Monday, June 1, 2015

So How Do You Annotate Your Bible?


Leighton said...

I use a mechanical pencil and make concise notes in the margins, to the side, away from the text.

If I want to mark a particular passage that I want to go back to frequently, I put a pencil mark next to it, or bracket it to the side, but I no longer highlight or underline the actual biblical text, because when I am doing lectio divina I don’t want my eyes to be automatically drawn to the highlighted biblical text.

I figure God may want to speak a different word to me today than yesterday, and don’t want to be distracted by highlighted words and verses in the actual text. My eyes tend to go right to the highlighted text and that may make me miss something else.

(I WILL highlight and underline passages and words in the publisher introductions and the annotations at the bottom of the page, though.)

Anonymous said...

I find that when I highlight an item or make a marginal note; when I come back later I am distracted by the markings. Often I wonder why I even marked it to begin with. Instead, I used to write on index cards and put them in a file box ordered by Book of the Bible. Now I just have a Word Doc for each Book of the Bible. Although I love the look and feel of a book; more often than not I am on-line. However, I still keep an index card or two in each of my reading Bibles and transfer it later to the Word Doc. I find I am journaling as much as note taking.


Steve Molitor said...

I use a Pigma Micron pen, 005 the thinest model, to underline and write notes in the margins. I don't highlight. I also copy out favorite verses and notes on the front and back pages of my bible. When I can't find my Pigma Micron I use a regular ballpoint.

Re the One Bible thread:

I find that when I come back to a page with my highlights and notes on it, I feel like I'm coming back to an old friend, and I recall the passage more quickly. I use a NAOB RSV, but recently purchased a NOAB 4th edition because I like the NRSV translation. However, I'm finding myself going back to my trusty NOAB RSV for my daily reading, just because of my underlines and notes.

I have been regularly using my NOAB 4th (and my JB - great notes!) to compare translations and notes with my NOAB RSV. So it's not like I'm throwing away all my other bibles. I'm glad I purchased the NOAB 4th. But I do see the value in having one goto bible for daily reading and notes. I thought about copying my notes into my other bibles, but there's no way I'd keep that all in sync!


Unknown said...

A bible isn't a bible until it's been marked up.

I use a basic color scheme for my highlighting: for the old testament, one color for messianic prophesies (Is. 61, 1-2), second for warnings or admonishments (Jer. 17:9-10) and third for inspirational (Sir. 2, 18). For the new testament one for O. T. citations,, another for warnings and the third for inspirational.

As for the highlighting, I've used several: stabilo boss, zebrite eco, sharpie smearguard. From experience, I heartily recommend the sharpie GEL. No bleed through at all.

For notations, I use the Pigma micron .005 with the various colors.

My bible of choice is the Didache bible.

Just my .02

Anonymous said...

Thank you Leighton for your comments.
After many years of underlining and highlighting in a host of bibles I have at last come to the same conclusion as yourself.Let the Lord do the highlighting in my heart.
Thank you.

Tom said...

Leighton is spot on:

I figure God may want to speak a different word to me today than yesterday, and don’t want to be distracted by highlighted words and verses in the actual text. My eyes tend to go right to the highlighted text and that may make me miss something else.

I highlight nothing and don't mar my Bible with my voice; I find it much less distracting that way. I also find the Word so engaging that it would be easier to highlight what I'm NOT interested in than what I am, which sort of makes the goal of highlighting ludicrous.

Kevin Daugherty said...

I simply use a basic, black ink ballpoint pen and just write in the margins whatever I feel like writing. I don't think too much about it; I don't color code, highlight, or anything of the sort. A lot of my notes are simply ways of remembering the text or summarizing it. I also have some theological and ethical material written in the front of my Bible, such as the evangelical counsels and corporate works of mercy.

I originally kept my notes in a NRSV pew Bible, then an ESV reference Bible. Then I put my notes in a 4th edition New Oxford Annotated Bible. Now, my notes are in a Catholic Study Bible from Oxford, which I plan on making my primary Bible for many years to come.

Dave said...

Personally, I don't annotate my Bibles. For those that do, however, I would expect so-called 'Post-it notes' to be a useful tool as they could be stuck to particularly relevant pages (with brief notes on) and yet could also be easily removed, leaving no lasting marks. By the way, it's great to see you utilising your leather-bound RSV2CE - a fantastic Bible.

Anonymous said...

Just like Dave, I do not annotate my Bibles.
At the minimum, I only put my name and the date I bought it on the first pages of it. I am too careful in handling books, not only of the Bible but even my textbooks before.

Being maintained in very good condition, my mom had been able to sell some of my textbooks before at a new user remarking that my books are at very good condition, good as new, so to say.

Too much careful about Bibles even folding them, I am much worried. I had always want my Bible to be looking nice like I first had it so I don't want to taint it with anything.

CWBuckley said...

One does not deface the word of God. One takes notes.

That said, I really like digital bookmarks in the Lighthouse Catholic Media Study Bible app, since they're searchable.

Erica said...

For about a month I used Bible study printables and the SOAP method. I found that I was more focused on my journaling pages and my own words than on the Scripture. My roommate saw those pages and started using them also; she loves them. I think it depends on the person. To me, annotations and highlights are distracting so I have my hardcover RSV2CE that is my "study" one for marking only and use in class.

My daily reading Bible is a Cambridge Popular Text w/ Apocrypha. I leave it unmarked and try to let God speak to me in meditation. If I come across a passage I like, I make a note on a sheet of paper. I write out my favorite verses in another book. I like that these verses aren't highlighted—each time I read them He surprises me all over again.

TS said...

Why are there even margins available in Bibles to write in? This post asks the question:

Anonymous said...

As of this writing, I have three Bibles, all Catholic (I have been Bible-obsessed these past few months - not necessarily a good thing if it detracts me from hearing His Word) - two NRSVs (the first a local/Asian edition by ST PAULS in partnership with Oxford, and the second a Go-Anywhere Thinline) and a NABRE from HarperOne.

The first one is the only Bible I have notes on for several reasons: One, it's the only paperback among the three and I feel less guilty writing on it than on the other two. Two, it has the most extensive supplementary material of the three - besides the ubiquitous Concordance, it has more pages of maps, more maps in-text, charts/tables, daily readings according to the Canadian Lectionary, popular Catholic prayers and devotions, and even the full text of DV. The only things it lacks are the titles/headings for the Psalms - they are strangely absent - and there are no cross-references (though I have yet to see any NRSV with such). I started writing notes for the latter's sake - though they are by no means definitive - but have now slowly expanded to include notes for clarification or emphasis of some matters.

I started with highlighting and I still do it, in three colors - one for verses I find I like for that day's reading, one for verses I encounter in any kind of Bible study, and one for very powerful messages from the Lord that I encountered elsewhere even before I started reading the Bible. Though I do like Mr. Laurence's system, and I feel I shall do something similar in another Bible, if ever that time comes.

As several of the commenters stated, they don't want notes - self-made or otherwise - or annotations so that they can focus on Scripture itself during prayerful reading or LD - and I do intend to do this with my Thinline for my own LD and in church, especially apt since this edition of the NRSV comes with comparatively little supplementary materials.

Great topic for discussion, Mr. Timothy!