A Heavily Highlighted Bible

Welcome  I have often been referred to as the “highlighter queen.”  I even used highlighters as a key teaching tool for kindergarteners in reading instruction. I have long found the benefit of these brightly colored markers, from high school study notes, through college textbooks, and even now when I read from my vast selection of self-help books.  So I’m sure it’s no surprise to any of you that I have a heavily highlighted Bible.

Food For Thought  A couple months ago during my Bible study time, my husband looked over at my shoulder at the numerous color swatches bathing a page in the New Testament.  He asked a very simple question: Do the colors have any significance?  I looked at the page and contemplated, and then had to answer with just as simple of response: No.  This led to a discussion about my over-achieving highlighter activity and how they could possibly become a better tool for my study.  This was part of the reason behind my post, Intentional Bible Study, but I also did some reflecting on those highlighter marks.

First of all, I know it’s not a competition regarding who has the most notes or highlighter marks or the best decorated Bible journal pages.  What I mark in my Bible, whatever that may look like, is, and should be for my own personal study and growth benefit.  But as I looked at my well-highlighted pages in my Women’s Daily Devotional, 2, NIV Bible (Zondervan) and also at the worn-thin and somewhat-crumply pages of my first volume of this text, I realized something else.  While I am FAR from perfect or wise in the ways of scripture, I can plainly see I have spent a lot of time in my Bible text, reading and contemplating, over the past 20+ years.  I would even venture the statement that a well-worn, well-highlighted Bible is far better than a pristine and spotless text that’s rarely used.  That is assuming I am using the text for what it was intended for.  Are my markings truly bringing me closer to God and following His instruction?  I would like to think they are.  I know I certainly received a great deal of comfort from some of these highlighted texts during the past year, when I have felt like my life had been turned completely upside down.  That’s what I’m talking about…opening up my Bible and turning right to a passage that I know I need.  A simple highlighted passage that says,

“O Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.” Psalm 7:1-2

“A heart at peace gives life to the body; but envy rots the bones.”  Proverbs 14:30

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  you will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11

As I’m growing in my work here on the blog, trying to bring verses of comfort, inspiration, or direction to others, my highlighter marks offer guidance for me and my writing.  It is helpful when I’m thinking of a certain verse that illustrates a point I’m making or a story I’m telling.  I’ll be thinking something like, “Oh, what was that passage in Matthew that talks about this?”  I can turn to the book and scan my highlighted passages, knowing it’s something I’ve looked at time and again and will be able to find quickly.  Some of you may be thinking, why don’t you have those great verses memorized.  Well, some of them I do, but I’m not even close to having the capability to memorize hundreds of verses, verbatim, with chapter and verse.  And, I second-guess myself when it comes to preciseness, and I would never EVER want to misquote or reference a Bible scripture wrong for those of you who seek that information here.  I always look up my verses, often checking them multiple times.  So, I can say my heavy-handed highlighting has come in handy over the years, even more so recently.  But my husband’s original question did leave me pondering a system.  So I got me a new set of highlighters and adapted a color code system I found at Living Free Indeed.

Now I have a NEW journaling Bible where I am slowly adding highlighter to the text.  Not only will I be able to find passages I need quickly, but I will know at a glance if it is a faith-inspiring passage or if it’s a reflection of God’s awesome power, or some other valuable lesson, based on the color system I adopted.  I don’t currently have product links on this page, but I will tell you that my new highlighters are Sharpie Gel Highlighters in five colors.  These are amazing and work very well for Bible texts, as they do not bleed through the pages.  I’ve only had my journaling Bible and highlighters for a little over a month, so there’s many more white pages right now, but I know as I continue to grow and study, that will change once again. 

Today’s Scripture  The day my husband looked at my bright pink and yellow Bible page, I was looking at Colossians, chapter 3.  In my NIV text, it is headlined as “Rules for Holy Living” and “Rules for Christian Households.”  I have all but three verses highlighted from this chapter.  I have the instructions I know I need highlighted with pink and some key words underlined in blue.  I’m going to share  a couple of my favorite verses from this chapter today.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12-13

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”  Colossians 3:18-20

Today’s DIY  Last month I brought up the subject of Bible Journaling.  After debating for over a year about whether I wanted to take up this new creative hobby, I decided to give it a go.  Today, I’m just going to share a few of my pages I’ve completed since that post.

I liked this page, working on Psalm 143:10 and 144:1, but my husband said it was too busy.  You may agree with him.

This page I did while working on Colossians 3:12-14 is my husband and daughter’s favorite page I’ve done so far.

A simple page with an important reminder from Colossians 4:6.


I was struggling this week on what my spiritual gifts may be, so I worked in 1 Corinthians 12 and completed this page.


Another one of my simpler pages, using black pen and gelatos from Faber-Castel.

Some notes I jotted while reading about Jacob, Rachel, and Leah in the book of Genesis.  I could think of no better embellishment than a twisted vine for this really twisted story!  As I read their story again, thinking, “Whoa!”, I couldn’t help but be reminded that being jealous, competitive, and deceptive can lead to some really ugly choices that make others say, “Whoa!”

2 thoughts on “A Heavily Highlighted Bible

  1. I have highlighted sections in my Bible too. None of the colors mean anything; they just happen to be the one I was holding that particular day I marked it. I may not be able to think of a verse right off the top of my head, but I may know the book plus, “It’s on the left page, in the 2nd column, about halfway down, and it’s highlighted in green.” Yes, that’s how I find things!! I completely agree with your statement that a heavily-marked Bible is worth much more than one that someone has had a long time and still looks brand new. And although your husband may consider that page in your jounaling Bible to be “too busy”, the whole concept is to help you meditate and to remember an idea on that page. If all your drawing on that page reminds you of what brings comfort, then you’ve accomplished your goal. Our thoughts may be confusing to others, but if they bring us closer to the Lord, it was worth the effort. Thanks, as always, for sharing with us, your devoted readers!

    1. Thank you for the kind words and comments, Diana. You are absolutely right, what I put on my page is for my study benefit. I’m glad you could relate to my highlighter activity, because that’s exactly what I was doing…the highlight that was handy at the time. It is proven that highlighter colors help us remember things better, so I love when you can recall a verse based on its page placement and color! Thanks for being part of our family here!

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