How To Take Study Notes: 5 Effective Note Taking Methods
If your in-class notes are messy, unorganized, and unclear at first glance, youre not going to get much use out of them. This has nothing to do with how neat your handwriting is its all about how your notes are structured.
One of the most effective ways to remember what you are learning in class is to take effective notes in the classroom.
Use Logos To Highlight Text And Take Notes
In the previous article, you learned how to open a reference resource, link it to your Bible, and use visual filters to make it easier to engage both texts. You also learned how to activate and customize the inline interlinear pane and the interlinear pane.
In this article, Ill introduce you to some of the ways you can call out interesting and important features of your passage, and record your questions and observations by making highlights and taking notes.
How To Take Notes In Your Bible
Note: A printable PDF copy of the complete Psalm 46 note-taking example used in this article can be found here. Special thanks to Three Sixteen Publishing for allowing their text layout from The Preachers Bible to be used for this demonstration.
Have you ever considered taking notes in your Bible?
For some, that idea of writing in a Bible seems unconscionably sacrilegious. If thats you, let me encourage you to recognize that it is Gods Word, not mans paper and ink, that is to be revered. The manufacturing process used to produce your physical copy has not endowed it with any special graces. Certainly, if youve inherited a multi-generational family Bible, I agree that it would be wise to preserve it as best you can, and I understand why you wouldnt write in it. In that case, purchasing a new Bible in order to take notes would be a good decision.
On the other hand, you may want to take notesand perhaps have even done so from time to timebut you dont quite know what to write. Bad examples of note-taking abound. Some underline phrases in their Bible and write, So good! next to it. And while true, such a note does not contribute to understanding the text. In fact, years later, the one who wrote it may not even remember how or why the particular passage struck his or her fancy in the first place .
In response to these pitfalls, the following note-taking system I developed many years ago may serve as a blessing to you. It certainly continues to serve me well.
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Digital Bible Notes Can Be Searched
Speaking of search, the second advantage of digital Bible notes is their ability to be searched in a matter of seconds. Just imagine the process if you were to do this with your written notes. First, you would need to have some method of cataloging your information so you can find it. Youd then have to find the notebook, flip to the section, scan and find your reference. Now imagine doing that multiple times over. It would take forever. And thats if you have an organized system of note taking.
With digital notes, you can perform the same search with little to no effort, because the computer does all the work for you. You dont have to remember where or how you organized that note. All you need to remember is a word, phrase, or passage from your note and you can perform a search.
The ability to search your notes is such a time saver, especially if you are someone who makes a habit of referencing your notes on a regular basis.
Another Method Of Book Study Is Called The Synthetic Method
For example, the Book of Exodus tells the history of the children of Israel from the death of Joseph in Egypt until the erecting of the tabernacle in the wilderness in the time of Moses. This covers approximately 400 years.
The principles of Bible book study, whether inductive or synthetic, are very similar. Such study will require more time than the previous methods mentioned, but it will be amply rewarding.
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What Is A Bible Study Notebook
A Bible study notebook helps organize all of your faith based notes and resources together. Ideally, each aspect of your spiritual life will be organized in a notebook or binder, separated by tabs, and stored together for easy access.
A Bible study binder provides the opportunity to look back and remember Gods faithfulness in your life. Your notebook will become a treasured keepsake over the years and offer a record of Gods provision and guidance.
Word Study By Bible Books
Certain words have special significance in certain Bible books. For example, after studying the Gospel of John as a book and by chapters, youll find it instructive and inspiring to trace the words believe and belief. They occur almost 100 times. By reading the book hurriedly and underlining each passage where the words believe and belief occur, youll understand why Bible scholars contend that the purpose of the Gospel of John is expressed by the author in John 20:31.
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Take Note: Creative Ideas For Note
Note-Taking?? Do I hear a collective groan from the class? Are you rolling your eyes as you picture a spiral-bound notebook filled with chicken scratch, because your high school History teacher spoke entirely too fast? Are you recalling the days of old when we would attempt to re-read our notes, only to discover that our own chicken scratch was indecipherable even to us? I promise you, this is NOT that kind of note-taking.
Software With Bible Study Notes Option
Dont buy Bible software without a good note-taking experience. What should buyers look for? Heres my list of the bare minimum notes features.
Tie a note to a single verse, a passage, and a whole chapter
Some programs will tie the note to a single verse. Others to a chapter. A few can do both. The best programs give the user many options, including the ability to tie a note to a range of verses or even a single word/phrase. Programs that only tie notes to the whole chapter limit the usefulness. A chapter may include three different preaching texts. I dont want the first passages notes to get in the way while Im studying the first or second passage in that chapter. If your software only connects notes to a whole chapter, lobby the publisher to fix this or switch. Before buying a program find out if it does this and avoid those that do.
Automatic Bible reference hyperlinking
Text and Paragraph Formatting
Some programs only let a person enter simple text. The programs cant make it bold or italicize it or cant indent a paragraph or change its color. Some programs cant use automatic number or bullet lists. Good notes editing boxes will include all of these features.
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Power Tips For Taking Bible Study Notes
Recently I retweeted a link to an article about using the Bible study notes feature in WORDsearch Bible Software . My Tweet stated, Most important feature in any bible study app. I was describing the Bible study note-taking feature available in most Bible software.
Some people might argue against that statement. Isnt search more important? Maybe including commentaries it ranks ahead of notes. What about original language study?
Fundamentally, other features like search, language study or displaying eBooks ranks ahead of note-taking in Bible study software. No other key feature gets less attention from Bible study software publishers than Bible study notes. Most offer some kind of notes, but they usually dont include features like
- Formatting of text or paragraphs
- Exporting or printing
Bible software makers need to give their Bible study notes feature some attention because it can become one of the most important features in the program. If a Digital Bible student uses Bible software with good note-taking tools, then the tips below will turn them into Bible study note-taking power users.
How To Write Notes In A Journal For Personal Bible Quiet Times
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“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”XResearch source
Here are some suggestions and reasons for studying the Bible and writing notes, whether you are going to keep note cards, a Bible study journal, prayer journal or other records of your individual bible study and quiet time with the Lord.
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Write Key Pieces Of Information
The next piece in learning how to study the Bible using the Cornell note taking method is to use the tall box on the left to write the most important pieces of information from the passage. In this column, record names, places, repeated phrases and the most important details of the passage. Consider this section a place for the highlights of the passage you read and the take away of the Scripture. Its designed to help you quickly review the most important pieces of information at first glance.
What Is A Bible Journal
A lot of us had diaries and journals as kids where we would write down our thoughts and feelings religiously every night before going to bed or even during the day whenever we felt inspired by something that had happened or the way we were feeling at that particular time. Growing into adulthood, the majority of us gave up the habit of keeping a diary or journaling due to our busy schedules or simply because we outgrew the habit.
A bible journal is very similar to that diary because a bible journal is where you can write down notes or drawings as you study the Bible and also write down your thoughts and feelings especially your everyday experiences. Writing down these notes enables you to go back and reflect on them from time to time as you gain new insights from studying the word, making it easier to apply what you have learnt to your daily life.
Writing every day in your bible journal helps you make sense of the things that happen in your life as you pray, meditate and use what you learn from studying the Bible to improve your life experiences. Actively taking down these notes can help you take action and become more proactive about changing your life for the better. You can also look back at the notes you made in the past and reflect on how you have transformed and become a different person by actively studying the word.
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A Brief History Of Making Notes
Have you been told to never write in books? You may have been told to write anything in a Bible is sacrilegious. Often that statement is supported by the use of the following verse
Every word of God is pure He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His Words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
Proverbs 30 v 5-6
This adding to Gods word refers to making the word of God say something He hasnt intended, in other words twisting the word of God. When you write notes in your Bible its quite the opposite. Writing notes is a way to record your understanding of what youve read, and learned from it.
Im sure you have heard of DL Moody, CH Spurgeon, Billy Graham, perhaps even the hymn writer Frances Ridley Havergal. What did they all have in common? They all wrote notes in their Bibles alongside the text!
Perhaps youve been blessed by inheriting a Bible from a relative filled with their precious thoughts and notes. But where did they start? Will your Bible ever look like theirs? How can you start?
Bible Journal Guide: Tips Prompts Ideas And Examples
Do you have trouble connecting with the word of God? Are you seeking to have a deeper relationship with the scripture and applying the principles of the word into your life? Or maybe you are one of those people who love to scribble little notes, drawings, and prayers for yourself as you meditate on the word. If any of these questions or statements apply to you then what you might need to help heighten the experience of studying the Bible is using a Bible journal.
When you are seeking inspiration or help as you go through difficult situations in life, turning to the Bible for solace is something a lot of us do and having a bible journal to write in as you relate more with the word of God can really help you overcome those trying times with ease.
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A Prayer Before You Begin
We live in a noisy world. Whether in the back or foreground, through talk radio, music, or conversations, we’re almost constantly ingesting audible information. By week’s end when we arrive at church and settle into the pew for a sermon, we try to silence the noise and prepare ourselves to hear something altogether differentGod’s living, active Word.
Good biblical teaching is more than just inspiring. It has the power to change hearts! With that in mind, taking notes on the message is a great way to stay engaged, leaving reminders for reflection later in the week to revisit the message and discuss with others.
Try these eight tips, and use a notebook or the margins of your ESV Journaling Bible to record thoughts and sermon notes. Before beginning, invite the Lord to bless the hearing of his Word.
Dear God, thank you that I can gather with other believers and hear your Word proclaimed and explained. Oh, give me ears to hear! I pray that the pastor’s words would serve to point me to your truth, and that it would take deep root in my heart, producing much fruit.
How Do I Assemble My Bible Study Notebook
Showing is better than telling, so how about a video from Jennifer on how she assembled her Love the Word Bible Study Binder!
While there are several ways to organize a Bible study notebook, my favorite way is to group by topic. You can also organize by month, or a combo! This simple system allows quick access to a particular topic and section of study.
First, create a tab for each of your selected categories. You can customize the sections however youd like but some popular sections include:
- Bible journaling or Illustrations
- Months of the year to track chronologically
Feel free to add additional Bible study binder tabs to fit your own needs and style. Personalizing your system will help it be yours, create routine and ensure you use it often. Here is our example from the Love the Word Bible Study Binder:
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Digital Bible Notes Supercharge Your Bible Study
There are advantages to handwritten Bible notes, but there are also just as many, if not more, advantages for taking digital Bible notes. The hyperlinks and searching alone are worth it by themselves. And the beauty of it is that you dont have to use Bible software. You can even use a simple note taking app or text editor to take your notes. You lose some of the advantages, such as automatic verse linking, but you still maintain all the other benefits.
As a note taker, which do you prefer, handwritten or digital? My answer: both!
How To Study The Bible
Jim George, Th.M.
One of the noblest pursuits a child of God can embark upon is to get to know and understand God better. The best way we can accomplish this is to look carefully at the book He has written, the Bible, which communicates who He is and His plan for mankind. There are a number of ways we can study the Bible, but one of the most effective and simple approaches to reading and understanding Gods Word involves three simple steps:
Step 1: ObservationWhat does the passage say?Step 2: InterpretationWhat does the passage mean?Step 3: ApplicationWhat am I going to do about what the passage says and means?
Let’s dive into each step of studying the Bible.
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Stay Real And Honest With Yourself
You are writing in your journal for just you and God so do not be afraid to put it all out there. God knows your heart and what you truly want so it is time to come to terms with it yourself and be honest. If you have trouble understanding a passage or verse, do not hesitate to ask questions and watch as your understanding of the word grows.
Bible Study By Paragraphs
A paragraph is several sentences of thought in writing. When an author changes the subject of emphasis in writing, he usually begins a new paragraph. The beginning of a paragraph in this Bible is indicated by a boldface verse number. Studying the Bible by paragraphs like this is often called analytic Bible study.
Read the paragraph carefully for its main thought or subject.
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