Thoughts on the Changes in the Notes….

Hey all!

As you all probably have seen by now, the format of the notes for BSF has changed.  I would like to get your thoughts as to what you like and what you didn’t like about the changes.

I’ll go first:  did not like the scripture references being footnoted.  I found myself flipping back and forth to see what BSF was quoting and in the process it interrupted the flow of what the notes were trying to convey.  I struggled to remember what I had just read in those flipping moments and found myself re-reading a lot.

Didn’t like how a lot was in bold.  That was distracting to the eye as well while I was reading.  Plus, when things are in bold, the eye tends to just read the bold and skip over the rest.  I found myself constantly fighting this reaction.

Never been a fan of the boxes and charts.  I tend to gloss over those.  That may be just me.

And I didn’t like the pull-out boxes of what BSF had just said repeated in gray boxes.  I tend to not read those either.

Does anyone read footnotes in books?  No, not really.  I fear the same here.  Now that the scripture references are footnoted I believe less people will look them up.  A shame, really.  It makes it seem as if it is “extra”, which it is, but the deeper learning aspect has been buried it seems.  It just seemed easier to me to look up the passage while I was reading–not after the fact.

Loved the content as always.  Great stuff and learned a bunch.  Just not crazy about the changes.  It’s a bit more work it seems to me.

Please comment below on what you liked and didn’t like.

41 comments on “Thoughts on the Changes in the Notes….

  1. Norma says:

    I did not like the bold print because I feel awkward highlighting it when I read through. Kinda like highlighting ahead line. I believe it’s easy to get lost on the page since the flow has been broken with boxes and charts. Not fond of the changes

  2. LeeAnn says:

    I love the footnotes at the end! I can read them at my leisure which helps me get through the notes much faster. I also like looking them all up at once & then thinking about what the notes said about them again. I think it reinforces what I just read. I also don’t like all the text in boxes b/c it is distracting. But I think it is there for those who don’t read the notes & just want a cursory glance. At least they are getting the high points instead of not getting anything at all.

  3. Gloria says:

    I don’t care for the footnotes. I prefer to have scripture references in the body of the notes. Also, I’m not fond of the repetition in the gray boxes. However, the content is still rich and meaningful.

  4. Becky says:

    I actually like them. I love the chart and the items in bold. I didn’t look up any of the scripture in the footnotes. I found them easy to read and enjoyed them very much@!

  5. Janet says:

    I love all the changes – I am approaching 70, and the format makes reading so much clearer. I also love the use of ‘bold’ – I love the emphasis, and I don’t find it at all minimizes the importance of what surrounds the bolded passage.

  6. Diane Boulter says:

    I didn’t like ANYTHING about the notes. I agree about the dark boxes take away from what
    we’re to read. The notes aren’t as good either. Diane

  7. mrlsbennett says:

    Can’t leave a post on word press on my phone. So silly.  I didn’t like them at all. Seems like everything is fighting for attention so it’s hard to focus. So glad it wasn’t just me resisting change. They really need a lesson in type setting and publication rules! Marlis

  8. Martha says:

    I love the changes. It’s a refreshing change. I like the boxes as it breaks things up. Apparently those that are fussing about the page set-up just don’t like change, Well, I guess I like things to change up a bit. As with anything, YOU WILL GET USED TO IT. Just try to find the good in what they have done and just GO WITH IT!! God’s blessings to you all!

  9. tonia roni says:

    I like the notes but I see what you mean about the footnotes. I hadn’t noticed because when I read the notes I never look up the scriptures anyway. After the class, the lecture, then read the notes and answer that second question, I’m done with that lesson and ready to start on the next. I did like the charts, though, I can grasp those better than I can if it’s just text. I thought the information in this lesson was phenominal, and was amazed when I reached the last pge…I like history, though, and found these notes extremely interesting.

  10. d says:

    The notes are OK so far but I am so unhappy with the tiny bit of space we have to write our answers. If I am to go back later and use what I wrote just a couple of words won’t do it. I know a second sheet of paper for the questions is costly but come on. Does anyone else have an issue with this?

    • Yes, I have an issue with it. I’ve taken to typing the lessons out on my computer, as I have arthritis in my hand and it’s hard to write very much. Typing it makes me think more about the question, and therefore I have lots of space to answer. Then I print out those pages before leaving for BSF class.

  11. Sharon says:

    This is my first year with BSF, so I don’t know how the lesson looked before. But I do agree that having to flip back and forth to see the scripture references was a pain. It kind of made it seem as if those references weren’t that important.
    Also, there’s very little room to write. The directions I was given in class said to simply write a few words to remind me what I wanted to say. I don’t work that way. So, I’ve added a note pad to answer fully. I generally quote scripture and there wasn’t enough room.

    • kalliekaykat says:

      Sharon, they told us to write our answers in the small spaces, too. I think group time lasts less than 40 minutes, so each question is only given a minute or two. In order for more people to participate, everyone needs to keep his/her answers short and to the point. However, if those long answers are for your personal use only, that is great.

      • atozmom says:


        Welcome to BSF!

        I gave up two years ago trying to fit my answers (as you can probably tell from the length of my answers) into the spaces. I print them out on separate pages and take them to class and write absolutely nothing down on the pages they give us so it often looks like I don’t do my work. It usually runs 4 pages.

        Of course, when I answer questions in class, I don’t say the whole thing. But I do read my whole answer and then I am able to come up with a summation.

        My advice: do what you need to do to learn. Don’t let constraints hinder you. Just go around them!

  12. Michelle says:

    After doing this for 13 years, I like the change. I like the boxes, it helps when you go back later to refer to certain topics. i also prefer the scriptures at the end which are footnoted, easier to look up things based on topic. People will always find things they like and don’t like about either format. Since BSF is condensing all their courses to 30 weeks & therefore reformated all of the lessons, get used to it ladies, the change isn’t going anywhere.

  13. kalliekaykat says:

    I like the changes very much. I read everything but was happy to see the important points being bolded. I also loved the chart will be referring back to it all year. MY group leader told us the notes were revised because too many people were skimming the notes or skipping over them entirely. Therefore, they hoped the change would ensure that more people read them. I am absolutely positive that BSF leadership reads this blog. I wonder how they feel when they read criticism about something they prayed over and tried so hard to accomplish successfully

    • Michelle says:

      I often wonder that too. When you know how hard they worked on it and the prayer that went into it (and it’s a study we get for free), it always pinches a little when I see people criticize things. I realize people are just expressing their opinion but it bums me out a little all the same.

    • atozmom says:

      I think you give me too much credit. I’m the opposite: I don’t think BSF leadership reads this blog at all. After all, who cares what I have to say? I’m just one of thousands…

      Definition of criticism according to Webster’s: “to consider the merits and demerits of and judge accordingly.”

      I’m giving my honest opinion of what I thought of the revised notes. I didn’t like them. There’s nothing wrong with speaking the truth. How else is BSF supposed to know if they succeeded in their goal or not if no one speaks truthfully?

      It’s like saying “I’m fine” when asked “How are you?” when you are really depressed and miserable if that be the case. We cannot learn and grow without honest feedback and yes, criticism, as you call it.

      When I write, I crave criticism. Otherwise, my work REALLY stinks without it.

      Here’s the deal: those same people who don’t read the notes and who skim over them will STILL not read the notes and skim over them. They are cheating only themselves and missing an opportunity to grow with God. In my humble opinion (that I believe not many read or care about), I think BSF cannot change that no matter what they do or how hard they try.

      So if BSF is catering to those people, then it’s a mistake. It is not BSF’s job to make people read the notes. Sure, it’s nice that they are trying. But why bother in the long run?

      Either you crave knowledge of God or you don’t. Either you half-@@@ your relationship with Him or you don’t. Either way it’s between you and God. And God knows if you are cheating Him.

      • Michelle says:

        AtoZ I do not believe they changed to notes to entice those who were skipping them. As you said those that skip them are cheating themselves. Nothing can be done about that. i for one havd read every word of every notes BSF has provided in my 13 years. i’m richer for it. I do believe that they changed them to highlight certain points and to make to scripture references easier to look up based on topic.

      • atozmom says:

        Hey Michelle,

        I was responding to kalliekaykat who said her group leader said they changed the notes to “ensure more people would read them.”

        I’m sure there were many motivations behind the changes–what you said and what kalliekaykat said and probably others.

        My post was on the results of the changes–not to speculate on the motivations behind nor to offend those who made the changes. Merely, to offer “commentary” as I am wont to do on all things BSF.

        I am all about change as you know. It’s not the change itself per se I am against; it’s the end result that’s just not my cup of tea. And I was wondering how others felt for we all carry our individual preferences with us.

        Thanks to all for chiming in!

  14. Blessing says:

    God is good-love the changes, it adds new dimension to the learning process. Change is good for the learning process to be effective.

  15. Marcia says:

    I cannot copy them in the proper day order. It would be helpful if you would start each “day” with a new page. If I want to run them off to help study, day 5 comes up as the last page run off. Day 1 should be the last page or else I have to play paper dolls. Thanks and I do enjoy your blog. I am just learning to read the bible and you have helped me see the questions more clearly. I feel so dumb in these classes. Learned alot of Genesis last year and hope to do so in Matthew. Thanks for your dedication

    • atozmom says:


      As long as you are using my answers to help you in your study, I don’t mind you printing them off. Using them as your own, I do mind.

      Please see this post:

      It explains how I wish this site to be used.

      Believe me, it would be more confusing with multiple pages and eventually I’d run out of pages. Once I post, I cannot change the order.

      • Marcia says:

        NO, no, I don’t use your answers as my own. Most of the time, I don’t fill out until class. I tend to study like college. know every DETAIL, and and from maybe through additional text books from the library. This I must stop, I also need to look for a good bible with commentary and haven’t found one. Do you know of one. Keep up the good works. LThis will probably be my laSt year in BSF.

      • atozmom says:


        Most study bibles have great commentary and background information. I have a Zondervan NIV study bible that I use.

        Please don’t take offense at my saying not to use my answers. I have had trouble in the past with this especially last year (see this post:

        Take care!

      • Marcia says:

        Bible Study is like a history lesson and and I like charts and maps, however, it is really time consuming and I can’t seem to lessen the time. Usually spend aboaut 12 hours late into Sunday night to study. As I said sometimes I don’t fill in the blank. Appreciate the time you contribute to the study.

  16. Chris Owens says:

    No, I don’t particularly care for the footnotes reference section either!

  17. I agree with all of your comments, but I also realize that it takes us about 30 days to be able to judge changes. Our brains just need a little time to digest change and insert them as a new normal.

  18. Kim Edwards says:

    I preferred the old style of notes. It seemed, at least for me, to flow better. They seemed less confusing, less busy. But I do appreciate that BSF wants to stay current and change as needed to meet the needs of students. But I do agree that I miss having the references in the body of the notes versus at the end.

  19. Carolyn Vaughan says:

    I can agree with you about the footnotes, but I really like everything about it.  It grabs my eye more that the old notes. Thanks for all you do to make my Bible Study a little easier. Your sister in Christ, Carolyn 

  20. jenneroos says:

    I agree that the footnotes are a speed bump for those who like to look up the references. I think most skip them, so the notation is easier to skip. I put a line and star on the margin for the references I wanted to pursue. It lost steam by the time I looked it up, but that was my choice to delay rather than flip pages. I respect the goal of accessibility that BSF is working on. Do you think the studious types can go out of their way a little in order to ease the way for those who aren’t used to the intensity of the BSF study?

    I like this blog.

  21. says:

    I do understand about the foot notes. However, I really like the appearance. It is more of an eye catcher than the old format.

  22. P8triotMom says:

    I liked having the scripture references where they were applicable and not footnotes. Sometimes things are better left alone.”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

  23. elizabeth says:

    i love the new notes. They look neater than before. I appreciate all the work BSF does to make their bible study interesting.

  24. Michelle says:

    I do not like them at all and it has nothing to with change because as a christian you have to always be ready for change. To me the new format is to elementary, it’s like they did all the work for you. I was told in BSF that they changed it because people were complaining about to much reading and was skipping through them. It’s shame, why come to bible study if you’re not going to do the whole study. I struggle very hard with the bold print and references because I like to bold what the Holy Spirit illuminates for me and I like to look up my own scriptures. In fact I had to redirect myself because I found myself gazing over the notes and going straight to the questions. I wish they would have kept the old format and just added this format for newcomers. Just my personal thoughts.

    • Michelle says:

      That would require printing two set of notes Michelle. That would be crazyfor them to do. Too expensive. Remember BSF is free. they depend on donations to survive so they are good stewards of their resources. In time you’ll get used to them, the content is what matters and we still have the same Holy Spirit to illuminate things to you, He’s not subject to the perceived limitations of a particular format. Also, I don’t believe that’s why they changed the notes. They had no way of knowing how many people do read and don’t read the notes. I believe that may have been conjecture on someone’s part. They’ve condensed all the studies down to 30 weeks and in the process they modernized the notes. The content is rich and enlightening. The scripture references are still there. That’s what matters most :)

  25. Dana Pittman says:

    I am a new reader to your blog and I really enjoy following your lessons for BSF.

    I find discussions great but sometimes the limited time waters down the content covered in the lesson. Thus, I find your posts awesome to bounce around with my thoughts.

    Now to your question. I like the new notes because I love footnotes. I am the weird one that pulls nearly every scripture and will jot down notes to help round out my summary.

    I also like the charts. What I don’t enjoy is the bolded sections. I prefer bolded titles and subtitles. But when they bold repeatedly it disturbs my highlighting. (I know…weird.)

    I found myself note highlighting because a sentence or two was bolded. However, I find this limiting because it is as if they are selecting what they deem to be important.

    Personally, I’d like to make that determination.

    With that said, I appreciate the work and effort they put into the notes. I look forward to following your blog.

    Take care and God bless.

  26. Sweet Mama says:

    I like the new style notes. The only thing that would make me happier would be if they were in color and I know that’s not possible or cost effective. It breaks it up visually for me. My eyesight isn’t the greatest and the additional white space and bold words help me.

    I really appreciate the footnotes being separate. One of our leaders in our leaders’ meeting said, “It’s like meeting old friends. I knew the Scriptures but had forgotten many of the addresses.” I feel the exact same way!!! Reading them the day before leaders’ training really helps me and my memory.

    I am so excited about them putting the memory verse at the top of the notes, too. It’s a great challenge to add that to your lesson each week. Jesus used God’s Holy Word to answer the Devil during His temptation. I’m challenging myself to add memorization to my time with God and the footnotes and memory verse are a huge help!

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