I never go to Church without my notebook. The preacher will always say something that I want to remember and refer back to. Sometimes this leads me to study the topic further, sometimes it gives me verses to put in my memory list, other times it gives me a reference to use. Sometimes it gives me ideas for articles to write. This article contains some of my thoughts, methods, tips, and advice on using a notebook for personal Bible study and note-taking.
Types of notebooks vary greatly. I’ve used many different types of notebooks for taking notes in Church. My current notebook has a brown leather-like cover and pockets inside to slip in a spiral notebook. This spiral notebook came with it and it can be replaced when it gets filled up. The paper is nice and thick and a joy to write on. I got it on sale for $4.00.
My note-taking methods have changed over the years. Here are just a few ways of using my notebook that I find helpful.
I write down every verse the preacher gives. If I don’t know the reference I write enough of the verse that I can find it later.
I place a star next to every verse that I want to add to my memory list. I’ve gone back to my sermon-notes and tried to find a specific verse that I wanted to memorize. My pastor gives dozens and dozens of verses, so this can be a challenge. Placing a star by the verse works for me because the verse stands out from the crowd. To me the star means “memorize this verse”.
I almost always get an idea for an article during a sermon. I also almost always forget the idea, so I have to write it down. Within the notes, I use brackets for article ideas. If I have an idea for an article I usually have an idea for the title, so I place a title in the brackets. This way, I can scan my notebook to see what articles I intended to write. I always have more ideas than I can ever write, and not all of them are worth writing. Even if I write it I don’t always think it’s worth publishing. I’ve written dozens of articles that I probably won’t publish, but those articles at least help me practice my writing.
I write words that I want to look up definitions for later. Sometimes the words are Greek or Hebrew, other times the words are from church history or technical terms.
During teaching, my Pastor likes to read quotes from other books and materials. I write down all author’s names and book titles. This way I can buy the book if I want to.
My Pastor is a very good teacher. Many times he will say something that will spark my interest for further study. I like to write questions that I want to answer and topics that I want to dig a little deeper into.
I also think it is helpful to use a notebook during Bible study. The notebook can be paper or electronic. Not all notebooks have to be paper. Computers are great writing tools, but I don’t recommend taking one to Church. The same goes for other electronics devices. They can be distracting to others who are trying to figure out what you have and what you’re doing with it instead of listening. Computers are great for home Bible study.
Microsoft’s One Note is an interesting electronic notebook.
Another electronic notebook is the one in BibleWorks 8.
Almost all Bible software has a notebook of some kind. I recommend reading reviews and trying as many as possible. There are also plenty of free Bible applications available online.
Another way to make your own electronic notebook is using any text-editing software such as Notepad, Wordpad, Word, OpenOffice Writer, and many more.
Virtually any notebook can be used for taking notes in Church and for Bible study. The key is to get something you can carry and use comfortably and use it as much as you can. Don’t try to write everything, but do try to write the key points, key words and phrases, and references. Also, don’t just leave the studying for Church. Refer back to your notes as often as you can. The goal is to hide the Scriptures in your heart and grow in God’s Word.
2Ti 2:15 KJV Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Psa 119:11 KJV Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Psa 119:105 KJV Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.