How to Make a Bible Notebook

Why do you study the Bible?

If you’re like me, you have many reasons. To know God more. To be transformed into his image. To learn to love others better. To build a stronger faith in Jesus. To reflect his glory. To solidify truth in your heart.

But if you read the Bible and immediately forget what you learn, how effective is that (James 1:23-24)?

God often commanded the Israelites to write things down, and their faithfulness to the written Word means we have accurate scriptures today.

We all know that one effective way to retain what you read is to write it down. In a place you can find again.

Creating a personal Bible notebook works for me. While I still keep separate notebooks for specific purposes (like my Philippians memory book), I use one 3-ring binder to hold the bulk of my daily studies.

For example, eight years ago I began copying by hand and journaling one verse per day from my daily Bible reading. I wrote what the truth revealed about God and how it applied to me at the time.

Now that I’m going through the Bible for the fourth time with this method, I am benefiting from having all my previous notes sorted by book/chapter so I can easily flip through my notebook and be reminded of what I learned from the past three readings.

Having easy access to lessons God has already taught us through his Word in past situations builds our confidence in his faithfulness in our current and future circumstances.

Things you need:

  • 3-ring binder
  • Notebook paper
  • Insertable tab dividers
  • 3-hole punch
  • Sheet protectors (optional)

Decorate your binder to make it personal, then pack in plenty of paper and several dividers.

Next, decide on the categories you want and make tabs for each. I use these.

Tabs:

  • Bible Notes
  • Memory Verses
  • Greek
  • Prayers
  • Book Studies

The Bible Notes section includes my daily verse journal that I write by hand on loose-leaf notebook paper. I also keep an extra copy of my Daily Bible Reading plan here.

Under the Memory Verse section, I keep a printout of all the verses and chapters that I’ve (tried to) learn. Then each day I review one sheet before I begin working on my current verses. This assures all the verses get reviewed periodically.

I started the Greek tab when I took a Wednesday night class on Greek from a retired university professor at church. I write down interesting words and definitions that bring new light to scripture as well as words that I want to study more later. I keep a copy of the Greek alphabet here and a list of key words that I don’t want to forget.

The Prayer section holds both prayer lists as well as prayers I’ve written for special occasions, such as the beginning of a school year. Having a record of requests, answers, and praises will motivate you to continue seeking the Lord.

The Book Studies section includes notes from books I’ve studied on my own as well as with friends. This is also a great place to capture book suggestions for future studies.

You could also include sections for sermon notes, blog posts, writing ideas, quotes, devotionals, photos, drawings, song lyrics, Bible maps, etc.

Use pockets in the front and back of your binder or use sheet protectors to store church bulletins, loose notes, or small clippings you don’t want to lose.

Keeping everything in one place, at your fingertips, can make your study times more fruitful, less scattered, and more faith-building.

How do you keep track of what you’re learning? What works for you? For your kids? Please share!

Lisa
Lisa looks for God in ordinary people and in everyday moments, then shares where she finds Him on her blog LisaNotes.com. She is a wife to Jeff and a mother to two girls here, one in heaven.
Lisa
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Comments

  1. Wow! What a wonderful tool to use!
    Jessica

    • Thanks, Jessica. It has definitely helped me to have a homebase for things. I need a resting spot to put stuff so my brain doesn’t feel so overloaded trying to remember where I put something. ;-)

  2. I need to get back to jotting down things from my Bible reading. I stopped because of the time it takes plus all the stacks of spiral notebooks accumulating that I never looked at again. But just the act of writing it down helps cement it in the brain.

    • I understand, Barbara. That’s why I just write one verse per reading because if I had too lofty a goal, I wouldn’t do it at all because of the time factor.

      And yes, even if we were to NEVER go back and re-read what we wrote, we’re still more likely to remember it just because we wrote it down the first time. I love that. :-)

  3. What a wonderful idea! I am a paperwork lover! ( I know, weird!) And I love organization! I just haven’t figured out a way to put the two together (or should I say, haven’t had the time!)
    I have a ton of notes from various events, sermons, Bible studies, etc and this is a fabulous idea for me to organize and review them to refresh my memory!

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Victoria,
      I don’t think you’re weird because I am a paperwork lover too. I get excited about shopping in stores like Staples and Office Depot and the school supply aisles at Walmart.

      And I have eventually learned to thank God that I do have an ability to organize. I used to think everybody must love to be organized, but not so. ;-) So I pray you get a great notebook going and have fun doing it!

  4. i love this idea of having everything together! i’ve got stacks of old journals where i’ve studied similarly – writing out verses, journaling through them, prayers, commentary quotes, etc. – but they’re stashed here and there, and never together. thanks for the practical idea!

    • I still have a box with lots of journals too. I will definitely hang on to those. But my notebook is where my most current day-to-day studying happens and it has been a huge help to me! It’s so much easier now to just grab it and my Bible for my quiet time.

  5. Absolutely love this, just as everyone said. just so sad i didn’t read it last year when i read through the whole new testament with our church or in January when I started the old testament. But going to get it set up ASAP so i have it for the rest of the OT. Question: i like your tabs idea, so are all books of the Bible under the tab, “Bible Notes” just in biblical order? how many pages do you have in that section? really love this idea. thank you for sharing.

    • Heather,
      Each time I start a fresh reading of a book of the Bible, I start a new notebook page for it. Some books end up requiring more than 1 page; others don’t, depending on how many chapters are in the book. Overall I probably have about 250 pages in the “Bible Notes” section after 3 full times of going through the Bible.

      I don’t use individual tab dividers for that section, so I just insert the notebook pages in order by Bible books, starting with all the Genesis pages together, Exodus together, …

      I keep buying a bigger notebook but I’m about maxed out on the size so I’ll have to take some stuff out soon and start another one. That’ll require some rethinking…

      I hope you find a method that works well for you! Let me know if I can answer any other questions.

  6. I tried for years to keep pen and paper bible notes it just was not working for me. So the beginning of this years I started journaling on my laptop; I kept wondering why did it take me so long to switch, I love computers. It has been great for me to keep track of what I am learning and I find it easier than a paper trail; still have a folder for everything. A different computer folder of each of the areas is a good idea, I keep one for sunday sermons on my phone by date; its a great way to check your heart on applying what you have learned. I also have been blogging my quite time and some of my prayers; this is new to me but when I am not blogging; I know that it has not been a good week.

    • Eileen,
      Good for you! When we find something that works, that’s what we need to do. There are lots of things I now do on my laptop too. I used to couldn’t compose any writing on a computer; had to all be by hand on paper. But I finally made that changeover about two years ago and now I can hardly do it on paper first. God is good to give us the tools to get the job done, so whatever they are, use them. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I LOVE this post! I love binders, too.

    Like Eileen commented above, I’ve started keeping much of my bible study journaling on my computer in folders organized similar to how you explained, Lisa.

    But, I also like taking notes on paper (and reading the Bible in physical book form, as well as online). I have separate journals for writing ideas, bible studies, book journals, and a binder to store devotions. It’d be much nicer to have it all in one place! I have a fresh binder around here somewhere… I think I might be organizing some this weekend!

    I’m incredibly interested in learning a few Greek words. Whenever I read about the Greek word and its meaning, it really clarifies or adds to the discovery. Having an interlinear bible has been recommended. Any other resources you’d recommend?

    Thanks for this post!

    • Caroline,
      For my Bible reading this year I’m reading from new versions that I got on my Kindle, then copying one verse and journaling onto paper. I like the mix of technology and old-school too. (I wonder what the next generation will do?All tech?)

      But typically I do my at-home studying from Bibles on my laptop from e-Sword, which I love, love, love. The free download is here (they accept donations):

      http://www.e-sword.net/

      so you don’t have to be online to use it. No internet required.

      There are multiple Bible versions available. I downloaded several, but keep three on screen together: KJV with Strong’s Numbers, ESV (my personal fave), and The Message. So as I’m reading along in the ESV, I can scroll over the Greek word in the KJV right beside it to see the original meaning, then click on that word to see all the study helps for it, including a full concordance and multiple other dictionaries.

      Multiple concordances are also available for free. Once you download them, you can adjust your settings for them to automatically pop up on your screen for the verses you’re reading. I could go on and on, so maybe I should do a post solely on e-Sword some day. ha.

      For proper pronunciation of the Greek (or Hebrew) words, I type in the word on this online lexicon:

      http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/

      This also will show you the definition, the English words, and the scripture references where it is used.

      Happy organizing!

  8. I’m just now reading this post but I love the idea of a binder. Currently I scribble all my notes and such into a Moleskine but I’m thinking going back to old school paper and binder would be cheaper and hold more. I could also have things more organized. :) Hmmm I may be making the switch soon.

    • Heather,
      I know what you mean. I use a Moleskine for my “special” studies, but I’ve found that I’m more productive using regular ol’ notebook paper otherwise. I can write whatever I want without feeling like I’m wasting an expensive notebook. ha.

  9. Hi
    I love your idea about the binder! Do you follow a specific reading plan? And would you please tell us more about what you put in your notes from the reading plan, i think you mentioned copying a verse?
    Thank you so much for all the ideas you have gave, they are great!

    • Missy,
      Yes, I do follow a specific reading plan. The one I’m using this year is a 2-yr-plan that I revised from a couple of other plans. It alternates between Old Testament and New Testament readings.

      The pdf is here:
      http://centralstudies.we.bs/2_yr_Bible_reading_plan.pdf

      So each day I read (usually just the weekdays), I copy down one verse and journal about it. I keep all my Bible notes under one tab, but I insert them in my notebook in Bible-book order (Genesis first, Revelation last), regardless of the order that I’m reading them in.

      So over time I’ve collected several pages of Matthew notes all together, Mark notes together, etc. It makes it easier to look up something if I keep them in that order.

      That’s what works for my anyway! I pray you find what works for you. Feel free to share with us any tips you may have.

  10. What a great idea for staying organized!

  11. Helen Tisdale says:

    I loved this post! And all the informative comments before me.! I am a binder/notebook, paper kind of girl! Have a passion for it! I am so desperately trying to find a method to compile everything together. I am so glad I ran upon this today, seeing it was posted quite a while ago! LOl!

    • Helen,
      I’m also glad you ran across this today! It’s one of the beauties of on-line resources–once they’re out here, they usually stick around for quite awhile for others to stumble upon when the time is right.

      I’m passionate about all things paper and organization stuff too, so I relate to what you’re saying. It’s always fun getting new ideas to try. I pray something here will be of value to you.

  12. Tammie Tappa says:

    This is so great! With the holidays fast approaching, I decided to try “bindering” my Christmas plan so as not to become overwhelmed this year(This idea came from the e-book “Untangling Christmas” by Karen Ehman and LeAnn Rice, which I found at http://www.proverbs31.org) Then that trickled over to a Bill Binder to re-organize our finances. And I just bought a 3rd binder today intending it as my “Bible Binder”, but I needed some direction to get it organized. Your ideas are exactly what I was looking for, Lisa. I thank you so much for sharing them. My living room floor currently looks like a paper-war zone full of study guides and prayer lists, etc…I have recently been re-born in Christ and my heart devours everything I learn about God and His love for all the world, and for me. How great is our GOD! Having these things all in a binder for me to reference whenever I need will simply be priceless. Thank you again, and may God Bless you.
    ((((((HUG)))))))
    ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!

  13. Tammie Tappa says:

    Also, your information about studying on the computer and learning more about the Greek language equally as helpful. I just can’t wait to learn more!!

    • Tammie,
      We sound like kindred spirits. I have my Christmas to-do list that I follow every year to *try* to keep me from being overwhelmed. (I’ll follow your link to Untangling Christmas.)

      I’m so glad that you found this helpful here. And so glad that you left your note sharing about your new rebirth in Christ. It is always exciting to meet new sisters in the Lord.

      I pray that you will continue to hunger and thirst for Him, and that He continue to fill you up with His love. Yes, He is very great! May He continue to bless you!

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  15. I Love this! Thank you for sharing. I also keep a notebook but it’s not as organized as this. Great post!

  16. I use this cool online Bible reading plan by Youversion. It’s especially designed for those who are almost always online. And there are a wide selection of reading plans to choose from too! Check out http://www.youversion.com.

    God bless you! :))

  17. Hi! I found this post thru Pinterest & love it! I have been trying to get my children into a Quiet Time daily routine. I have also wanted to create a “Faith Book” with things in it like how people we know came to The Lord, what God has done for us, etc. now your idea is the spark to make it all happen! Thank you!! Here is a quick list of what I may put in each child’s book:
    Quiet Time book (or My Faith Book)
    - copy one verse per day
    - section of Bible Memory verses
    - prayer Requests/Answers
    - Love Letters to God & from God
    - testimonies (personal & from friends/family)
    - songs
    - what we believe. (topic reference for doctrines, ethics, etc)

    Thanks again!!

    • I love your ideas, Janice! I’m so glad you listed the additional things you may include in your notebooks so others (including me) can glean from them as well.

  18. dianadenis says:

    I keep a binder also. It has several sections including one for memory verses, one for God’s promises, one for Greek/Hebrew words (discovering deeper meaning in scripture has changed my understanding in such a meaningful way) and a section for chapter studies. I am going to link these notes back to a bible study how-to post i created some time ago. what a great resource! thank you,

    • Great categories, Diana. I’m particularly excited about your Greek/Hebrew words section because that’s an area I intended to expand more in my own binder, but haven’t done much with. But it’s never too late, right? Thanks for sharing here.

    • you mention doing a chapter study , How do you do a chapter study , everytime i go to my bible im overwhelmed and i think i must write everything down and it is so time consuming that i eventually stop just to come back and start all over . Do you read the chapter then what ? thank you for what ever insight you can shine on this for me and maybe others .

      • Angel, maybe this will help:

        For my journaling pages, I’m not studying per se, just reading for relationship. As I read a chapter, I mark verses that stand out to me with sticky notes. Then I look back on all those, and pick just one to copy in my journal and to write a few sentences about why it matters to me. The whole process takes less than 15 minutes.

        When I study a chapter, I take much smaller chunks so I can write more things down (or look more things up). It can take weeks to study just one chapter, just doing a couple verses each time.

        So I’d suggest you take smaller chunks, and instead of trying to conquer a set amount of material, maybe go for a set amount of time instead. The rest will always be there tomorrow.

        May God bless you as you continue to seek him with such passion! If you have any other questions or comments, please ask. We’re all here to help each other.

        • you said take smaller chunks when doing a chapter . can you give me examples , say like for genesis chapter 3 . im sorry i am just having an awful time trying to do all this and iagree smaller would be best but i feel i have to do all i can from a verse at one sitting . help me plz and thank you

          • Angel, let me point you to a resource that can give you far more info than I could here. It’s an excellent little book called “Savoring Living Water” by Katie Orr and Lara Williams about how to have a quiet time. They break it down into very manageable pieces and I feel confident it would help you get a realistic grasp on how to accomplish your goal. Here’s a link to learn more about it: http://donotdepart.com/bookstore. It does cost though, so if you don’t want to spend money, I’d suggest you use an online free resource like e-Sword to look up one verse at a time and accompanying notes on it.

  19. Thank you for this. Although it was written over a year ago, I am an organized person and like these ideas. I shall put many to use. I so appreciate your sharing with us, Lisa.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    • I’m glad you found it, Linda. I pray that it will help you in some way. Organized minds tend to think alike. :-)
      May the Lord continue to bless your walk with Him,
      Lisa

  20. I started my bible notebook tonight! What an awesome way to grow in God! I added a couple of tabs to mine: a Gratitude tab where I can jot down a paragraph about my day and key areas/things that I can be grateful in Christ for. Going back and seeing all the things I am thankful for on a particularly glum day can be very uplifting. I also added a Discipleship & Serving tab where I can jot down notes about how I have reached out to others and how great it feels to serve others. I have a tendancy to be an introvert, and this section really helps me see that loving others though serving and showing Christ’s love lets me know and experience a whole other aspect of God’s nature: Loving your neighbor as Christ did.

  21. And I also added a Testamonies section, as one of the other commenters noted. What an intimate and wonderful way to connect with your family and ancestors! Imagine if you knew how your great great great grandmother came to know the Lord!

    • I love those extra tab ideas, Angela. I tend to keep a separate notebook for my blessings journal, but there’s no reason why it can’t all be in one place. And adding a discipleship and serving section would also be motivating.

      I sure wish my ancestors had left their testimonies in writing somewhere. What a treasure that would be to find.

      Thanks for your suggestions!

  22. I love this idea. I am going to start organizing mine today. What a wonderful tribute to our Heavenly Father and what a great physical reminder to give precious time to our God everyday. This notebook will be on my stand next to me. I am thinking of including bible maps and word studies that I have accumulated.

    • You have an inspiring attitude about this, Ellie! Thanks for leaving a comment; it encourages us all when we hear excitement from others about spending time with God.

  23. Just read this post today as I have started a new reading plan and was trying to locate some old notes-found them in a binder and thought why not add to them there. This is very helpful as a way to organize-all the comments are great too. Thanks!

    • Yes, it’s a great place to add your stuff, old and new. I love having so much information in one place now instead of scattered all over. Glad you left your comment, Missy.

  24. Hello Lisa! Thanks for the wonderful ideas! I’ve had a very challenging year and have been looking for a way to help strengthen my faith and grow. Your journaling technique sounds like it will help me learn and retain meaning.

    Thanks for your help!
    Kristen

    • I pray that this will definitely be a way the Lord can strengthen you for the challenges you’re facing. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for how He’s used my journaling time to remind me of His faithfulness and ensure me that my future is secure in Him!

      Blessings to you, Kristen.

  25. Thanks, Lisa! I have several notebooks of sermon notes and readings that help me help others as well as myself. We all need the encouragement and accountability that God’s word affords us! I plan to do a faithbooking, sort of notebook/scrapbook of how God has helped me & grown in me over my life. I will definately put this info to good use! Thx again

    • “that help me help others”

      Love this, Elaine. How encouraging that you use your notebooks for that purpose, as well as staying encouraged yourself. Wish I could see that faithbooking idea fleshed out! Let us know how it goes when you do it. Thanks for leaving your comment.

      • Hi again, Lisa : ) I just now read your comment on my email! I will def let u know if I can locate a loose 8.5 x 11″ Bible. I wonder if Tyndale or Zondervan take suggestions as such just by emailing them? Never thought to do it! The idea of faithbooking came from creativememories.com, but it was some time ago when they listed it.i plan to assemble it by this fall. I am about to start a Bible craft journal as a reference for Kids Church. Just to keep a running record of what craft we make each month, and what scriptures we use.I love paper! But I also love music. I’ve often wondered if we’ve sung the whole Bible by now? I’m not sure why that tickles my curious bone, but maybe I’ll research it!
        Be blessed ~Elaine.

        • Sounds like you are a creative and organized lady. What a blessing you must be to your family and church.

          I love music, too, and love when scripture is set to song. It makes it so much easier to memorize. Hmm…that might be another section to add in a notebook–scriptures in song. I would be curious to know, too, if the whole Bible has been put to song. Let us know if you find out. :-)

          • Hey again, just was review in your blog, and realized I had made a timeline for myself!! I had better get busy with the faith booking.it seems that if I fail to plan it out, then it never becomes reality or a priority. So, I’m doing it today!

  26. Hope you don’t mind a man chiming in? I have been looking for a way to get a notebook going but just couldn’t figure it out. I found your post while doing an internet search and it was a HUGE help to me! Would you be willing to post a few pictures from each section just so I can get an idea of ‘what’ your write in your notebook and how you do it? It would be a tremendous help!! Thanks!!!

    • Men are equally welcome to chime in, Dave! :-) Glad you’re visiting. I’d be glad to share some photos with you. I’ll send you some small shots directly to your email address. I pray you do get a notebook going if it would be helpful to you. I continue to use my notebook all the time.

      • I am so glad I came across your post. I like your technique and if possible I do not mind receiving some small shots of each of your notebook sections to see it. Blessings

  27. I have tried many times to put together a notebook reference for my Bible Studies. I like your ideas and obviously they work for you and others. What I have tried to find, and maybe you might know where to purchase an Interlinear Hebrew, Greek, English Bible in NOTEBOOK form. In other words, not bound together but rather in a loose-leaf binder so I can slip notebook paper between the pages for my copious notes.
    Thanks for your help….so glad I found you while searching for good Bible study references.

  28. Hello! My name is Raven. Is it a bad thing to have a digital notebook? I have everything, just digital.

    • Certainly not, Raven! I definitely have lots of digital resources that I love. If all digital works for you, you stay all digital. Glad you stopped by.

      • No problem. I really like this website. It’s been my go-to website for the past three 3 days. How did you set up your Memory Verses section? I thought this was a good tab to have. Currently, I’m using the Meditation Worksheet layout for it.

        • I have my Memory Verses in 3 sections. The first section is printouts of Fighter Verses, Sets A-D. The second section is chapters that I’ve memorized, Old Testament – New Testament in order. The 3rd section is printouts of individual verses in order of Old Testament – New Testament. I reprint it every couple years to include new ones that I’ve added. I try to review a few verses from each section every few days. I’m not always consistent, but I keep a tab on where I am so that eventually everything gets reviewed over time.

  29. This is a great idea! I was just looking over MY stacks of notebooks that I’m beginning to accumulate and was wondering whether there was a better way. Starting this TODAY! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • So glad to hear this inspired you, Rosa. Sounds like you’re already an organizer so this should flow well with you! Blessings.

  30. I love, love this blog! The idea of having a binder for Bible study is a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing this.

    • Thanks, Jennifer. It’s always encouraging for us to hear positive feedback. Hope all goes well if you decide to set up your own binder!

  31. I love this! I hope you don’t mind.. but I’ll be making a video soon and a lot of my binder set up comes from your blog. Is it okay if I use some of your notes and share them? I would of course source your website and will mention you on the video.

  32. Amanda Stanush says:

    Love, Love, Love this idea!!! To combine all of that knowledge, inspiration, praise, blessings, etc., in one place would be one of the greatest tributes to our Heavenly Father that we could give to Him of ourselves. This is exactly what our Father wants from us – complete love and devotion. Thank you Lisa and God bless you for taking the time to share, and teach, and lead all of us.

    • I’m glad you like this idea too, Amanda. My notebook has become one of those things I’d grab in case of a fire.

      I appreciate your encouraging words too. It’s nice to be surrounded by so many other believers.

  33. Thank u Lisa it’s really helpful because am a very disorganized person when it comes to daily studying. So your tools really helped me out.

    • That’s good to hear, Maria. My current notebook is about to fall apart so I need to get a replacement one soon or I’ll be back to being disorganized myself. :)

  34. Thank you so much! Just what I was looking for! I was searching online for how to make your own reference bible in a binder, and this fit my needs perfectly. Awesome idea! I will definitely use this.

    God bless.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] prefer a binder as home base for all my verses. I print out the chapter I’m learning with margins wide enough to [...]

  2. [...] month on Do Not Depart, we’re sharing Bible Notebook components and tools. Check out the original post on creating your own Bible notebook [...]

  3. [...] and tools we’ll be sharing this month here at Do Not Depart. Lisa’s post about making a Bible study notebook got such an overwhelming response, the DND team wants to encourage you with a month full of useful [...]

  4. [...] If you want to collect all those scattered papers and capture your insights in one place, we’re offering free printables all month to help you create your own Bible notebook. [...]

  5. [...] Use the time wisely. Pray. Sing. Read and memorize scripture. Write down the things God shares with you. Consider creating a Bible Study Notebook to help you focus and use this special time most effectively. Lisa over at Do Not Depart has an excellent post on how to create a Bible Study Notebook. [...]

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