It all started with orange. I’m not sure why I decided orange was the perfect color for questions, but I started using an orange colored pencil to mark questions in my Bible. I started in the gospel of Mark keeping track of the questions people asked of Jesus, as well as questions Jesus asked of others. When I finished, I wrote the questions out and looked for patterns and things I could learn from how Jesus asked questions. I highly encourage you to get an orange pencil and see for yourself.
Marking questions got me actively engaged in the text. I was hooked. I decided to extend my color scheme. Blue is my all time favorite color so I started using that to mark verses that told me something about God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If you really want to get to know a friend, you pay attention when they tell you something about themselves. I love looking back over a day’s reading to see what God was telling me about what He is like. Often it is what I’ve underlined in blue that works its way into my prayer and praise time as I journal after reading.
I didn’t want to overcomplicate my time in the Word, but I found there were more things I wanted to mark. I added yellow for promises. It is the only color I use to highlight over the words. I love noticing the promises. Sometimes a verse shows something about God and includes a promise—so that verse gets blue underline and yellow over the words.
As a teacher, I love looking for verses that specifically discuss learning, teaching, and growing. Green seems an appropriate color for those. Red looks commanding so I use it for commands. I use brown for verses that teach on prayer. Every now and then I find a verse that doesn’t fit any of my other categories, but it makes me think. I’ve decided to use purple for verses like that.
Now that we are in the midst of a color-book craze, quality colored pencils are easier to find at a great price. I keep a set with my printed Bible. My Logos Bible on my electronic devices also allows for underlining in color—though it’s a little more complicated.
When I get the opportunity, I now teach the color scheme as a way to help students struggling with comprehension to get actively involved in their reading. I can see this concept working well in school subjects also.
While coloring in a color book can help with fine motor development, I commend coloring as you read your Bible over coloring in a color book for three reasons—
- It helps focus your mind actively on God’s Truth.
- It gets you physically participating in your Bible reading.
- It helps you see at a glance what you are learning.
Not sure you would use the same colors I use? That’s okay. Pick your own. I recommend you start with orange.
Annotating a text (in color!) is one of those tried and true methods of encouraging engagement with a text. This is a perfect fit for helping readers everywhere deepen their reading. Thanks for sharing!
Absolutely! It certainly is working for me.
I have recently been challenged in my Bible reading. Going deeper, meditating longer, and lingering on the same text before just conquering the next passage have been my focus. This idea is great! I have problems with focus… wait, a random Rich Mullins song just flew in my head. I love the idea of getting physical with my Bible reading. I’ll give it a try.
Colors help me participate and participation always helps with focus. When I started I would read the passage just looking for one color at a time. Then re-read with the next color. It’s like scuba-diving deep instead of speed boating over the surface. As you go deeper into the passage it goes deeper into you. I’d love to know how it works for you.
I just came across this. I’m going to give it a try.