My Bible Art Journal
The Book of Job
The opening sentence of this chapter's introduction reads, “The Book of Job does not explain the mystery of suffering or ‘justify the ways of God’ with human beings, but it does probe the depths of faith in the midst of suffering.” I have been thinking a lot about human suffering lately — the suffering caused by natural disasters, the suffering of children at the hands of adults, the suffering of poverty, disease, loneliness, war, the suffering we inflict upon others and ourselves. I took on The Book of Job all together and created a pattern of holes, circles, and colors — a pattern of prayer. So, here’s a flip through of the Book of Job.
Bible study has been part of most of my life, and I have included journaling as part of that study for many years. But this is my first Art Journal as part of my Bible study. As 2018 began, I found myself frustrated and angry about the state of the world, so I turned to Art Journaling with the express intent of finding what Pollyanna calls "the Happy Texts" in the Bible -- words of joy, love, hope, and peace.
Art Journaling is a slower and more deliberate way of study. Sometimes a single page takes several days. But it has been deeply gratifying as a spiritual practice.
I think of this as my own illumination project. Before the printing press, monks and artists would handwrite copies of the Bible, music, and other texts. This art form developed into a thriving business for some monastic communities where artists produced gorgeous, illustrated copies called "illuminated texts." In some ways, I see Biblical art journaling as an extension of this practice -- an artistic form of living with the Bible.
My Bible: my favorite translation of the Bible for study is the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version). I have several different Bibles, but I chose to use the Bible I purchased in college -- The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha (NRSV). It has notes written in it from my college classes, but more importantly it has a hard cover and pages that accept ink well. I do tend to glue two pages together for support in this Bible.
Note: There are Bibles designed for Art Journaling, but there is not an NRSV version available, and they tend to be abridged.
My Practice: as I begin a new page, sometimes I know exactly which passage I'm looking for. Other times I look for a particular subject or key word. I generally read 5-6 pages looking for just the right passage to illuminate. Once I have found a verse or a few verses on which I will focus, I start to plan just what and how I will approach them. I glue pages together and prep the work space, and then I get to work.
Don't forget to order your own copy of my new Christmas giving journal: The Nice List!