Bible-Marking FAQs

Bible-marking is an easy way to prepare yourself to be able to study with others, answer questions, or teach a class or devotional.  If you’re unfamiliar it, check this out or check out the Bible-marking feature at Come Fill Your Cup.

Today’s post will consider some questions I hear most often.  If you think of another that isn’t mentioned, please share it with us!

What tools do you need?

A GOOD BIBLE. A reliable word-for-word translation will be easier to follow along with and mark. Some good examples are NASB, NKJV, and ESV. It also helps to have wide margins but it’s not necessary.

PENS. I like Pigma Micron pens, size 01. They come in a variety of colors and have a fine tip that won’t bleed through the delicate pages of your Bible. You can find them at most craft stores, Christian book stores, and amazon.

How do you determine which topics to mark?

LISTEN.  Listen to what your friends, neighbors, family members or co-workers are discussing.  Is there something that confuses them, such as reconciling the existence of pain and suffering with a good God?  Is there something they’re struggling with, such as discouragement or a specific sin?  Also listen to sermons and classes.  When you hear a lesson on grace or prayer, start jotting down the Scripture references for later study.  Neal just preached “Parenting from Proverbs” this past Sunday and I thought, “That’d be a great Bible-marking topic!”

PREPARE.  Many topics will be geared toward your own personal Bible study opportunities.  You’ll want to be prepared to answer questions about salvation, worship, authority, the organization of the Lord’s church, etc.

PRACTICALITY.  You could Bible-mark just about any topic, but not every topic needs to be Bible-marked.  Ask yourself the purpose for marking.  Will it be helpful in teaching others?  Will it be beneficial for your own spiritual growth or encouragement?  Will it be something you could use when called on to give a devotional?  The purpose of Bible-marking is to be prepared for study, sharing, and growth.  If a topic doesn’t fulfill any of those goals, there’s really no need to Bible-mark it.

How do you keep from proof texting?

STUDY.  Proof texting is using Bible verses to try and prove a point without considering the entire context.  Passages pulled out of context can be used to prove just about any opinion or viewpoint and that can be very dangerous.  It’s vitally important that quality time is spent in study to make sure we’re never guilty of misusing Scripture (2 Tim. 2:15).  It’s easy to pull verses out of context.  It takes work to understand the context.  Because we’re accountable for what we teach (James 3:1), we better take the time and trouble to study, study, study.

When more than one topic uses the same passage, how do you know which verse goes with which topic?

COLOR.  The pigma micron pens come in a variety of colors.  Using different colors for each topic will allow you to keep your topics clearly marked.  For example, the topics “Plan of Salvation” and “Sinful Past” share a verse, so at the end of that verse there are two passages listed.  Because those topics have been marked in different colors, I know which verse to go to for the “Plan of Salvation” and which one to go to for “Sinful Past.”  If you ever find that you used the same color in that situation, simply note the topic initials next to the passages you’re supposed to go to next.  For instance, write “Acts 2:38 (PS)” at the end of the verse.

How do you know when to underline, circle, or draw a square around certain words?

STYLE.  It’s all completely personal.  Use your own style to determine what you’d like to mark in each verse.  The point is to draw attention to what needs to be emphasized for the topic you’re studying.  If you’d prefer to circle instead of underline, or use highlighters instead of pens, go for it.  If you don’t like to write notes in your margins, that’s okay.  Everyone has their own style and preferences.  I tend to look for two things in each verse:  the key word/ thought I’m studying (such as “forgive” or “grace”) and then the teaching about that thought (such as how to forgive or the extent of grace). I will usually mark the key word by circling it and then mark the teaching by underlining it. If there is a second key thought to note, I will draw a square around it. If there is a second teaching (how often to forgive or a benefit of forgiveness, etc.), I will draw a squiggly line under it. That method makes the most sense for me. When it comes to marking verses, you get to choose what works best for you.

How long does it take to put together a Bible-marking topic?

HOURS.  But how many depends on the topic itself.  If it’s a deeper subject, naturally it’ll take longer to study.  If it’s a topic you’re more familiar with or one that you’ve recently studied in a class, you can prepare it for Bible-marking in only a couple of hours.  Again, the time is mostly devoted to making sure no passages are misused or taken out of context.

With the exception of making sure all passages are used accurately, there’s really no right or wrong way to Bible-mark.  Everyone has their own learning style, study habits, and personal preferences.  The idea is to just get into the Word and look for ways to easily share it with others.

Prayer for Today:  Thank you for Your Word, Lord.  May we always be ready to share it!

Author: Kathy Pollard

I'm a Christian woman, happily married to my best friend, Neal. We have 3 grown sons, Gary, Dale, and Carl, and 3 sweet daughters-in-law, Chelsea, Janelle, and Emily. Neal preaches for the Lehman Ave. church of Christ in Bowling Green, KY. We love the Lord and His church!

6 thoughts on “Bible-Marking FAQs”

  1. Hi Kathy, I wanted to know if you ever mark a small compact bible (apprx 4 x 6)? If so, do you ever find the dilemma of not having enough room to write the next verse or your NOTE? I ask because for years I’ve always marked my large bible. However, when I am out visiting family or just want to have a bible with me, I like to bring a small compact bible. I actually have a ton of compact bibles…I just love to hold them in my face while I read. Weird or just quirky (smile)?

    I just finished the Purity Bible Marking topic and would have loved to write in some of the notes. But I’m thinking I might have to sacrifice the notes when marking with limited or practically non-existent margins. I can easily mark and enter notes in my Android bible app, yet, I like sharing with others with a paper bible. That way, they can hold it for themselves versus an electronic device. I know either way it’s His Word. What are your thoughts? Do you share your marked topics in a small bible?


    1. Hi, Tasha! Most of my Bible-marking topics are in a Bible that size. Its compact size means I can always carry it with me. It helps to use a fine point pen (like the Pigma Micron pens), but there certainly are limitations when it comes to writing notes in the margin. Bible-marking is for the purpose of being able to study and share the Word, so it makes sense to mark the one that you’ll have with you most often. Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts! And happy marking! 🙂


      1. Thank you so much for responding! That’s very encouraging to know that you use a small bible for the same purpose. If it’s not too personal to ask, would you be open to sharing a picture(s) of how a couple of your pages look marked and with notes? If it is, I totally understand.


  2. Reblogged this on Colorful Art for your palette! and commented:
    Bible-marking and the new coloring book craze can be combined. Sharing God’s Word is the motivation for my new Scripture Series of art. I will be devoting myself to it during the year and have lots of art to sell at Polishing the Pulpit in August 2017.


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