Marking our Bibles is enjoyable and very satisfying. Why would we do it? Why not just read the Bible regularly? Of course it is vital that we read our Bibles every day, and reading and meditating upon three portions from different parts of Scripture gives a broad and valuable overview of the mind of our God. We have the help of Bro Roberts’ Reading Companion to do this. We are encouraged by the exciting signs that our Lord’s return is very close. But we are also under great pressures from the world around us which increasingly is trying to mould us into its shape. Making time to mark our Bibles brings benefits far beyond the actual time we spend on it.

We do not remember all we have read, and so Bible Marking can remind us of valuable lessons and cross references, and once in our margins it is there for us every time we do our Readings. It is simply an added activity, which is a special time we have on our own with our heavenly Father. It goes hand in hand with the privilege of prayer. Whether we are young or old, a few minutes doing Bible marking can lift our spirit, bring solace in times of stress, and generally help us to maintain that “meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Pet 3:4).

This article is for sisters who have thought about doing Bible marking but are not quite sure how to begin. It is also to encourage all of us to keep it up!

It is helpful, although not essential to have a wide margin Bible. Obviously you will be able to write more if you have more space! But even a few notes and quotes will be helpful when you next come to read the verses.

All you need to begin is your Bible and two marking pens, a black and a red. Use the black one for writing information, and the red one for Bible quotations. This is very basic, and you can work out your own systems with the use of blue and green pens as well, but I have found the black and red to be quite adequate for my needs. A small ruler, a set of highlighter pencils, and if possible a line marking guide completes your setup. The ideal is to have a special table (it does not need to be large) where you can keep your Bible and gear. But as young mothers have told me it is almost impossible to achieve that in a small house, I would suggest keeping it in a box that you can access when opportunities arise.

What do you mark up? Before looking at some suggestions, there are a few things to keep in mind. When I was younger (much), I would try to put all the information from my notes taken during studies, or from verse by verse study notes, into the margin of my Bible. This is obvious if you look at Genesis 1, 2 and 3. The printing is very small and it is hard to find information quickly. So, do not try to put too much in your margin. If there are too many cross references, use only one or two of the most relevant. You can put linked quotes in the other places. Also, write in the exhortational points that have impressed you. Obviously these must be kept to a minimum!

If you have not done Bible marking and do not know where to begin, start with simply noting down on paper the quotes from a Bible talk, exhortation, seminar, or study. Look them up when you get home, and choose one or two to put into the margin of your Bible. Next time you may be able to take a note of an important point to go with the quote. This will become easier as you do it more often, and it is satisfying and enjoyable. Remember to ask for God’s help. He loves His children to study His Word. Linking passages that have the same or similar ideas by colouring with a suitable highlighter helps you to find them more quickly, which is helpful, especially when talking to interested friends. As an example take the Promises God gave to Abraham.They commence in Genesis 12:1-3 where God tells Abram to leave his country, kindred and father’s house and go to a land that God would show him. God promised He would make of Abram a great nation, a great name, and great blessings. These promises were expanded in verse 7, and in chapters 13:14-17; 15:4-5,18-23; 17:2-8 and 22:16-18. Having these all in the same colour is very helpful and they can be continued with the promises also given to Isaac and Jacob.

Perhaps the most exciting and informative exercise in Bible marking is to link Old Testament passages to New Testament verses when they are quoted. The common words can be underlined in red in both places and related to a marginal reference. Now you have a New Testament comment on the Old Testament verse, a most helpful key to understanding. With the passing of years you will find hundreds of these cross-quotations—it’s like finding jewels! And if you have children, or hope later to have a family, these passages will add a sparkle to your daily readings.

Enjoy your Bible marking—it can make your Bible your own!