Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Ben Spackman on Taking Notes During Scripture Study

Posted by joespencer on July 7, 2011

Hello everyone.

Might I recommend that you all go read this and this?

Oh, and if you do, please drop back by and add some thoughts. I wouldn’t mind seeing a discussion of this kind of thing….

14 Responses to “Ben Spackman on Taking Notes During Scripture Study”

  1. Max Mangelson said

    Perhaps I haven’t read the appropriate discussion but I have found that clicking on the appropriate link(s) above that all I get is the same blog item as contained this blog. Ie, the link is circular, taking me back to the same blog message. How do I find the “Taking Notes” Item.


  2. Mike Berkey said

    I think he’s right on, keeping notes during scripture study isn’t just helpful for remembering, it makes for better interaction with the scriptures. But it also depends on what kind of scripture study you’re doing. Topical or close textual study call for note-taking a bit more than when you’re reading through a whole work (i.e. reading the whole Bible or Book of Mormon). Even then, I like to keep pen and paper handy in case something comes to me that I want to write.

  3. janellthegreat said

    I started taking scriptural notes during church meetings to prevent me from starting a level of discussion that teachers weren’t interested in (e.g. the difference between angel, seraphim, and cherubim). Since then my scripture notes and my scripture study are so hand-in-hand that I’d forgotten I hadn’t always taken notes. I find it interesting to see how my interpretation of various scriptures has changed as my experiences have altered me.

  4. joespencer said

    Max #1,

    I’m not having the same problem. If you click on the two highlighted “this” links, you don’t go to patheos?

  5. robf said

    I have a hard time keeping notes, since so much of my reading is online these days. I’m still waiting for Part 3 with suggestions on HOW to actually keep notes. Some of my best thoughts have gone into the FUTW wiki over the years, but sometimes I forget what I’ve written there. The other day on a Facebook group I linked to a blog post I found after a Google search, only later to read the comments on that blog post and be surprised to see my own comments there–with info that I had completely forgotten about. Ugh! I need a better system! What do y’all do for note taking?

    • Jim F. said

      Like Nathan Ellis Rasmussen, below, I’ve started making notes in my electronic scriptures (which can also be done at LDS.org) and transferring my old marginalia into the electronic ones. I’m slightly nervous about the volatility of electronic media. One crash and my stuff could be gone. But I’m going to cross my fingers and make sure that my personal computer is well backed up.

  6. Roberta said

    I’ve really enjoyed http://www.theredheadedhostess.com for her scripture study insights and methods. I’ve just begun incorporating some of her techniques (especially the read 3x then write technique) and find it easy and rewarding. Shannon has been a Seminary teacher for about a decade (I think) and she has some really good ideas for scripture journals and study tips.

    • Roberta said

      ….and you should check out the (70-page) booklet she created about Understanding the House of Israel. I think it’s a perfect teaching (and missionary) tool.

  7. A lot of what Ben said sounds familiar to me: Using a set of abbreviations and short self-instructions, leaving yourself questions and finding answers when you come back, keeping notes electronically (I am now transcribing all my marginalia into a text file so I can search and sort it more effectively).

    I have not been in the habit of dating my notes. Closest I get is guessing which era of my scripture study they come from, based on which set of scriptures they are written in, which pen they were written with, what handwriting I used. I have sometimes wished that I did record dates, though, for the sake of retracing the route to my current understanding.

    For example, after several passes through Ether 3, Ether 12, and Moroni 10, I’ve accumulated a lot of cross-references among them, tracing a group of ideas about the Fall, humble realism, grace, and sanctification. I’ll understand passage A differently in light of passage B — or, more accurately, in light of my understanding of B, which previously arose by comparing it to passage C elsewhere, and which I now take for granted. This poses a problem if I want to talk about what I saw in A: First I’ve got to justify my reading of B. Of course I cross-referenced B to C earlier. But I have also cross-referenced B to several other passages, at various times, for various reasons; I may have written a scripture chain at some point that carries me from C back to B; and indeed, on a subsequent pass through the book, I may have had some other insight and cross-referenced C back onto A. This makes it blasted hard to see where I started, which really impedes walking anyone else through it. A bit of chronology would help sort that out.

  8. Ben S said

    Thanks for the link. I have been unexpectedly swamped recently, plus extensive out-of-country travel. I’m still at work on part 3, coming soon (fingers crossed.)

  9. Carrynotes said

    Thanks for sharing information. Carrynotes is another online note taking website. You can review http://www.carrynotes.com to remember, manage and keep track of notes for free.

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