How to Start Verse Mapping: A Beginner’s Guide to Bible Study by Verse

Verse Mapping

If you have studied the Bible for a while, you know there are many different Bible study methods. Verse mapping is a popular verse by verse Bible study method.

If you have ever asked yourself, what is the best way to study the Bible? Verse mapping may become one of your favorite Bible study methods.

Get started verse mapping with this step by step guide to Bible study by verse.

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What is Verse Mapping?

Bible verse mapping is a Bible study method that takes you on a deep dive study into one Bible verse for a better understanding and application of that one verse.  When Bible verse mapping you will study the historical context of the verse, meaning of keywords in the verse, and the chapter context of the verse.

Verse mapping is great for daily study and homeschoolers to do a deep-dive study by verse with your kids.

Here’s a verse mapping worksheet to get you started:

Bible Verse Mapping: Step by Step Bible Study by Verse

Gather Your Study Materials

Before you start your Bible verse mapping study, you will need a few basic tools. Here’s what you need:

Choose your verse

Next, choose a verse you would like to study in-depth. One of the easiest ways to choose a verse is to just select a verse from the passage you are currently reading.

Write the verse in your journal or on a Bible Verse Mapping worksheet.

As you write the verse think about which words stand out to you. Underline the important words or words you don’t know the meaning of.

Know Who, What, When, Where, and Why

As you start a Bible Study by verse, think like a reporter. Ask yourself the basic questions an investigative reporter would ask. 

Who wrote this verse? Who were they writing to?

What is it about?

When was it written?  Understanding the historical context can give the verse new meaning. Knowing the historical situation enhances the verse’s meaning.

Where was it written?  What is important to know about this location?  Was it written from jail like many of the New Testament epistles?  Was it written by a prophet when the Israelites were captive like books in the Old Testament?

Why was the verse written? What is the application for your life today?

Define words you don’t know

Any words you marked as important or don’t understand should be marked for further study. 

Choose 3-5 keywords to study deeper. You will look these words up in a dictionary and Bible concordance to better understand their meaning within the context of your chosen verse.

Study the context of the verse

Your understanding of the verse would not be complete if you didn’t read the context of the verse.  What else is said in the chapter with this verse?  What is said in the verses before this verse and the verses after this verse?

If the verse is part of a story (like in the Old Testament), make sure you fully understand the story and situation.

Make an application to your life

The last step is to make a life application based on the study of the verse. 

By looking deep into the verse, you may discover a new or hidden truth. You may be reminded of an old truth.

The Bible always has meaning and value. Don’t just assume because you have heard a verse many times there is nothing new you can learn. Search for a new or previously missed meaning and application.

I frequently find the Bible verses I read each day (even if I have known them all my life) can take on new meaning to me based on the circumstances currently in my life. Don’t underestimate the power of God’s Word to impact and change you.

Example Bible Verse Mapping Study

To help you understand how Bible verse mapping works, let’s go step by step and map a Bible verse.

To start, I’m gathering my materials, my study Bible, my Bible verse mapping worksheet and my favorite pen.

Choosing a verse to study

Next, I’m choosing a Bible verse to study. The easiest way to choose a verse is to choose a verse from your daily Bible reading passage.

For this example, I’m going to use Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (ESV)

I started by writing my Bible verse. I highlighted my focus words in the verse above.

History of the verse

I began my study asking: who, what, when, where, and why for this verse. For the historical context, I read the book introduction in my study Bible. You can also do a search by the book or verse reference on the internet.

Who wrote this verse? My Bible stated Solomon wrote much of Proverbs, but this chapter is not identified as a proverb of Solomon. So it’s not 100% clear if Solomon wrote it. 

What is this verse about? Proverbs in general are wise sayings. This verse is advice for a son or daughter but has a broader application for everyone.

When was it written?  The exact time was unknown.  It’s estimated the book was written during the reign of Solomon (the 10th century) or but the book may not have been completed until 400 B.C during the time of Erza.

Where was it written? Israel

Why was it written? Proverbs is a series of wise sayings for life.  Each verse provides wise counsel and insight we can use in our daily life.  

From the history, we know that Proverbs tells us how to practically apply God’s law. The examples are still applicable today. 

Defining my keywords

From this verse, I chose: fear, beginning, wisdom, knowledge, and insight as my keywords to study.

For this study, I used an online dictionary, but you could use a printed dictionary too.  Here are the definitions:

fear – to reverence, a reverential awe

beginning – the first cause or origin

wisdom – the right use or exercise of knowledge, human learning

knowledge – clear and certain perception of what exists, truth and fact

insight – deep inspection, sight or view of the interior of anything

What does this mean to me?

Here’s the application I found from this verse study:

Respect and reverence for God and His awesomeness is the origin of knowing and exercising knowledge.  The truth found in God allows for deep insight and understanding.

Knowledge and understanding from God is the origin and foundation of all wisdom and understanding (i.e. use caution with human understanding and reject human knowledge that is not consistent with God’s knowledge and understanding).

This verse could also be studied with Proverbs 3:5-6 which tells us to trust in the Lord and not to depend on our own understanding.  Usually, we apply Proverbs 3:5-6 to trust God in our circumstances, but it could also be understood with Proverbs 9:10 that we should not trust our own knowledge apart from the knowledge and understanding from God.

That’s how you can do your own verse mapping. You can make your study as in-depth as you would like.  If you use a journal, you would have all your verse mapping studies in one place to review anytime.

This flexible Bible study method can be adjusted based on your time restraints and interests.

Time to get started with your first verse mapping. What Bible verse will you choose to study?


How to start verse mapping. Easy step by step - Bible study by verse method.

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