Monday, January 18, 2016

How to Create Your own Topical Study Bible

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains referral links.

When I was in college, I bought myself a very average, very plain, King James Version Bible.  My friends, after some time, thought it was a Rainbow Study Bible.  To be honest, I had considered that Bible before purchasing my plain one, but there were topics that didn't interest me, and others that did.  So I decided to DIY my own study Bible.

Here's how I made mine:

1.  I took a plain KJV Bible.   At this point I would recommend a journaling Bible because of the extra room in the margins for note taking.  These didn't exist when I was in college -- and if they did, I didn't know about them because they were price prohibitive to me.  But, I would recommend starting with one because the extra room allows for notes, stickers, and even this Dayspring Inspirational Rolling Stamp could help you remember when you studied a certain passage and what you found helpful about it.

2.  I gathered a supply of highlighters in as many different colors as I could find.  I used a card to write down the topics I was interested in, and I designated colors.  I made this my 'key' I used for the whole Bible.  Back when I did this, I could only find about eight different colors of highlighters.  There are plenty more than than now, and even coloring pencils have improved in quality and they could be used.  These are highly useful when doing a Kay Arthur Bible study, which you could incorporate into your study Bible.

3.  I was interested in women of the Bible so I purchased the book All The Women of the Bible and had two different color pens (different colors than the one I used to write my own notes in the margins, a four color pen would be ideal for this.)  I put a box around every Scripture that mentioned woman by name in one color.  Another color was used for unnamed women.  (An unnamed woman might be included in a verse that says fourteen sons and three daughter.)

4.  I started reading the Bible.  As I went through, I took special notice of every verse that applied to my chart I created.  It got highlighted.  If it applied to more than one topic, it was boxed in the second color.  If it applied to three, once again, it got boxed in the third color as well as the second.  Using a journaling Bible, you could extend these highlights out into the margins.  Alternately, you could do as I sometimes did and highlight part of the verse in one color and part in another.

5.  Take notes.  This is why I recommend the journaling Bible.  Use lots of Bible reference books, cross reference Scripture, take notes of what you learn.

I believe this study Bible will teach you so much more than any study Bible you can purchase.


  1. You are absolutely right. Make your own highlighted Bible!

  2. Thanks so much for the tips! I have wanted to do this for a while! Sharing!

    1. Good luck with it! I don't use this Bible on a regular basis now, but I do refer to it often. :) It became so familiar to me that I can picture which side of a page a verse is on. :)

  3. great tips. i love highlighting in my bible and marking key verses!

  4. Great idea! I like to look back at notes I've taken in the past...this would be so awesome and help it all come together...and I agree...this would be better than anything I could buy...more personal. Thanks for sharing!