“I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.” Psalm 119:30
I have heard all my life from superstitious people that it is taboo, almost a sin, to write in their Bible. I first heard it from a group of elderly women at one church, and then from fellow students at Bible school! This may sound irreverent to you, but there’s no way anyone is going to mistake what I scribble in the margins for adding to the Bible. Notes in the Book are not trying to amend what God said; they’re trying to commend what He said to my heart.
My friend, there is nothing wrong with marking in your Bible. Psalm 119 refers to Scripture as the Way, or ways, and paths. There’s nothing harder to follow then a trail that it’s not marked. There are many good things to be said about writing in your copy of the holy Scriptures.
1. You become familiar with your Bible. The more you take notes in the margins, the quicker you can find that place again. If you use several colors of pen, very quickly your Bible will become a rainbow of promises that you can go to again and again. Many verses I can find very quickly, but not because I know chapter and verse, but because of the note, or the underline, or the highlight I’ve made.
2. You keep old memories fresh. There are stories of wisdom that are locked away until they are opened by the key of experience. A tear-drop on the page reveals so much more than well-ordered outlines. That coffee stain when you received that phone call during your morning devotions- the scribble of a child that sat with you, trying to be still and learn about the Lord- these marks may fade the page, but will forever enlighten the heart. You wouldn’t have made these marks by choice, nor would I, yet I wouldn’t replace or remove them for the world.
3. You build on lessons you have learned. “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little;” Isaiah 28:13
I hate to break it to you, but you don’t get the big picture the first time you read thru your Bible. In fact, you may not get the big picture the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 15th time, either!
Some verses you read will just vibrate on the page; you know there’s something to it, but you can’t quite put your finger on it… so write it down! Every verse has an accompanying explanation somewhere. Too often, I have found an answer… but forgot the question because I failed to record what God spoke to me at that time.
4. You pass on a message to future generations.
I wish I could take my Bible to Heaven. There won’t be much need for it there, of course, since we’ll be with the Author; and I know that my sun-dried, beat-up, wore-out Book will not last forever. (The words
will, just not my copy of them.[Matthew 24:35]
) One of these days, I will either die, or be caught away to be with Jesus. What may become of this blessed old Bible?
In the days to come, a Bible will be precious. It is the ways of God, it is the paths of God. A note you leave in the leaves of that Book today become a sign along the trail tomorrow. In the days of Great Tribulation, finding a pastor or teacher to help learn the truth will be a difficult feat. There won’t always be a guide to lead the way, but what if you could hang a scarlet thread along the road side to show a lost traveler their way?
Unique to my Bible alone, are the markings traced upon the revelations of God’s truth. It is the King James Version of 1611, printed and bound by a local church in Milford, Ohio. I have had this Bible for over 15 years, given to me by my father when I was responsible enough to be entrusted with it. There is none like it.
I cannot replace it; even if I transposed all the notes, and copied all the highlights. Time would fail to tell you of the places it has went with me, the times it fell open when I would rather it be shut, the times I just lay my head on it to pray. I’ve made it mine,
would you endear it to yourself today?
Holy Bible, book Divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine;
Mine to tell me whence I came;
Mine to teach me what I am.
Mine to chide me when I rove;
Mine to shew a Saviour’s love;
Mine art thou to guide my feet;
Mine to judge, condemn, acquit.
Mine to comfort in distress;
If the Holy Spirit bless;
Mine to shew, by living faith,
Man can triumph over death.
Mine to tell of joys to come,
And the rebel sinner’s doom;
Holy Bible, book Divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine.