Serious Reading Requires Serious Marking

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17)

God’s Word is incredible.  With a Word He spoke creation into place.  With a Word He keeps this world spinning and with a with a Word He can stop it.  With a Word  Jesus brought Lazarus back to life.  With a Word He healed lepers and made the blind see.  With a Word He calmed the waves and made the wind stop.

And it is this Word that God has given us in the form of 66 books that make up the Bible.  God has given us His Word that we would know Him, love Him, come to faith, understand His will, become more like Him, proclaim to the lost, and so much more.

And so when we read God’s Word we should not treat it just as any good story and see how fast we can get through it.  For it not just a story, but it is THE STORY.  It is the story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration.  It is this story that gives meaning and purpose to everything else.

When I read the Bible, I like to have an arsenal of pens ready to mark it up.  That’s right I mark up my Bible.  No lightning bolts have hit me yet so I guess it’s okay.

First, let me explain the pens that I use.   I use the Prismacolor Premier Finer Line Marker (set of 8).  Now these markers come in different point sizes.  I make sure to get the 005.  This is the finest point you can get which is very helpful when writing in a Bible with small margins.


Secondly, I think it important to have some sort of strategy in the marking madness.  I assign a purpose to each color I use.  Since I am using a new Bible this year (The ESV Gospel Transformation Bible) I am trying a new marking technique.    It is a slight adaptation to  Jim Hamilton’s method which he posted on his blog the other day.

Orange – references to God’s glory or name
Black – knowing or fearing God
Green – time and geographical locations
Light Brown – sin and judgment
Dark Brown – repeated Words in a passage
Blue – reference to faith, believing, piety, etc…
Red – anything notable
Purple – references to Kingship, coming Messiah, royalty
Yellow pencil – references and actions of the Spirit
Pink pencil – promises of hope/restoration (especially helpful in the O.T. prophetic books)
Lastly, don’t forget to pray before, after, and during your reading.  You can mark up your Bible all day long and never experience any heart change.  The point of marking is to help you pay attention and understand what you are reading.  Your markings serve to highlight the truths and promises in God’s Word.  They are also a wonderful  means of helping you pray through the Bible.
I hope this helps you as dive deep into God’s Word.  Oh, one more thing.  Let me give you a few Bible reading plans to choose from.