Bible study notes are just as important as reading the Bible. However, if we struggle to read the Bible, note-taking can a challenge.
Today, we want to help you that; as we conclude our series Understanding The Bible with tips on taking Fun Bible Study Notes from our dear friend Kimberly over at His Palette.
*Note: This is part 3 of the series, so if you haven’t read Part 1: Importance of Knowing The Context of Scripture, or Part 2: How To Use A Bible Color Code To Understand Scripture, we encourage you to read those posts, then come back here.
Fun Bible Study Notes
Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. -Joshua 1:8 (NLT)
For some people, even just thinking about taking study notes makes their head hurt. While others, like me, are exhilarated at the mention of anything involving words, paper, or writing. I know the exhilarated note-taker is less common and the truth is, there are more people feeling a headache coming on right now at the mention of this practice.
For both the note-taking fan and the gives-me-a-migraine-note-taker, we are going to discuss ways to make note-taking easy and fun, or at the very least enjoyable.
Before you close your browser window, sure that there is absolutely no possible way to enjoy note-taking, I ask that for two minutes you choose to believe that these are nothing like your dreadful notes from high school Chemistry. I ask that you choose to believe that note-taking can be fun and creative when YOU are the one who decides what, why, and how you take notes.
As Christian men and women, we often times study the Bible, whether it’s a character study, a chapter study, a topical study, or simply trying to retain what God is saying in scripture. With that said, I ask myself, why should note-taking be a chore? Why should the desire to learn God’s Word and grow closer to Him in the process be a struggle? I’m here to say, IT SHOULDN’T. And it doesn’t have to be.
The answer to this question is pretty straight forward. We want to remember the scriptures we read or a sermon we hear and draw near to the Lord.
But why should we take Bible study notes? How will note-taking assist in and benefit our faith walk?
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. -2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)
Note-Taking Helps Us Pay Attention.
In these modern times there is a plethora of things vying for our attention. For me personally, distractions are the biggest issue I have when trying to comprehend or retain something. Written notes can help me block out distractions like, a work-related problem, a call I need to return, encouraging a friend in difficult times, etc
Note-Taking Helps Us Remember.
Did you know note-taking is a muscle activity? In Redbooth’s article “title”, the author says, “Paper notetakers’ brains are working to digest, summarize, and capture the heart of the information. This, in turn, promotes understanding and retention.”
Good Note-Taking Helps Us To Organize Ideas.
I believe notes fall under one of these three categories:
- too many words
- not enough information
- good and organized notes
Now this is a very good question. And this is why you’re here.
If you look up how to take Bible study notes on the internet, Google returns about 169,000,000 results (at the time this was written). So I’m not going to tell you that information on this subject isn’t available. IT IS AVAILABLE. The facts are it is more than available.
But just like good and organized notes, how do you sift through all the information out there? How do you create a fun note-taking system for yourself, when there are nearly 170 million resources on the web? The answer is…you don’t. Or if you do, you spend far too much time on it. Let’s be honest, it’s time many of us don’t have.
The information available to us now is overwhelming. And we must be sure to be discerning when looking through it and deciding what we will use. Below you will find some simple and creative note taking ideas that I have gathered over the years, to begin taking your own fun Bible study notes.
Basic Creative Ideas
Let’s go over some basic ideas:
Color coding your notes can give them a little something extra. Not only is it creative and fun, the colors you use can help you to organize the information you are writing down. Living Our Priorities has a color coding printable in their resource library (sign up HERE). You can use their colors or create your own, choosing colors that make sense to you.
If you decide a specific color-coding system is too much for you, you can still bring color to your Bible notes.
Often in my note-taking Bible, I will use different colors for the title header, main sections, and then maybe for the definition as well. To be honest, I no longer use the same color code throughout my notes. I love color, so I simply use the colors I like on whatever page I’m working on.
Since many of you may not know me, you are probably not aware that my passion is Bible journaling, creative note-taking, and scripture writing. And one of the reasons for those creative practices is that I am visual. I learn better when I see a picture or diagram or chart. So many times, when taking notes in and out of my Bible, I include stickers, doodles or printables that help to express what is being said in scripture.
Below you will find study notes I added to one of my wide-margin Bibles. I took more notes in a notebook and included a few in the margin of my Bible here. As you can see, these are notes based on Elisha and I included a drawing of a contemporary version of him. I added a colorful tab with the name Elisha at the top of the page, to make it easy to find the notes on this character.
GETTING MORE CREATIVE
In the article “A Crash Course in Tip-Ins,” on the Go Make Something blog, a tip-in is defined as “a page or set of pages created outside a book, to be attached into it later.”
Tip-ins are great for adding additional notes, pictures, and diagrams into your Bible or your Bible study notebook. I attach tip-ins with washi tape, a light decorative tape that when carefully removed will not rip your pages, or with tissue hinging tape.
These photographs show notes I took for Genesis 6 and references Noah’s ark. I included a tip-in of a diagram of what the ark might have looked like. The washi tape serves as a hinge, so I can lift it and still read what’s underneath.
Not only is washi tape good for attaching tip-ins, but it is also a fun design element. You can use washi tape to break up themes or other sections of your notes. Because washi tape is decorative, it brings some creative detail into your note-taking.
Now let’s discuss some practical ideas that will help you decide what notes to take.
When studying a verse or many, be sure to include the book, chapter, and verses at the top of your page. Then, if you are studying verse by verse, write and align the verse you are taking notes for toward the left side of your page.
Notes you may want to include, indented approximately one to three inches from the left:
- Hebrew or Greek words
- In your own words, rewrite the verses.
- Include your personal insight.
- Write down any questions you may have about what you’ve studied, so you can find the answers during another study session.
Topical or Word Studies
When studying a topic or word, write it at the top center of your page.
Here are some note sections you may want to have when writing notes about topical or word studies:
- Important Facts/Points
- List of scriptures you find using the word or discussing the topic, include the reference verse and what it is teaching about the word or topic
- Quotes and/or Articles about the word or topic
- Write down any questions you may have about what you’ve studied, so you can find the answers during another study session or at the end of this session or at the end of the session you are currently working on.
- Hebrew or Greek words
- Definition of topic or word
FREE Note-Taking Guide available in our Community Library.
When taking notes about biblical characters, include the following information:
- Name of Person (at the top of the page)
- Meaning of their name
- Time when they were alive, ruling, and/or of importance
- Include the Bible verse where they first appeared in the Bible
- Important Events or Accomplishments
- Fun Facts; including parents, sibling, spouses, children, historical data, etc.
When studying a chapter in the Bible, you will want to include the book and chapter at the top of your notes, an overview of the entire chapter and the following:
- Summary of the Chapter
- People in the chapter and what their significance is or what they taught you
- Doctrines and principles taught in the chapter
- Write down any questions you may have about what you’ve studied, so you can find the answers during another study session or at the end of this session.
Finally, when writing notes based on a sermon you are listening to, include the following items in your notes; the title of the sermon, the pastor or person teaching it, the date, key points, referenced scriptures, and anything else you want to remember.
Bible study notes do not have to be a boring, undesirable task. As I’ve shown, with some color, pictures, and other creative aspects, the process of taking notes can be something you look forward to.
Consider the first five words of the Bible.
In the beginning God created… -Genesis 1:1 (NLT)
From the very first sentence we are told that we serve a creative Father. Can you imagine the creativity it took for Him to create all the things?
So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. -Genesis 1:27 (NLT)
Remember, we are also told in Genesis that we were made in His image. If we were created in the image of a creative God, shouldn’t we expect that we too would be creative and that our own creativity would bring Him glory?
These are the things you can meditate on before starting a session of Bible study note-taking. Enjoying the Bible, having fun while reading and learning about God’s love letter to us, I believe, is what He meant for us all along.
PS…Don’t forget to download your FREE Note-Taking Guide from the community library or by filling out the form below.
About The Author
Kimberly is the owner of www.hispalette.com where she writes about many different forms of creative worship. Learning to Bible journal is a large portion of her blog, but she also shares about faith art, prayer and scripture journaling, special faith-based projects, faith planning and more. She includes tutorials, techniques, and truth. As a creative Christian, or as she likes to refer to herself, a Jesus freak with a journaling Bible, she regularly tries to find new ways to glorify God, to share His Word, and to nurture her relationship with Him. Out of this love and creativity His Palette was born. You can connect with Kimberly on her social media: Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.