The Ultimate Guide to Bible Verse Mapping
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I was browsing Pinterest one day when I came upon a blog post about something called "Bible Verse Mapping." I was instantly intrigued by the photo of the well-organized and color coded notes (I'm kind of a nerd about note taking, I find it fun!) and decided to do more research on verse mapping.
Bible verse mapping is a way to study a particular Bible verse or passage by picking it apart and analyzing the different words and themes and history behind the verse.
Bible verse mapping helps one to really dig into a verse to better understand the meaning behind it. And I just find it so interesting to dig into the history behind verses. Studying the history behind a Bible verse is important because it provides more context and helps you to understand the time period and therefore the word choices, traditions, and culture.
Now that you know what it is, I'm sure you are wondering how to map out a Bible verse. Below, I've put together an awesome infographic for you on the steps to verse mapping. I've also included a worksheet, free for you to download and work through as you get the hang of verse mapping. Now that I have the method down, I do my verse mapping in my notebook and color code each section. But until you've mapped out a few verses, I highly recommend practicing on the worksheet so you can get the method down and find what works for you. Ultimately, I want you to figure out what helps you study the Bible so eventually your verse mapping may look a little different from my method. Share a photo of your verse mapping on Instagram by using #littlecitybiblestudy and by tagging me. I'll share my favorite shots on my account!
Steps to Bible Verse Mapping
Choose a Bible verse that God points out to you or one that seems interesting/has an interesting theme behind it. I recommend reading it in New International Verse (NIV) which is most commonly used.
To better understand the verse, use Bible Gateway to look up 2-4 different translations of the verse. All translations of a verse have the same meaning but sometimes a translation will have some different wording that makes more sense to you. For example:
In the New International Verse, Isaiah 30:18 says, "In yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!"
In the New Living Translation (NLT) the same verse reads, "So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.
And in the Message (MSG) version it says, "But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones."
Do you see how looking at the word choices in each translation gives you a clearer meaning to the verse? I recommend looking up multiple translations and writing down the 2-4 translations that help to make the verse clearer to you.
On BlueLetterBible.org you can cross-reference different words and phrases in the verse to find related verses. You can also just Google or use a topical index (like this one from Bible Gateway) to search for verses on the same theme (such as the Holy Spirit, joy, prophecy of the Messiah, etc.). Doing this is a way to study different topics in the Bible and thus, help you to better understand the topics.
Take note of what God is saying to you through the verse, what it means, summarize it, or any other relevant notes you wish to write out.
What is happening in the verse, who is it happening to, where/when does it take place, why is it happening/important? As you can see in the photo above, I write out exactly what is taking place in the verse and research any relevant events. I then research where the verse may have taken place/where it was written if it is not mentioned. Lastly, I write out why this verse/event is important.
This part is kind of fun (for a dorky person like me, at least)! Research any mentioned events, the time period, or as in my example above, make a timeline of events. You can use Google or one of the apps I mention in my post, 5 Apps for Your Bible Study Time.
This step is optional. If you feel led or find something interesting you'd like to learn more about, keep researching! Kristy Cambron has a great post on verse mapping with examples of extended research.
To keep things organized (and fun and colorful!) you will want a variety of tools for your note taking. Highlighters, markers, colored pencils, gel pens, colored pens, post-it notes, etc. are all tools you may want to use. Try out different markers/pens/pencils until you find colors and types of writing utensils you like the best.
I usually spend a minimum of an hour working on one verse. How long it will take to verse out a map depends on how much you need to research and how many notes you wish to take. This is some intense Bible studying so it does take time.
I like to read my Bible on my Bible app, I never lose my page if my toddler tackles me (ha) and I can easily look up different translations. Other digital tools I use include: Blue Letter Bible, Glo Bible, Bible Gateway, and Google.
To get started with Bible verse mapping, check out the verse mapping worksheet that I've created for you. Click the button below and you will automatically be sent to the download page (no opt-in required).