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Verse Mapping

By Leslie Caza
July 20, 2020
Comments: 26

This week's memo comes to us from Leslie Caza, a FAST member living in Tennessee. She shared with me several month's back an innovative approach to Bible study she used. So I asked her to write up a memo, and she did--complete with pictures. The image below is the entire book of Revelation! Enjoy...

Image of Revelation verse mapped

If life gets any busier I fear that there will be a total disconnect, not only with each other but with the Lord. We like to text because we can do away with cordial formalities and get to the point, but now we hardly have time to carefully read a 3 sentence text!

I wonder if it's because we don't have time or if it's because we have shorter attention spans than before. Constant interruptions keep the mind from getting into deep thought—commonly called "the zone." Time flies when we're in the zone because our minds are absorbed and active. It's a great "place" to be!

The good news is, we can learn to think deeply with just a little effort and prayer. Hasn't God said that we can have the renewing of our minds? Absolutely!

Verse Mapping

Sometimes I'm feeling disinterested in Bible study. I might be tired, or busy, or stressed, etc. It's this time more than ever when I need a vital connection with the Lord. There is no better way to connect with Him than in His word. But scripture does not say to read to shew thyself approved unto God . . ., but to study . . . to rightly divide the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.) How to study is not something we are generally taught to do as new believers.

There are many ways to study, but today I'd like to introduce you to a method of study that is deep, personal, and engaging. The method is commonly called "Verse mapping."

Our minds do not store information on lined paper. No, brain connections look more like roads and highways interconnecting, very much like a map. While lines on paper are clean, orderly, and likely the best way to communicate information from one to another, it is difficult to use lines and paragraphs to dissect and assimilate a verse, passage, chapter, or book of the Bible. Mapping does away with format and focuses on information in whatever form is the best: a word, sentence, arrow, emoticon, or shape, and may even use color coding or art work.

I have mapped the entire book of Revelation, and when it was done, it looked much more like a street map than an encyclopedia entry. It was an amazing journey and it made the book of Revelation became alive!

But mapping can also be a simple, random verse, and that's a great place to begin. Mapping may not be an everyday event, but it is a great tool to add some diversity in how you connect with the Word of God.

How to Do It

There is no wrong way to map, but I'd like to give you a few pointers to get you started. First, here's a picture of a completed map so you have a basic idea where we're going with this. This is on a 3x5 card.

Now it's your turn. Give yourself at least 15 minutes, though you can spend much longer if you'd like.

1. Select a verse. It may be one you've found during your reading, one you've had questions about, or one that you've memorized and want to explore more deeply.

2. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you "rightly divide the word of truth." Write the verse leaving some space for additional notes. It's nice to have an unlined notebook/artist's sketch diary/folder designated just for mapping since these will be treasures you'll want to keep.

3. Personalize the verse and then read it a couple of times slowly and prayerfully. Mark any words or phrases that attract your attention. Here's an example:

4. Look for more insights. Look up the meaning of words in a concordance like Strong's or in a standard dictionary, explore cross references from the margins or your Bible or from the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, and allow the Holy Spirit time to bring other verses to your remembrance that connect to this verse. One thought will lead to another and one insight to another. Jot down anything that stands out to you. Draw arrow and lines connecting your discoveries. Put everything you find on your map. You will likely be surprised at how much you discover about God's awesome word!

5. Finally, write out a prayer of dedication, praise, thanks, confession, or whatever this verse inspires you to do.

That's it! You can use a pencil or a variety of colors. It's your personal time with God. Bask in the word of God. After all, in His presence is fullness of joy!

More Examples

Here's an example of a longer passage:

And here's an example of a topic that I've mapped:

And here's another peek at my verse map of the book of revelation--just to show you can also do longer passages if you wish:

Go ahead, give it a try. Take whatever verse you are working on right now, or whatever passage you are studying, and see what you can come up with. Ask God to guide you. Let the Spirit bring thoughts and ideas to your mind. Capture them in various ways on paper. And do your best to connect it all to your own personal life. You are in for a treat!

I'd love to see some of your maps!


What do you think? Something you could try? How important is it to let the Bible speak for itself? To allow the Spirit to lead you to fresh discoveries and connections? How can verse mapping help with that?

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Posted by Marsha on 04/17/22
Leslie, I know it’s been awhile since your article on mapping was presented but I find myself coming back to it again at times as I contemplate how to strengthen my God time.
Can you tell me what size spiral you used in the demonstration pictures you included? Many thanks!
Posted by Dan Vis on 08/28/20
I can see you getting into something like this Qing! :)
Posted by Leslie Caza on 08/27/20
Qing God bless you as you move forward!
Posted by Qing Ling on 08/27/20
Leslie fantastic memo. Couldn't have done without the pictures - colours, shapes, arrows, and all. :)
A new memory lane concept to anchor II Timothy 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 😊
I look forward to doing some of this soon!
Posted by Dan Vis on 08/03/20
More great tips Leslie! :)
Posted by Leslie Caza on 08/02/20
Anita You can start with small time allotments of 10 minutes and come back to it. Try removing all devices from you eye/eat shot and, if need be, hang a "Do not disturb" sign on the door nob! 😊
Posted by Anita Huffman on 08/01/20
Leslie, This is interesting! I have seen mind mapping for organizing big projects but I've never tried it as it seemed overwhelming to me. I've never been good at writing down my deep thoughts.

I can certainly resonate with your comment "Constant interruptions keep the mind from getting into deep thought". It seems that I rarely have time to think a complete thought some days!

Thank you for sharing this with us. I think I will try it soon.
Posted by Leslie Caza on 07/26/20
God bless you all. I'm enjoying your comments.   
Posted by Dan Vis on 07/26/20
I'm sure you'll have many great experiences experimenting with this approach Rhoda. It's quite a powerful approach, isn't it?

Leslie, a couple more nice comments below for you. :)
Posted by Rhoda Forbes on 07/25/20
Thank you for sharing, I'm looking forward to a wonderful journey through God's word. God is so good, I've been praying for guidance and insight to study my Bible to strengthen my relationship with Jesus. Thank you Lord for answered prayers.
Posted by Dan Vis on 07/24/20
Glad you enjoyed this Musa Sibisi. Mind mapping is not a new concept, but seeing in applied to verses like this was insightful. Probably worth adding something like this to the BMC class!
Posted by Musa Sibisi on 07/24/20
this is powerful, i have been using it with studying other subjects, but today i am learning to do it with bible(verses).

Thanks Dan
Posted by Dan Vis on 07/22/20
I've always appreciated mind mapping approaches John and definitely agree with Leslie, that that's more how the mind organizes and stores information. Just need to practice these kinds of approaches more often!

Thanks for sharing how you sometimes do sermon prep. Anything we can do to let the passage speak for itself rather than imposing our own construction on it--esp in the early stages of study, is a good thing!
Posted by Leslie Caza on 07/22/20
John Thank you for sharing that. Yes, mapping can be used in a lot of ways. You've expanded the usage nicely!
Posted by John Gilmore on 07/22/20
Dan, I've mostly used it for topical sermon preparation, to get my concepts down on paper without thought of how they might be presented. As I'm mapping the conceptual points, I usually find some gaps in my understanding. Or the process may challenge me to find Bible passages that speak to key points. After the map is done, the structure for presentation often become easy to determine. Usually I then have to decide what to leave out, so I don't wear out the patience of the saints.      

As Leslie has applied it, mapping certainly could also apply to exegetical sermons. I've found that the literary structure of the passage often gives me enough clues for emphasis and for presentation, but I can see that mapping could easily add to the process.
Posted by Dan Vis on 07/22/20
Glad to see everyone enjoyed this Leslie! Thanks again. :) I'm sure we'll be recirculating this memo in the future...

I've never thought of doing something like this for a sermon John. That's a curious thought...
Posted by Leslie Caza on 07/21/20
Karen. Amazing how God's answers our prayers. Pray and proceed. I believe you will be blessed!
Posted by Karen Williams on 07/21/20
This is wonderful, it's definitely something I can try. I was just praying today about the issue of reading a well known story too fast and not receiving the benefit/message He had placed therein. Thanks @Leslie
Posted by Leslie Caza on 07/20/20
My best advice is to get a dictionary, a couple of translations, a Strong's concordance, and then pray and choose a verse. The best lesson is to practice it. I taught this at a women's ministry meeting. The women were so delightful as they had new relationships with verses that they thought they knew so well. This helps the word of God move from the head to the heart. God bless you all. I'm "here" if you need.
Posted by Clarris Magadza on 07/20/20
Thank you so much Leslie. I am inspired by this. I was also thinking of the 9Ps of meditation as I was going through it.
Amazing how God brings everything together in such a harmonious and co-ordinated way.
Posted by John Gilmore on 07/20/20
This is similar to topical mapping which I've sometimes used for sermon preparation. But I hadn't thought to use it for memory verse meditation. I like it!
Posted by Dan Vis on 07/20/20
Thank you Leslie! I'm sure people will enjoy hearing more from the author! :)
Posted by Leslie Caza on 07/20/20
Yes, Dan, I'd be happy to answer any questions!
Posted by Dan Vis on 07/20/20
That's what I thought when I first saw this Cyndie, and I'm so thankful Leslie was willing to write up this memo. And I like your analogy that life is a journey which certainly implies the need for good mapping!

I thought about posting full size pictures of the examples, but felt it might be just as good to only give the jist of it, and encourage people to explore this approach with God individually, on their own. But I'm sure Leslie would be happy to answer specific questions if you have some.

Nice to connect this with the 9P's Berith. I bet you could use that as a checklist to spark ideas for verse mapping when you need a little nudge. Might be worth including more on this in the meditation section of our BMC class, huh?

If you practice doing this on paper, I'm sure it would naturally extend to richer meditation on memory verses as you go through the day. And anything to enrich our meditation is important!
Posted by Berith Bermejo on 07/20/20
Amazing! I'd love to try this. Thank you so much for sharing the pointers of how you do the mapping. The illustrations definitely help. It's a great way to incorporate several ways to meditate on a verse (9Ps). God's richest blessings on you, Leslie !
Posted by Cynthia on 07/20/20
What a marvelous, eye opening way to reach a deeper understanding of the written word and join together to the love of God. I love the creativity and the way the verses are mapped out.
We all need a map to get directions for the journey when we travel. We are traveling to the promised land. We need to see where we are going, the pitfalls along the way, and how to reach our destination.
Thank you for sharing your mapping journal. I think it is brilliant.
I would love to be able to see more details of the notes from the pictures. The Lord is calling you to use this method to teach others this journaling method and personal mapping to better understand Him, His word and His leading us through our own wilderness.

Thank you for sharing.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, amen I Thessalonians 5:28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

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