeting God in his Word. In Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney writes, “By slowing us down and prompting us to think more deeply about God, journaling helps us feel more deeply (and biblically) about God. It provides an opportunity for the intangible grays of mindwork and heartwork to distill clearly into black and white. Then we’re better able to talk to God with both mind and spirit.” A Scripture journal is a conversation with God. It is meant to be a place where you can safely record and reflect on your raw thoughts and feelings, ask questions, search for patterns, and develop your own thoughts with the Holy Spirit as your guide. Being candid with God and yourself deeply enhances spiritual growth. Confession to God results in an open and honest relationship with him that allows the Spirit to continue to shape and mold you into Christ’s image.

One of the blessings of Journaling Scripture is that years later, when you reread your journal entries, you will be able to see more clearly God’s work in your life. You’ll be able to rediscover a passage of Scripture that was important to you. You’ll remember that God answered a prayer that was prompted by Scripture you wrote in your journal. You’ll realize that questions that weighed on your heart for years have been answered by God. Remembering all that God has done for you on your spiritual journey is one important aspect of spiritual growth. Journaling Scripture can help you remember God’s faithfulness.

How do you journal Scripture? After reading a passage of Scripture, basic Scripture Journaling could include the following steps:

  • Writing verses that stood out to you
  • Jotting questions about the passage
  • Writing a truth from the passage
  • Writing action steps for yourself based on your reading
  • Writing a praise to God for a promise that was meaningful to you
  • Writing prayers for yourself or others that were prompted by the passage
  • Writing a confession because you’ve fallen short of an action in the passage
  • Asking God for help in living out a passage

Methods for Scripture journaling are varied, and there is not one that is universally “correct.” Your method is appropriate if you notice God using your journaling to develop spiritual growth in your life. Be honest in your journaling; search your soul and be open to God’s voice.  Eventually, your journaling style will become personal and unique, which is exactly as it should be. The goal is not to follow a strict pattern but to express yourself, seek clarity, and most importantly, to experience growth and new depth in your relationship with God.

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© Phil Collins, Ph.D., 2014. This material was created in partnership with the Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement.