After years of trying to figure it out, I’ve discovered a scripture marking system that’s working for me. I’ve been meaning to share it with you for months. Here it is.
My old set of the 1979/1981 editions of the Standard Works have seen better days. There are some pages I wish I could tear out and replace because the markings are so distracting. I got a new set of scriptures when I was called as bishop [in 2005], but was reluctant to put a mark in them until I figured out a better, more workable system. I have found one and have been using it for months now.
The system uses a spectrum of colors. Each color represents a set of topics. On one end, red is dedicated to Christ and His Atonement, the gospel, salvation, and the resurrection. On the other end of the spectrum is black or gray, which is dedicated to wickedness, Satan, and his minions.
Here’s how the colors are organized on scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, along with the topics I assign to them:
- Red: Christ, Atonement, gospel, salvation, resurrection
- Orange: Covenants, laws, revelation*, commandments, prophecy*, doctrine, history
- Yellow: Light, truth, wisdom, faith, inspiration, testimony
- Green: Promises, blessings, obedience*, prosperity, abundance, grace‡
- Light Blue: Meanings defined by scripture‡
- Blue: Prophets, priesthood, keys, ordinances, temple
- Purple: Temptation, sin, evil, darkness, fear*
- Deep Pink: Second Coming, Millennium, last days, end times‡
- Brown: Open‡
- Black or Gray: Satan, evil spirits, evil doers, great wickedness†
* Added in 2011
† Added in 2015
‡ Added in 2020
I highlight the verses online or underline the verses with a pen of a given color (PaperMate Profile pens write smooth and don’t bleed through pages), and highlight important words in the verses with pencil of the same color. For pencils, I am using Prismacolor Col-Erase, which you can buy individually at the BYU Store, among other places.
I love having a plan for marking my scriptures, especially one that makes sense without being too complicated. It’s a delight to rediscover the scriptures by marking them anew. I recommend it.
P.S. For a post on studying the scriptures as a family, see “How Our Family Does Scripture Study.”
P.P.S. This post has been edited. The original post was published in 2008, with adjustments in 2011, 2015, and 2020.