Tips for Marking in Your Bible

Wes  —  August 13, 2012
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Everyone is different. There are those who do not mark in their copy of the Bible. There are those who even believe it is sinful to mark in the pages of God’s Word. Not only do I mark in my Bible, I get out the crayons and color in my Bible. Here’s how I do it.

I started off, years ago, using a three-ring binder system I found in the church library. I believe it was called something like “Sharpening the Sword.” I’m sure my system has changed over the years and is different than it was laid out in that binder.

First, I color code my Bible topically. I like to use the “twist up crayons,” like these Crayola Twistable Crayons at Walmart. Highlighters bleed through too much and these work better, for me, than regular crayons. Here is the color coding system I use (mostly for the New Testament):

  • Yellow – Salvation and Christian Living (Any passage about what God would have us, as individuals, to do.)
  • Orange – Miracles and God (Any passage about what God does.)
  • Purple – Sin (Any passage about what we ought not to do.)
  • Red – False Doctrines (Any passage that directly refutes a false doctrine. An example would be, “Once Saved Always Saved.” In that example, I would also write “OSAS” in the margin.)
  • Green – The Church (Any passage dealing with the nature, organization, or duty of the church).
  • Brown – The Law (Any passage dealing with the Old Law).
  • Blue – The Second Coming (Any passage dealing with the Day of Judgement, the Second Coming of Christ).

This color coding makes it very simple to do devotionals and Bible classes, as well as personal Bible studies. I can open the Bible to a section I have highlighted and see the natural separations. Also, I may not remember exactly where a verse is, but I can find it easily because I remember which chapter it is and what color it is highlighted.

Second, I like to underline or circle these types of words or phrases* in passages:

  • Key Words or Phrases
  • Repeating Words or Phrases
  • Unusual Words or Phrases
  • Like/Unlike Words or Phrases
  • Hinge Words (words like, “if,” “for,” “but,” etc.)

These are just a few of the ways I like to mark in Bible. Of course, I also try to add cross references to other passages in the margins. Occasionally, I will even add a very simple outline in the margin. I hope some of these will help you in your Bible study.

I love you and the God of the Bible loves you,

Wes McAdams

P.S. How do you mark in your Bible? Please share any ideas you have in the comments section below.

* Special thanks to Mike Vestal for this list of words/phrases to look for in passages.