Writing Notes in Bibles and Books

If you want to be cool this week, you need to write a post about how you mark up your books. So because of my need for acceptance and a daily affirmation (therapists say this is a good thing and I’m OK), I will show you a couple of my own.

I don’t take many notes in books. In commentaries I do some highlighting. It’s sparse enough so that if I’m looking for something that’s important, I can usually page through it and find the quote I’m looking for. Lately I’ve been writing themes or subjects at the top of the page in commentaries. I need to now go through all of them and write down the subjects and what book and page they’re listed on. I think I will put these in my Wiki.

If anyone else has a system like this I’d like to hear about it.

Here is an example from Schreiner’s 1-2 Peter, Jude:

Book Markings
Click for larger image

Marking up the Bible is more complex. If you don’t have an advanced degree you might not understand it, although I don’t have any degree, but I’m probably smarter than all of you but I’m also probably the most humblest person you’ll ever meet.

Anyway, green is memorized Scripture. If it’s a long passage it will be vertical next to the passage. Yellow is regular highlighting. If there is a word within the highlighting to be emphasized that will be underlined in pencil (not shown). Orange is for a definition or further comment. An orange dot below will have the definition or further comment. Corresponding words or phrases will be underlined in pencil. In this picture I’ve used colored pencils as a special example because there were so many corresponding terms. Cross references will be in the margins which is a really tight fit (none on this page). Other notes are in pencil.

Bible Markings
Click for larger image

These are the cool bloggers I try to emulate:

10 Responses to “Writing Notes in Bibles and Books”


  1. 1 Peter M. Lopez

    I have an advanced degree (although not in anything Biblical) and I still don’t understand it.  I underline what I like in blue ink – sometimes red (I tried to start a system once: blue means this, red means that, but it didn’t take).  If it’s a verse I really like I will put a little star-like thing beside it.  If it’s a verse that I have questions about, I will put a little “?” out beside it.  That’s about it.  I would not recommend it as a system, though, because I can never remember in which Bible I made what mark.

  2. 2 Nathan W. Bingham

    In the past I would go crazy highlighting and colouring in.  This went so far that it looked as though I was holding one of my daughter’s colouring books, and not a copy of the Scriptures.  After destroying several Bible’s with my quick to highlight and comment hand, I have held back, and now have a pristine copy of the Scriptures.  The only exception is my pocket Bible I use in evangelism which does have a few key Scriptures highlighted for the sole purpose of ease of reading while open-air preaching.I’m grateful for your links at the bottom of the post.  I will have to check them out and see if I can find a system I like.  I cannot bring myself to ‘begin’ again unless I know exactly how the whole system works.  Maybe one day I’ll create my own system and all will be well, or maybe I’ll take your lead and create a private Wiki for all the scribbling I <em>should</em> be doing. 😉

  3. 3 Bitsy Griffin

    Very cool highlighting system. I wish I were better at them since I seem unable to stay my hand. When I got my inductive study Bible, I was going to go systematic. It even had instructions to get you going (not highlighting but other organized little pix and neat dowappies), and still I was a total failure . . . *hanging my head in shame* 😉

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    My hand is fairly stayed.

    I’ve tried the inductive thing twice and just didn’t get a lot out of it.

    You’re still a cool blogger.

    My system has been the same for a very long time and I find it works well.

    I can’t get myself to switch Bibles now.
    Jeff

  5. 5 Robert Jimenez

    I have never settled on a satisfactory highlighting system for my bible.  For books I have one that I have been using for years.  It works great for me.  The color system that I use is: Blue for definitions; Pink for Scriptures; Orange for quotes; Green for Numbered points; Yellow for general interest.

  6. 6 Peter M. Lopez

    Robert, I never knew you were such a Nerd? 🙂  What if your pink highlighter runs out?

  7. 7 Robert Jimenez

    I have lots of highlighters!  Oh and yes I am a “Cool” Nerd 😉  Or is that an oxymoron?

  8. 8 Randy A Brown

    I’ve used a color code for years. I’ve tweaked it every time I’ve gotten a new Bible, but the basics are always the same:

    Yellow – Godhead
    Red – Salvation
    Blue – Holiness
    Orange – Prophecy
    Purple – Healing
    Light Blue – Creation
    Dark Green – The Word of God
    Light Green – Gifts of the Spirit
    Flesh – Works of the Flesh
    Black – Wrath of God
    Brown – Faith

    As you can see I have a topical study system. I like to break the topics up even more by writing the sub-topic in the margin. The sub-topic is almost always in the margin of my Thompson, so I just color the heading and the references with that topic’s color. I color only the text itself. If the verse has more than one topic I will underline it with another color. It’s not uncommon for a verse in my Bible to be colored three or more colors. I use to use Prang color pencils. The last box of pencils I bought were Crayola (there’re better than they used to be). My next Bible will be colored with PrismaColor pencils and pens.

  9. 9 Scripture Zealot

    That’s quite a system. When you get a new Bible do you start over again or do you copy some of the old markings? Do yoou mark as you read or only when studying?
    Jeff

  10. 10 Randy A Brown

    Thanks. I copy my old markings, but I usually mark a little differently each time. The Bible before my Thompson was a Dugan Topical Study Bible (one of my all-time favorites). In that Bible I outlined the text around all of the words for each verse and then colored it in. When I went to the Thompson I decided to color only the words, leaving the space between the lines empty so I could underline in a different color. That’s worked out for me really well. In the Dugan I would outline in one color and then color the verse the main topic color if the verse had more than one topic. Now I underline the specific words of the other topic. Each time I go to a different Bible I spend a lot of time going back through the verses and coloring them. I do that first. I usually color only when I study, because for most of my general reading I use OliveTree on my Palm Centro (I recently upgraded from an old Ipaq using Laridian). I also color-code on my Centro, which is why I got OliveTree (it has more colors). The main notes I transfer are Greek and Hebrew definitions and cross references. I used to try to write comments in the margins, but I’ve gotten away from commentary. I hope to get a Note Taker’s Bible for Christmas (http://lcbplansing.org/Bibles/Executive.htm#Mid), so I might include more commentary if room permits. My goal is to make my own Topical Study Bible. Everyone tells me that’s a lot of work and it will take a lot of time. My answer to that is “yes it is… and yes it will”.

    Randy

Comments are currently closed.



%d bloggers like this: