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“What is verse mapping?” When my friend Yolonda asked me about verse mapping, it never occurred to me how many people were interested in it. Then I did a Periscope broadcast about it, and I had several people in my Facebook groups ask me about it. So I figured this was a good time to do this post, and I can hit all of their questions at once. If you have any questions after reading it, leave it in the comments so I can answer it.
So verse mapping…
I’ve been verse mapping for about six years or so, and it is my absolute favorite way to study the bible. So I was excited to share how I use verse maps, and different styles I’ve adapted along the way to draw closer to God and learn more about His Word as it relates to my own life. My main goal as The Gem Teacher is to help women learn and love who they are in God, encourage them to learn more about His Word, and to share ideas for them to creatively connect with Him in worship. I love verse mapping because it’s the perfect vehicle to do that.
What is verse mapping?
Whenever I mention it, this is the most popular question i’m asked. You’ll find several answers if depending on who you ask, but I’ll share my definition. Verse mapping is a bible study method that breaks scriptures down in diagrams and “maps” for deeper study of God’s Word, and to make his Word more applicable to your own life. Verse mapping uses word origins, transliteration, manners and customs, definitions, and life application strategies to help us (believers) practice and live the Word rather than just read it. Verse mapping is good for anyone who wants to learn more about God’s Word and apply it to their lives.
So, how do I get started?
1. Decide on a time. Sometimes verse mapping can be time consuming, and you also want to be able to really focus. So you want to choose a time to do your mapping that will be free of distractions and quiet. I tend to do mine in the evenings after my children are sleep. Sometimes I will do it during my daughter’s nap time. If your life is slowed down, and more serene on the weekends, Saturday or Sunday afternoons may work better for you.
2. Gather your materials and keep them in a place where you can easily find them. Create your own little space for God to meet you as you study, that is already set up and prepared for worship.
3. Pray. It’s God that gives wisdom freely to those who ask, and He uses the Holy Spirit to give understanding, so it is imperative you pray before you begin. Pray for understanding of the text itself, pray for an understanding of how it applies to you, even pray for what verse to map. Have an open mind and an a open heart about what you intend on receiving. You want your spirit to be sensitive to the voice of God so you can get everything He has for you out of the chosen scriptures.
How do I choose which verse to study?
There are a few ways to decide on a verse to map. Sometimes we have a desire to learn and study the word but not knowing what to read causes us to put it off, or not even do it at all. So here’s what to do about that.
1. Pray as mentioned above.
2. Take a hint from your life. What are you dealing with in your personal life or what personal struggle do you need help with or want to know more about? Lookup a scripture related to it and map it.
3. Appease your own curiosity. What’s something in the bible you’ve always wanted to know more about? Maybe a particular book, person, idea, law, etc.
4. Use prompts. Each month I share a creative writing and journaling prompt for the whole month on social media. Many people use it for inspiration or a guide on what to study. Some ministries and churches put suggested readings for the week on their websites and in their church bulletin.
5. Use the Table of Contents. Just go down the list, or straight through the bible beginning in Genesis!
What materials do I need?
* A Bible (KJV and other translations you may want to use)
* A Bible App (I like to use the MySword Bible App to study different translations in this app. When you study the KJV in this app it has the Strong’s Concordance number next to each word that can be clicked and further studied.)
* A Dictionary
* A Concordance
* Bible Dictionary
* Paper. Loose paper, a journal, a big notebook, a praise book, whatever you want to write on.
* Colored Writing Utensils (highlighters, colored pencils, markers)
What should my map look like?
There is no right or wrong way to map scripture. Yours won’t look exactly like the next person’s, and that’s completely okay. The main objective is to stick to the scripture, break it all the way down, and to apply it specifically to your life so you can LIVE the Word. I use several styles for verse mapping depending on on what I’m studying and why I’m studying it. As you begin your own verse mapping journey and try different styles you will find which you like the best for your own studying. Sometimes I only use one style. Sometimes I use several on one map. It just depends.
What do I actually DO?
- Read the scripture you’ve chosen. Sometimes two or three times.
- Decide which style you want to use. (See the styles below.)
- Write the definition, the Hebrew or Greek translations and meanings for each key word or idea in the scripture.
- Write how the scripture and concepts found in the scripture apply to your own life.
- Write a prayer based on what you studied.
The specifics of each of these steps will depend on the style as I mentioned, but generally all of these steps you will do, no matter what style you use.
What are the verse mapping styles?
* Word by Word Map – Breaking down the scripture word by word
* Phrase Blocking Map – Blocking off the scripture into smaller phrases to understand each phrase. This and “Word by Word” are the most popular styles of verse mapping.
* Doodling Map – Drawing actual illustrations to study the text. This style is great for visual learners.
* Color Keys Map – using a map key with specific colors to easily identify specific ideas you want to stand out.
* Traditional Journalist Map – Asking the questions every journalist asks when covering a story. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? It may seem juvenile to some, but try it. It will really help you look at scripture in a different way.
* Venn Diagram Map – Drawing a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast your views, versus God’s views, and how to get on one accord with Him. This style is great for self examination and personal struggles.
* SPACEPETS Map – based on the acronym, “S.P.A.C.E.P.E.T.S.” coined by Pastor Rick Warren. It stands for SIN, PROMISE, ATTITUDE, COMMAND, EXAMPLE, PRAYER, ERROR, TRUTH, SOMETHING TO PRAISE. The method challenges you to ask specific questions to explore the scripture.
* Character Analysis Map – analyzing a particular character in the scripture looking at their behavior, motive, actions to follow (or not follow) etc.
* Word Isolation Map – Singling out a specific word in the text to focus on and analyze.
You can watch videos of exactly how to set each map up and the way I use the various verse mapping styles HERE.
Have you ever tried verse mapping? Did I share some styles you’ve done or would like to try? Let me know in the comments! Feel free to share your maps with me on social media @thegemteacher, use the hashtag #GemClass or #GemsVerseMap so it will be easy for me to find and comment. You can also email me at email@example.com if you have any questions. My prayer is that you found some new, exciting ways to explore and learn God’s Word and you find a style, or styles that you love so you can continue to study and stay in His Word like we should as His precious diamonds.