Lesson 6: Marking Scripture

“Lesson 6: Marking Scripture,” Scripture Study—The Power of the Word Teacher Manual (2001), 18–20

“Lesson 6,” Scripture Study Teacher Manual, 18–20

Lesson 6

Marking Scripture

Teaching Objective

Meaningful marking of the scriptures enhances gospel understanding and comprehension.


  1. Why mark your scriptures?

  2. There are various methods of marking scripture.

    1. Meaningful marking

    2. Annotating scripture

    3. Cross-referencing

    4. Scripture lists

Teaching Ideas

1. Why mark your scriptures?

  • The scriptures are tools that help us achieve eternal life. Like any tool, they must be used. Those who are well acquainted with the tools of their trade and use them properly are on their way to becoming master craftsmen. Those who do the same with the scriptures are well on their way to understanding the gospel. Scripture marking is a most helpful way to utilize some of the scriptural tools that God has given us.

    Share the following advice from Elder Boyd K. Packer, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, regarding underlining scriptures:

    “There are a number of plans for underlining scriptures. They vary somewhat and should suit the individual. The important thing is to underline them and make marginal notes of some kind so you can find them again.

    “I almost never read a borrowed book. I don’t like to read borrowed books because I don’t want to read a book without underlining things I want to remember. Since one doesn’t underline someone else’s book, I feel that if a book is worth reading, it is worth owning. The exception, of course, is in the library, and there a longer process of taking notes is necessary.

    “So underline your books and make your notes while you’re thinking about it. I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent going back to try to locate something I could have found very quickly if I had regularly followed this procedure. I do much better now than I did before” (Teach Ye Diligently, 166).

  • Ask students to suggest reasons why it is important for them to mark their scriptures. The following list could be written on the board and then enlarged with the help of the students.

    Purposes of Marking Scripture

    1. To emphasize

    2. To find quickly

    3. To make the scriptures personal

    4. To teach more easily from the scriptures

  • Discuss the following statement:

    “As used in the sense of marking the scriptures, the word mark means ‘to designate, set apart, identify, distinguish’ or ‘to indicate, express, or show by a mark or symbol.’ In a general sense, anything added to the printed scripture is considered a mark. Such marks might take the form of lines, circles, letters, numbers, symbols, or anything else tending to designate or distinguish” (Daniel H. Ludlow, Marking the Scriptures, 15).

2. There are various methods of marking scripture.

a. Meaningful marking

  • Make a transparency of the scripture marking of Doctrine and Covenants 76:50–70 (found on the following page) and share it with students.

    Doctrine and Covenants 76:50–70 deals with members of the Church who gain exaltation in the celestial kingdom (bracketed). Here the Savior explains the requirements to become exalted (underlining), as well as the promises (numbering). Verse 57 is boxed to highlight priesthood designations.

    The example from Doctrine and Covenants 76 is provided to show some of the methods of scripture marking. Point out that individuals must develop their own method of marking that will best help them to understand the scriptures.

    Doctrine and Covenants 76

    D&C 76:49–71 with markings












b. Annotating scripture

  • To annotate a passage of scripture is to make an explanatory comment about a particular passage. The examples found on the next page could be used to help students see the importance of annotating their scriptures.

    Help students understand that the annotations can come from studying the teachings of the prophets in our day (see Isaiah 18:1–2), or by the inspiration that comes to them as they study, or from the observation of others (see 2 Nephi 5:5–7, 11).

    annotated scriptures

    Isaiah 18:1–2

    The land is America (see Joseph Fielding Smith, in Conference Report, Apr. 1966, 14).


    2 Nephi 5:5–7

    The Lord takes His prophet out of their midst. Thus, they lose-

    1. The priesthood

    2. Records

    3. Revelation

    4. Right to saving ordinances

    5. Membership in the Church of Jesus Christ

    2 Nephi 5:11

    Nephi describes his society.

c. Cross-referencing

d. Scripture lists

  • Developing a scripture list can be an effective learning technique. Select one or more of the following examples to review in class and create a scripture list for each one:

    1. Qualities of an elect lady (see D&C 25)

    2. The fruits of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22–26)

    3. The qualities of charity (see Moroni 7:45–48)

    4. The components of the whole armor of God (see Ephesians 6:13–18; D&C 27:15–18)

    5. The gifts of the Spirit (see D&C 46)

    6. The elements of proper fasting (see Isaiah 58:3–12)

    The preceding examples are lists with all of the elements located in one area of the scriptures. There are two other kinds of lists. One is a scattered list; that is, the items are not found all in one place. Examples would be the signs of the times and the signs of the true church.

    The second kind of scripture list is an implied list. For example, note that in Ephesians 5:23–28 the Apostle Paul gave his stirring counsel that the relationship between Christ and the Church should serve as the model for the relationship between husband and wife. Though he does not discuss in detail what this relationship means, Paul implies that certain qualities and obligations apply. His list could be outlined something like this:

    What did Christ do for the Church?

    1. He gave His life to save her.

    2. He set a perfect example for her to follow.

    3. He taught her the principles of salvation.

    4. He used His power to bless her.

    How does the Church respond to Christ?

    1. By looking to Him as the leader and presiding authority.

    2. By following His example.

    3. By using His teaching to find joy.

    4. By looking to His power and authority for direction and blessings.

    By comparing the husband to Christ and the wife to the Church, we can gain significant insights as to how a husband and wife should relate to one another.

Supplementary Study Sources

Suggested Student Study

  • Ask students to familiarize themselves with the appendix in the Bible.