Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been reading through the Bible again as part of Dennis Prager’s The Rational Bible commentaries in an effort to better understand the first books of the core documents that are the foundation of many of the long-existing western civilizations. This is the first time in nearly 15 years I’ve examined the Old Testament with any sort of studiousness and this book has proven to be an excellent reintroduction to self-study of scripture. So much so that the hour-long block of time I dedicate to reading every evening zips past in what feels like 15 minutes.
Very little about how one studies a religious text has changed in the decade and a half since I last worked on understanding the word of God, but quite a bit has changed in me. I’ve taken on a great deal more responsibility, accepted more challenges, gotten married, and even started a family … though not precisely in this order. What this means, though, is that since I last tried to better understand my role in the world, I have matured and have a very different perspective on the ancient texts and what they have to say. There have been a number of passages in the book of Exodus that speak more to me now than they ever could have to a 25 year old version of me. In the past when this would happen, I’d grab a red spiral-bound notebook1, open to a fresh page, record the passage that spoke to me, then write some thoughts about it. This process of Bible journalling allowed some extra time to think through a concept or piece of wisdom, and having it on paper allowed me to go back and review the things I had studied and learned.
Since buying a copy of The Rational Bible, I’ve yet to pick up yet another notebook for notes and journalling, and it seems wrong to use one of the empty, black-covered notebooks which have been acquired for the purposes of work notes and To Do lists. What I would really like to do is record passages and notes digitally so that I might not only keep the journal for more than a handful of years2, but have the ability to quickly search, reference, and possibly share the thoughts and bits of wisdom with others in a well-structured, consistent manner … sort of like how quotation posts work in 10C, but with a little more rigidity.
So, with this desire in mind, I plan on building this sort of functionality into the 10Centuries platform starting this week with the goal of having something that people can at least look at before the end of Friday. Having a tool that allows for reading a Bible of our choosing and write notes alongside the texts seems like a worthwhile project. My years of experience developing textbook software can be used for something worthwhile and some of the journalling ideas I’ve been considering will have a playground for testing and refinement.
This is something I’ve been thinking about very seriously over the last few weeks and, seeing as I have the time, knowledge, and opportunity to build something to aid in Bible journalling, it makes sense to give it a solid effort. Hopefully if the tool can help me better keep track of ideas, questions, and wisdom, it can also help others who wish to do the same.
I generally went with a red-covered book because this was the colour of the text in the Bible to signify that God or Jesus was speaking. Red meant “The Word”, and the notebook symbolized this. It was kept on my nightstand, always within an arms reach when reading or sleeping.
I’m not sure why, but my Bible journals rarely stuck around for more than two or three years after being filled out.