Studying the Bible in a meaningful and engaging way can be life changing. Yet in order to understand the Bible, you need a simple way to process your time in Scripture. Explore how to study the Bible with verse mapping and how it will change the way you understand God’s big picture woven throughout Scripture.
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What is verse mapping?
Verse mapping involves taking a Scripture and breaking down the verse for deeper meaning.
This study method helps you understand the root language from a translation and transliteration perspective, as well as the theological framework. (Don’t be overwhelmed by that concept! It’s totally doable!)
Each of these aspects invites you to go deeper in your knowledge of Scripture, which is essential to your spiritual growth.
As a believer, it takes you beyond simply reading the Word, but helps you pull apart a verse for deeper understanding.
Verse mapping invites you to study God’s word to discover more about who God is, His character, and His commands.
This Bible study method involves writing the verse word for word, and then creating a chart or word web to examine individual words or phrases in the verse.
As you map the text, color coding words and phrases (such as people, places, etc…) may be helpful.
And don’t worry if it sounds a bit too advanced. On the contrary, this practical Bible study method is perfect for all Christians looking to grow deeper in their faith walk with God, even as a beginner.
Why use the verse mapping Bible study method?
Have you ever wondered how to understand the Bible and truly understand the meaning behind Scripture? Or maybe you need more clarification or understanding about a particular biblical principle or verse.
Verse mapping answers all of these questions and will help you clarify the meaning of the Scripture you’re reading.
Using a system like this helps you dissect the Bible one verse, one passage, and one book at a time. As you use this Bible study method, you’ll experience a deeper understanding of God’s Word and see how the big picture of Scripture all fits together.
Plus, it invites you to dig into God’s Word for yourself and help you confidently study the Bible, even if you never have before.
Also, knowing how to discern biblical truths from the lies of the enemy is a powerful benefit of Bible study that will help you stand firm in faith, no matter what you face.
Before you start this Bible study method
Before getting started, please understand that you don’t have to be a seminary student or Bible teacher to use this Bible study method. (Pinky-promise!)
Even if you’re new to studying the Bible, trust that God will meet you in your quiet time and grow you in faith as you seek His face.
Gather your Bible study supplies
Before you begin your quiet time, gather your supplies. You’ll likely already have the following things on hand:
- A Bible and consider having another Bible translation to compare (I love Bible Gateway.com to compare Bible translations and for convenience)
- Journal or faith notebook with paper
- Colored pens, pencils, and/or highlighters (I love this Bible journaling kit and Bible highlighters)
- A dictionary, thesaurus, and/or concordance (or access to ones online)
It’s a great idea to go ahead and get a bag or basket to stash your Bible study materials in and to keep all your supplies organized in one place.
It’s a blessing to have your quiet time supplies together for easy access and to keep you accountable in your time with God.
Pray for direction and wisdom
Before starting your study, pray. Ask God to show you what He wants you to learn and to help you understand the Bible, His precious Word.
As you begin, ask the Lord to guide you to a specific verse or topic. Pray that He would speak to you in a fresh way during this time and that you would seek His direction for your quiet time.
Choose a verse or topic to study
While verse mapping can be done with any study, it’s tempting to be overwhelmed with where to start reading the Bible.
Yet it doesn’t have to be intimidating! Personally, I love to read the Psalms as a way to find hope in God in tough times.
The Book of John is another great starting place and will help you walk through the life of Jesus in a meaningful way.
Another Bible study option is to use a topical Bible reading plan. Grab a bundle of my favorite free Bible reading plans here.
Or, if you’re still not sure where to start studying the Bible, use the following ideas for choosing a verse to map:
- Use a verse you already have memorized.
- A topic of interest or something that God has been teaching you.
- Search something you’ve wanted to study deeper (faith in God, having peace, etc.).
Regardless of what you choose, make sure it is Spirit-led. Invite God into every aspect of it. And don’t hesitate to include other things like worship music or even Bible journaling as you meditate on God’s Word through this study method.
How to Do the Verse Mapping Bible Study Method
Now let’s walk through an example of how to do verse mapping for yourself and a practical way to use this in your quiet time with God.
However, keep in mind that this is your personal study time with the Lord and it should be personal to you.
Feel free to use your supplies as you see fit and do verse mapping as it works best for you. Then, have fun underlining, highlighting, circling, and doodling in a way that God leads you.
Choose a verse.
Write this verse on your paper or in your journal word for word.
Then, write the verse again from one or several different translations. Pay attention to any different key words or phrases you notice between translations.
Also note any repeated words or phrases. Throughout Scripture God will repeat key words or phrases for emphasis.
Explore the verse.
Research underlying meanings of the words of your choice by looking up the Hebrew/Greek translations. This is especially helpful for confusing terms or to gain further meaning of a certain part of the verse.
Also look up definitions and root words as needed to gain full understanding of the text. It’s also helpful to look for synonyms and words that have about the same meaning.
For a deeper understanding, take it a step further and explore the verse below or the verse after your main verse.
Map the verse with symbols and/or color.
Using colors and symbols in Bible study makes things stand out at first glance! Decide what colors and symbols work best for you, but personally I love to use:
Red- sin, death, disobedience
Orange- grace, hope, prophesies of Christ
Yellow- prayer, faith, worship, praise
Green-wisdom, discernment, life application (my next steps)
Blue- people, places, relationships
Purple- Jesus, God, Holy Spirit, names and attributes of God, what God will do
I like to highlight these types of words while verse mapping because it helps me understand the verse even more. (See the picture above for how I highlight or color my verses!)
Research the context.
Research the people, places, and context to which your verse is speaking about. It’s helpful to gain an understanding of the culture and time period of the book as well.
Summarize the passage.
Document the outcome of what you studied in a 2-3 sentence summary.
As you study, take note of any questions or thoughts that are triggered by what you read. Jot them down and use them as you study more or as a guidance of what to study next.
Or use these Bible study questions to take your study a step further and clarify this passage of Scripture even further.
Apply the verse to your life
As you conclude your study, it’s crucial to understand what God is asking your or commanding you to do. If it’s not obviously stated, pray through how you can apply this verse to your life and how God wants you to move forward after this passage.
As you study
If you search Pinterest or Instagram for verse mapping inspiration, don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged by the intricate verse maps you find.
Remember that it’s okay to start small and that God will help you understand the Bible more and more over time.
Don’t worry about trying to fill a journal page, and making your verse mapping cute or Instagram-worthy.
Instead, seek the Lord wholeheartedly to learn and learn to hunger for God’s Word. The more you practice verse mapping or any other Bible study method, the more comfortable you’ll be studying Scripture. Just keep seeking the Lord and He will meet you there!
My favorite Bible study templates
If the thought of using this Bible study method feels overwhelming, use a Bible study template.
A Bible study template acts as a roadmap for understanding the Bible and guides your time in Scripture so you don’t have to memorize Bible study methods.
Grab a free verse mapping template to help you use this study method with confidence. It’s part of our best-selling Quiet Time Toolkit, a collection of prayer and Bible study templates to help you have a thriving quiet time with God.