If there’s any stigma against the Catholic Church that I strongly dislike, it would be the one that portrays Catholics as notorious for not picking up their Bibles. While it may be true in many cases, I don’t see why it has to remain that way. Every Sunday, we are presented with the scripture, so why can’t that knowledge of Christ’s word flow into the rest of our lives.
I started reading the bible a couple of years ago. Yes, it was a little hard to get use to at first. But once you become familiar with the concepts and writing style of the backbone of Christianity, Scripture study can help you grow in your faith in so many ways.
Over the years, I have tried numerous different ‘strategies’ for reading the bible. I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to study the bible at a deeper level.
It is so important to read the words of Christ, His closest friends, and even those who lived hundreds of years before his death. Hearing these different accounts of God’s love and mercy, Christ’s founding of the church, and the work of those who came after Him shows us the beauty of the Christian movement, from the beginning of the world, to its founding, and even to today.
#1. Notebook Method
When I first started reading the Bible on a regular basis, I would write my favorite verses in notebooks. As you can see in the picture, the notebooks would be divided up into sections. Each section was for a different type of bible verse. Some of the sections I wrote in most were ‘Trust in God’, ‘God’s Plan’, ‘The Love of God’, ‘Consolations of the Psalms’, and ‘Glory to God’.
Pros: This form of Bible study makes it very easy to find verses on any particular subject. The notebook could be used as a type of ‘hot line’ in times of spiritual need, giving you the ability to seek out encouragement in particular areas when needed. It is also a very organized way to learn the Word, as you always know where things go.
Cons: You may feel handicapped if you find yourself with a bible, but no notebook. It is also rather time consuming, seeing that I am a very slow printer. Other than those small things, the notebook method is a wonderful way to delve deeper into scripture and stay organized while doing so.
#2. The Underline-Like-Crazy Method
The one is probably the most obvious; just. underline. everything. It’s that easy. Whenever something pops out at you, underline it. This is how I organize my travel, purse-size bible. I always keep a pencil handy when I read this bible, because I know I will probably use it multiple times. I also write a lot in the margins of this Bible. Yes, it gets messy sometimes, but its a beautiful, Christ-filled, messy.
Pros: It is so easy. All you need is a bible, pencil, and a heart open to the Word of God. It is so fun to write little notes in the margins and underline large sections for later. Underlining also makes it easy to pick out passages that were particularly moving you you when you last read it.
Cons: While you can pick out those inspiring sections quite easily, you don’t know what they addressed or if they will apply to what you are currently looking for. If you know your bible well, however, this shouldn’t be a problem. The margin writing can also come in handy when it comes to this ‘problem’. Jotting notes in the margins can add an artistic flare to your bible as well.
#3. The Highlighter Method
And the final method, and probably my new favorite, is the Highlighter Method. I was given this idea by a parish priest in our area who is an advocate for writing in bibles and highlighting as much as necessary. This method is almost a perfect mashup of the first two; it has an organized system similar to the first and the underlining aspect of the second. I guess the only major difference is that it doesn’t require an extra notebook. It just requires a handful of multicolored markers or highlighters.
After choosing a few key categories, like in the Notebook Method, match up different marker colors to each one. Unless you have a highly developed sense for small color differences, I would suggest limiting yourself to less than 10 categories. The categories that I have chosen, so far, are…
Yellow = Christian Values
Bright pink = Proof of God’s Love and Care for Us
Blue = Lessons
Green = Prayers
Orange = Wise Counsel
Purple = Pledge to the Lord
Pros: It is so easy to pick out verses on a certain topic by simply scanning the pages for a certain color. The multi-color aspect of this method also gives your bible an aesthetic look and holds much room for creativity.
Cons: This is more of a stationary method. Due to the different colored highlighters needed, I always read and write in this bible at home. It is also very important to find markers that don’t bleed. That has been a bit of a struggle for me, but once you find the perfect set, its a wonderful way to take notes in your bible.
I hope this post encourages you to pick up your bible!! There are so many opportunities for growth just behind the cover!!!