Write Faster, More Informative Bible References

Early in my Christian walk I had a pastor I loved very much, and from whom I learned much. I still remember him on the first of most months, when I read the chapter of Proverbs corresponding to the day of the month.

Sidebar: If you don’t have a regular Bible reading plan you actually use, I suggest you decide to read the chapter of Proverbs for the day of the month. If it’s May 4th, read Proverbs 4. If it’s June 16th, read Proverbs 16. If it’s June 16th and you haven’t read your Bible since May 4th (I’ve been there), repent, forgive yourself, resolve to read Proverbs 17 tomorrow, and read Proverbs 16 today. I believe it is no accident that Proverbs — God’s Wisdom in capsule form — is divided into 31 chapters! Make use of it!

But this wonderful, wise pastor, from whom I learned so much, had one habit I found frustrating. He would often give several Bible references much too quickly to write them down! He might say, “Here are other verses that say the same thing,” then rattle off six or more references from Genesis to maps.  I just couldn’t write them fast enough to keep up, and he often would not say them more than once. I learned to write the numbers first, and fill in the book names later — there were only 66 possibilities if memory failed. But I also realized it took significant time to write the colon, “:”, between the chapter and verse(s). Was there a way to omit the colon?

Ps 23:4-6

I forget where I first saw it, but superscripting the verses allows you to omit the colon. I adopted it.

Ps 234-6

This was great! Not only is it faster, but in general it is more readable. My handwriting tends towards chaos, and the fewer marks the better. My notes are a combination of cursive, printing, personal shorthand, and the first few pages of Evans Shorthand. I have a much easier time reading my shorthand from 10+ years ago than my cursive. 🙂  The shorthand for “are” is a single upward right-leaning full-height stroke. My cursive “are” can look like an LSD-infused wasp swam in an ink bottle then rolled on the paper.


Sidebar two: I didn’t realize it when I started this post and took the photos of my old notes, but this is proof of my following the “Chapter of Proverbs for the Day” plan. I have long used a Bic 4-color pen for notes. Red is New Testament, Black is Old Testament, Green is Psalms, and Blue is Proverbs. My reading plan is at the top of the page, but it doesn’t include Proverbs. I just do it, based on the day of the month.

I chose this reference on purpose. Some of you may recognize there is something significant about this reference. Do you know what it is?

Ps 234-6

How about now? I use angle-brackets to indicate “the last.” The reference now includes the information that that passage starts in verse 4 and goes to the end of the chapter.

Ps 234-<6>

I also use the Omega character.

Ps 234-Ω

Being a bit of a math nerd, there are five different notations I can use to indicate the last verse of a book. I most often use the first, the double angle-brackets. (Link to the last chapter of Ezra.)

Ezra 10<<44>> Ezra <10><44> Ezra <10>Ω Ezra 10ΩΩ EzraΩΩ

As I look through my old notes, I’m glad I took the time to mark the “last” in my references. “Gen 28<22>” contains much more information than “Gen 2822“.

Are you following God's plan for your life? 
   You should.
      Your plan sucks.
      It really, really sucks.
      Suckage Maximus.

Most people are WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

Jesus is coming.
   Are you ready to meet Him?
   Give your life to Jesus Christ.
   Time is running out.

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