Last year, sales of coloring books in the US shot up from 1 million to 12 million units. The sales spike quickly prompted a slew of articles asking whether our culture is collectively stressed out and/or reverting to childhood hobbies. I, too, mocked the trend right up until I started coloring this year as a therapy tool and discovered that it settles my mind and helps me focus.

Now Christian publishers are jumping on board with “Christian adult coloring books" and even Bibles you can color in. Half of the top ten best sellers for May in the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (EPCA) are coloring books. The website for book No. 5 on the list, Whatever is Lovely, offers a playlist to “help set the perfect mood for worship, contemplation, and creative expression” when using the book. Similarly, Christian writer and Bible teacher Margaret Feinberg wrote the adult coloring book Live Loved. The pages are filled with elaborately designed Scripture verses that she hopes will help users “unleash the creative talents” God has given them. “Color and sketch,” she says on her website. “Whisper the words aloud, commit them to memory, and learn how to live loved in a tangible way.”

Is this all just smart marketing and an attempt to make money, or can Bible-themed coloring books actually aid spiritual discipline? I think they can, but like any tool, it depends how we use them.

Coloring has been used as a stress-reliever since Carl Jung, and agenda-based or “study” coloring books are not new, either. One of the first and still most popular adult coloring books is Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden, an “inky treasure hunt” so detailed that it’s ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Posted: