How to Mark your Bible

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In this article we will pursue how to best mark the Bible for the most effective studies possible. Here is an example of how putting an underline or two in your Biblical translation can help you. A well-meaning neighbor, a member of a denomination that promotes active door-to-door proselytizing, came to my door just before my son went down to the city. She asked him if his dad was home and if he would mind if she took fifteen minutes of his time. My son let the person come in. The woman carried a bag full of reference books along with her favorite Bible translation. She was not prepared, however, for "battling" a person who spent countless hours putting topical marks in his version of God's word.

She began by saying that she knew we were Sabbath keepers and could I show her how I could justify this in the Bible. After she stated that the Sabbath was first mentioned in Exodus I reached for my Bible, looked for a particular mark, and said, "That's not entirely accurate. The first time the Sabbath is referred to is in Genesis chapter 2" and turned to it. All my Sabbath and Holy Day verses are colored in RED. I read her the verse and expounded upon it. Then I went on the next verse that had a RED mark near it and so on. This went on for the better part of an hour.

After I read the Sabbath verses she stated that Christians are not required to keep God's law. I then turned to the verses which had a YELLOW mark in my Bible, a color I used to denote places referencing God's Laws and Commandments. Before we knew it more than two hours went by and her eyes began glazing over as she realized she had never encountered anyone who could show, verse by verse, why they believe what they believe. The marks in my Bible made all the difference in the world.

What is the MARK of the Beast?
Kings of Ancient Israel and Judah
How did we get the Bible?

Why mark it up?

The discipline of sitting down to seriously consider the essential teachings of the Scriptures will benefit you in many ways. Your faith will be strengthened considerably as you come to appreciate that your beliefs rest upon the foundation of the Scriptures themselves. It is one of the best ways to study your will find (2Timothy 2:15). Your mind comes under the purifying influence of the mind of God and His Word.

What you mark in your Bible will depend largely upon personal taste and need. Without a doubt the best way to do so is topically or by subject. Get all your Scriptures together on a subject or topic and assign a predetermined number, color or identifying sign to them and then chain them together. You should make your own index so you can find the first Scripture in your chain.

Probably the best place to get all the Scriptures together that you want to mark is in a topical reference work such as Strong's Exhaustive Concordance or The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Nave's Topical has, for example, nearly four pages listing occurrences of the Scriptures relating to the God's day of rest. If you want to find what God has to say, for example, about what our attitude should be about gossip or rumors, look under "Talebearing," "Busybody," "Slander," "Speaking Evil," and related topics.

One trick to effectively marking is to underscore or underline important phrases you want to quickly access. Any number of quality fine-point pens can be used.

Symbolism

Before you begin placing a mark or two in your copy of God's word, you need to determine the symbols you will use for each topic or subject. A star, for example, could be used to denote a prophetic passage. A star colored a certain color could be used to denote God's commands. A circle could be used to easily find promises from God. Squares could be used to denote messages directly from the Eternal and so on.

Chaining it

Chain referencing is accomplished by first collecting all the verses related to a particular topic you wish to chain. Give the topic a number, such as #1 for forgiveness, #2 for praying and so on. Then transfer the list to your translation. Another helpful method of study is using a color scheme. Below is one color setup you could use.

Color Biblical Topic(s)
Light Blue Prayer, Praying
Dark Blue Healing, Sickness
Orange Resurrection
Red Sabbath, Holy Days
Pink Marriage, Divorce
Light Green Millennium, God's Kingdom
Dark Green Man's Mortality
Black / Gray Satan, Demons
Purple Promises to Israel and Heirs
Yellow / Gold Laws, Commandments
Brown Repentance, Baptism

A small container, like one made of plastic, can prove helpful when creating the kit to mark your version of Scripture. A sample kit could contain quality pens or pencils for taking notes, pencils of various colors, mechanical pencils, rulers, and a pre-cut template that allows you to quickly make small symbols. It can also include paper towels for any messes that are made.

Fine-tip pens are usually best for taking notes, placing a small mark or for underscoring certain verses. It is suggested you do NOT use felt-based pens as they can bleed through thin Bible pages. Mechanical pencils could be used for outlining verses. Additionally, quality colored lead pencils could be used for such a purpose.

Additional Study Materials
Important People in the Old Testament
What is the mark of Cain?
Timeline of the Old Testament

How to mark your Bible!
Bibliography

Holy Bible, a Faithful Version


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