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Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Outreach/Bible Marking

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Bible Marking
General Conference

See also Bible Marking - Advanced

Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 2001

Earning this honor meets a requirement for:

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Investiture Achievement Connection: This Honor is related to the Investiture Achievement requirements for RANGER Spiritual Discovery which require Bible Marking on the topic of inspiration of the Bible. VOYAGERS Spiritual Discovery includes a requirement to prepare and present a Bible study on one of the 28 Fundamental Beliefs. GUIDES Spiritual Discovery includes an opportunity to mark your Bible with the steps to lead someone else to Jesus.

1. Complete the following:

a. Name five different methods of Bible Marking.

b. Explain how each method would be used.

c. List advantages and disadvantages of each.

Questions a, b and c are answered together below.

Chain Reference

In this method, you first choose a topic and come up with a very short key for it. For instance, "Salvation by Grace" might become "SbG" or even "SG". Then you find a blank page either near the front or near the back of your Bible and write the title, the key, and the first reference, such as Col 2:14. You then turn to that reference in the Bible, and in the margin near the first reference, you write the key plus the reference to the next verse. Continue doing this until you annotate the final verse with the key and the letter "F" (for "final").


  1. You can give a quick Bible study "on the spot."
  2. It's a good way to become familiar with the Bible.
  3. It's an effective way to become familiar with a topic.
  4. You can buy preprinted sheets of stickers for the references on certain topics.

  1. You cannot change the order of study.
  2. If you lose your place, you have to start over from the beginning.
  3. Sometimes the pre-printed stickers can fall out.

Color Code

Choose a color for the topic. As you read your Bible, when you come across a passage having to do with that topic, you mark a line down the margin starting where that topic begins, and ending where the topic ends. If the passage has a subheading and the entire passage has to do with the topic, underline the subheading with that color.


  1. Good for ongoing study of the Bible.
  2. Colors stand out.
  3. Gives a good overview of a topic.

  1. The number of distinct colors will limit the number of topics you can mark.
  2. You have to have the right color marker with you when you come across a reference.
  3. Too many colors or an overmarked Bible will render the annotations useless.
  4. Not good for a sequential study - such as where a prophecy is made and where its fulfillment is recorded.

Cross Reference

1. Where you have found two or more texts speaking about the same subject you can, alongside one of these texts, in the margin, write the reference to those other texts. Then go to those other texts and write the reference of the first text. 2. If it is to do with only a word or a phrase from the text that you wish to support from other texts, then place an "R" alongside that word or phrase.


  1. Can be added to.
  2. Not limited by subjects.
  3. Quick support for a difficult text.

  1. Limited by space in the margin for reference.
  2. You need to know where to start.
  3. Hard to follow through a complete study.

Many Bibles have this type of reference in them when printed.

Highlighting or Underlining

  1. Emphasize just one word or phrase in the section. Just enough to make the thought that you want to stand out.
  2. This can be done in a number of ways:
    1. A neat line under the word - preferably in a color to suit your total marking system.
    2. Keep a pencil or fine biro[1] - only one color just for underlining.
    3. If you are very neat and careful, a very effective way is to just write over the letters to thicken them a little BUT test the steadiness of your hand and the suitability of the pen on something first.

  1. Reminds you of an important part of the text.
  2. It makes that part stand out.

  1. Too much lessens the clarity of the text.

Number Reference

  1. When you have information about a word or passage that you cannot fit in the margin, highlight - underline or mark in an appropriate way to suit your system of marking.
  2. Then in the margin, place a number - that number will be the same as a number on a page in the back of your Bible.
  3. To know what that number should be, look at the last lot of information you put on that page and the number you put with it, the number is the next number. So if your last entry was 5, then this one would be 6.
  4. Put the reference for your text at the end of your information entry for cross-reference.

  1. Allows comment or explanation on a thought in greater detail.
  2. Helps to keep information about a word or passage from being forgotten.

  1. Has a limited use.

Subject Lists

  1. On a page at the back of your Bible, make lists of texts under a subject heading.
  2. Leave plenty of room so you can keep adding extra texts you find as you read the Bible or listen to sermons.
  3. Add an extra page if you need to.
  4. A mark can be placed alongside the more suitable texts for the topic.

  1. Good personal study.
  2. A quick source of references from which to pick for a study.
  3. Does not clutter the margin of your Bible.

  1. It needs a reasonable amount of space in the back of your Bible.

2. List five guidelines you would consider before starting to mark your Bible.

  1. Choose a Bible that suits your needs. If you will need wide margins to write in the cross reference system OR if you need space to write notes for the number system, choose a Bible with wide margins.
  2. Choose a method that suits your needs.It generally better to use only one method of marking in a Bible. If you wish to try another method, use a different Bible.
  3. Choose a marker that will not bleed through the page. If in doubt, make a small test mark before you begin, and make sure it does not show through on the other side of the page.
  4. Do not overmark your Bible. Too many marks make it almost unreadable, so keep it simple.
  5. Do not use too many colors, but when using multiple colors, make sure they are distinct.
  6. Plan before you start, and have a definite aim in marking the Bible.
  7. Don't mark an heirloom Bible. For instance, Gramma Tillie's Bible with her ancestry recorded within is not an appropriate choice for marking. Get a new Bible if you need to. Thrift stores that accept books often have many (sadly) barely used Bibles for sale, and many churches buy Bibles in bulk for evangelism series, or have a collection of Bibles to give away. Do not let cost prevent you from completing this honor.
  8. If there are not enough blank sheets at the end of your Bible, you can carefully add more by gluing them in. Cut the paper to size, and use a little glue along its edge. Then slide the glued edge as far back into the spine as you can.
  9. Choose a translation you will enjoy reading and find easy to understand. This will make the process much more enjoyable.

3. Complete the following:

a. What method would you follow for giving a Bible study and why?

b. And mark your Bible for two topics/subjects using this method.

These methods are good for sharing the Bible with another person:

  • Chain Reference
  • Subject Lists

4. Complete the following:

a. What methods would you use for ongoing devotional study and why?

b. And mark your Bible for two topics/subjects using one of these methods, and using a minimum of ten texts each.

These methods are good for personal study

  • Chain Reference
  • Color Coding
  • Cross Reference
  • Subject Lists


The Stewardship honor starts out with a nice Bible study.