Verse mapping is a little bit like going on a treasure hunt. In the old days we would have to pull out giant word study books, and if you didn’t have them you were "out of luck." But today we have access (via the internet) to incredible word study programs that make verse mapping very easy and quick. It is a great addition that will help enrich your Bible study time and deepen your relationship with the Lord!
(Watch the video to see a step by step illustration)
The best way to use verse mapping as a study tool is to use it in addition to your personal devotions and times of reading the Word of God. As you read you'll want to be on the lookout for a specific verse to meditate on and look into a little deeper. As you begin your quiet time ask the Lord to highlight a passage for you and anticipate His leading.
It's good to think of verse mapping as another tool in your Bible study tool kit to help you with studying the word of God for yourself. However, in using this study tool you want to be cautious not to just pluck a passage out of context. Context is vital in gaining a proper understanding of any passage of Scripture. You always want to be aware of the passages that come before and after what you are reading.
Bible Verse Mapping - Step One
Once you have chosen the passage you want to study write it out in the box at the center of your verse mapping template. Never underestimate the benefit of simply taking time to write out a passage of scripture. This activity helps you think about the passage in a way that you do not when you are simply reading it. Keep in mind, as you write, you are seeking to gain understanding of what the Lord is communicating. You want revelation from the Holy Spirit not just information from your head.
Look for any references to God (ie. Lord, Holy Spirit, Father, Jesus, and personal pronouns). Mark them in a distinct way.
Bible Verse Mapping - Step Three
Examine the Bible verse and mark each key word in a distinct way using a different color for each of them. A key word is any word that if removed leaves the passage void of meaning. Key words are critical to unlocking a fuller meaning of the passage. Write a list of your key words in the box on the right hand side.
Bible Verse Mapping - Step Four
Using an online Bible study app like biblehub.com look up the Bible verse you are studying and read through several different translations of the passage. Choose one or two additional alternate translations to write out on your worksheet.
Bible Verse Mapping - Step Five
Next you want to look for pertinent cross references. Note any that add insight or speak to your heart. Remember you are aiming for the word of God to take root in your heart not just in your head so pay attention to whatever stands out. Allow the Holy Spirit to do what He has promised - "guide you into all truth." (John 16:13)
Bible Verse Mapping - Step Six
Using the same Bible study app look up the definition for each of your key words in the original language. This is to clarify the meaning of each word more fully and uncover any obscurities. This process often leads to wonderful and fresh discoveries! Write down your definitions in the key word boxes. If you have time don't be afraid to follow your curiosity wherever it may lead. You can also look up definitions in a regular dictionary including corresponding synonyms. There are no rules so feel free to get as in-depth as you like with this process.
Bible Verse Mapping - Step Seven
After reviewing the passage write out whatever your observation tells you about the Lord on your worksheet. This may reinforce a truth you already know or it may bring added insight.
Bible Verse Mapping - Step Eight
Now it is time to reflect on what you have observed. What is the Lord showing you and how can you apply it to your life? Listen to your heart and how the Lord is leading- then write out a prayerful response . This is the most important part of the verse mapping process. Remember we are not reading simply to gain information but revelation that comes from the Holy Spirit.
Bible Verse Mapping - Step Nine
Finally, you can choose a two or three word phrase that summarizes what you have studied. Write this in the lower left side of your worksheet. This will give you a quick reference and help you to clarify the main point much like a title of a book does.
Using the verse mapping Bible study method is a great way to engage with the scriptures, deepen your walk with the Lord, and reinforce His promises to you. You will want to place your worksheets in a binder to keep a record of the insights you have gleaned. As you continue to store up the treasures of God's word in your heart, in this way, you can reflect back on what you have learned whenever needed. Refer to it to enhance your prayer life and encourage your walk of faith.