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You want to dig deeper into the Scriptures and intimately learn God’s Word. Perhaps you are working your way through Bible Studies or even writing scripture in a journal, but you long to explore His Word in a more meaningful way.
You can get more out of our your quiet time with God and Bible reading time by incorporating verse mapping into your Bible study habit.
SO, WHAT IS VERSE MAPPING?
Verse Mapping 101
Verse Mapping is a method of studying the Bible in a way that unpacks the scriptures using word origins, historical context, definitions, maps and prayer to help you find deeper meaning in God’s Word and apply it to your life. It’s similar to a mind map but helps you to dig deeper into the verse (particularly different translations and original languages plus how to apply the verse to your own life).
I’ve read dozens of articles on verse mapping, but, over time, developed my own method which helps me to connect the historical and practical applications of The Word with creative worship.
Sounds Interesting, How Do I Do Verse Mapping?
While there are many different aspects that you can incorporate into verse mapping, this is the process that I use. I’ve also included a verse mapping worksheet for you to use. Feel free to add or delete steps that don’t work for you. I like doing verse mapping in my War Binder as it is part of my daily quiet time with God and I like having everything in one place. Often scripture that I write in my War Binder will prompt me to do verse mapping.
Choose a verse to study and write on your worksheet (See below for a printable verse mapping worksheet) or notebook.
I mainly use the NIV Study Bible for most of my daily Bible reading, but you can use any translation that you have or even, online Bible reference sites such as Bible Gateway.
Sometimes I’ll use the verse mapping sheets that I’ve created, but often enjoy verse mapping in my War Binder, instead.
If you prefer verse mapping in a notebook, here are some of my favorites as they are blank and give you ample space to write, pray and map out your verses.
Not sure how to choose a verse, here are some ways to identify a verse to verse map:
- Favorite verse or verses that you have already memorized
- A topic you are interested in or struggling with (faith, fear, strength, peace)
- A verse in your current Bible study that has connected with you
- Verses about growing closer to our Heavenly Father
- A verse that you may have heard recently that you don’t quite understand or would like more clarity on
2. Look up 2-3 translations of the same verse and write them out on your worksheet or notebook.
I like to look up a number of different translations including NKJV, EST, ASV and NET. I don’t rewrite any translations that are identical to the NIV.
3. Circle any keywords and look up in a lexicon for Hebrew and Greek words and definitions.
(I really like this one found online: Bible Hub)
4. Using your study Bible or online tools, learn the following about the verse:
A) Who wrote it
B) What it was written about/context
C) When it was written
D) Where it was written
5. Pray, then journal about what God is teaching you about His character in this verse.
I find it helpful to read commentaries and, even blog posts or sermons about the verse I am studying and mapping to help me get a clearer picture of God’s message here.
6. Journal about how you can apply this verse to your life.
Again, beginning with prayer. I turn the verse into a prayer, where possible and ask God to reveal to me how I can apply this verse or aspect of His character to my life.
Sometimes seeing the same concept in a new way helps to reinforce the idea and help you to really understand the verse and it’s context.
This part can be the most fun of all. I like to use various reference tools and see where the trail leads me in studying this verse. Sometimes, I’ll research more about the writer of the verse or the time in history that it was written. Other times, I’ll photocopy maps related to the verse and add them to my verse mapping. Go as deep as you want to and see the exciting places that God takes you as you study the verse.
9. Optional: Bible journal this verse or add doodles and drawings to your verse mapping sheet.
After I’ve finished verse mapping the verse I’m focusing on, I love to add creative worship to my Bible study time, by doing Bible journaling or Bible art journaling. If I don’t have time to pull out my paints and markers or the inspiration isn’t there, I’ll simply doodle what is on my heart and mind.
10) Pray over and memorize the verse
The more you write the verse, the more you are actually writing it in your heart. Read it outloud in different ways by emphasizing different words or phrases. You may also add your name to the verse to make it more personal.
For example, Also insert your name or “me” into the verse to make it more personal. For example:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
“These things I have spoken to you, Susan that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
If you don’t have a journal or notebook for verse mapping, you can use the worksheet that I’ve developed to guide you. Print off a few copies and learn to fall in love with the Bible all over again.
Helpful Verse Mapping Supplies
While you really don’t need any supply other than your Bible and something to write with and on, the following supplies will help you to further explore God’s word or add creative worship to your study:
- At least one translation of the Bible (I normally use my physical copy of the NIV)
- Online Bible Study Tools, including those in the graphic below
- Bible Reference Books (such as a Bible dictionary, concordance, Bible maps, etc.).
See this page for helpful Bible study books and tools.
- Notebook, journal, looseleaf paper or verse mapping worksheet (I use my War Binder or verse mapping worksheet)
- Pen or pencil (I use a mechanical pencil)
- Highlighters and/or markers
These are my favorite for verse mapping
- Computer for online Bible study tools for verse mapping (if you choose to)
- Journaling Bible (if you choose to incorporate this. This is the one I use)
Tips for Verse Mapping
- There is no right or wrong way to do verse mapping. Go as deep as you are led to.
- Pray about what to include in your verse mapping and pray for God to reveal to you what He wants you to know in your study time
- Don’t compare your Bible study/quiet time or verse mapping with someone else’s. Bible study is very personal, just like your relationship with The Creator. You can’t compare your journey to another’s.
Click on the image below for a downloadable, printable copy of verse mapping step-by-step.
Additional Methods you may wish to include in your verse mapping.
I recommend starting with the list above and, as you become more comfortable and would like to expand, try to add one or two of the additional methods below to your Bible verse mapping:
SPACEPETS Map – “S.P.A.C.E.P.E.T.S.” developed by Pastor Rick Warren. SPACEPETS is an acronym for SIN, PROMISE, ATTITUDE, COMMAND, EXAMPLE, PRAYER, ERROR, TRUTH, SOMETHING TO PRAISE. The method challenges you to ask specific questions to explore the scripture. Rick Warren, who developed this method, also has a great book on 12 Bible Study Methods.
Character Analysis Map – analyzing a particular character in the scripture looking at their behavior, motive, actions to follow (or not follow) etc. (We use this method in both my Ephesians and Galatians courses)
Word Isolation Map – Singling out a specific word in the text to focus on and analyze.
Venn Diagram Map – Drawing a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast your views, versus God’s views, and how to get on one accord with Him. This style is great for self examination and personal struggles.
Journalist Map – Asking the questions a journalist would ask when covering a story. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? It will really help you look at scripture in a different way and help you to understand the context of the verse you are studying.
Phrase Blocking Map – Blocking off the scripture into smaller pieces to help you understand each phrase. This and “Word by Word” are the most popular styles of verse mapping.
Doodling Map – Drawing pictures or illustrations to study the text. This style is great for visual learners. Pinterest has tons of ideas on this.
Color Keys Map – using a map key with specific colors to easily identify specific ideas you want to stand out. Colored pens or highlighters are great for this.
Word by Word Map – Looking at and breaking down the scripture word by word
Actual Maps of Biblical Sites
If you incorporate verse mapping into your Bible study time, what do you enjoy most about it? If you don’t currently do verse mapping, are you encouraged to give it a try?
Looking for more resources on Bible verse mapping? Consider these recommended resources:
You may also wish to check out Three Great Bible Study Techniques to Get More From God’s Word.
Because of Him,