There are two kinds of people in the world, those who write in their bibles and those who don’t. I don’t write in my bible. Typically.
Lately, however, I have changed my routine. I started using a one-year bible, like the kind that’s out of order and organized by daily readings. Because it’s not “really” a bible, I feel free to mark it up, and here’s what I’ve found: it’s helpful.
Now there’s two ways to underline. In school, you underline books for key ideas and for the purpose of quick review. The second way to underline is for the purpose of thinking. This is how I’ve been underlining.
So I’m not necessarily underlining key plot points or elements of the argument. I’m not even underlining noteworthy quotes. I’m just underlining texts I want to slow down on and think about. I’m underlining as an extension of my brain. It seems the tactile function of underlining is actually helping me think. Of course, if you looked through my one-year bible, you’d probably be confused by the passages marked. But for me they are just little breadcrumbs and doodles on the way. And in fact, they were often more meaningful in the process than in hindsight.
Give the old pencil a try. If you need some fresh wind in your devotional sail, take up the pencil. It will serve you well.