Manuscript Bible Study

WELCOME–Why Mark It Up?

Manuscript Bible study is an INDUCTIVE and ENJOYABLE way to study Scripturetogether!


A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t. —Charles Spurgeon

Well, maybe the same can be said for… a Bible that is Marked Up!

manuscript-31We’re just getting started but all materials will be FREELY AVAILABLE for your use. We hope this site becomes a fun, interactive experience, used by those leading manuscript studies; who can find resources here and, in turn, provide input for others. So, come back often!

To contact us, Click Here. Have you ever done manuscript study? What do you think? Are you up for it?

How to Study, Manuscript Style

READ & STUDY—Look for the W’s: WHO is involved | WHEN did it happen | WHERE is it happening  colored-pens-image-cleaned3| WHAT is taking place | HOW is it happening… then comes interpretation by asking… WHY questions regarding what the author’s message is about.

MARK IT UP!: Use colored pens and pencils. A four-colored pen can be very handy. Don’t worry about getting it perfect, just mark it!

Use the pens/pencils to draw: –Circles around places or people  –Boxes around whatever you’d like  –Underlines of key words/phrases –Clouds around words wherever you feel like it  –Identify change of scene, watch for contrast, repetition, key words, etc. –Put lots of NOTES in the right-hand margin and in between lines!

journalREFLECT, PRAY, ACT: How does what your reading and studying apply to you and where you are with God, others, etc.? Keep some kind of personal journal–say, on the backside of the manuscript. Use it to record your thoughts, prayers and new actions.group1

DISCUSS: Come together one-on-one or in a group. You’ll likely have a facilitator to lead discussion but no one is the expert. The goal is that each person in the group contributes their insights. If you’re quiet, please speak up, and if you’re too talkative… well… not so much!

What is “The (real) Secret?”

“To you has been given the secret of the Kingdom of God…” (Mark 4:11).Secret

The secret of the kingdom of God is unusual. It’s an unknown that is meant to be known. How? By doing what the disciples did in the Gospel of Mark: Hang around Jesus. In fact Jesus himself is the secret who ALSO unlocks the secret when we listen, learn and respond to him. We increasing discover more of this secret as we follow the One who provides abundance and joy.

The (real) secret is meant to be known, meant to be transformative, meant to be proclaimed. Come discover him… and discover it… with us!

Why we chose a the ESV–English Standard Version

Each Bible translation has it’s place. Some are more literal, making them better for study. Some more flowing, making them better for reading. We chose a more literal translation–the ESV (which is based on the RSV)–because our focus is on STUDYING. What follows is an article describing the differences.

How Do I Pick Out A Bible, Pastor Tom Brahears–June 29, 2011

If you’re like me and were raised with the King James Version you’d say “Now, that’s the Bible!” It’s what I’m used to. But that’s not the reason so select it. We need to take a balanced approach to this, understanding the nature of Biblical translations. All translations have certain characteristics that make them unique. Bible translations can be review in two primary ways:


1. What underlying Greek text does the translation use? Is it the “Majority” or “Received” text (a group of late Greek text that primarily comes from the Byzantine area) or the Eclectic/Critical text (mixture of different types of manuscripts, primarily using the earliest text). The KJV, NKJV, and many older translations used the former, while the newer and more up-to-date Bible’s such as the NAS, NIV, ESV, NLT, NET, etc. use the latter. It’s best to use the latter since most scholars believe that they represent the better manuscripts.

2. Each Bible has a different purpose but all are useful. Was it written for study or reading? Was it written for the seminary or the church? If you can, you should have a variety of translations for different purposes. I use the NASB for study but the NIV for classes I teach. I think it’s important for you to understand the differences. Here [also shown on the chart] are the three translation methods:

  • Formal Equivalence: These try to translate word for word (although this is quite difficult). Examples: NAS, KJV, ASV, ESV. Less readable, but better for study in contemporary languages. Why? Because they will usually attempt to make fewer interpretive decisions on any text that can be understood in many ways. This allows the reader to struggle through the options.
  • Dynamic Equivalence: Translations that seek to translate thought for thought. Examples: NIV, TNIV, NRSV, etc. Not quite as good for deep study, but usually better for reading and memorization. Dynamic equivalence translations make good pulpit or teaching Bibles.
  • Paraphrase: Translations that seek to use common language and idioms to get the basic point across in a very readable way. Examples: Message, Philip’s Translation, NLT, GNB, etc. While paraphrases are not good for study or memorization, they are very readable and cause you to read the text differently than you normally would. In this respect, they have great value.

>>For a more a more specific description of each transaltion and another chart, Click Here.

More on the ESV

From the ESV website: ESV.orgesv-image2

The words of the Bible are the very words of God. The words of the Bible are truth and life.* This is why the ESV Bible is a word-for-word, “essentially literal” translation—to convey every possible nuance of meaning in the original words of Scripture; to capture the majesty, truth, and beauty of the Bible, in a clear and compelling way.

The ESV Bible carries forward the trusted legacy of the Bible in English—the legacy established first in the Tyndale New Testament (1526) and the KJV Bible (1611). With this legacy as the foundation, the ESV Bible (2001) reflects the beauty and majesty of the original languages, first captured centuries ago by these early Bible translations.

mona-lisaBut the ESV also provides the most recent evangelical Christian Bible scholarship and enduring readability for today. The ESV translation process itself was based on the trusted principles of essentially literal translation, which combines word-for-word accuracy with readability and literary excellence.

Likewise, the ESV translation team was built on the trusted foundation of over 100 evangelical Christian scholars and pastors worldwide, committed to the truth, authority, and application of the Bible to all of life.