In our last few blogs, we have looked at the importance of memorizing the Scriptures and helping our Sunday Church School students to do the same. This blog post will offer another way to meditate on (and even memorize) the Scriptures: Scripture journaling. As you maintain a Scripture journal, you meditate on and/or memorize the Scriptures by creating an artistic illustration of a different Scripture passage on each page of the journal. There are many ways to do so, and you do not need to be an artist to create a Scripture journal. If you can write or if you can doodle, you can create one of these journals. Even young students can make a Scripture journal! It is a fun, creative way to delve into the scriptures, and can add an artistic dimension to our Sunday Church School classes.
You will need a blank journal for each student. You will also need pens, pencils, markers, crayons, colored pencils, watercolors; whatever art supplies you wish to work with in the journals. (Note: remember that if you plan to use markers or watercolors in the journaling, you will want to provide each student with a journal with thick pages so that the colors do not bleed through to the next page. It is also important to place extra paper behind each page as you work, to absorb any possible bleed-through.)
Select a verse (or verses) which you want to ponder or memorize. It could be a verse that is a theme for a series of lessons, or a verse specific to the lesson of the week. Present some ideas of methods your students can use to illustrate that passage. Here are a few:
- Invite your students to simply write the verse or passage in their own handwriting, thinking about the meaning as they write, and perhaps writing a few of the keywords in a way that emphasizes the words’ meaning. This is a very basic way to Scripture journal, but it achieves the goal of engaging the Scriptures and meditating on each word.
- Encourage your students to take it a step further and write out the passage, this time adding some color and a few small illustrative pieces to help bring out the meaning.
- Instead of writing out the words of the passage, have your students create a sketch that helps them to learn its meaning. (You will need to supply a printed version of the verse/passage for this one.) Students can take that printed verse and tape it into their journal on one side of a two-page spread, then create an illustration on the other page that helps them think about and learn the passage.
- If you are memorizing the passage, one way to do so is to print it out and glue it in the middle of a journal page. Help your students read through the passage several times, and then encourage them to continue to repeat it to themselves as they create a colorful design around it. Zentangle patterns work well for this type of journal piece, and can give your students a variety of ideas for their design. (Here is an excellent printable tutorial on zentangles that offers sample patterns: http://www.cambridge.k12.oh.us/BlizzardBags/CMS/CMS%20Art%20BB3.pdf.) Repetitive doodling is great for meditation, so, as your students are working, they should continue to repeat the passage to themselves. They will memorize the passage and have a beautiful addition to their journal when they finish!
- Perhaps the scripture passage will lend itself to a particular idea of how it should be illustrated. If that is the case, your students can create an illustration related to the passage, and then simply glue a copy of the passage in the midst of their piece.
- Your students could also hand write the passage right in the midst of their illustration.
These are only a few of the variety of ways to create a Scripture journal. If this method of Scripture meditation/memorization appeals to you, by all means, try it with your students! Remind them that their final results may not be museum-worthy, but that’s okay. The purpose of the exercise is not to create a stunning work of art for the world to see. The act of Scripture journaling is intended to help each journal-keeper to learn more about the Scriptures, to meditate on their meaning, and to commit them to memory. The final product will always be in their journal to remind them of their work of meditation and memorization.
“And we, too, who do no more than listen to the Scriptures, should devote ourselves to them and meditate on them so constantly that through our persistence a longing for God is impressed upon our hearts [and thereby we shall be amazed to] see how the wisdom of God renders what is difficult easy, so that gradually it deifies man.” ~ Saint Peter of Damaskos
Here are some links that you may find helpful as you begin Scripture journaling with your Sunday Church School students:
Here is a blog post about Scripture journaling. This journaler uses both lined and unlined pages when she creates a piece: http://michelleperkett.blogspot.com/2015/11/new-mps-bible-art-journaling.html
Consider challenging your students to join you as you take this 30 day challenge: http://karachupp.com/shall-write-copy-30-day-challenge/
Here’s an excellent blog on doodling that incorporates Scriptures into the doodles: https://1arthouse.wordpress.com/doodles-101/
This artist uses some zentangle techniques in Scripture journaling: http://www.zenspirations.com/galleries/scriptures/
Show your students how to illustrate Scriptures, “smash journal” style: http://www.carissagraham.com/2012/03/i-made-book-scripture-scraps.html
Need inspiration to draw an illustration for the Scripture passage you are memorizing/pondering? Here are a few beautiful pieces where the artist drew an illustration and incorporated the passage in her own handwriting. http://peggyapl.blogspot.com/search?q=prayer+journal
Consider taking this 31-day challenge, along with your students, as you begin Scripture art journaling: http://artbyerinleigh.blogspot.com/2012/09/31-days-of-scripture-art-journaling-day.html
Here are some printable verse cards that can inspire your students’ Scripture journaling: http://www.kidstalkaboutgod.org/Portals/0/MemoryCards_KTAG_NKJV.pdf