Do you long to get more out of your Bible study time? If you’re a visual learner then highlighting a Bible passage may enhance your study time. I certainly didn’t create the method. But after seeing others do it, I came up with a color coding system that made sense to me.
What is Bible Highlighting?
Bible highlighting is a system of marking or color-coding a Bible passage in order to dissect it for more effective study. Highlighting helps me “record” my observations of the text. (See “4 R Bible Study Method.” & “10 Observation Tips.”)I’ve found it beneficial in at least 3 ways:
- Focus – Because I’m thinking about what parts of the passage I should highlight in the different colors, I pay more attention to what I’m reading.
- Understanding – Because I’m focusing and reading the passage more than once, I get better clarity on the passage.
- Application – The process itself helps me see how God would have me apply these truths to my life.
A Few Bible Highlighting “How To” Tips:
This is not a scientific method. When we are prayerfully in God’s Word, we are communicating with Him. So, be sensitive to His leading. Allow the Holy Spirit to be your teacher. However, here are a few tips, thoughts, and suggestions to help the study process:
- Start with prayer – If you are a believer, the Holy Spirit lives within you. He is your teacher. Ask Him to give you understanding.
- Keep the context in mind – Every Bible passage is part of a larger passage, a chapter, a book. It’s easy to misunderstand a passage when we don’t know the context. For more about context see “4 Things to Consider for Biblical Context.”
- Read without highlighting – Read the passage at least once before you begin marking it. Get the feel for the whole thing before you begin to break it down.
- Start with the obvious – On the second reading, I begin highlighting portions of the text that are the clearest. For instance, sometimes it may be a direct command. Others it may be a glorious truth about God. I start with what the Holy Spirit makes obvious first.
- Make connections – With the obvious pieces marked, another reading will often help bring the other portions into focus. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand the relationship between the pieces.
- Respond – Don’t leave the passage without asking God to show you how He wants you to apply what He’s taught you. Then do it!
My Bible Highlighting Color Code
I’ve seen different color codes. Really, this is so personal. The one I use is very basic and works for any passage. It also makes sense to me so I would remember it! For instance, “purple” reminds me of royalty, thus I use it to highlight everything I learn about our King! Use mine, use someone else’s or develop your own!
- PURPLE – Truths about God, His character, His ways
- ORANGE – Key words and phrases (watch for things repeated over and over!)
- YELLOW – Important facts, spiritual truths
- BLUE – Commands to obey
- GREEN – Spiritual insight for application
- PINK – Truths about salvation and our eternal inheritance
A few More Suggestions for Success
- Get a journaling Bible – mine is large print, heavier paper, and wide margin! The wide margins are perfect for making study notes and doing a little “Bible art.” The heavier paper cuts down on the bleed through. Here’s the Bible I’ve been using.
- Be prepared – Keep all your supplies together in one. Ideally, it should be where you spend your daily time with God.
- Have a plan – Haphazard Bible reading and study will always be haphazard. Find and use a Bible reading plan. I have several on my resources page. Or, use one of my “Deep Rooted” devotional books. Each one takes you through a Bible book and is formatted around the 4 R Bible study method. Check on the volumes on Mark and Acts. AND… Romans is coming in October 2022!
- Find a group for support and encouragement – I lead two online Bible study groups. I would love to have you in one or both! “Reading the Bible Together” is an ongoing private Facebook group that reads through one Bible book at a time. “Deep Rooted” is a short-term group on Facebook that will be starting my new devotional study book “Deep Rooted: Growing through the Gospel of Mark” on January 11th.
What Bible study methods do you use? Which ones do you find most helpful?
Some links you may find helpful:
- Color Coding Bible Study Method
- Using Highlighting and Color Coding to Enhance Your Bible Study
- Women Living Well – Soak Bible study method and Coloring Chart
- 5 Probing Questions to Help You Meditate on Scripture
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Another great postKathy, thank you! Recently someone told me she uses crayons for highlighting as they don’t bleed through the page. I treated myself to some Crayola Twistables and they work great. There’s also a wider range of colors!
Hi Alex, thanks! I have some Crayola Twistables too. And yes, those are nice. The highlighters will bleed through more, but my Bible does have the heavier paper. If I used a broader color code that’s probably what I would use. My code is pretty basic. My goal is to simply to better understand and apply my daily reading – more devotional. I’ve seen some other systems that have a broad range to mark things like facts about heaven, the church, etc. It’s really a very personal thing based on our purpose.
This is basically what I do, except I use colored pencils so it doesn’t bleed through (I only have a couple of highlighter colors that don’t bleed) and I can use many different shades. For instance, I use these colors:
yellow = joy, gladness, rejoicing
orange = often repeated words
blue = any truth about God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, or the Word
green = grace, any gift that God gives to us
purple = hope, future tense
gray = transition words
brown = activities or qualities to avoid (sin, etc.)
red = activities or qualities to do (love, etc.)
light blue = purity, goodness, holiness
pink = relationship, fellowship, who I am in Christ
Lila, thanks for coming by and thanks for sharing your coloring code!
Yeaaaaa. I found it. Can’t wait to get home from vacation to dive in!! I think your webpage will be a valuable resource to walking out my faith.
Hi!! So glad you found it! Hope the site will be an encouragement for you!
I have so many different highlighters, I am praying for the way God wants me to study. I have known the Lord Jesus as Savior for a long time. His Word is my anchor to Him. I have used mark-up system I have learned through Precept.
In one of my online Bible study groups on Facebook is guiding me to first ask? What does this passage say about God?
That’s the best thing to ask first!