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Lesson 6.0 Highlighting and noticing patterns.
We will cover 2 topics this week. We will first discuss highlighting in our Bibles and then patterns. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of highlights in the Bible is a line from The Incredibles movie. “… once we’re all super, no one will be.” This was said by Syndrome the villain when he wanted to destroy all the super heroes in the world and then sell people gadgets to give them pseudo-super powers. This, for me, is true of highlighting in the Bible as well. If every word of every page is highlighted, then nothing stands out anymore.
I can’t say that there is no wrong way to highlight after that last little example, but different people will feel that a different portion of scripture is in need of a second look and that is what they will highlight. I’ve been in services where the minister tells the congregation to underline something or highlight something. It isn’t wrong for him to say that, but not everyone likes to write in their Bible. Often I’ve already got that part highlighted.
There have been times where I can think of a scripture but can’t remember where it is in the Bible. The things I remember are that it was on the bottom of a page near the end of the Bible and it was on the right-hand page. Because I had it highlighted, I found it again. I’ve also been in a circumstance and flipped open my Bible and found a highlighted spot that was a perfect encouragement that I needed in that moment.
I’ve known of people who will read through the Bible in a year and use a yellow highlighter as they read. The next year, they highlight in green and so on so that they can have a color journal of what spoke to them the most each year. I think that’s awesome, but I don’t always stick to a plan that long. I had planned to only highlight the scriptures that speak of love in pink and then Christian life in green and different colors for different categories of scripture. Anything that I couldn't categorize, I highlighted yellow if I liked it a lot. Develop your plan for colors. If you can stick with it, it may enhance future reading.
I have highlighters especially made for Bible pages because they’re so thin. I also have regular highlighters. It really is not going to make or break you on what type you buy. I even underline sometimes with my regular pen, but I need a ruler or a bookmark to get the lines straight. Colors are a personal preference.
Let’s practice this skill and see what we all think is important. It will be interesting to learn. PLEASE do not be ashamed if you don’t feel like any piece of the passage should be highlighted. The goal of this drill is to see the variations of different methods of highlighting. This will not make you a better scholar or a worse one.
Some of you may have noticed a pattern in this scripture passage and that is what you chose to highlight. There have been times when the Lord repeatedly said, “IF you will… THEN I will…” I call this a pattern. In Numbers 29 there is a definite pattern set forth under the feast of tabernacles. I’ve learned that when God says something more than once, it is time to take notice.
When studying the Bible it is good to notice patterns. There is several ways that we can notate a pattern as well. One thing is to highlight the repeated word or words. This will stand out to us the next time we open the Bible to that particular passage. We can journal what we’ve noticed as a pattern. When we journal things, we may have journalled it before and then flip back those few pages and recall what the Lord was speaking to us in the first incident where that something was mentioned. It is okay to just read the Bible and enjoy it, but when we start noticing these patterns and things that God speaks through the Word, it becomes alive in us.
Another way to document a pattern is to write a symbol by that particular scripture. I’ve written a cross by scripture in the Old Testament that refers to Christ. I’ve put a heart by things that mention His love. If you can draw a small shape, you can do these methods. An asterisk can set apart a few verses as well. We started learning to notice patterns in preschool and now we can apply that to the study of the Word of God.
You’re likely finding out that anything that you used in school to help you with your studies can be used in studying the Bible. Write in the margins of your Bible. Put a date when you studied that passage in the past... that date can be significant later in life. When I studied in college for classes, I underlined or highlighted the things that I thought I would need to know for a test. I wrote notes in the margin from lectures. That is not different from Life. The Bible is our guide to life. It might just do us some good to have some things marked or highlighted that will help us on our journey through life.
Worksheet Lesson 6.0
What guideline will you use when highlighting in your Bible?
Have you ever been hesitant to make marks in your Bible? Why or why not?
Has your view of highlighting changed or stayed the same since this lesson?
Read Psalm 119 this week. Notice the pattern in this scripture. There is a theme throughout this chapter and it revolves around a group of words with similar meaning. Feel free to highlight favorite verses or mark repeated words.