Tuesday, March 27, 2007

'To Mark Or Not To Mark?' That Is The Question

For those with biblomarkaphobia, I'd like to recommend having a bible that you make a habit of marking, even if it's not your "main" bible. I'd suggest marking at least the Bible you use devotionally. I think you will find it to be a useful means of capturing your devotional insights in a concise, yet memorable, way.

If you are already a Bible marker, perhaps you could benefit from the caution not to over-mark? You know the type, right? The can't-have-an-unmarked-page-or-else-someone-will-think-I'm-unspiritual-and-haven't-read-that-page-before marker guy/gal. We're crafty people when it comes to pride, and the dry fountain pen could be a sure sign of it.

So, how do you decide what to mark? How do you decide how to mark what you mark? How are we to remember what our marks mean when we are reviewing, or expounding upon, our most-insightful mark(s)?

For years, my favorite Bible has been the Thompson Chain Reference Bible (TCR) that my mom bought for me as a college student. The TCR Bible is built upon the premise that Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture, and is replete with cross-references, study aids, and the like. It truly is a wonderful resource.

This post begins yet another brief series of posts that are found in the appendix of my TCR Bible. Page 2009 has the following advice about Bible Marking:

Its Value
Those who love God's Word will benefit from a simple system of Bible marking. A well-marked Bible becomes even more valuable to its owner over time because:
  1. It preserves the result of years of study
  2. It keeps new discoveries fresh in one's mind
What to Mark
This will largely depend upon personal taste and training. Generally speaking, it is better to select great themes and mark them consecutively through the Bible rather than mark many single verses on a wide variety of subjects.
Various Systems
Whatever system is adopted or developed should be used sparingly and with careful thought. If the book is marked impulsively the pages may soon become a mass of confusing notations that will hinder rather than help study.
  1. Underlining or circling with a pencil the passages to be remembered or emphasized is the simplest method of marking verses.
  2. The Color Scheme. Colored pencils may be used to good advantage to emphasize great themes. Selecting the Colors. Choose colors purposefully rather than arbitrarily. For example: Red (the color of blood) may be used to mark passages referring to such subjects as the blood of Christ. Blue (sky color) is appropriate for marking heavenly themes. Purple (the royal color) for subjects related to kingship (or the Majesty of God). Green (evergreen) for subjects referring to future hopes. Yellow for marking golden promises.
  3. Marking with Symbols. Those who have some drawing skills and prefer a more detailed system may want to use symbols and letters. Selecting the symbols. Scriptural symbols should be chosen whenever possible and drawn in simple, outline form in the margin of the Bible opposite the appropriate passages. Whenever possible let the symbol represent an important theme and use letters above the symbol to represent the different aspects of the subject. For example:
A drawing of an altar would represent sacrifice or consecration. Place the drawing on the margin opposite passages such as Abraham's sacrifice, Ge 22:6-14, or Paul's appeal for consecration, Ro 12:1.

The Holy Spirit could be represented by wings of a dove. Mark a letter D over the wings by passages referring to the descent of the Spirit, such as Mt 3:16 and Ac 10:38. Mark an I over the wings where the Spirit is mentioned as indwelling. Mark a T over the wings where the Holy Spirit is teaching; and L where the Spirit is spoken of as leader.

A drawing of a book would represent the Word of God. Suggestions of appropriate letters to write over the drawing of the book are: E for the enduring Word; I for the inspired Word; L for the Word loved; P for the power of the Word; S for the study of the Word.

A cross can symbolize Jesus' sacrifice, and it may be marked with different letters to represent various aspects of the subject.

A picture of a yoke opposite Mt 11:29 and similar passages would represent service.

A heart by a passage would indicate the idea of love

A sword would indicate warfare.

A censer with incense rising would represent prayer. This symbol could be marked with different letters as follows: P for prayer prescribed; A for answered prayer; U for united prayer; S for secret prayer; I for intercessory prayer.

A harp would represent praise.

This brief list of symbols could be extended indefinitely.

The value of symbols lies in the fact that they express important thoughts more strikingly and in much less space than words. This makes them especially appropriate for use on Bible margins.

Anyone have a pencil that I may borrow?

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