I tried colored pencils instead of the liquid highlighters, and those worked to some extent. But the problem I found with colored pencils was that if they were too sharp, they could actually tear the page. Then, too, they just never seemed to be bright enough to suit me, and they just didn't last long enough.
I discovered a solution several years ago, and have been using it ever since--crayons! Yes, crayons.
There are several advantages to using crayons to highlight your Bible.
First, they don't cost very much. This time of year, with schools starting back up again, you can find them on sale almost anywhere. Open the box, remove the ones you'll use and discard the rest. Or pass them along to someone else who has need of the darker colors.
Second, they don't fade. I have Bibles which I marked years ago, and the highlighting is just as bright today as ever. If I were to leave my Bible in the sun or in a hot car, that might be different. Crayons are made of wax, so the markings could leave a mess if exposed to prolonged periods of heat.
Third, crayons do not bleed through, even on Bible paper.
Fourth, there is the added option of using several different colors, even in the same verse. Think about that: if I highlight a passage of Scripture, then using only one color in effect means that the passage is not highlighted at all. If all the lines look the same, then nothing stands out. For example, I have marked 1 John 3:22, which reads in the NIV, "And receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him."
Most of the verse is in yellow, but I have colored the word "because" in maroon, so that one word stands out from all the rest. So when I read that verse the next time, I may see emphasis on why we "receive from him anything we ask." It is "because" we obey the Lord.
Fifth, you can even set up your own color-coding system, so that Scriptures on spiritual growth could be highlighted with green, promises in yellow, and so forth. I haven't done this, simply because it seems to be a lot of extra work.
Sixth, you might use one color in a particular passage to highlight words or themes that recur over and over. For instance, Psalm 119 uses several different words to describe God's Word. So I would go through Psalm 119 and use one color to highlight individual words such as "statutes," "precepts," "laws," and "commands."
Finally, for just a moment or two, you get to be a kid again, coloring happily away as a part of your devotional time or Bible study! If someone walks in on you, they'll see a grown-up coloring in a book, which gives you a chance to explain why you use crayons!
When purchasing your crayons, it might be a good idea to pick up a pencil box to store them in, rather than the original box. I keep mine in a coffee mug, which makes it easier to move around from room to room.
The brighter colors of regular crayons will do just fine, and I have used various brands through the years. The one I like the most, though, are the neon crayons. They may be a little hard to find, but the colors are brighter than any others I've seen and seem to make the words jump off the page.
Hopefully, these marking tips will help you explore the Scriptures more thoroughly, and have fun while doing it!
--Rocky Henriques, www.uticabc.com