Marking up Your Bible
Recently, someone remarked to me that her grandmother would be horrified to hear someone actually ask people to underline something in their personal Bible. Really? Yes, I believe we should show respect for our personal copies of the Bible, but marking in a book makes it mine. I refrain from marking in a borrowed book, but what makes a book mine is the notes in the margin and underlined passages that stood out to me as I read.
What about an electronic Bible? Oh, the Bible on my Kindle® is very colorful with the choices the highlighting gives me. I cross reference in the notes, and if I use the electronic Bible in church, it is easy to take sermon notes. I suspect that one of the treasured items that my children might fuss about after my death is who gets my Bible. Frankly, I think a grandchild should be the next owner. Time will tell if I make that decision in advance.
Another marking I make in the margins is a guide of sorts. For about 26 years I carried and studied a Thompson Chain Reference Bible. When the print became too small to easily read, the large print Bible I took on had very few references of any kind. Here is a sort of guide if any of you wanted to take on the habit of reference marking: A is for mention of angels, CN is for mention of creation, P references a Bible promise, C is for a Bible command, CP is for a conditional promise, W refers to warning, and RS stands for Red Sea crossing. I added the RS two years ago, when I noticed the frequency of God’s reminder to the Jews that time is marked from that time forward in the establishment of their own country. Prior to the Egyptian bondage, God referred to the land as belonging to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Whatever your goals are for Bible reading or Bible study this coming year, above all, just read it. Make reading it a part of your daily habits. When I was in college, 50+ years ago, now, I determined to make the Bible my first reading of the day. No newspaper, assignment, or note from a friend took over first place. Today, it is Facebook. The Bible still gets first place. Jesus, speaking tenderly with his disciples in John 15 tells them, “Now ye are clean through the words that I have spoken unto you.” When we handle the Word of God we are handling a quick and powerful tool. Quick, here means living. I do not question why or how, but I know it to be true that as stated in Hebrews 4:12 it is a “. . . a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Picture yourself walking in a quiet meadow with Jesus while you are reading the Bible. The Good Shepherd is speaking.