Is Highlighting a Sin in the Bible?

Is Highlighting a Sin in the Bible?
Written by Christopher Turk

Writing or highlighting verses is not directly addressed in the Bible. The Bible is a sacred book, and we know we should protect and care for it as Christians. Thus, some may question whether writing or highlighting Bible verses is a sin. 

Christians are expected to read the Bible to understand God’s words. Therefore, many Christians tend to highlight verses in the Bible as they read them to remember them later.

Writing and highlighting verses in your Bible while you spend time in prayer and devotion to the Lord is acceptable. God wants us to understand His word, so if highlighting or underlining key passages would make that happen, you can do it.

God doesn’t mind if you annotate your Bible because all you’re doing is reading it and trying to figure out how to memorize it, not altering what it says.

What Does the Bible Say About Highlighting Passages?

The Bible does not explicitly say that it is a sin to write or highlight anything in the Bible.

We can only say that in Revelation 22:18–19, altering or eliminating Scripture is what God deems to be a sin. Thus, we do not find harm in underlining or highlighting words.

We firmly believe that the Bible’s entire text was inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1.21). Since every word of the Bible is as valuable and includes the same amount of truth as every other word, it doesn’t matter whether I mark it with the color green or blue or whatever color I prefer to emphasize while in devotion.

Studying the Bible is more important than how you choose to highlight verses. Joshua 1:8 demonstrates that you should take the words of the Bible from the heart and do those words accordingly. From there, you will find the path to success and prosperity.

When Should You Not Highlight Verses on a Bible?

Writing or marking words and verses in your personal Bible is acceptable. Understandably, it will help you recall the words of God by putting marks or highlights on them. 

However, writing or highlighting anything on a Bible you borrowed from another person or a library is not acceptable. 

You can annotate your Bible however you see fit because it is your property. The things you underline or highlight in your Bible are private to you and God; they are not public.

Not everyone enjoys making notes in their Bible. Making notes or marking anything in another person’s Bible without that person’s consent would be wrong. The greatest thing you can do is respect them and refrain from writing on their copy of the Bible if they lend it to you to read.

Bottom Line

God is relational, and developing a connection with us is His top concern. God wants to ensure that you understand His Word, not because He is mad at you or preparing to punish you for marking up your Bible.

Whatever your preference, whether it be a black-and-white Bible, a colored Bible, or one that you mark up yourself, the most important thing is to strengthen your relationship with the Lord consistently. It is okay if underlining and taking notes while reading helps you accomplish that.

God has given the greatest gift: the knowledge of his thoughts and intentions revealed through his written word, making him wiser than all of his teachers (Psalm 119: 98-100). Let’s pray that we will appreciate it all for what it is and see it for what it is.

About the author

Christopher Turk

Christopher is the lead elder/pastor of the local Christian church in Penticton, British Columbia. He has a dedication to serving his Lord's church and a pulpit competence that honors the legacy of his predecessor. Christopher is a passionate visionary for the Lord and His Kingdom! His church ministry background spans over 30 years of full-time service.