Jonathan Edwards’s Note-Taking System and How You Can Replicate It at Home

One of the great legacies that Jonathan Edwards left to us is his personal thought project called the Miscellanies. In these personal notebooks, Edwards muses on over 1,500 different theological and Biblical topics. Everything from Aaron to Zion is covered in this handwritten project which encompassed several decades of his thinking with pen and ink in hand. Reading the Miscellanies is somewhat like having a bus ticket deep into the interior regions of Edwards’s mind. Many sections of the Miscellanies were, of course, reproduced in his public writings, but we must acknowledge that the thought process was first born in his personal set of notebooks.

Of course, these Miscellanies now come to us as prepared and printed volumes of the Edwards Yale definitive collection and interested readers can own them in their own library. But this is also intriguing to me — can his general system of note-taking be borrowed and utilized today? I think it can.

Recently, I have thought about how a modern pastor, writer, or theologian can replicate this system, and the below video demonstrates a simple way that we can all begin our own system of Miscellanies.

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