Journaling the Bible

As I have been studying various homeschooling methods, I kept running into the idea of copywork.  It is as basic as having kids learn writing, spelling, and grammar by copying text.  It can be a simple sentence or a long quote.  There is a typical progression to copywork through the years (tracing, copying, dictation, and memorization.  Traditionally, Bible verses or quotes from the Founding Fathers are used.

I had been feeling a tug toward doing my own Bible copywork for years, before I had even heard about copywork.  I dismissed it as a bit nutty.  After discovering that copywork was an actual "thing," I decided that copying the Bible book by book would be a good practice and a chance to show my kids that copywork is normal.  By making copywork an "adult" activity, I'm hoping that it will be more appealing to my kids.  It's also a great way to put the Bible into your mind and heart, and to see the Bible in a different way.

After a few failed starts with the wrong paper, I decided to use a college-ruled composition book.  I'm left-handed, so I like how it lays flat without spirals or rings to get in my way.  The composition books are bound, so I'm hoping that it will last a lot longer than loose leaf or spiral bound notebooks.  Back to School time usually features composition books with fun covers at a good price, so that's a perk as well.

I decided to start with the book of Luke, because our women's Bible study just studied it this past winter.  It seemed like copying it would be a good review.  If you're more OCD about order, you may want to start at the beginning of the Bible so that each of your books will flow one right into another.

I haven't been scheduling my copywork time.  I try to do it when the kids are around to see me working on it.  Sometimes they're playing with sensory bins at the table or just playing outside.  I want them to be interested in what I'm doing and to want to try copywork for themselves.  In the picture below, Tadpole (2.5) had climbed onto the table while I worked and was asking me over and over, "What are you doing, Mom?"  He wanted to do it too.

I now belong to a facebook group called, "Writing the Bible."  Some people in that group are using calligraphy and artwork to make heirloom Bibles.  Others are using these "Journalible" Bibles to do their copywork.  Some are using it to practice their cursive and some are printing.  It's been neat to have a place to spur each other on.

Copying the Bible reminds me of the monks from the middle ages, who spent their lives hand-writing the Bible, preserving it for future generations.  I wish I had their discipline!

I first became interested in copying the Bible from reading the Randy Alcorn novel, Safely Home.  In the book, there is mention of people in other countries who have very limited access to the Bible.  In some cases, a church may only have one copy.  In those cases, the pages of the Bible may be passed around the congregation, so that each member may have the opportunity to copy the Bible for themselves, one page at a time.

The  dedication to complete such a big project spoke to me, and caused me to think about how common our English Bibles are. has 53 English translations on their website, meanwhile The Joshua Project claims that at least 1800 people groups around the world still don't have a Bible translated into their native language (that's really a different topic for another day).  In modern America, we can listen to the Bible on the radio or audiobook (multiple versions), watch Bible story videos, or read the Bible on our phones, tablets, computers, or in books (Americans own an average of 3.6 Bibles per person).  We're glutted with Bibles!

"Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness." Isaiah 30:8


  1. I find the process of writing helps me, as well. In college I often took illegible notes, but that didn't really matter. Same for sermons. And yes, I have copied from the Bible, as well.


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