How Do You Underline Yours?

By | 06:30:00 21 comments

For the past few years I haven't been underlining in my Bibles, although recently i have been treading carefully back into this area.
Prior to stopping this practice I heavily underlined & scribbled in my KJV Thompson Chain & MacArthur Study Bibles, but I didn't have any pattern or system to my underlining.

With my recent move to the ESV Study Bible & with such advice as that from Matt Chandler's message on studying the Bible (my notes from it are here), I want to resume this. But i don't feel that I can resume my random underlining with various colours etc having no real coherence to it.

So I thought I'd ask around to see if anyone can advise any patterns or systems that they find helpful or know of, that may be helpful to me as i read through God's Word with pen(s) in hand.


simont said...

I use the inductive method, using particular symbols and colours for certain things that stand out. If the passage teaches something about Christ I use a cross, about the Law I use two tablets etc. Then a nominated colour to underline something of challenge, comfort, etc. I haven't commented for ages bro, sorry!!

Boaly said...

Cheers for the advice here bro!

Oh...& You will be sorry...haha!

Great to see you here bro!

NewKreation said...

I may not have a system to recommend, but I would suggest reading the following review of pens and highlighters that do not bleed through the thin pages of Bibles.

Boaly said...

Cheers NewKreation, most helpful in regard to underlining in Bibles. Nothing worse than turning the page to find your ink has went through

Peter P said...

Sorry, can't help. I haven't underlined since I was a kid!

ashley said...

I underline verses or words with pen that really stand out to me and my particular circumstances, often jotting down phrases or alternate word translations in the margins that helped me understand the meaning and application.

And I have colored in whole passages as I read straight through the Bible, similar to what some topical Bibles do, one color for all passages or verses relating to a subject that I want a 'whole Bible' perspective on like the glory of God, the fear of God, prayer, etc., one color for each topic throughout the whole Bible

And I really like the dry highlighting pencils such as Levenger dry line pencils or Staedler Textsurfer dry.

I've enjoyed your blog for a while, but never commented before. Cheers :)

Boaly said...

Thanks Ashley,
great advice! Thanks for the links too, all this is helpful stuff.

I'm thinking that i'm going to have to sit and work through all this, make a key to colours, symbols etc
and pass a huge thank you to everyone for their help to me.

MandyMaria said...

I use a pink highlighter for relationship stuff, yellow for personal stuff and blue for other stuff.

Boaly said...

I would feel so uncomfortable using a pink highlighter! Haha

No, thats a really good idea Mandy!

heartafire said...

I underline in my BIble a lot, highlight, doodle, etc.
The thought of doing it in a particular manner is off-putting to me, because (for me) it would feel like the devil getting in....wanting me to do it a certain way, or if I didn't do it"right," well, then, why even bother reading? Don't you want to read the Bible "correctly"? Hunh! Some Christian you are...just underlining all willy-nilly....

I know it's probably just me, but I am skeptical wherever I find the Law intruding into my Bible study (because I am so easily distracted from the very simple things God calls me to) so I just try to give myself grace, and just read.

Gary, I think I read it on here (or may have been a John Piper link) that this person advocated just reading a little, thinking/praying, then going on a little farther, think/pray, et. and this has worked really well for me.
Thanks for your blog.
It continually blesses me.
I am pra

heartafire said...

Oops... don't know what that last little bit was...

(See how easily I am distracted?)

Boaly said...

Haha heartafire!
I see what you're saying.
I think it's different for everyone, i get lost very easy, so i get back to something i've underlined & think 'why on earth...?' so i'm tryin to come up with a helpful way (for me) to do this.

I don't want it, however to lead to legalism or bondage on the matter, & i'd have to stop again if it did.

simont said...

I think the motive of the heart is what distinguishes between organisation and legalism. I want my Bible reading to be efficient, not that I read chunks at a time to complete the Bible quickly, but efficient in the sense that I learn and am impacted by what I read. For me, underlining and using symbols gives me a consistent, and recognisable, method of greater engagement with the text. The way my brain, and others, seems to suggest that re-reading and marking allows greater engagement with the text leading to greater retention of what we read and learn, aiding the processes of memorisation and renewal. Make sense?

heartafire said...

That is good, SimonT. I appreciate being understood in what I was trying to convey. And you're right---it all comes down to motive of the heart.
And I cannot readily trust mine!

Franklin said...

Boaly and everyone interested,

The following site will give an idea about how to mark your Bible:

“How to Mark Your Bible for EFFECTIVE Bible Study!”

Many blessings!!!

Boaly said...

Thanks Franklin

Randy said...

I've written an article on highlighting:

This week I worked on developing a new marking method for my new wide margin Bible. I am writing an article for that new method also. I will have it posted this week.


Randy A Brown said...

My new marking method is now posted. You can read the article here:

Anonymous said...

I use 3 colours for underlining: red, green and purple. Red, for verses about things that we should do or an example that I should follow. Green for marking a promise. Purple for something exceptional that caught my attention, but it doesn't fall into the "red" or "green" category.

Example of Red and Green underlining:
Matthew 6:14-15 [Red underlining] "For if you forgive men their trespasses, [Green underlining] your heavenly Father shall also forgive you. [Purple underlining] But if you do not forgive men their trespass, neither shall your Father forgive your trespasses.

I also use a vertical red, green, purple and blue pen lines, in the centre of the page, next to the particular verses of interest, to mark certain topics throughout. In order to add more topics that I want to follow right through the Scriptures, I also mark a similar vertical line with my red, blue and green highlighter pencils.

I use a yellow and orange pencil to highlight words and parts of verses - no particualr order.

I also use a red and blue pencil to highlight two subjects throughout my Bible which is of particular interest to me. Red for verses which indicate the importance of His Name and Blue for all the places where the Sabbath is mentioned.

I use a blue pen to write the original Hebrew/Greek of certain words in the margin, marking the word in the text with a *.

I have used this system now for many years and it serves me well. It also forces me to think about what I have just read, before grabbing for a pen and underlining randomly. And when speaking to other believers, it is quick to follow a certain topic through the entire Bible and read all the scriptures about it.

May you be Blessed in your reading!


Joe Dokes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary Boal said...

Hi Joe, great colour use. Very helpful