Yes! I think it deserves two exclamation points. Because y’all. I have waited for 3 months for this Bible to get here! What the what?!! This was supposed to be my birthday giveaway. Which was in March. Because I turned 40 and thought it would be fun to celebrate it here. THREE MONTHS AGO!
But apparently these journaling Bibles have become all the rage and were flying off the shelves so quickly that they became impossible to find. Anywhere. Unless you wanted the little tiny one which I accidentally purchased and my daughter quickly claimed for herself since it’s perfect for keeping in her backpack. (I pray she writes in it!) Or if you wanted the one with the super expensive (but oh so decadent) leather cover. Or the KJV version.
And let me just be frank for a minute. I love the KJV. I have memorized countless verses from the KJV version of the Bible. But when I’m trying to study, to learn, to dig deep, using a Bible that’s written for a person who lived 400 years ago is a little distracting and very frustrating. I’m not simple minded, but I am a child of the 70’s…the 1970’s. So please don’t hate on me. I love using many different versions of the Bible and I think the Word of God is living and active and inspired and infallible. But I don’t think there is only one version of the Bible that is inspired because I believe God is bigger than that. So when I study I love using the ESV Bible. And my HCSB and NIV and NASB. And sometimes even the Message.
If you ask me to quote John 3:16 or Romans 3:23 you’ll get the KJV version. But when I dug into Matthew 15 and referenced the Message version, I was blown away by the power of those words:
Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Anyway, this isn’t a lesson on different versions of the Bibles and whether or not it is or is not a sin to use any version of the Bible besides the King James Version. You may have your opinions and I will have mine. Which will include a set of three or four Bibles I regularly reference and one in which I color. And use washi tape. And stickers. And highlighters. And maybe one day I will even paint in it.
Last fall I started seeing these journaling Bibles pop up in my Instagram feed. I really love Instagram. There’s so much pretty to look at there. Anyway…I got curious and started poking around the Illustrated Faith website that seemed to be the hub of this movement. What I saw both intimidated and excited me. You see, I loved scrapbooking. I was sort of…all right…highly obsessed with scrapbooking. And this was like bringing all of the things I loved about scrapbooking and combining it with studying the Bible and worshipping God.
I found a great deal on a journaling Bible (identical to the one I’m giving away), bought a micron pen, dug out my coloring pencils and a few stickers, bought a couple of rolls of washi tape and set to work with the “She Reads Truth” app to read the Bible in a year. I’m woefully behind because…well, I could make excuses, but they’re just that. Excuses.
I still do Bible studies with the girls in my lifegroup, but this private encounter with God has taught me some beautiful truths that I had missed before. I started finding words like “God remembered…” all through the book of Genesis. And clinging to forgotten promises in Psalms. And it was just so very good for my heart to find a new and fresh way to engage with God.
Somehow, when I put my hands to work, the thoughts that God was teaching me stuck better in my brain. It probably has something to do with the fact that I’m a kinesthetic learner.
I also picked up a copy of Writing in the Margins: Connecting with God on the Pages of Your Bible, which was a very practical resource to help get me started on this new adventure. It took the focus off of me and my abilities and put it onto how to engage with God and why should I even pick up a pen to mark my Bible. And while it’s true that it may one day become something my children will want to see, I’m not even doing it for them. I’m doing it for me. To help me be more like Jesus.
[Tweet “Why #biblejournaling? I want to be more like Jesus. #illustratedfaith”]
So. Here’s what I want to do today. I want to give away a copy of a Crossway ESV Single Column Bible AND also a copy of the book Writing In the Margins. Why the book? Because, this could be a way to grow and engage with God on a very personal level, or it could become a project in which perfectionism steals away the joy from daring to set pen to the pristine pages of your new Bible or even a new way to humblebrag on Instagram.
Trust me when I say I know a thing or two about that. And at times I forget why I have my special little box of supplies. I get tempted to obsess over form, rather than settling down to listen to what God might want to show me. The struggle is real y’all.
So you’ll get the Bible AND the book. Lest you be tempted into the mire of perfectionism like me.
There are no affiliate links. This post is not sponsored. It profits me in no way. It is just me sharing something that has been an invaluable tool for me and helped me untangle some spiritual truths in my own life.