We Need Messy Bibles For Our Lives

In high school, my friend Eric Wren told me, “If you’re Bible is in good shape, you’re probably not!” His phrase suggests we should have marked-up Bibles than pristine. Despite this truth, it can be hard to highlight or write in our Bibles; but we need to be messy!

In a previous post, I shared my Bible highlighting system, which I try to follow when possible. However, there are times when a deviation is needed. The exception creates a dilemma because I feel if I’m going to mark Bible I want the marks to be consistent. Having talked with others I know I’m not alone in this struggle. A challenge that can impact our Bible intake, so, what to do? Again: Be messy!

Our faith rests in a relationship with Jesus. It’s not a set of rules; it’s not indulgence in ourselves, it’s a dynamic relationship when led by the Spirit can look different than other Christians. Like other healthy relationships, our faith with Jesus can be messy, not because He is a wreck, but because He is taking our mess and turning it into His message. Jesus creates this message for His glory as we grow in our relationship with Him. Therefore, our Bibles don’t have to be consistent when we mark in them. Again: Be messy! Continue reading “We Need Messy Bibles For Our Lives”

My Bible Highlighting System

photo-2Recently I wrote an article about my Bible reading plan where I try to read through the entire Bible as fast I can. Today I want to share my system of highlighting scripture. This approach helps me understand and refer to better.

To begin, I use the Bible highlighting kit that is produced by G T Luscombe. You may purchase them on Amazon by clicking on this link. I love these highlighters because there is a variety of colors and they don’t bleed onto the next page. This allows me to read and highlight the passages on the opposite side of the same page too. In the end any highlighters can work, but I use these. That said my highlighting system involves the following steps:

Red: The red color are for those verses in the Bible that clearly tells us “Do not do!” So when I got back to my Bible later I’m able to determine the “Thou shall nots” (figurative) faster. Similar to a red light or stop sign, red highlights warns me of danger and that should I not proceed.

Green: The green color means “go!” In other words, I use this color to focus on something God has said “To do.” Also, I highlight verses that encourage me. By marking these verses I’m able to to find hope and direction when I return to scripture again.

Blue: This color is used differently from the previous two. I use this color to highlight verse where God profoundly speaks, intervenes, or awes me because of His character. The key is to highlight only the verses that move me the most. Otherwise, my entire Bible could be the color blue.

Blue also helps me adore who Godin my prayers. For example, I can pray to Psalm 23:1 to Him by saying, “Lord, you ARE the Good Shepherd and because of you I will not want!” Therefore, any blue highlighted passage leads me to worship and adore Christ by praying His word back to Him.

Yellow: Next to last in the kit is yellow, which I use as my “catch all” color. When I’m not sure what to mark something I use the yellow highlighter. As a result, I’ve used yellow to highlight biblical geography that’s important, Old Testament verses that are repeated in the New Testament, and other general verses of inspiration.

Black Pen: Lastly, the kit comes with a ruler and a black pen. The ruler I give away, but the black pen I use to write in the margins of my Bible. I do this sparingly as I know my thoughts on scripture can change. Therefore, I limit the pen’s use to notes I believe will be timelessly true of scripture than my feelings at that particular time. This way my Bible can last longer without the clutter of too many subjective notes. Plus, that is what a journal is for, which will be discussed in a later post.

God-Write-the-Bible-1This is my system and I hope it helps you in your understanding and application of scripture. So feel free to use or adapt it however needed. As you do, let me encourage you to read through the entire Bible. Again, see my last post for how to do that. This will help make your highlights more accurate as you understand the context of the verses you find profound. Knowing their context means you can choose the right color and apply it better for the future. Now this may mean you use multiple colors on the same verse, which is possible, but either way reading passages than just isolated verses helps for understanding. Also, let me encourage you by saying, “If you highlight a verse wrong it will be alright!” I have messed up plenty of times and when I do I simply make a note in the margin.

In closing, remember we are all a work in progress. So have fun with this, and if you highlight a verse or don’t highlight a verse, the point is to help this enhance your relationship with the Lord. I hope it does and happy reading!