Scripture Study Tips: Color Coding

First of all, here’s a short video I’ve made with a few good color-coding tips.

There are a lot of resources on how to color code your scriptures, and color coding can be pretty effective. Here are a few ideas that I’ve liked when studying the scriptures.
Color Coding your scriptures
Color Coded Scriptures

Welcome to my Scriptures.

Gospel Topics
It is better to limit how many gospel topics you want to color code. I have a handy pencil that I always use. I like it because all of the colors are contained in one pencil (I’m not always losing crayons, pencils, scripture markers), and because my colors are limited to only 8 options.

Here is my color code:
Orange – The Godhead
Yellow – Jesus Christ
Red – The Plan of Salvation
Light Blue – The Priesthood
Dark Blue – The House of Israel (scattering/gathering etc.)
Green – Principles of the gospel / Covenants
Pink – “The story”
Brown – Evil stuff

This color code makes sense to me, but you should always taylor it to your needs. Just make sure it is something you can remember, and that the code is used consistently throughout your scriptures.

Personal Interests
Perhaps it would be more interesting to do a color code with personal interests – rather than gospel topics. Here is a list of topics that I may find interesting in my life. See if you can find some you’d like.

Following the Spirit
The Voice of the Spirit
Missionary Work

Patriarchal Blessing Topics
If you are a Mormon, and you have received a Patriarchal Blessing, then I think that this would be a really cool project. Obviously, I can’t really list a generic set of ideas to color-code, as each Patriarchal Blessing is different. But here is the idea: Read your patriarchal blessing and find a few ideas or principles that you want to learn more about. Then, when studying the scriptures, mark them with a corresponding color. This way, your color code applies directly to you!

Using Colored Pencils
Resist the urge to color too much! When I was in seminary, my teacher would ask, “Did you have a coloring book growing up?” I colored every single thing I read. Of course, because everything was colored – nothing stood out! So, I’d suggest to be judicious when color coding. (That being said, I may still color a little too much).

Also – as mentioned earlier – it is easier to limit the color coding options to less than 10 colors. I remember my Grandma had this REALLY COOL color coding chart – with like 38 colors. Of course, you needed a book to remember the code. And half of the colors were too similar. (Can we really tell the difference between periwinkle and sky blue?). If you stay simple, then the color code will actually be useful.

Colored Pens
Colored pens can also be a good tool. I like using them so I can write in the margins. In the past, I’ve used one of those 4-in-one pens and I think it was ball point with regular ink. (Like a Bic pen.) I’d suggest staying away from that – mostly because the ink will start to bleed through the page after time.

Color Coded Scriptures - bad ink.

Here is an example of where the ink is bleeding through…Not fun.

Instead, look into something that’s archival – something like these (I promise I DON’T work for deseret book). These pens have really fine tips, which are also great for little spaces.

Hopefully, you’ve found some useful information. Do you have any other good color-coding ideas? If so, please comment and share!

Additionally, you can check out my free scripture study eBook Getting More from the Scriptures: Techniques and Projects for Effective Scripture Study.

17 thoughts on “Scripture Study Tips: Color Coding

  1. Pingback: Scripture Study Tips: Cross References and Scripture Chains « thatgoodpart

  2. Pingback: Scripture Study Tips Series (part One) « thatgoodpart

  3. Pingback: Scripture Study Tips Series – Scripture Journal « thatgoodpart

  4. Pingback: Scripture Study Tips: Lists « thatgoodpart

  5. Pingback: Scripture Study Tips: Compare and Contrast « thatgoodpart

  6. Pingback: Scripture Study Tips: Symbols « thatgoodpart

  7. Pingback: Scripture Study Tips: Asking Questions « thatgoodpart

  8. Pingback: Scripture Study Tips: Parables, Allegories, and Metaphors/Similes « thatgoodpart

  9. I believe that marking my scriptures, beginning with Seminary days (and even before) and extending into adulthood, was a powerful means of learning the scriptures, of getting into them in a meaningful and memorable way.

  10. Whitney

    I am in LOVE with your suggestions of making color coding your own! I was wondering if I could share your scripture color coding tips in a relief society lesson on Sunday? I will share your blog as the source. My email is I will post this comment on your most recent blog as well (as I know this blog entry was written a few years ago.) Thank you so much! -Whitney Bunn

  11. Camille

    So the pens you showed DO NOT bleed through the paper? I have asked many people for suggestions, and haven’t received one that actually works. I love the color-coded concept. Thanks!

    1. Hi Camille – These pens aren’t too bad. I mean, you can see them lightly through the paper, but the bleeding is not major. I think that they work well, and if you got a finer point (something smaller than .3 – maybe .1) then they would be even better. However, the old-school Bic pens ended up bleeding through the paper – not right away, but later.

  12. I do my scripture reading on my tablet using “Gospel Library”. They have incorporated a highlight and underlining feature that makes it simple to color code verses. They have ten colors for highlighting and underlining. I used to underline everything in red, but decided that wasn’t working. Now I have a key that I refer to when I want to highlight verses or even chapters. Here is my color key:


    Red – Jesus / God
    Pink – Angels
    Brown – Sin /Evil
    Orange – Warning
    Yellow – Testimony / Faith
    Green – Repentance
    Blue – Reward
    Purple – Living the Gospel
    Gray – Prophesy


    Light Blue – My Interest
    Gray – Atonement

    1. Hey there – by “the story,” I just mean the elements of the actual story. Say, for instance, the story of daniel in the Lion’s den – you might want to make a bracket around the verses Daniel 6:4-26.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.