I have a friend that only writes with pencil in his Bible because there’s a verse in Revelation that says something about not adding anything to the Bible. He feels that taking notes in it violates that. He is silly and aware of it. But for many of us, seeing how someone writes in their Bible is a fantastic way to jump to some delightful conclusions. Here’s how I analyze the people around me at church:
Straight black ink
This guy or girl doesn’t play around. Other people might be dancing across the page with colors that would make Rainbow Brite blush but not them. They have a black pen and a furrowed brow and if they want to underline the book of Luke, they’re going to.
Colors, so many colors
This person makes the straight black ink person cringe. At church they typically have one of those Bible covers that look like their Bible is going to assault Mount Everest after church. Zippers and pockets everywhere. Out of one of them they pull a handful of colored pencils. Red for Jesus. Black for God. Yellow for verses that make me happy. Extra points if they have an individual color assigned to each disciple. “John, you are Cornflower Blue. Peter, you can be Magenta. Mark, I think you feel like Periwinkle.” La, la, la.
This guy is the most interesting because he writes in the margin. So in addition to just underlining verses, he’s adding his own color commentary. “Ohh, good point! Need to remember that tomorrow at work!” I like this approach because you can tell a lot about a person from what verses they focus on. For instance, if he’s written a bunch of notes around James 5:16, which tells you to confess one to another, please know that during the meet and greet portion of the service, his answer to the question, “how are you today?” is going to be 17-minutes long.
Stars, circles, rainbows, clovers
I think those are actually the delicious shapes of the marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal. But every now and then you will meet someone that is like a map designer or cartographer. Instead of notes or underlines, they’re drawing shapes and symbols in their Bible. After a good sermon, their book of Romans looks like a map you’d find in an Indiana Jones movie.
I like drawing in the Bible. I think it’s a cool way to personalize a book that is supposed to be personal. And, if you take notes on a sermon you remember more of it, can reference it later during the week and can catch your minister doing a rerun or “encore presentation” of the message next year.