Coloring Your Way Through the Bible

Laura Flood

Coloring pencils.jpg

Could putting a little color to work for you actually help you understand the heart of God?  Reading Scripture with pencils in hand?  Really?  Something as simple as coloring? Maybe a set of colored pencils could give you a fresh sense of a book written thousands of years ago that would help you use this Holy Book in your life today.

As a young girl, I was taught in Vacation Bible School to highlight the important verses I wanted to find again with a red pencil.  Pen would bleed through the thin Bible paper, as would markers or highlighters, but a red colored pencil worked great as I colored in verses that spoke God’s love to me. I think the idea came from a popular type of Bible at that time, a Bible with all the words Jesus spoke in red print, making them stand out in importance as I read.  I highlighted many other verses in red as well, many in my favorite verses in the short little books of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.  You might find those are four short and easy-to-understand books to start your study practice.

In college, I took a Bible as Literature class at UW, taught by a Jewish professor, who had us look at the rhythm and flow of words and themes that gave these holy words lasting power for thousands of years.  He taught our class to use a myriad of colors as we read these Scriptures with an eye to the impact they made.  All action verbs were colored in green as we studied a passage.  A repeated theme might be underlined each time it was written with another underscore, indicating the building importance of the message, to gain insight into what the author really thought was important.  So now, I might highlight a certain word or theme, such as looking at the book of Philippians and coloring each word yellow that had an element of the word JOY in it.  At a time close to the end of Paul’s life, and written from prison, Paul’s words bubble over with JOY.  Then using a concordance, I might look for other themes of joy in Scripture and try to find links and similarities. 

You could use this method to study a topic you really are interested in.  Maybe you are wanting forgiveness, of others or of yourself….Use a concordance (many Bibles have them in the back, or you can use an online version like ) and type in your topic of interest, like love, peace, hearing from God,  and get links to a wide variety of verses on the topic.  You can highlight your favorite verses in your own Bible so they are easy to find again.  Sometimes I will take that special verse, the one that speaks the most to me, write it on an index card, and post it in my car or on the frig, and read it multiple times and let it sink in. 

So if you want a new way to look at reading your Bible, grab your pencils and give it a try!

Kate Sweet