Has your Bible study time become tired or dry? We’ve all been through those phases, haven’t we? I recently heard about Scripture mapping, and author Varina Denman offered to share about the idea and her experience with it. After giving it a try myself, I am excited to share the information with you, as I think it helps us be more actively involved with what we’re reading. Here’s Varina to explain. (This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. You can see my full disclosure policy here.)
Scripture Mapping – My New Favorite Bible Study
*a guest post by author Varina Denman*
Recently I stumbled on Kristi Cambron’s blog post about scripture mapping. I’d never heard about this idea, but I latched on to it right away since it appeals to my strong left-brain inclination. Simply put, Scripture mapping is a notebook entry for a selected passage where you compile your thoughts, highlight various aspects of your study, and record your findings. I tweaked the system to fit my quirky style, and this morning when I tried it for the first time, these are the steps I took:
Wrote down a verse that stood out in my daily reading
Copied the verse in several different translations, highlighting the differences
Wrote down the actions in the scene (before, during, and after)
(Next time I’ll probably read a commentary right here)
Wrote a short journal entry about my thoughts and what I learned from it
Prayed again because God showed me something new!
I know I shouldn’t be so surprised that He showed me something new. After all, that’s what God does when we study His word, but I admit, even though I’m in the habit of morning scripture reading and prayer, it’s been a while since I put this much effort into discovery. Scripture mapping took me to a different level … very quickly.
This morning, I read Luke 19 which tells of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding on a colt while his followers shouted praises. I’ve read it a million times. So many times, in fact, I had gotten to the point I no longer paid much attention to the details. If you’ve never read it, jump on over there and read it now. It’s a good one.
Verses 39 and 40 caught my attention, and I wrote them down in my notebook:
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” NIV
The KJV added the detail: “…they shall immediately cry out.”
And the MSG added: “… get your disciples under control!” and “…the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”
As I studied the various translations, I was encouraged by the visual image of the stones crying out. Often I’m overwhelmed by everything that is happening in our country. It seems that Satan is gaining control, but Luke 19:39-40 tells me the opposite is true. Even if most of our country were to deny Christ, the rocks would cry out the truth! I couldn’t help but smile … and praise God myself. 🙂Even if most of our country were to deny Christ, the rocks would cry out the truth! Click To Tweet
The Pharisees were rebuking Christ because the disciples had placed him on a colt, were leading him through town, and shouting praises like this: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
This reinforced the natural praise that was overflowing from my heart, and I continued to smile at the simple faith and goodness of those who had been there that day. But then I discovered something I hadn’t noticed in a while: the action just following my selected verse.
Right after he explained to the Pharisees that the rocks themselves would shout praises … Christ wept over Jerusalem. He knew their unbelief and knew it would not end well for them because they did not recognize “the time of God’s coming.”
I stopped smiling then. The passage yanked me from praising my Savior to weeping with Him, and I visualized him heartbroken, hurting for the very people he came to save. After that, I had to pray again. Jesus was God. Yet He was still so real, so human, so saddened by the world.
Perhaps on that day, He wasn’t only weeping for Jerusalem, but for every group of people throughout history who wouldn’t see the truth, wouldn’t see Him, and wouldn’t see the time of God’s coming. It’s depressing and sad, but I returned to my selected passage and His comforting words, meant for all of us as we struggle through the crazy things happening around us.
“I tell you,” He said, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
We serve an awesome God, who has such compassion for people!We serve an awesome God, who has such compassion for people! Click To Tweet
I encourage you to give Scripture mapping a try, and then stop back by and let us know about something you’ve discovered. 🙂
I just wanted to add a quick note. Scripture mapping can be done with any paper and pen (or technology) you prefer. I have discovered my absolute favorite, though, is my Moleskine notebook and Micron pens.
I love being able to color-code things! Micron pens dry quickly, so they are less likely to smudge, and they don’t bleed through the pages, either! (I’ve even used them in my Bible!)
As for journals, I’d heard about Moleskine notebooks, but I was wary of the price. Now that I’ve used one, I won’t go back. I love writing in my Moleskine! They lay flat, the hardback covers give support when I’m writing in my lap (because that’s what happens during my quiet times), and I’ve found I really like the grid on the pages because it helps me line up lists or bullet points, depending on what I’m writing.
Varina Denman writes stories about the unique struggles women face. A native Texan who spent her high school years in a small Texas town, Varina now lives near Fort Worth with her husband and five mostly grown children. Her passion is helping others make peace with their life situations. Varina’s debut novel, Jaded, which won the ACFW Genesis Award, is a compelling blend of women’s fiction and inspirational romance.