I’m convinced that having a Bible marking system is one of the best strategies for Bible study. Learning how to mark your Bible is a fun way to see the finer details in the scriptures.
One of my favorite teachers in high school was my geometry teacher. Honestly, at that time I wasn’t super fond of her. She was strict and didn’t succumb to the adolescent shenanigans my classmates and I tried to get away with.
However, now I’m very thankful to her. Of all the teachers I had in high school, I learned the most from her.
To help us memorize those pesky theorems, she would go to the whiteboard with multiple Expo pens in hand. Using different colors, she would draw shapes, lines, and angles for each step of the theorem. These markings helped us to see the full puzzle while also seeing each piece of it.
In a similar way, when you mark your Bible you are able to see the smaller details.
It is OK to Mark In Your Bible
So ok. It may seem like ruining your beautiful Bible with a bunch of bible highlighters, pens, colors, and symbols is the wrong thing to do. But let me assure you…its ok!
If fact, I think God is pleased with it. Having a marked up Bible is evidence that we have spent time diligently studying God’s Word.
Bible Marking System and Guide
It’s very helpful to have a Bible marking plan. Here are the different words in your Bible you want to watch for and mark in a strategic way. I recommend having a Bible that you use specifically for marking in. One with large print and wide margins works the best. Also, you will want to have some erasable colored pens that won’t bleed through the pages of your Bible.
- People – Mark the different people in your bible. Use a distinctive marking for each person (author, recipients, God, Jesus) in the text you are studying. It’s also good to create some universal markings throughout your Bible.
note: I always mark references to “God” with a purple triangle, “Jesus” with a purple cross, and the recipients with a red ‘R’.
- Keywords – Keywords are words that are repeated or words that would change the meaning of the text if you were to take them out. Mark each keyword in a distinctive way.
- References to Time and Geographical Locations – Mark time reference words and any geographical locations. These references help you to discover the historical settings and are important for keeping the scriptures in their original context.
note: I mark all references to time with a yellow clock.
- Comparisons, Contrasts, and Words of Conclusion – Mark any comparisons, contrasts, and transition words. You can mark these the same way throughout your Bible. Looking at these words helps you to determine the main points the author is making.
Bible Marking Guide PDF
Use this simple Bible marking guide to help you decide which symbols to use to mark common keywords in the Bible.
Here is an example of how to mark your Bible.
You can see how these markings make the scriptures come to life!
Highlight Specific Bible Verses
Then, after I go and mark the words above, I like to go back through the passage with some different bible study highlighters and highlight some specific phrases.
4 Color Bible Highlighting System
There is a bible highlighting system that I like to use. It’s an inductive bible study color code that uses different colors for each of the following phrases. As you study a passage, carefully watch for these
- Commands – Are there any commands that the author gives the recipients? Highlight all commands in one color.
- Exhortations – Are there any exhortations the author gives? Highlight exhortations in another color. Sometimes, exhortations can also come in the form of a command.
- Warnings – Are there any warnings in the text? Pay attention to these and highlight them in another color.
- Promises of God – Look for sentences that contain the words “I will” or “God will”. These are the precious promises of God that we want to make sure we don’t miss. Spend some time pondering, praying, and praising Him for His promises. Highlight all of God’s promises in another color.
List What You Learn From Your Bible Markings
After you have gone through your passage with this simple Bible marking system, this next step is important – and fun! Asking yourself the 5 W’s and H questions (who, what, when, where, why, and how) make a list of everything you learn from each person and keyword. You have theses words marked in the text it is very easy to spot each reference.
Looking at the image again, let’s make a list of everything we learn about the Corinthians (marked with an orange ‘R’).
- They have been sanctified in Jesus
- Are saints by calling
- They call on the name of Jesus, He is their Lord
- Paul thanks God for them
- They were given grace in Christ Jesus
- They were enriched in Christ in all speech and knowledge
- The testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in them
- They are not lacking any gift
- They eagerly await the Lord Jesus
- Jesus will confirm them blameless until the end
- God called them into fellowship with Jesus
Isn’t that awesome? It’s amazing what you can learn as you mark your Bible!
This is a skill I have been developing for a while now. It takes practice. Let me encourage you to start small. Choose one chapter, read through the verses and circle any references to the recipients. Then, make a list as we did above. But above all – have fun with it!
Check out these other inductive Bible study guides which are designed to help you study the Bible for yourself.