Do you write in your Bible? I do. In fact, the photo below is one of my Bibles. Almost every page in this Bible has some marking in it. I love it. But it wasn’t always this way. There was a time when I dared not write in my Bible. Now, I write in almost all of my Bibles. Here are some of the reasons why you should write in your Bible.
1. It will make you more intentional about learningIf you write in your Bible as a habit, it will help you become more intentional about what you’re learning since a page without markings looks like you’ve not benefitted from the words on that page. If you set a goal of writing on every page of your Bible, it will help drive you to learn from every page of your Bible.
2. You’ll remember what you’ve learned betterThe more of our senses are involved in learning, the better we remember things. You might remember things you read, but if you engage in the tactile activity of writing, your recall will improve. Sure you can also write in a journal, but if you write it in your Bible, you’ll not only remember the lesson better, but your notes will remind you what learned every time you see it, reinforcing and even expanding what you learned.
If you have marked up your Bible, you’ll remember why you highlighted that passage, and it will aid you in ministry.
3. You’ll have what you’ve learned at handI can’t count how many times I’ve been leading a Bible Study, teaching and have found a prompt in my Bible that provides a fruitful insight for those to whom I’m speaking. If it was useful to me, it might be helpful to others too, since it becomes personally applicable. Even if you don’t teach a group, you can still be involved in discipling or even just encouraging people. If you have marked up your Bible, you’ll remember why you highlighted that passage, and it will aid you in ministry.
4. You can see your growth over timeIf you’re reluctant to write in your Bible because you think you’ll write something that you’ll regret later, you’re probably right, but that’s no reason not to write in your Bible. We all grow so why not just expect that your Bible marking will reflect that growth? As you go through your Bible and see old markup, you’ll see how you’ve grown since you wrote it. Then you can add to that note, or (shock) cross it out.
5. Transformative passages will stand outHave you ever had one of those, “where is that verse?” moments? Once you’ve marked up passages that have impacted you, markup allows you to find them quickly when you want to refer to them again. Highlight a verse, and you’ll find it on the page faster because the color stands out. Even if you’re just flicking through your Bible, the colored highlight will make the page the passage is on more conspicuous than other pages. This is ideal for small Bible’s you want to use for evangelism – you will locate key evangelistic passages quickly and easily if you highlight them.
The more you engage with the Bible, the more the Bible engages you.
6. It makes your Bible more usefulDifferent Bibles have different uses. The way you mark up your Bible can make your Bible more useful for the way you use it. A sermon outline in the margin of a Bible I am inclined to preach from or travel with can be useful if I have an opportunity to preach or teach but don’t have notes. But cross references are more helpful in a Bible I use for studying or reading since I can follow those references to rediscover connections I’ve forgotten.
7. Your Bible will become more importantIt probably goes without saying, but the more you engage with the Bible, the more the Bible engages you. Once you’ve got a sizable collection of notes and markings in a Bible, that Bible becomes more important to you because you’ve got more invested in it. This means you’re likely to continue to invest in your Bible, and you’ll continue to benefit as it continues to impact your life. Your Bible and time in your Bible will become more important to you.
8. Your Bible will become more valuableWhen I was in seminary, Dr Greg Harris, one of our professors lost his Bible. He had owned this Bible from his first day in seminary and had taken notes in it for over 31 years. Here’s how he described losing this Bible:
“I am dealing with the composite grief similar to the unexpected death of a very close friend. This Bible has been with me in the darkest dark and the most jubilant joys. Everything I have ever written, every class I have ever taught, and every sermon I have ever preached, I have used that Bible. All my classes were contained in markings in my Bible that would make sense to no one else but me. So along with the grief of a loss of a close friend, I am also dealing with feelings something similar to waking up in the hospital and finding they have amputated one of my legs. I honestly do not know how to function without this beloved friend. Simply put, this Bible is irreplaceable in my life.”Because he’d been marking up his Bible, it had become incredibly valuable to him. Without this, he may have easily replaced it. Marking your Bible makes your Bible useful; therefore it will be important and valuable. Marking your Bible makes your Bible useful; therefore it will be important and valuable.
9. You can trace themes easily as you readRapidly reading through the Bible is an excellent way to trace themes through a book or the whole Bible. A great way to trace these themes is to mark them in your Bible. For example in Deuteronomy, my Bible has Deut 4:9 highlighted because I began noticing that Moses repeatedly called Israel to remember, not forget, recount and recall what the Lord had done for them. At the bottom of the page, I have a list of verses I found in Deuteronomy where this theme occurs, and every time it occurs, there is a reference back to Deut 4:9 so I can go back and trace the whole theme. This not only makes for an impactful study, but it also keeps me coming back to this theme in Deuteronomy.
10. Your cross references are better than the publisher’sAs you read the Bible, you often begin to see how one part of scripture informs your understanding of another part. If you write down the cross references next to the verses, later you can use these. When preparing to teach, I often find that looking up those cross references brings a whole flood of ideas to mind that I can incorporate. That doesn’t often happen with the publisher’s cross references since they aren’t references with which I’ve made a personal connection. That doesn’t mean the publisher’s cross-references aren’t valuable, but they pale in comparison to the ones that I write.
A clean Bible doesn’t say much. But a heavily marked up Bible speaks volumes about what you value.
11. It will change how you regard your BibleThis may seem obvious by now, but if you see your Bible as just a book, you’re looking at it wrong. The word of God is much more than just a book. It describes itself as a guide, a lamp (Ps 119:105), a sword (Heb 4:12), a mirror (James 1:23), a seed (1 Peter 1:23), a hammer, a fire (Jer 23:29) and a variety of other things. Each of these illustrates an aspect of how the Lord uses His Word to work in us and change us. As you write in your Bible, you will stop seeing it as a book, and see it more as the Lord’s tool for ministry to your heart and the heart of others through you. Why not go and find the verses I just mentioned and mark these references at the beginning of your Bible now?
12. It demonstrates clearly a love of the Word.How do people know what is important to you? A clean Bible doesn’t say much. But a heavily marked up Bible (or two) speaks volumes about what you value, how you spend your time and what was important.
13. Leave a legacyWhen our time in this life is over, the things we leave will be the legacy we leave. The things we leave will tell our families about where we spent our time, and what was important to us. When you’re gone, your family will probably look through your Bible to find your favorite Bible verses. This is a common way of figuring out what passages to read at a funeral of a believer. If you haven’t marked any verses, they will have a hard time figuring out what verses were important to you and what to read at your service. If your Bible is marked up, it will not only give them guidance but more importantly, you’ll communicate a clear message about the role the Word of God plays in your life.
If your Bible is marked up… you’ll communicate a clear message about the role the word of God plays in your life.You may be able to think of other excellent reasons to write in your Bible. Hopefully, this article has convinced you that the more you engage with the Bible, the greater its impact will be upon you.