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.
- 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