Even when I was in college, I demurred highlighting my textbooks. My friends were well-equipped, it seemed, with fluorescent pens of all colors. And every used volume in the bookstore seemed filled with someone else’s study priorities.
One of my favorite spiritual writers is the Australian Trappist Michael Casey. In his book, Toward God, he offers some thoughts on lectio divina in chapter 7. I recommend the whole book, but the chapter on lectio all by itself is quite good. Fr Casey offers six “practical consequences” as the believer moves from reverence into an encounter with God’s Word. Number one is:
What is holy is our reading of the text, that is, welcoming it into a believing heart. The text itself possesses a sacredness too. No harm will be done by surrounding the book of the Bible with care and love. It helps to have as good an edition as our budget allows. We should respect and cherish our Bible–not scribbling on it–as if to impose our own poor thoughts upon the text–but reverencing it in its integrity.
I suspect my instinct for not writing in books is more nurture, not spiritual nature. But I do have in the back of my Psalter a place for a post-it note where I write the names of people to keep in prayer. It’s a tradition of which I could likely make better use.