The Ultimate Guide to Bible Verse Mapping
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**Post updated on 1/7/19
I have been mapping out Bible verses for a little over two years now, it’s a great way to dig deeper into a particular verse and if you’re kind of nerdy like me then you’ll find it to be a lot of fun. Bible verse mapping is a way to study a particular Bible verse or passage by picking it apart and analyzing the different words, themes, and history behind the verse.
It can sound a little bit overwhelming but once you go through the steps a few times, you’ll have the “how to” memorized and be ready to map away without feeling like it’s a huge undertaking, each time.
As a mama, I recommend making it a priority for you to find a time when you can map out a verse and study the Bible without the kids around. Make God-time your priority during nap time or stick a quiet movie on for the kids while you sit in the next room and study the Word. It is 100% okay for you to take for yourself so that you can study the Word, it’s a wonderful example to set for your children. If your word for the year has something to do with making God a priority, then it is essential that you sit down and have some time to yourself to make that happen. Bible verse mapping is a little bit more time consuming than simply reading the Word and that’s a good thing! It’s good to take make plenty of time to map out a verse. Sometimes I take an hour to go crazy digging into a verse but you don’t have to go that crazy into the history of a verse, that’s just me being nerdy. Abraham Lincoln said, “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from The Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book.” So take your time digging into the word and don’t rush it.
Who else is a nerdy notetaker like myself!? You are my spirit animal if you love taking notes, using different colored pens and markers and stationary. You will love mapping out verses if you are a nerdy notetaker as well. I map out my verses in my Bible study planner but you can map out your verses anywhere, on a random piece of paper, in a special notebook, or even on the computer (for a little while I used to map them out in a Trello board). I use a Happy Planner as my Bible study planner and soon I will be sharing an updated look at my 2019 version of my Happy Planner Bible Planner, you can follow me on Instagram for Bible study updates. Share a photo of how you map out Bible verses by sharing a photo on Instagram or in your Instagram stories and tagging me (@abbybarstow) and using #iamajoyfulhomemaker.
Some of my other favorite verse mapping (and general note making/taking) tools include [all are affiliate links]:
LePen 0.3 Extra Fine Tip Marker Pens: These don’t bleed through paper and the colors are beautiful and the write smoothly.
Happy Planner Faith Planner: This planner was a game changer! I used to customize a regular Happy Planner and that worked great but then Me & My Big Ideas launched this version specifically for use as a Bible study journal and it is beyond awesome.
Zebra Pen Mildliner Double-Ended Highlighter: I love these highlighters because they are a mix of a highlighter and pen so you can use them to highlight or use them as regular markers and they won’t bleed through the paper.
Six Steps to Bible Verse Mapping
1 - Choose a verse
Choose a Bible verse that God points out to you or one that seems interesting/has an interesting theme behind it. There’s no right or wrong verse to choose, you can use whatever verse is sticking out to you or use a verse that you read in your Bible study. Write down your verse at the top of your paper. I recommend writing it down in the New International Version (NIV) or a similar version because they are typically pretty straightforward translations.
2 - Look at different translations
Unless you are reading the verse in the original language, the version that you are reading isn’t going to be EXACTLY how the author wrote it, check out the different translations so you can better understand what the author is trying to convey to you. Write down two or three different translations under your verse. Occasionally, I will find a verse that is almost exactly the same in many other versions. If that’s the case, you can either skip this section or just take note of any slight differences that you find.
3 - Look at related verses
This step is where we start to really dig into the verse. 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, the prophecy of the Messiah, etc.). Looking at related verses will help you trace themes throughout the Word and help you better understand your verse.
4 - Take notes
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. If you can draw, you can go ahead and add some doodles to help you remember the verse or as a way to honor what God is saying.
5 - Study the actions
In the actions section, we are looking at WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and WHY. Who is in the verse, what is happening to them, where and when are these events taking place, and why does it matter? You may need to do some research to find the answers to these questions, it may not be obviously stated in your verse. If no one is talking, then the “who” in the verse is probably the author of the book and/or they may be talking to a particular group of people (like Paul writing to the Corinthians) and you can research a little bit about them. Feel free to extend your research in one of the action areas if you want to learn more about it or find it interesting.
6 - Research the history
Research any mentioned events, the time period, or make a timeline of events. If your verse was something written by Paul, you can make a timeline of Paul’s life so you can see where your verse fits in on his timeline. Or, maybe during your research you find that there was a battle going on in a particular city that you don’t know much about, you can research that city or the battle, or both.
To help you practice Bible verse mapping, I’ve created a handy worksheet to guide you through your first couple times verse mapping. Print out a few copies of the worksheet to help you learn how to map out a verse and then after a few times, you can map a verse on a different paper or in a special notebook because you will have mastered the system for mapping out Bible verses. The worksheet is available in my free resource library so you can grab it there along with dozens and dozens of other printables for mamas and homemakers.