Is it OK to Write in Your Bible? Finding the Margins of Your Faith

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Do you have at least one Bible in your home? Is it NRSV, ESV, or NIV? Maybe you’re more old school and prefer the classic King James translation. Do you even know what translation you have?

Enough with the questions. My point is simple: If you have a Bible and it’s doing nothing more than collecting dust on a shelf, I encourage you to get that Holy Book back in commission. It’s time to dive into God’s word, pen in hand.

For many people, the Bible can be daunting. It’s got some pretty wild tales of greed, lying, corruption, murder—and that’s just in Genesis, the Bible’s first book! The best way to understand scripture is to:

  1. Pray for comprehension.
  2. Read it.
  3. Discover the message that the writer wanted as a takeaway.
  4. Attend church, a Bible study, Sunday School or other small group for more clarity.

I’m a visual learner, so I need to see something in writing if I ever hope it will stick in my brain.

The way I like to make sure I remember what I’ve learned is to write down notes. This is just as true when it comes to the Bible. I’ve tried sticky notes, a companion journal, and anything else I could find to jot down ideas and observations about scripture.

But, the most effective method of jotting down thoughts and Jim’s explanations, is to write the notes directly onto the pages of the Bible. There are some wonderful study Bibles available; they frequently have space in the margins, perfect for note-taking.

I like fine-point pens best. You can also buy special highlighter pens made specifically for Bibles. You can highlight verses that speak to you; scripture than inspires you; or, wording that challenges you.

There’s nothing disrespectful about writing in your Bible. In fact, I think it shows great respect and attention. You’ll probably want to have a study Bible for note-taking and another for reading or taking to church.

So, grab your Bible and pen and get writing!