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08 October 2016

Scripture Chains

I realized when a friend asked me about them that I often share scripture chains in my posts about the Psalms, but I've never explained what I mean by that. So here is a quick tutorial on how I find and mark scripture chains. I can't take credit for the technique, and I can't remember where I learned it, but it's one that I'm glad is in my "toolkit".

When I build a scripture chain, it usually grows out of topical study - and I make a lot more of them now that I'm writing down the things that I read to share with the Bible Study group, though I did occasionally make them before that. But the written format of blogging about scripture has really been encouraging them. It doesn't always happen that way, though. My scripture journal has also helped me to collect the verses that I study into a list. Because this technique starts with a list.

I made this list when I was studying humility: it's actions that humble people take. (Notice that beating yourself up is NOT on the list.)

However, today I'm marking a different list of scriptures, one that comes from my most recent Sunday School lesson, about keeping commandments and explaining them to people who don't necessarily share our beliefs. This is the list I shared with my class: 

Most of the scriptures on the list come straight out of the lesson's list, or the talks, but I also added at least one that suggested itself to me. There could probably be a lot more, but this was already more than we were able to cover in a single class period. When I go to mark them in my scriptures, I just start at the top of the list.

A quick note between the verses tells me where the second verse is. I like to mark in the space at the end of the verse if it's available, and save the margins for longer quotes or other annotations. I typically mark most things in black, and if there's a lot of black, I've got a blue; my red pen is just for doing scripture chains.

I just continue, going down the list, putting the next citation by the current verse, then flipping to the one I just wrote.

I have a tendency to get lost in the middle of the list, so if I'm working with a paper list, I'll often check them off after I've marked them. On a computer list, sometimes I'll change the font color as I go along.

So you just go down the list, referencing each verse with the verse just beneath it.

If the verse doesn't have a lot of space at the end, I will sometimes write in the center column, especially on a page like this one, that get referenced a lot: the wider margins are valuable real estate for the larger annotations, and a fine line pen can write pretty small. The space for annotations was the main reason that I switched from small to standard size scriptures the last time I bought a new set, even though I really liked having the little scriptures: I can write small (practice helps!) but there's just so much more space in the standard size.

Here, with a slightly longer passage rather than just a single verse, I debated putting the next reference at the top, but decided on the bottom, so that it's right there where my eye is when I'm done reading the passage and ready to go to the next.

With this verse split between the bottom of one page and the top of the next, I debated a bit before finally placing the reference. I was concerned that, if I wrote in the center, I wouldn't be able to write small enough to keep from running into the line at the bottom, which makes it hard to see, and there's not much room at the top of the next page, so I did put this one in the actual margin.

Third Nephi is the last of the citations on my list, so instead of marking the verse just under it in the margin, I link this one up to the verse at the top of the list. That way, no matter where I bump into the list in future study, I am able to find the entire set off of any of the verses in it.

So far, I don't have any scripture chains that use the same scriptures, so having a single color for just scripture chains is working nicely, and it's become a favorite way that I study and link up verses addressing a single topic or principle.

Enjoy your study!

1 comment:

Anne Chovies said...

Sounds like a good way to study. Leads to lots of interesting stuff and shows that quite often a subject has the potential to be bigger than originally thought.


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