WHAT IS ANNOTATING?
So before we really get into it, maybe we should break down what annotating is before we discuss the 5 things you should be doing with it. There is a difference between reading to study and reading for the sake of reading. When you are reading to study, which is something we MUST be doing with Scripture, we can annotate to help us find the point of the passage; that is, add notes, give an explanation or make a comment. We take it a step further and encourage you to mark the passage of Scripture you are reading with a guided key. Now that we are on the same page with annotation, let’s learn the 5 things you should do with it!
Make a Key
When you are studying Scripture, make a key for marking. This helps you remember why you “made that circle” or “underlined that word.” If you aren’t sure where to start, feel free to use ours.
Highlight – things that stand out
Circle – repetitive words or phrases (if the Bible says it more than once, listen up!)
Underline – who is speaking and to whom they are speaking
[ ] – around areas that command something of you
* – a section you want to think on or meditate about
? – near areas you may have questions about or where something is unclear
Write down the differences in the three translations you read
After this, write the passage in your own words. This will help you see if you fully grasped what you read.
2. Ask the right questions
When we are reading a passage, we must check our presuppositions (ideas we assume beforehand) at the door. In addition to that, we need to be looking for the answers to three simple questions:
What truth does this passage say about God?
What can I learn about myself in light of that truth about God?
How should the truth about God change me?
3. Keep it in context
There is nothing worst than taking Scripture out of context… well, there are worst things, but this is def. a pet peeve we can all get on board with. I see women wear shirts that say “if God is in her, she will not fall.” Ladies, this is literally talking about a country, not a woman. The couple verses before it and after help clarify.
(Psalm 46 – NIV)
4 “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.”
When we step back and ask who is this for? Who wrote this? What is happening when this was written? etc, we are allowing ourselves to keep the passage in its original context.
4. Lay it all out there
When you are making your notes, do not be scared to write down your questions or the things that make you think “that’s weird.” This is your safe space to get it all on paper and then, you can take it to a trusted source and try to make sense of it all.
5. Don’t forget to invite God
Whenever we begin studying Scripture — or reading it for that matter — we need to make sure we are praying and inviting God into the process. This is not for Him, as He does not need an invitation. This is for us, so we are reminded that Scripture is not about us, but ALL of it is about Him.