Scripture Zealot says if you want to be cool this week you have to write about how you write or mark in your Bibles/books, so it must be true.
He also got me thinking about my own system, or lack thereof, of Bible note taking.
It’s the same method I have employed for everything else: college, law school, work, etc. Actually, I’m not entirely sure now how I ever got out of school. I have no real system. I have come to the conclusion that my method is not only unsystematic, it is probably counter-productive in the extreme.
But, I have managed to get by using it, and I would be miserable employing anything that would require memorization, systemization, or colorization.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have tried using other systems. I’ve tried highlighters, color coded pens, symbols (§»¤×↔♣), you name it. I just can’t seem to remember what the green highlights mean, or the [pink brackets], or the orange ♦’s. I can’t even see the yellow markings.
And I certainly don’t mean to suggest you shouldn’t employ whatever method works for you. In fact, if any of you have any suggestions for me that are relatively quick and painless to try, I am ready, willing, and, to a lesser extent, able.
So, what do I do? I underline in blue ink – sometimes red if that’s all that’s handy.
I like using gel ink pens too, so that means I have to blow and blow after every mark so the ink will dry. I made the mistake of using a fountain pen once (no, come to think of it, twice), and I don’t recommend it. But, ballpoint pens don’t really do it for me.
If a passage really grips me or is particularly meaningful, I will put a star out beside it (well, not really a “star,” more of an asterisk I guess *). If I am having difficult with a passage or I have particular questions about it, I will put a question mark (?) out beside it. And, on rare occasions, if I find a connection or cross-reference I think is important and the editors didn’t find or see fit to print it, I might write the cross-referenced verse in the margin (e.g., see Gen. 1:1). And, rarer still, I might write something profound like, “WOW!” I came across that one today scanning my Bible for markings to share. I wonder what wowed me?
And it doesn’t really matter which Bible I’m using. I have several different sizes, styles, translations, all of which seem to get marked the same. This, of course, creates a problem of its own: I forget which marks are in which Bibles. On the other hand, it’s like I’m reading the Word fresh every time, “Hum, I wonder what I was thinking about when I made that mark?”
Oh, and by the way, my system is not trademarked or patented, so please feel free to use, abuse and/or lose it.
If you’re curious how others mark up their Bibles/books, check out these posts: