There are many ways to study the Bible. One way is to start verse mapping. Here you will understand what verse mapping is, why you should start verse mapping, and learn the 7 simple steps to start verse mapping today.
What is verse mapping?
Verse mapping is a Bible study method used to break down a verse and visually arrange the components.
2 Reasons to start verse mapping
- Helps you visualize all the different parts of a verse. This is extremely helpful if you are a visual learner.
- Guides you to understand all the parts to a verse. Sometimes verses can be composed of 2 or more sentences and can include different topics. Mapping these thoughts out can guarantee that you won’t miss a portion and you will have a fuller understanding of the verse.
4 ways verse mapping helps you understand the Bible
- Highlights the verse structure.
- Identifies verse fragments and represents the order of the verse and how it connects to verses before and after.
- Helps identify who is talking, who is the author talking to, and what they are saying.
- Establishes word and thought order: A verse diagram displays the different parts of the verse in order of thought, or idea and provides a way to link those different parts to others.
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7 Simple steps to start Verse Mapping
There are 7 simple steps to verse mapping. Below, I describe and show every step in detail.
1. Pick a verse (or portion of scripture)
There are many verses in the Bible, and not all of them are well-suited for verse mapping. Try to pick verses you are struggling to understand or want to learn more about. Going through mapping out these types of verses will give you a better understanding of what it means and how it relates to verses around it.
For this demonstration, I am using the verse John 10:11
2. Write the verse
There is a strong correlation between remembering something and writing it down. You can write the verse you choose in a journal, or you can use the computer. Whatever medium you choose, make sure the verse has lots of space around it to add all the things you find.
As you can see, I wrote my verse down in a computer program called Canva. I chose this medium because I am a visual learner but I don’t have art skills. I am also told that my writing is not legible, and I wanted to make sure people could follow my train of thought.
3. Define the words
There are many times I read the Bible and I see a word I don’t know the meaning to. Every time I discover one of these words, I take the time to go to a Bible dictionary and see what the word means. There are other times I read a word and understand the worldly concept, but not the heavenly concept. When defining a word, it’s good to check the definition in a traditional dictionary and a Bible dictionary.
I chose the word “good” to define it. Sometimes I think I know what good means, but then I put the word in the Bible context and it changes. We have a tendency to call everything good. But the only thing that is good is God Himself. So by calling Himself the good shepherd, Jesus was expressing His inherent goodness and declaring Himself God.
4. Identify who is talking
This step is extremely important. Identifying who is talking gives the context of the words to what is coming next. If the speaker is important, then the words that follow will also be important.
If the speaker is an evil spirit, then we know that the words that come next will not be true.
In John 10:11, Jesus is the one speaking. He identifies that by the word I. Jesus then continues and says: I am. These 2 words are significant as we trace them back to the Old Testament and God said: I am. Jesus is declaring Himself as God and demonstrating His characteristics.
5. Identify who is being spoken to
The message can change depending on the audience. If I am explaining how to cut an apple, my instructions will be different if I am speaking to my child, vs if I am speaking to my husband.
The same is true in the Bible. Sometimes the verses are talking to people who are saved, vs those who aren’t. Then other times the Bible is talking to everyone. It is important to understand who the audience is so we know what our response should be.
In this verse, the audience is the sheep (everyone). We know this because The Bible tells us that Jesus died for everyone.
John 3:16– For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
6. Highlight any truths that stand out
Every time I read a piece of scripture, something new stands out. Highlights will change from person to person and from time to time. Meaning that the things that hit true today, may not be impressed on me the next time I read the passage. God’s word is living, and The Lord will guide our hearts to see what He wants us to learn from scripture.
To help extract meaning, it’s important to ask yourself lots of questions while you read. As you answer questions, certain truths will stand out and ring true for you. Fill in the form below to receive a free list of questions you can ask yourself for any passage of scripture.
7. Check cross-references and mark connections
One of my favourite ways to learn what The Bible has to say is to check and see if the verse correlates to another part of the Bible. That is to say, we do some cross-referencing.
In John 10:11 there is 1 I am statement. This statement can be cross-referenced to 6 other I am statements in the book of John, and to the Old Testament when the words I am were first used. Checking out these cross-references will give you a fuller appreciation for this statement and a deeper understanding of who God is.
Once you have mapped out your verse, you’re not done. To really understand what the verse is talking about, you need to ask yourself some application questions.
- How can you turn this verse into a prayer?
- Is there a promise you can claim?
- Are there any truths that impact how you are living?
Once you have done all those, turn to The Lord in prayer and dedicate what you have learned. Ask Him to bring the verse to mind and help you apply what you have learned to your daily life.
Do you want more?
Do you want to read your bible more consistently? Do you want to know how to study the Bible on your own and know how to apply it to your life?
You are a Christian woman who is dedicated to living a life for Christ. You want to read your bible every day, but sometimes you get distracted or are too tired to collect all the resources you need.
It can be hard to figure it out on your own.
That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about The Christian Growth Hub!
The Christian Growth Hub is an online, monthly membership focused on helping Christian women read the Bible, understand it, and apply it to their lives.
The Christian Growth hub helps you in your faith by:
- Providing monthly Bible reading plans so you never have to think about what you’re going to read in the Bible next
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There are so many more features. Click here to learn more about them, and see what The Christian Growth Hub offers.