25 Mark the Scriptures

Teaching The Gospel A CES Resource for Teaching Improvement, (2000), 89–90

Principle to Emphasize

“Scripture marking helps both teachers and students note important words, phrases, ideas, people, and events and makes them easier to remember and find” (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 33).

Suggested Training Activities (50 minutes)


Have teachers carefully read the section entitled “Mark the Scriptures” (handbook, 33). Ask:

  1. How can scripture marking help both teachers and students? (see handbook, 33).

  2. How do you encourage your students to mark the scriptures as you teach?

  3. Why do you suppose it is best not to teach a particular marking system?


Read together the following statement given to new mission presidents by President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Mark the Scriptures

“See that [the missionaries] read the revelations, and they mark the scriptures. Now, once again, how should they mark them? I think we would make a major mistake to get out a program. We are so good at that; get out a program, here’s the way you do it. Just don’t do that! Teach them to mark the scriptures; they may need only a suggestion or two. We are getting now so that we are so organized and so formalized and so patterned and so consistent that we are losing the intimacy and the individuality of simplystudying and praying and learning” (“Missionaries and Doctrine” [address given at new mission presidents’ seminar, 22 June 1999], 7).

Ask teachers:

  1. What did President Packer charge mission presidents to do?

  2. What did President Packer say would be a “major mistake” in teaching others to mark the scriptures?

  3. How can teachers encourage students to read the revelations and mark the scriptures without violating the counsel not to “get out a program”?


Show presentation 26, “Mark the Scriptures” (7:15). Invite teachers to listen for what helped “open the scriptures anew” for Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Following the video, ask teachers:

  1. What helped “open the scriptures anew” for Elder Eyring?

  2. What can we learn about marking the scriptures from his experience?

Remind teachers that we are counseled, “It is better to teach the basic elements of scripture marking than to teach a particular marking system” (handbook, 33). Ask:

  1. Rather than teach Elder Eyring’s “particular marking system,” how can you pass on to your students “the basic elements of scripture marking” that he emphasized?

  2. What other basic elements of scripture marking have you discovered?

  3. What are some ways you have marked your scriptures that opened your mind and heart to be taught?

List teachers’ answers on the board.

Group Work

This activity is designed to help teachers prepare to give students suggestions for marking the scriptures. Organize teachers into pairs. Distribute copies of handout 23 and invite teachers to explore one or more ways of marking Doctrine and Covenants 25 (for example, underlining, highlighting, drawing vertical lines or boxes, bracketing, circling, shading, numbering, annotating, crossreferencing). Ask teachers to mark the chapter in a way that makes certain passages easier to remember and find. Invite them to share with the in-service group what they chose to mark, how they marked it, and why. Ask teachers:How did marking Doctrine and Covenants 25 “open the scriptures anew” for you?


Invite teachers to write their answers to the following question:

As I teach, how can I introduce the basic elements of scripture marking to “help students learn how to read and study the scriptures for themselves so that the students can feel the Spirit teaching them the important truths of the gospel”? (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 32).

Encourage teachers to mark their scriptures, to open them anew, and to teach their students to do likewise in an upcoming lesson. Have teachers share their experience of applying what they have learned (with a colleague or in the next in-service meeting).