...the gracious hand of his God was on him.
For Ezra had devoted himself 
to the study and observance
of the Law of the LORD,
and to teaching
its decrees and laws...
Ezra 7:9-10 NIV
The Bible has the capacity to speak to us regarding every circumstance of life. But sometimes, especially while reading about skin diseases and sacrifices in the Old Testament, we may feel like giving up. A topical strategy helps move us through this season, motivating us to keep reading while digging for deeper understanding.
Prayerfully consider what you'd like to discover about God and from His Word, and then buy a Bible and a set of colored pens and pencils. Using an index card, list topical codes for reference.
After completing each study, tape the card inside the front cover so others will understand what you've gleaned.    
   PURPLE (or GOLD) ~ attributes of God, His Commands…
   ORANGE ~ government, leadership, human edicts…
   RED ~ abortion, life, blood…
   BLACK ~  consequences – Judgment…
   BLUE ~  prayer, holiness, blessing…
   GREEN ~ popular doctrines of the church…
Bibles containing more than one translation give us immediate access to other versions, which may enhance understanding. This is a great way to read The Message, which isn't a translation but rather a powerful paraphrase of the Bible.
Bibles with commentaries greatly enhance understanding. During a first cover-to-cover reading, a Bible with explanations of customs or comments addressing difficult questions will lay a foundation for future studies. One of my favorites is The Quest Study Bible.
Each time you see or touch a Bible,
plead for passion and wisdom,
and that vast multitudes
be drawn to the Scriptures,
discovering great and powerful mysteries
that they do not know (Jer. 33:3).

When a segment becomes boring, I continue reading until I reach an area that excites me again. And I often find gold in areas I've read through in boredom.
I was ill when Melissa Ann was a baby and didn't know whether I'd live to raise her. Wanting to have a lifelong influence in my daughters' lives, I purchased two Inductive Study Bibles and worked through them, writing notes about what God put on my heart along with notes to my girls.
They're both grown now, but when I die, or even now, they have quite an assortment of my Bible studies to share. Consider leaving such a legacy for your children and grandchildren, or others who live beyond you.
My grandmother made notes in her Bible. When she died, it was returned to the son who gave it to her, but he encouraged us to make photographs of pages that had our names or her notes or prayers on them. These are our most cherished family heirlooms. 
Click on photos to expand

After completing a reading of the Bible, sign and date it at the end of Revelation 22. If you read it together as a family or with one or more of your children, have them sign it too. It establishes a special memorial of your time together with God .



Representing the Trinity, I frequently use a triangle instead of writing "God" or one of His Names. I may use a cross… for Christ. And I put a purple squiggly cloud around The Holy Spirit.

Click to expand > 


This symbol, reflecting a child in the womb, I use to represent pregnancy or the murder of children through idol worship; in America, it's referred to as abortion. Once familiar with child sacrifice and its consequences in the Bible, we recognize the same Judgment rapidly unfolding in America as the blood of millions of innocent children cries out against us.


Are messengers, warriors, encouragers, protectors...


I use this symbol, or a gavel, to convey Judgment. Warnings, the hourglass is half full. JUDGMENT DAY, it's solid black.

Each study will bring fresh ideas for marking your special moments with God. 

When reading with the family, encourage them to design their own simple symbols that will help them note the frequency and themes repeated throughout God's Word.