Last week I discussed how you can mark your Bible for deeper Bible study. I want to follow up with that topic today and give you some tips for using symbols to mark keywords in the Bible.
When I first began learning the Inductive Bible Study process with Precept Ministries, I was so incredibly overwhelmed with this idea of marking my bible.
What keywords should I look for? What symbols should I use when I’m making my markings? And how in the world do I keep track of it all?
These are some questions that I wrestled with when I first started.
However, throughout the years the Lord has helped me to grow so much in using this process. I thought I would share some tips with you that I have picked up along this journey.
7 Tips for Using Symbols to Mark Keywords in the Bible
1. Just Get Started
The greatest encouragement I can give is to tell you to just get started! Pick up your Bible and a pencil and start marking one word in one chapter.
Actionable Step: A great place to start is the book of John chapter 1. Mark every reference to Jesus (including pronouns) with a cross. Use a colored pen/pencil or even just a pencil. You will be amazed at how much more you see once you have the scripture marked.
2. Marking Your Bible Takes Practice
Know that marking your Bible is a skill that takes some practice. There is no perfect way to do it or perfect symbols to use, but it does take some time to discover what works best for you. But, once you begin you’ll find that you will quickly settle into your own system.
You may even find that you start off very slow. That’s ok! Like anything else, the more you practice the more efficient you will become. Be patient and give yourself lots of grace when you first begin.
3. Mark Keywords in The Bible Using Simple Symbols
You want to mark keywords in the Bible using symbols that are simple. My artistic ability is very limited. I have some friends who are able to get very intricate in their markings, but many of them have told me that they prefer to keep their markings simple because it allows them to move more quickly through the passage they are marking.
So, my advice is to let your creativity flow while still using simple symbols.
Remember, the goal here is to mark your Bible in a way that helps to bring your eye back to these certain keywords. As I shared last week the next step in the process for in-depth Bible study, after completing your markings, is to go back through and make a list of everything you learn about each keyword. When you move on to this next step, each keyword reference will be easy to identify because you have marked them in a distinctive way.
4. Use Symbols that Are Easy to Remember
Not only do you want to use symbols that are simple, but you also want to use ones that are easy to remember. This also takes some time and practice of using your symbols so that you begin to memorize them.
It’s also helpful to use symbols that remind you of the word you are marking. For example, I like to mark references to ‘God’ with a purple triangle because purple is the color of royalty and a triangle is a sign for the trinity.
I like to mark any references to time with a yellow clock. I mark references to the author of a book with an ‘A’ – A is for ‘author’.
So, try to think of symbols that make sense to you for each keyword you mark.
5. Mark Common Keywords in the Bible Consistently
There are many common keywords in the Bible that you can mark consistently.
Faith. Love. Salvation. God. Jesus. Prophecy. Covenant… to name just a few.
These are examples of keywords that are threaded throughout many books in the bible, therefore you want to mark these in a consistent way.
6. Categorize Your Symbols By Color
Another idea is to categorize your symbols by color. Use different colors to mark keywords related to any specific topic or person. I tend to use symbols that are purple to mark words that relate directly to God.
God – purple triangle
Jesus – purple cross
Prophet – purple ‘P’
Tabernacle – purple house
Also, I like to try and use symbols that are black to mark words that relate to sin.
Sin – black circle
Death – black rectangle
Curse – black dash
7. Use Highlighters for Longer Phrases
As you go through and mark keywords in the bile, there are also some key phrases you want to mark as well. For these, instead of using symbols, I prefer to grab some different colored highlighters and mark these phrases that way.
Here are highlighters I like:
Phrases to Highlight
- Warnings (red)
- Commands (orange)
- Exhortations (green)
- Promises of God (purple)
Are you ready to get started? I hope you are encouraged to dig a bit deepr into the scriptures. The Lord is pleased when we dedicate ourselves to the study of His Word. He will bless your diligence and faithfulness.
Have a question or thought? Leave me a comment below.
If this post was encouraging to you, please share with others so they can be encouraged too.