Studying the Bible: How a few colored pens changed how I read the Word

Studying TheBible

At the beginning of the year I found the Bible my husband gave me when we got married. He had my new name stamped on the cover and was such a perfect wedding gift, (we’ve been married 4 years now). I was so excited I found it, because it was a study Bible and I had been pining for a study Bible. Don’t worry ya’ll… I had another Bible I had been using, but it wasn’t a study Bible. Wouldn’t you know when we went to our storage unit recently, this Bible John had given me was in one of the top containers! The Lord knows our hearts desires and this Bible has been such a treasure to me.

It had hardly been used and I decided I was going to try something new. I was going to annotate the Bible. I know, I know… it sounds like being back in English Literature class. But let me tell you, it has absolutely been the best thing I ever did. I jumped on Pinterest and searched for some options. I found a key that suited what I was looking for and I made a legend in my Bible.
I did however change a few things. I didn’t like brown, so I went ahead and substituted it for orange. I also didn’t like what they had for orange, so I didn’t add that to my key. There is nothing wrong with studying these (hell, temptations, sin..ect) things out, but I wanted to highlight God and who HE IS.

I also wanted to take note every time God healed someone, so I used a dark blue pen for that and a gold pen Apostolic prayers and the promises of God.

You’ll adjust your key to suit your own desires and that’s perfectly fine. You should personalize it. Everyone’s relationship with God is different, so it is good to fine tune what it is you want to highlight or what certain colors mean.

The thing I love about annotating is I’m already seeing the fruit of it. In January, I read Hebrews and used a red sharpie for Jesus’ atoning work and prophetic scriptures relating to Christ. This month I’m reading Matthew and I can’t even get passed chapter four because I’m continuously going back to the OT highlighting new verses and seeing the prophetic scriptures from last month about Jesus that I’ve already underlined.

It’s really neat to be able to open your Bible and just glean what you might need on that day. But more than that, it’s making me stop, pause and have a think about what I am reading. My spiritual eyes are perusing all over the pages and gobbling it all up. I’m asking the Holy Spirit, what category does this verse belong in? What is happening here? Where else is this mentioned in scripture?

Now, I don’t suggest you get so hung up in making sure you’re highlighting everything the right way that you lose the joy of reading the Word. But as things stick out, as you are pausing, as you are asking, as you are sifting through with the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to speak, highlight or underline away!

I tried out gel highlighters. What I love about them is that they don’t bleed through the pages or smear. I had to use a thin red sharpie for one section of my annotations as there isn’t a red gel pen, and it bleeds through. It is kind of annoying. But I like that the lines are clean and crisp. So there is positive and negatives to both. I haven’t tried color pencils, but they might work really good as well since they had a variety of color choices and I don’t imagine that they would be too heavy on the pages.

Here is my Key in the back of my Bible and an example of what one of my pages looks like. I use black to just underline things I find interesting, but not necessarily in a category.

bibe annotation


Light blue- Who God is, Names, attributes
Light Green- Growth, commands, laws, obedience, fruitfulness
Yellow- Eternity, heaven, angels, hope
Orange- Times, places, names, numbers, geneologies
Red- Christ’s atoning work, salvation, prophecy re: Christ, Christ seen in the OT
Pink- Love, relationships, how to treat others
Gold- Promise/ Prayers (this is a gold gel pen)
Purple- Who I am in Christ. God’s love for me
Dark Blue- Healing

I hope this encourages you to go on adventures with Jesus in a new way. I have been so enjoying my quiet times in the morning and seeing the Word come alive in a new way.

-How do you keep your quiet time fun and fresh? Got any ideas? Let me know! I’d love to hear! πŸ™‚

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4 thoughts on “Studying the Bible: How a few colored pens changed how I read the Word

  1. Interesting, Cait: You, a young woman, are using a tried and true method of Bible reading. I, a much older woman, just finished my Bible reading/study today–listening to and reading at the same time a chronological Bible on my iPad! There is no rhyme nor reason to which color I choose to highlight verses and sections that stand out as beautiful, instructive, meaningful. I can’t remember which color I used the last time!

    I am very proud of you, dear young friend. (Four years since I made that wedding veil?) Keep growing, studying, praying and following God’s Way for that beautiful little family of yours. I miss you.


  2. Such a sweet and thoughtful gift your husband gave you! I believe God puts us in the path of people we need to have in our lives for one reason or another, and I believe He knew how great you’d be for each other’s spiritual growth and wellbeing. Interesting method for your studies – I write a bimonthly spiritual reflection for our church’s newsletter and I may have to start a similar system by theme so that I can find relevant passages more quickly. Thank you for sharing this.


    1. You are so welcome! I just use this method for my personal study. I still have other smaller Bibles I take with me that can be underlined or highlighted at random if I’m at church or else where. It just really explodes off the page with this new method and I am loving it. Good luck to you and your writing!


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