How I use my Faith / War Binder Inserts

4:55 PM

*Be warned that this post is looooong and rambly and picture heavy so grab a cuppa and let's dive in!* 
So since I posted the printable inserts for my war binder I've received a ton, A TON, of emails, messages and DMs asking me to show a little more how I use my inserts and how I study my bible. I didn't share that in the previous post because honestly I never thought so many people would be interested but you guys managed to prove me wrong. 

Something super important to keep in mind is that this is the way I study. This doesn't mean that it's right or that it's the way you should be studying. I have no idea if this is the correct way to study the bible. Its's just what I felt comfortable doing and how I know I'll learn best.

Now that's out of the way are you ready? Here we go!

The first thing that you need to know is that even though I've always been a journaler I never before thought about studying the bible so in depth, this way. I bought a cheap bible years ago to do color coding and while I learned a ton it just wasn't my style. It absolutely destroyed me to write in my bible, even if it was a cheap one and was full of coffee stains and pen marks from living in my bag for months on end (I used to work a late night shift at a call center for a bit when I was younger so I had lots of down time between calls to read which was great).  I wanted a bible that would provide me with lots of resources and somewhere separate I could record my thoughts, write down, paint, tear up, and cut if I wished to do so.

Anyways, let me show you just what I use and how I study.

Just to give you some context I'll be studying and journaling through the first couple of chapters of the book of Acts and while I don't use EVERY single insert here I hope you understand the general idea of how I use them.

What do I use to study?
I've seen a lot of people that worry about setting up the perfect war binder, spending tons of money and getting fancy things. My binder is far from perfect; A constant work in progress and you know what? I'm pretty cool with that. I don't need a perfect binder. I need to retain all the information that's in there. That's what really matters to me. Aside from the gorgeous Recollections planner that I received as Happy Mail there is nothing I've "invested" in for my studies.
I use:
  • A bible. Well, duh! I absolutely love my trusty ESV study bible. I spent countless hours researching what the best, most accurate, easily readable bible in the market was and I can't sing enough praises to this translation.  It is full of maps, tons of research, it is purely academical which means that you don't get opinions, you get FACTS. If you're in the market for a bible look no further!
  • My phone. I use a ton of apps and while they are not *all* for studying, they are useful as they keep me motivated and inspired to sit down and study. I'll list the apps I use below.
  • A journal. The one I use is meant to go inside the Recollections planner but since my binder is pretty full I left it out. I use this to take notes, write down ideas, and everything pretty much.
  • A binder. Where I keep my inserts and fill them with knowledge :)
  • Marvy Le Pen. I ordered a set of 12 years and years ago from ebay. One came dry and I've been losing the rest with time because I'm messy. But they are seriously so so good!
  • Pilot Frixion pen in 0.5. I seriously like this pen so much for my everyday writing! I'm a clutz and always mess up while writing but with this I can erase easily whatever I did wrong. I've been told that since the heat from friction is what erases the ink, if you expose your pages to the heat (during summer months for example) the ink will erase itself. Its a bummer really but I can let it pass because I like erasing my mistakes instead of using whiteout.

I use a couple of extras whenever possible but they are absolutely not necessary. I just have them already at home and need to give them more use.

  • A Color Theory black ink I got from Studio Calico. I have zero knowledge on inks so I can't give you feedback other than it's very black and easy to use.
  • and finally Stamps. I take from here and there when they suit my studies but mostly I don't. The only stamp that I use on a daily basis is my Heidi Swapp date roller stamp. I date EVERYTHING because I like looking back and seeing what I was learning a certain day.

What apps do I keep in my phone that help me study?
  • First up is Calvin's Commentary. Calvin spent his life studying the bible and wrote a huge commentary on it. 
  • IHOPKC This app is for Internation House of Prayer. I really like that they have a 24/7 prayer and worship going on for when I need a little pick me up.
  • The Gospel Coalition. One of my favorites! Here I always find interesting reads and they have a full archive of media and blog posts that are just wonderful.
  • Grace To You is the media app for John MacArthur and his ministry. He is one of the smartest, most God centered theologians I've encountered and appreciate all of his knowledge.
  • Ligonier. Probably my favorite app ever. Theres always something interesting to read, see or listen to. They have a vast library of resources all dedicated to God and the bible and I have found super helpful guides for when diving to study a book of the bible.
  • Ligonier Connect also has courses and classes that will fill you with knowledge like no other.
  • Spurgeon's Morning and Evening. The only devotional I like and probably always will. I've been going through this devotional for more than 3 years and it still blesses me greatly.
  • ESV bible. For when I'm on the go.
  • Bible app. I use this to look for passages in different translations. They also have really good devotionals if that's your thing.
  • She Reads Truth. I love this app. It's a community of women who study the word together. They have really good devotionals and resources. You can peruse the #SheReadsTruth hashtag on instagram too.
  • Reformation Network is a 24/7 radio. It is full with tons and tons of great talk shows, devotionals, music and more. You can also get it online at
  • Matthew Henry Bible Commentary. Also an amazing commentary for when you need a little extra knowledge. Super extensive and inspiring.
  • Lastly, the Christian Creeds and Reformed Confessions. It's a nice read and great learning tool for new Christians. Theology is cool! ;)
In the spirit of telling the truth I need to tell you that I do not use every single app every day, honestly not even most days. Except maybe the Ligonier, Spurgeon's Morning and Evening and the Bible app. You DO NOT need all of these apps (even though they are free for you to use!) but I have found them greatly beneficial for me to learn tons and tons of things and connect with my faith.

Moving along, let's get into HOW I study.

When you first open my war bonder this is what you encounter, this is the first thing I do when I'm getting ready to study. I made some inserts with prayers cues for my family, myself, my husband, my children and my church. I use them for when I don't feel inspired or don't know how to talk to God. I feel that praying scripture has opened a new world for me. Closing your eyes and actually feeling the scripture move in your heart is beautiful. I sometimes use those scriptures to journal. I use paint, stickers, markers and whatever I have at hand at that moment. I don't focus on making it pretty but instead I aim to make it raw and real. Just how I feel.

After I'm done praying I take out my journal and stamp the date. Once I have the date on I start by looking for something that will put me in context to when, who, where, why, how this book was written. I looked throught the commentaries I have in my phone, found a really good devotional in the She Reads Truth website that had a lot of information and read throught the introduction of the book in my bible. I started writing down everything that I found useful, words I wanted to look up in a dictionary and in my mind I started seeing how I wanted the information to be organised.

This is what I came up with...
I first started reading about the people in the book of Acts. Believe it or not I still have mayor gaps that needed to be filled as far as definitions, denominations and a bunch of other things. I've always loved to learn about how other people lived so this part I absolutely adored. As you can see and going back to the my-war-binder-is-constant-work theme, you can see I left an entire page blank. I still don't know what I want to do with it. I thought about expanding my study of the people there but I don't have much more to say so maybe I'll use it as an index everytime some of these groups of people are mentioned in Acts? I still don't know, but we're keeping it real here... so it's still a blank page.

Next I needed to know where everything took place. I knew beforehand about Paul's missionary journey but I never had a clear idea (by map) of where he travelled. I pulled out as much info I could, double checked it to be true and looked for some maps. I absolutely loved doing this because I sat down my 5 year old and went throught the countries with her explaining why the expansion of the Gospel was -and still is- so important. I always try to ask myself who, what, where, when and why because I think those questions cover the basics pretty well.

For the last part of my introductory research I wanted to learn about the living conditions for christians in that era. I knew about the Roman persecution of christians but I had no idea of the events that lead to said persecution or how things changed for Christians after that. I wanted to know the good and the bad so I made a comparative chart and wrote down about the best and the worst times Christians like Paul lived while spreading the gospel.

You can see now the next two pages I worked on Verse Breakdown. I felt the two introductory chapters of Acts contain so much information that it was a great way to record it. We see a basic summary of everything that Paul and the apostles are going to teach the non believers. I wanted to really grasp the whole concept so I broke it down, wrote key words and summarised it in my own words to make sure I really understood.

Now if you look to the right you'll se another "for realz" moment. I was planning to "verse map" Acts 2: 25-28 because it's an insanely beautiful piece of scripture but it didn't happen. It took me an extra week to go back and do it and I'm really glad I did but still, I have plenty of spaces that I've skipped through and I don't beat myself up for it. I'll get it done eventually. Remember... constant work!

I moved on to reading Acts 3 a couple of times and wasn't really sure about how I wanted to approach it so I kept it simple and went for the Studies and Reflections inserts which allows me to journal and write down everything that I want without the pressure of a specific layout. I usually use this inserts when I have to many ideas that I can't seem to organise. It's pretty much my brain dump. 

When going into Acts 4 I didn't really know what to expect. I wasn't getting lots of journaling vibes but I did manage to find a particular verse - Acts 4:11- that struck me and I couldn't get it out of my head. I repeated it over and over in my head. Breaking it down in words, praying and thinking and wondering about each individual word and what they meant as a whole. I started journaling, used my phone to search for a dictionary and looked up all the words, their meanings and synonyms. After that I couldn't stop writing. I was so inspired by it I felt my hand was going to melt. It was a really intense moment for me. Beautiful.

After that I just wanted to decompress so I started painting and messing around with ink. I wrote down a verse that has been showing up in my life a lot lately as future reference. Psalm 39:7

I started doing Project Life this year and so I've been hoarding PL cards that sometimes come in handy when studying to add small bits and bobs that I find inspiring or that add to what I'm already studying. 

I make sure to always have pieces of paper or post it notes floating around for when I want to add or emphasize something important that I learn.

Lastly on this spread I write down in short words the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Even though it's not a major story in the bible it's still interesting to see the fate of those who chose to "lie to God". In the right I mapped another verse in Acts 5 because I felt it could lead to a ton of scripture reading, comparing and contrasting and it did. I looked up definitions, synonyms and went back to the bible to look for scripture that talks about obedience, following God and what happens when you choose to follow men instead. I wrote down my favorites and added a post it with a verse that particularly stood out to me.

That is it! That's how far I've gotten with my study of Acts -or at least it was until a couple of days ago when I took these pictures-. As you have seen I haven't used ALL of the inserts simply because I haven't needed them. I don't pressure myself into using them all or getting it right all the time. I chose to be happy with my war binder as it is, imperfect, incomplete and kind of messy because I am that way and that's how my relationship with God is.

I don't have much else to add except that if you're still here you deserve a hug, a cookie and a trophy because wow, talk about a lengthy post! If you still have some questions please do let me know!

Remember you can download my free bible study/war binder inserts HERE

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