Verse Mapping Joy!

Last month I shared with you the 13 verses on joy that I am attempting to memorize/focus on this year.  (Joy is my word for 2023.)  I am also verse mapping all 13 verses to help me continue to engage my word, and to bring deeper understanding or new insight into the scriptures.

I wrote about verse mapping a couple of years ago when I reviewed Kristy Cambron’s NIV Verse Mapping Bible and Verse Mapping Bible Study Journal.  The journal, in particular, is an extremely helpful tool for me to dig deeper into verses or passages of scripture.  So I decided to share my map for one of my “joy” scriptures and explain the processes so that you can verse map too, whether you buy the journal or not.

First of all, I’m going to share pictures of my journal pages so you can see what it looks like.  But because I don’t expect you to read my messy, yet colorful scribble, I’ll break it down for you as well.

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Step One

Look up and record the verse or passage in multiple translations.  I usually aim for four different ones, and not necessarily the same ones every time. is a quick and easy way to pick out some different versions.  Then note (underline, circle, box, whatever) the key phrases or words that are consistent across translations.  I chose to mark these in different colors.  And I have actually combined step one and step two for my purposes.  No one says I have to follow the instructions exactly!

On this day I analyzed Psalm 5:11 “But rejoice, all who take refuge in You, sing for joy forever!  And may You shelter them, that those who love your name may rejoice in You.”  

Step Two

Look up the Hebrew (for Old Testament) or Greek (for New Testament) meaning for the underlined words or phrases.  My favorite tool for this is Blue Letter Bible.  You can access it via the link I shared on desk top or by the app.  I don’t write down every single possible definition.  I would quickly run out of paper.  Instead, I look for the most appropriate or sometimes the most surprising meanings for the verse.  Then I go through and underline the possible meanings that are interesting (read different) to me.

For “rejoice/ be glad” I underlined the phrase “to brighten up”.  For “who take refuge”, the idea of putting trust in God or “to confide in” stood out to me.  And one of the meanings of “sing for joy” was “to creak”!  Now that I can relate to.  “May you shelter” took on new meaning with “defendest” and “shut up”.  “Your name” can be translated “renown, fame, or reputation”.  And finally, I love the picture of triumph and jumping for joy when we “rejoice/exult”.  

Step Three

Look at the verse or passage in context.  What is happening in the story?  I sometimes use a commentary in addition to reading the passage.  Straight from my page I wrote:  A flute accompanied Psalm of David and prayer for protection from the wicked.  An imprecatory Psalm (a spoken curse).  David was in the wilderness when Absalom’s forces sought to destroy him.  

Step 4

Applying what I’ve learned.  For this I have chosen to rewrite the passage using some of the alternate words or phrases found in the original language definitions.  I feel this gives me a fresh perspective and, at times, deeper insight into the verses.

We can be glad glad (I almost forgot to mention that the “But” and “rejoice” at the beginning of the verse come from the same Hebrew word.  That’s double emphasis!) when we put our trust and confidence in You.  You brighten up our lives.  I am overcome by You and sing for joy, which sounds like creaks in my case.  You defend us and shut up our enemies.  We jump for joy at your renown and glory.  

There are many, many ways to study the bible.  Verse mapping is a method I’m enjoying right now.  I hope you found this helpful or at least interesting!  If you decide to give it a try, I would love to hear how it went for you.  And if you have a study method that is giving you life right now, share it in the comments with us.

And now for this week’s featured post from the link up!

I couldn’t choose just one post this week, so I’m breaking the rules.  I love poetry and was so charmed by Lory’s Advent/Lent:  A Poem.  And I loved Grace and Truth’s own Maree Dee’s The Best Thing to Do When Life is Difficult.  She gave us a strategy that you won’t want to miss.  I’m adopting it immediately.

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