My Bible Study Workflow

Oh !
I’ve gotten a few ‘‘aha’’ moments on my first reading of this. How kind of you to explain in such great detail. Would you believe it …am beginning to feel hopeful about my bible study efforts…yes!

To be honest I was worried about this…until I read further down…

Oh my oh my!
This has troubled me forever the bible is so deep and there’s a lot of overlapping that would make me feel dizzy trying to record properly…this book file index gives structure as well as freedom…wow…

This has been my struggle as well because His words are exceedingly broad as pointed out by the psalmist (119:96). There are many overlaps, and like John said, our Obsidian would not be able to contain it all (John 21:25). We can still try for our own growth and sanctification. So what’s the best way to logically organize them? Some study chapter by chapter and looking at things as a whole without getting into too much details. Chapter study is more like an overview/summary. It’s at the top looking down. Some study section by section. For example:

  • V.1-5
  • V.6-7
  • V.8-18
  • V.19-30

Notice that no verse is missing. But, what if V.5 and V.19 are meant to be studied together? How are you going to group it? Do you suddenly have: V.5,19 as one separate heading?

  • V.1-5
  • V.6-7
  • V.8-18
  • V.19-30
  • V.5,19

That kind of mess up the natural floating of the headings no matter where it’s placed. How about you want to study V.10-13, when you already have V.8-18? OR, what if you’re starting out studying V.10-13, but then later will study V.8-18 as one big section? What do you do? You already have V.10-13 as one heading, how will V.8-18 fit into all that… as another separate heading? This is the kind of overlapping that makes it difficult for those that are very serious with biblical studies. But for me, I find the most annoying overlap to be this:

  • V.1-5
  • V.6-10

Suppose later down the road, I want it to be V.5-10! How do I combine V.1-5 and V.6-10 together? Do I suddenly make it:

  • V.1-4
  • V.5-10 ?

There are a few methods I have come up: Pairing, Parent-Child verse etc… to solve these hiccups. That’s why there’s a [V.] and [v.] (notice the capitalization). We’ll discuss more of this later.

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Thank you for this thread. Watching each entry intently. :blush:

Curious what translation you use and how you got it into a note format. Are you copy/pasting from a website as needed? Or using something more technical?

Check out this thread for including the Bible in markdown.


The entire text of Scriptures is placed inside a blockquote. Before the introduction of Callout, I used Contextual Typography plugin to style it. Instead of “> [!SCRIPT]” (callout) it was “> #SCRIPT” (contextual plugin).

We all have a preferred translation and mine happens to be the KJV, but due to its old English, I went with NKJV instead, and since the NKJV is copyrighted it makes sharing impossible. If I could start all over I would go with the KJV, that way I can always use callouts to give a more modern translation when studying a specific verse or passage more in depth or just want to see how a passage is rendered in other translations as seen in Proverbs 20:5 (for example). You can be strict or loose with translation. For example, instead of having it as NKJV (or whatever your preferred translation is) for every chapter, you can have a few chapters that are in a different translation. Acts 2 in the attached image is from the ESV. The advantage of a callout is that you can specify the translation in the title!

Through trial and error I came up with something that works for me. There isn’t a Bible Kit out there for Obsidian in the kind of format or structure described here in this thread. So I have to do everything manually. I use OliveTree Bible app and copy/paste the text of Scriptures into Obsidian manually as needed.

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Yes! I’ve seen that a thorough study requires a comparison of different translations. Really good way to implement this. Please continue with the walkthrough. Sometimes life gets in the way and we fail to study these words of life. So how crucial it is to have a system that brings joy,for its ease of use and its effectiveness!

Thank you for the reply! I wondered if that was the case (copy/paste). I looked at the Bible kit that was referenced previously but it didn’t quite work for me. I think copy/paste is the way to go.

Also, love the idea of having a primary translation and then using callouts for different ones! Genius!!! And gives the user the ability to choose their preferred format.

The thing I like about this whole approach is that it involves two of my passions: Bible Study and intentional note taking. There’s something about having this type of process as part of my personal Scripture study that makes it even more appealing. Appreciate the work you’re doing to share your process!!!


The majority of us are not programmers and there’s not a kit out there that has the KJV (or other public domain translation) in a CSBS structure / format. So we have to start from scratch. CSBS is a bottom to top approach. You start off with a single or more verses without thinking too much about how they will all come together. You build things slowly, and wrap them, pair them, parent-child them and Callout-embed them as you move along. Wrap, Pair, Parent-Child, Callout-embed.

We have looked at the BOOK-OF file and here’s the overall and complete structure with css class for YAML (just a suggestion):

  • CSBS
    • Book-of .csbs-bookof
    • Chapter .csbs-chapter
    • Commentaries .csbs-cm
    • My Notes .csbs-mt
    • Page .csbs-page
      • Topic .csbs-page-topical
      • People .csbs-page-people
      • Article .csbs-page-article
      • Book .csbs-page-book
      • My Thought / Journal .csbs-page-mt

I’ll show how I put them all together and how this system helps me to study the Bible and aid me in theological discussions with others. Usually, you’ll spend a lot of time building the TOPIC and CHAPTER files. You’ll tend to it like a garden. Chapter files is where you do exegetical studies focusing on the finer details, verse by verse (micro). TOPIC files is where you pull together all passages of Scriptures from CHAPTER and many other files to build a TOPIC (macro). Here’s an example of a TOPIC file. It can be something simple, or complex (large). Usually you start off with not much, but it will grow as you tend to it. Constantly refining your topic file.

The fun part is building topic files. Topic files is where you go to when you need knowledge on a specific topic. It’s also a reflection of what you currently know about a particular topic/subject. As you research and study, you’ll build a lot of topic files. They will grow and link to one another. Topic file is where you connect theological dots. The more in depth your topic file is for a particular topic/subject, the better you will debate and discuss that particular topic. A few more samples:

TOPIC file links to many CHAPTER files for biblical support. It also link to many other files as well (commentaries, books, articles etc…). A lot of time, a topic is so vast that it stands on its own as a topic file and you link to it from a CHAPTER file. Otherwise your CHAPTER file will be bloated and complex. In a CHAPTER file, the idea is to keep things simple and clean (whenever possible) by linking to TOPIC, PEOPLE, ARTICLE, BOOK, COMMENTARY FILES etc…

If not, it could quickly end up looking something like this:

That’s why the COMMENTARY file is for commentaries. Commentary and My Note files have the same layout as Chapter file. We’ll get more into this later. There are a lot of nuances and overlaps when it comes to biblical studies and I have come up with a few techniques to get around it.

To be continued…


Hi !
Now I can begin to see an overall picture of your study method.
Though i do have some questions?
Would you kindly explain how much of the suggested Yaml data goes into each BOOK OF page ?
The list is rather long and I was wondering if its all neccesary?

Yes this too looks like my kind of fun thing to develop
,so are the topic pages set aside in advance? In anticipation of this, “tending” to,by way of scriptures and commentaries?

Then too,please help me see your viewpoint on these two confusing parts.
2. My comments.
What are you doing differently for each?

Its not so clear because to me the two are the same,that is ,they are comments. For me,it may also be in other words,’‘my thoughts on this matter’’.

What about you ?

Your explanations are very helpful. I look forward to your next posting (“v” or “V” etc.) …

Love this!! I’m starting to see a way to use this for my own studies and it is super exciting! Thank you for your work explaining everything.

Question: Do you do anything special with sermon notes? I take notes every week (and have for decades). Open to ideas on how to link/integrate/whatever those with this process. Thoughts?

I just came across this and I really want to learn more about this workflow. I am not a programmer so any CSS etc is pretty intimidating. it needs to have a clear purpose I think. I am not sure why each book would have its own CSS class?

please keep sharing - I really need a better workflow for intentional scripture study

I am not a programmer so any CSS etc is pretty intimidating.

Others have asked for the theme I’m using and it was coded in a single CSS so it’s very messy. This child theme was not built in a day, but over many months of using this bible study system in Obsidian. The theme was coded specifically for this bible system and the theme is constantly evolving as the system evolves. I have been busy looking into SASS and slowly rebuilding the theme from scratch so others can use it. Would be much easier and faster if there’s an Obsidian Theme SKELETON with everything setup and all you need to do is come in and make your changes/edits.

I am not sure why each book would have its own CSS class? … Would you kindly explain how much of the suggested YAML data goes into each BOOK OF page ?

I keep it simple. I know that you can do much more advanced stuff with the data-view plugin which is something I haven’t explored yet. For now, there are only two things I keep in mind:

  1. Styling with CSS
  2. Searching for biblical data

Example for Genesis:

cssclass: csbs-chapter, csbs-chapter-ot, csbs-chapter-genesis

The class is for styling. I haven’t made use of any yet but I know down the road I will so I have logically planned ahead so that I don’t have to go through each chapter and give it a cssclass later on. csbs-chapter targets ALL chapters. csbs-chapter-ot [or nt] targets the testaments. csbs-chapter-genesis targets just the book. Genesis 1 to 50 all have the same base cssclass and tags.

The tags are for searching. Let’s say I want to search for a keyword but I don’t remember where exactly, except that it’s somewhere in the Old Testament. Tags allow me to narrow down my search. In the search box, I type in something like this:

tag:#OLD_TESTAMENT scoffer understanding

And it gives me Proverbs 15:12, 21:11,16,30 etc… Or maybe I want to know where “Abraham” is mentioned in the New Testament:

tag:#NEW_TESTAMENT Abraham

You can do the same for page-commentaries etc… searching for data is something we’ll discuss later down the road. Hopefully you got an idea of why these tags are there (Styling / Searching).

so are the topic pages set aside in advance? In anticipation of this, “tending” to,by way of scriptures and commentaries? Its not so clear because to me the two are the same,that is ,they are comments. For me,it may also be in other words,’‘my thoughts on this matter’’.

“Commentaries” and “My Notes” are specifically for the Chapter you’re studying. They both mirror the format of the Chapter and to keep things organized and neat. Whereas “My Thoughts / Journal” are files that can stand alone. When you debate or have a discussion online, or when you want to flesh out a theological thoughts, they usually stand on their own. I’m typing out all this responses in Obsidian and they aren’t for any specific CHAPTER. I have written hundreds+ of theological notes (standalone) that CHAPTER and TOPIC files linked to. I’ll discuss how to setup later.

Do you do anything special with sermon notes? I take notes every week (and have for decades). Open to ideas on how to link/integrate/whatever those with this process. Thoughts?

My note taking is a bit different from most people. I’m not good at taking notes by writing out thoughts on the spot. When listening to a sermon or hearing a teaching, I’m more focused on and looking for Scriptures references. I do the connecting and thinking LATER so that I don’t miss the spirit of what’s being talked about and also theological connections always fill my mind when listening and I don’t want to miss these connections in my mind so I write them down. This might not make a lot of sense and I just remember that I wrote something on this so I’ll check later to see if I still have it.


Yeah,this clears it up,pretty much. Thanks,as usual you’ve really thought this through. Thanks for sharing your hard earned work flow with us newbies.

@BibleStudy - I’ve just discovered Obsidian, and my intent was to use it exclusively for Bible Study. I’m very interested in your study flow, as it is very similar to what I’ve been trying to set up for myself. I see that you haven’t posted since July, 2022. Will you be adding further to your workflow in the future?

Thank you for sharing what you have. It has been extremely beneficial to me.

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Thanks for great inspiration to studying the Bible within Obsidian. Lots of takeaways here. Just wondering: How did you manage to format the verse numbering as you’ve done? I mean, within the callout. It’s so clean, and a massive aid in readability.

Hello @BibleStudy,

Recently I came across your post and started to follow it very carefully, because the subject interests me and I like the way you organize your system for the bible (although I don’t have everything fully understood).

I was wondering if there was a way to be able to contact you in order to have more details, because I would like to study the bible, but for the moment I am doing it wrong.

In any case, if you come back here by chance, give us a sign and congratulations for your work.

Happy Easter