Personal Bible Study Part 1

Every year after summer camp I find myself consumed with Jesus and my faith, aka. having a “Jesus high”. I usually stick with it for about a month before setting that part of my life on the back burner. Yes, I still attend church and go to almost every single youth event, but I tend to push personal study into the closet and close the door. I wanted this year to be different but sure enough, I didn’t do anything to follow through with that goal. About two months ago, I was on Pinterest and discovered a blog about studying scripture. The author is a mormon woman, The Redheaded Hostess, who has a unique technique for studying scripture. I knew I wouldn’t use all of her ideas but there were pieces that I could definitely adapt to my personal study. My favorite was her scripture journals which can be found here. I made one but didn’t fill in the table of contents completely yet because I want to be able to decide on topics as I study. Another thing she shares is titles for each page of her Bible. I didn’t use the ones that she provided but I liked the overall concept. You can view her purpose behind it on her blog as well.

I was curious about how other people mark their Bibles and visited many other sites that discussed this idea. I noticed that most people don’t share good advice for this and I wanted to share the experiences I have had. I have done my markings in multiple ways over the years and thought I’d share a few that I have used.

1. Color Coded

For my first year of Bible Bowl I went a little color crazy. I had one color for each of the following: names and places, numbers, dates, chapter headings, verses I love, etc. This was great for memorization necessary for the competition but it wasn’t a practical use of study time. I love hi-lighters and colored pens but even I don’t want to lug a huge box of them around to church and bible studies.

2. Notebook

I did this for summer camp because of the large amount of notes I took. I would hi-light a verse in my bible in any color that was readily available. Then, I would jot down the verse’s reference followed by the notes in a notebook. This worked great for camp but the notes are hard to find if you are trying to link multiple studies. I like being able to turn to a page in my bible and see how different classes and sermons connect. By using a notebook, I was only able to see that I liked the verse but not necessarily why or how it applied.

3. What I do Now

When I start with a book or chapter of the Bible, I go through and put a box around the chapter headings. This allows me to find things easily even when a page is overwhelmed with notes and markings.

Then as I read, I take a mental note of the main points of the story. If there are any really important elements missing from the chapter headings, or if there is a prevalent theme, I take note of it at the top of the page. This also allows me to find things more quickly. This is what I was discussing above with the Redheaded Hostess’ page titles. I really liked this because my weakest area is remembering the references to my favorite verses. Now I can look quickly through an area where I think it is located.

I use a variety of pens and hi-lighters to mark key ideas. Here are a few different examples from my bible:

The first is from Psalm 119. During this study, I started by underlining comforting verses in lime green pen. Then I went back and used a pink hi-lighter to bring out themes and main ideas.

This second photo shows a page in James. I did this study with my youth group in class on Sunday mornings. I wrote the main ideas at the top of the page and hi-lighted the key points. The blue markings are the verses that stood out when I read it alone the first time. The pink markings are the verses at I didn’t catch the first time but stood out when we were in class. I wrote notes/phrases from our discussion in the margins.

I have heard numerous times that the phrase “Do not be afraid.” is located in the Bible 365 times, one for every day of the year. I looked online for a complete list and one doesn’t exist. I wanted to put the amount into perspective though and so I went through to locate them in my Bible. I color coded these all pink but overall it’s whatever I have available. This technique allowed me to visualize this phrase and it’s emphasis.

I love my Bible. It makes me happy to open it and see the markings because it allows me to see growth. I love being able to recognize scriptures and remember how they influenced my life. I like not only having the desire to remember a scripture but also being able to find it quickly for immediate reference. I recommend that you try taking notes no matter what aspect of this idea you choose. It makes my studying so personal and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

One more thing before you go: Working in a Christian Bookstore for 5 months has given me the privilege to answer this question at least once a week.

What type of hi-lighters should I use in my Bible so that they don’t bleed through the pages?

I use Sharpie Accent Hi-lighters. They show up lightly on the back of the page that I mark on BUT they allow the back to still be readable. Also, I found Crystal BIC pens at Walmart  for $.97 and they are awesome! They write in colors and do not bleed through at all. I have seen the hi-lighters that are not ink but rather crayon. I don’t like those because they are bulky and leave a residue on my pages. It really comes down to personal opinion. I always recommend that you flip to a blank page in the back of your Bible and test a hi-lighter out before you use it. Just because a marker is a certain brand doesn’t mean it will be the exact same. Sometimes they are drier and sometimes they are juicer. I will say that these name brand ones are just as good as the ones made for Christian Stores and Walmart or Target keeps them realitvly cheap year round and way on sale during back to school season.


If you have any questions please feel free to let me know! Join me tomorrow and I’ll share my favorite ways to study AND which books I use to guide my personal study. See you then 🙂


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