Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

A Creative Way to Unlock More of the Bible


Verse mapping puts a creative spin on Bible study.  In 15 to 30 minutes, you can create your own personal map of a Bible verse that speaks to you.

Do you ever read your Bible and think, “Whaaat? What does this have to do with me?” Maybe you’re reading an Old Testament passage, and you just don’t get it. Or you’re skimming over something you’ve read a hundred times thinking, “Been here. Read before.”

You wonder if you should stick with it or just go AWOL from your quiet time.

That’s what I was thinking the other day when I read Joshua 3, the story of the Israelites getting ready to cross the Jordan. It’s an amazing story, but I was getting nothing out of it. I looked at all the highlighting I’d done last year, but got zilch encouragement for my life today. (This just shows how low this basket case girl can sink.)

Finally, a nugget of truth in verse 5 caught my attention: “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” I could see it had a command and a promise. But what did that word “consecrate” mean? Consecrate is something a priest does, right? Not something for home schooling moms.

I wrote it down and decided to do some verse mapping. And you know what? After 15 minutes, I was surprised by how much I God spoke to me through one little verse.

Sometimes it takes a bit of study to unlock more of God’s Word.

Devotional reading encourages and inspires us, but study helps us unpack more from the Bible. When we take an active approach and dig into scripture, we absorb more of its life-giving truth.

Verse mapping puts a creative spin on Bible Study.

Verse Map

I’ve just started experimenting with it, but I’m already learning so much. Here’s how to get started if you want to try it.

What you Need: 15-30 minutes, a Bible, paper, a pen, and your phone. (Your phone can actually be a blessing to your Bible study rather than a distraction.) Unlined paper makes a more visually appealing verse map, but any paper will do. You can also use colored pencils, pens, and highlighters.

There’s no right or wrong way to do it. You don’t have to try all of these ideas. Choose a few to start with.

Starting Points for Verse Mapping:

Write out your verse. Leave space between the lines and plenty of room on the page around it.

Read the verse in context. You can either choose a verse from a passage in your daily reading, or start with a verse you like, and then read the chapter it comes from.

Circle, underline, or box in words that stand out.

Highlight different words in color.

Read the verse in different versions. Use your phone to enter it into the search box at Scroll down, and you’ll see a link like Joshua 3:5 in all English translations. Note down different renderings of key words or phrases that add to your understanding.

Use a dictionary. Look up and write down the meaning of one of your key words.

Cross Reference your verse. Look for verses that have the same key word or concept and include one on your map. (I use the word search feature at BibleGateway.)

Brainstorm on how to apply what you’re learning. Jot down a few ideas.

Verse Mapping puts a creative spin on Bible study. In just 15-20 minutes, you can have your own personal map of a Bible verse that speaks to you.

In just 15-30 minutes, you can create a personal map of a Bible verse that speaks to you. The hand-on approach, as well as the use of color and space on the page, might spark your creativity and encourage you as you seek to listen for God’s voice through scripture. How about giving it a try?

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite way to study scripture? Have you tried verse mapping yet?

Verse Mapping JanaMost of what I’ve learned about verse mapping is from my friend, Jana Kennedy-Spicer at Sweet to the Soul MinistriesCheck out this link to take a look at Jana’s printable verse mapping journal. Scroll down to see an example of a verse map she did.

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I’m linking up today with Holly Barrett’s Testimony TuesdayKelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStory, Thought Provoking ThursdaySuzanne Eller’s #LiveFree Thursday, Grace and Truth, and Dance with Jesus. Check out their communities for more encouragement.



Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

59 thoughts on “A Creative Way to Unlock More of the Bible

  1. This looks like a great way to dig into God’s Word! I have never considered looking at a verse this way. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ohhhhh… I’m using this! Thanks for the great instructions and the inspiring encouragement. Truly. Love it! And I love how God is using you, Betsy! 🙂

  3. I keep colored pencils in the middle of the table for my ladies’ Sunday school class. This kind of digging in and tearing apart is so satisfying!

  4. Consecrate: LIVE and LOVE like JESUS!! Thanks for some great morning encouragement, Mary. Blessings…#raralinkup

  5. I love this…I do this one verse, cross reference check other scriptures that relate to it.
    By the way friend, I was only a guest host at the linkup! It is hard work and commitment running a linkup!

    Happy New Year and Loads of Blessings from Nigeria!

  6. I love this! Your ideas for studying God’s word are making a difference. I have tried verse mapping but seeing how impactful it was for you, inspires me to want to try it again. Keep up the tips and ways to dig into God’s word.

  7. I am encouraged to try this new way to study God’s word-especially for verses I want to memorize. Thank you for this clear explanation.

  8. Another great idea. I’m definitely going to give this a try!

  9. I’ve always liked the idea of verse mapping, thanks so much for giving a simple way to do it!

  10. I’d never heard of verse mapping. It sounds like a great way to delve deeper into the Bible, although I can’t use handwriting because I’m blind.

  11. Betsy, I really want to say I’m jealous of your handwriting but we’ll skip that for now. I LOVE this method of digging into God’s Word. You’ve really shown how to flesh out more of what God is telling us and how to make it personally applicable. Than you, friend! Good, good stuff and I’m pinning to my Bible Study board. 🙂

  12. Hi Betsy! (Like Lisa said.) Your idea of bible mapping is a lot like ‘idea mapping’ which is a tool to find topics to write about. Start with an idea and use matching ideas to make an idea tree.
    This looks like a wonderful way to make an old passage new again. I think we all can get a little jaded to verses we hear again and again. Not that they don’t have beautiful messages or jewels of wisdom, I am the one that glosses over them. I really like this as an antidote! Thank you 🙂

  13. Digging into the Scripture really does open “more”. I’ve not verse mapped specifically ~ or perhaps I should say as neatly as you’ve done here. (You go, girl!) But I like the idea. Alot. I have dabbled in portions during my daily time with the Lord. Maybe it’s time to step it up a notch and gather the dabbling like you have here, pulling it together in organized and pleasing-to-the-eye fashion. 😉 Good post.

    • Blessings to you, Kristi, as you seek God in His Word. I don’t think it matters how we do it, just that we do it. I like to record and journal, but not everyone does, and there is freedom in Christ! 🙂

  14. Thank you sweet Betsy for sharing this today with your readers. I’m new to verse mapping myself and am loving it! It really opens up God’s Word! Blessings!!

  15. Thanks for sharing. This sounds like a great idea- I definitely want to give it a try.

  16. Crazy, but we both thought about the other’s blog today, and I’m loving your post today, Betsy. 🙂
    I’ve heard about verse mapping as a thoughtful way to study the Bible but had never seen examples… I love it! Intentional treasure hunting with His words and promises!
    … now where’s my paper?
    Visited through the #TellHisStory linkup

  17. Thank you for sharing the practical steps behind Jana’s method. I’ve been seeing it a lot and while I have yet to try it, I’m intrigued. It reminds me a lot of the inductive study method with more visual creativity involved. Love that you always draw us deeper into God’s word, friend. Hugs.

  18. Love this!! I’d never heard of verse mapping before reading your post. I’m going to have to give this a try. Thanks, Betsy!

  19. I haven’t tried this before, Betsy–but it looks like a really cool study tool. Thank you for sharing!

  20. I’m a big believer in mixing up bible study methods to keep it fresh and interesting. I’m going to give it a try! Thanks!

  21. Betsy,
    All good things here. Yes, sometimes mining the most out of God’s word means taking some time with it…really studying it and being patient while new shades of meaning come to life. My word for 2016 is “See”. In order to really see and discern God’s word, I can’t be skimming…I need to really dig. Thanks for great ideas!

  22. This is awesome! I’m sharing this with my small group today with a hands on “let’s try this!”. I am writing a book on Jump Start Your QT, Creative Ideas for Meaningful Devotions (working title), and this fits right in! Love it

  23. Betsy, I’m one door down from you at Lyli’s place today, but your title caught my eye. What a great post. I first heard about verse mapping through obs, but it felt daunting to me, for some reason. I love seeing your map, and reading your application. You’ve inspired me to give it a try. 🙂 Thanks so much. ((Hug))

    • Brenda, it does seem daunting, and I’m not doing it every single day, but some form of it most days. Today, my quiet time got long and I was running out of time, and in just 10 minutes, I did something simple and got some insight to help me for my day. 🙂 I’d encourage you to give it a try!

  24. Yes! I journal but I’ve never “mapped”. This was a great overview and the jump start I need! Thank you Betsy! (Hopping over from #livefree Thursday!)

  25. You had me at “creative!” Great post, Betsy!

  26. Betsy, I love your visuals!! I usually do everything on the computer when I’m studying scriptures, but I really like the idea of the colors and highlighting. I actually read recently that using different colored pens while writing scripture helps you to retain it longer! I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ll have to try it. I’m excited for my Jesus time, when I can implement some of these new ideas!

  27. Betsy, I’ve been working alongside an amazing bible teacher who is showing me how to study the bible. I’m slowly learning verse mapping. I do use bible gateway but I also use Strong’s concordance – like the REAl deal huge book! I will say, I love how you did this and I love the different colors that you used, as that helps to separate things. Thank you for sharing, I’m going to incorporate this into my study.

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Crystal. And that’s great that you’re getting into Bible study! Woohoo! 🙂 Love it! Glad you like Strong’s Cordordance. A real live book is the real deal!! 🙂

  28. Love this Betsy! I’m working to get the hang of verse mapping. The perfectionist in me can get distracted trying to make it perfect and pretty 🙂 I love the concept of digging deeper in scripture. I start by praying, “Lord help me see these familiar passages with new eyes. Don’t let me enter into your presence with a pre-conceived notion of what you are saying.” You and Jana are helping to bring #souldeep communication with God alive.

  29. Love using this technique, and it sounds like you do too! Thank you for sharing it and spurring us all on to dig deeper. It’s always a joy to visit your space, my friend. Keep writing. Keep sharing! Hugs to you.

  30. I love this idea and have been meaning to try it! Thank you for showing us how to do this step by step.

  31. This is a great idea!p, Betsy. I love inductive study, but haven’t done any in a long time. I can’t wait o try this new method. Can’t wait to share this!

  32. I love these ideas, Betsy! While I’ve been doing some of them, I see how I can combine them to make my quiet times so much more exciting. For me this means going back to a 5 a.m. wake-up time to really spend quality time in the Word. Thanks for the gentle nudge to get me going.

  33. Thank you for sharing a wonderful way to dig deeper into the word of God. I am going to try this new method during my quiet time with the Lord.

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