4 Steps to Better Bible Study

March 12, 2012 — 2 Comments

Step #1

Buy yourself some colored pencils.


Step #2

Find Bible. Open to book you want to study.


Step #3

Grab ruler to ensure your markings will be neat (I suppose this is optional)


Step #4

Proceed to color-code Bible using previously purchased pencils.


Or, you could use highlighters in Logos, and then step #4 would look like this:

Bible Marking

If I’m just reading to soak in Scripture, I won’t necessarily do this. But, if I’m trying to intently study the Bible, I’ll employ the colored pencils and color-code away. I do this for at least three reasons (there’s always 3):

  • I like color
  • It forces me to read slower and more meditatively
  • It allows me to see patterns and themes emerge more easily

I’ve found that it is very useful, and I would encourage you to either adopt this method, or adapt your own. If you’re still trying to figure out the schematic, here what I use the colors for:

  • Green = anything related to new life or Christian growth
  • Blue = commands
  • Yellow = The Holy Spirit
  • Red = Jesus
  • Purple = God the Father
  • Brown = Doctrinal statements/truths
  • Pink = Love
  • Orange = Sin
  • Dark Green = Promises

I was introduced to this way of marking my Bible by my Bible professor my freshman year of college. This is not his exact system, but it is very similar. I’m still working on adjusting it to the OT and to be honest, I haven’t been as faithful as I could or should have been in using this tool to really dig into the Scriptures. I’ve been in the Scriptures semi-consistently, but my consistently in studying the Bible in non-academic contexts has been hit or miss. Now though I have an opportunity to recapture a habit of Bible study that I let lapse.

It is somewhat appropriate then to be retrieving this practice in my new ESV Study Bible that my wife got me for Christmas. The first time I did this was with a MacArthur Study Bible my mom got me for Christmas while I was at Word of Life.

So, 8 years ago, when I was living in Florida for the first time, I began using this system to study the Bible, and life radically changed. Now, 8 years later, living in Florida the second time, I’ve begun re-using this system to study the Bible (which I’m hoping will continue to result in better Bible study and radical changes).

But, there you have it. 4 steps, and I can guarantee you’ll be able to focus in better on your Bible study. It may not completely work for everyone, but if you’re open to marking up your Bible, why not give it a try?


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I'm an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let's connect!

2 responses to 4 Steps to Better Bible Study

  1. Because I don’t like locking my views down I don’t highlight.
    And what color do you use for the prophecies in the OT?
    Something I see now I see much more clearly later on and it might not fit into any of the categories, or span two later.

    Try typing the text into a word document, that one really slows you down. Or reading aloud, or reading with a CD. Or doing a chronological bible, that one works pretty good to encourage meditation.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. A Beginner’s Guide to Studying the Bible | Theological Pastoring - March 31, 2015

    […] 4. Choose your setup A regular spot where you will spend time with God like a comfortable chair or a desk. A journal if necessary. It is always good to right down your thoughts and insights. Remember the works ink is always better than the best memory. Journaling at your computer is one possibility, but you need to make sure you don’t get distracted by email or social media. A good pen or color coding system. This will help you recall material. This blog post by Nate Claiborne is helpful in that regard. http://nathanielclaiborne.com/bible-study/ […]

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