Saturday, August 1, 2009

Marking The Scriptures

(I'm moving my "Scripture Study" blog to this one.)

A few months ago I read a lot of different talks for a YW project for my dd, a gift from me to her. I ran across this talk, which has become my favorite talk so far on studying the scriptures called A Reservoir of Living Water, Elder David A. Bednar, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, CES Fireside for Young Adults • February 4, 2007 • Brigham Young University This talk is what inspired my scripture marking quest because he talks about blessings, themes, patterns and connections through scripture study and that started my wheels a turning. I loved that talk. I'm sure I'll find another some day in the future. For now, this is the one that inspired me the most now.

Another inspiration came from hearing various leaders of the Church mention how many times they have read their own scriptures. It was outstanding to hear the number of times they have read them. I decided I needed to challenge myself and read more consistently and deeply, with more hunger and resolution to make them an integral part of my life. Now that I've started, I cannot seem to get enough.

As I started the new year, 2008, reading the Book of Mormon, with a resolution to read it four times by the end of the year, I decided I also wanted to mark them. With the above article I began to see ways in which I might want to make that happen. I found challenges with all of the scripture marking ideas that I have been shown in the past. Mainly because I found them either marking things that were not a concern to me, making it difficult to distinguish between the two, or not enough colors for all the possibilities. During my first reading of the year I considered my options. Then, by July I started reading it the second time and dove in with my marking plan. I had decided on these categories (which gets revised as I read). I have room for maybe a couple more, but I'm limited to my available colors. I've saved purple 'cause that's my favorite color. Not sure how I'll use that, yet.

Prophecies yet to be fulfilled
Prophecies fulfilled (including by Jesus Christ)
Promises, Instruction and Truths
The Latter-Days=Now
Secret Combinations, priestcraft, pride and apostasy
My Favorite Scriptures

These were the categories that stood out to me. Some of them are combined because I found them difficult to separate. Some promises are instructions, some instructions are also truths, some truths are also promises. That was one of my biggest roadblocks with beginning my scripture marking quest is that I would find scriptures that could meet more than one category. I have a book that explains how to mark the scriptures by only marking the first 3 "spaces" of the verse (which would include the verse number, space, and then the first letter of the verse), and if there is another color that fits that scripture, then the verse gets marked in that color for the next three spaces and so on. I had done that one time and decided I didn't like it. It's an idea for someone else, though. During this reading, I've been erasing those.

That brings me to the next portion of my scripture marking. I only have so many colors - and some scriptures that I wanted to mark would even meet more than one of the combined categories above and one or more of these ideas that are to follow - so I came up with more methods of marking.

Scripture Mastery - these can be promises, warnings, etc, in addition to being a scripture mastery (a list of 25 scriptures each for the Old and New Testament, Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants that Seminary students during the year that book is being studied). But, I wanted to mark ALL of them, too, without compromising the above scriptures that are colored. So, I BOXed all of the scripture mastery's with one color.

I plan to BOX in all of the missionary scriptures from Teach My Gospel - Haven't even started that so I may adjust the details once I get there. For instance, I've considered bracketing them and assigning each chapter a color - and all brackets being reserved for Teach My Gospel chapters.

I plan to BOX in all of the Chiasmus that I find in the Book Of Mormon.

All of these boxed in scriptures are an additional reference in the scriptures that I want to stand out to me, but are also most likely going to compete with the color coding I have planned. So, one doesn't need to trump another. This also allows me to use the same color multiple times. My Dark Blue highlights the latter days, Boxes in the Scripture Mastery and also highlights the Footmarks for the JST.

I have been circling in the old and new testament the Letter (a,b,c,d,e,f, etc) whichever one references a JST (Joseph Smith Translation) or JS-M (Joseph Smith - Matthew), in other words - ALL references to a Joseph Smith translation, I circle the Letter referencing the footnote at the bottom of the page, then I highlight the reference at the bottom of the page (the same color). I did this because as I read the Bible I don't want to miss these references. I don't generally practice looking at the footnotes while I read and if there is a JST I don't want to overlook this revealed clarification.

As my scripture marking progresses I have additional options. These options I found in a book I glanced through in an LDS bookstore. In addition to boxing the scripture itself and circling the footnote Letter, the scriptures verse can be circled, the scripture can have a bracket placed next to it (note my idea already mentioned above), and words can be underlined or circled.

Lists can be numbered (like in 2 Nephi 1:10 the scripture talks about the people would reject the Holy One of Israel, their Messiah, even after knowing five things: 1:Having a knowledge of the creation of the earth and all men, 2: Knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world, 3: Having power given them to do all things by faith, 4: Having all the commandments from the beginning, 5: Having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise) This makes me stop and think each time I read this scripture (which this one is incidentally also colored in my color of "warning" and notice that these people deliberately rejected and knew what they were doing when they did so), rather then just simply reading right through the verse.

The book warned that these additional scripture marking methods must be controlled or it's overuse can blur it's meaning and the intent for which it is being used - which is to more readily understand your scriptures and bring one closer to it's message.

We can always make written notations in the book and/or use sticky-notes in the margins so they can be flipped over to reveal the scripture. My dd and I have transparent yellow stickers to be used in behalf of a"highlighter" or a way to write in the scriptures without actually writing ON the scriptures.

Recently, I was given tiny little heart stickers for using in my scriptures. I'm using those to mark my favorite verses.

I really love the scripture stickers that can be purchased at LDS Bookstores and online. I have many of the Book of Mormon stickers and have moved on to the Bible stickers. I waited first to mark the Bible so that I could put the stickers over my colored markings. This is because it is nearly impossible, and not recommended, to remove the stickers and replace them so that I can simply mark underneath. The corners like to loose their sticky.

Scripture Notes: What I have also been doing as an ongoing project for a couple of years now, but have taken considerable efforts over the last couple of months to build, is my Word document where I place all of my collections of Scripture Notes. As I find something that references a particular scripture to help me in understanding it, an example or explanation of some sort, like from the Student Manuals or Ensign, I put it in my Scripture Notes under that scripture. When I see something that stands out to me, that doesn't fit in with a scripture, but a Gospel Topic, I have an alphabetized section with bolded categories "Prayer, Motherhood, Obedience, etc" usually answers for me clarifying gospel principles, then I put those under those sections. So far my scripture notes (in Font 7) has 75 pages! I haven't printed it out yet, because I want to finish with the Student Manuals (I've read them before, and highlighted things I liked, but I want to move those things into my Scripture notes, if they still speak to me) and some other books I've been referencing, too. Then, I will print it out. It's been really handy thus far and I appreciate the work I've put into it.