How to use Scripture Notes with a Podcast or Video Commentary

May 02
Woman listening to podcast at computer

Do you have a photographic memory? Maybe a stellar “mind palace” that you store everything in? Probably not. So how do you store all the cool things you learn about the scriptures?

There’s no way you can record all your insights in the margins of paper scriptures.

Some people use a separate paper journal or yellow note pad to write them down. I’ve done this and have a small stack of pads I’ve never (or very rarely) reviewed. That information isn’t quick to find when I’m studying the scriptures. Neither is my file cabinet which contains a fair bit of stuff I’ve saved.

In today’s digital world we want things at our fingertips with instant recall. When someone shares a cool insight, we want to store it, but especially retrieve it later. Writing things on paper doesn’t facilitate easy recall and disappears from memory pretty fast.

When I hear something at church of interest, I either write it down, or open up an email on my cell phone and send it home for looking up more on it later and saving the thought in Scripture Notes. But if I’m listening to a podcast or video commentary of some kind, here’s what I do with Scripture Notes to facilitate taking notes.

Setting Up

Multiple Monitors

If I’m listening to a podcast that can be downloaded, I like to download it and play it using the GOM Player Plus app. This lets me control the speed of the playback so I can listen at a faster rate but then pause when something is said that I want to record or research more. The Apple Quicktime app also has a speed control, and watching a video on YouTube and other video platforms, you have speed control options.

I put this app on my smaller screen so my larger screen can run Scripture Notes and I can take notes there.

If I can’t download the content, I will drag the tab off my browser bar so the podcast or video player is in a free floating browser of it’s own, and then put it on my smaller screen.

Drag browser tab

Single Monitors

If you have a single monitor you can still open it like this to make it faster to switch to using alt-tab on a Window’s machine. If you’re on a Mac, it’ll be faster to switch between apps if you use a different browser to play the content from, from the browser you’ll use to take notes in Scripture Notes. Then the Command-tab keystroke will flip you between screens faster.

You can also reduce the width of your main browser to put the floating browser next to it like this screenshot shows. Just shrink the floating browser to the point you can just access the control panel and then your Scripture Notes app can function nearly full screen along with having the playback next to it.

Single screen

Most keyboards have play controls for audio/video content so as you listen, you may be able to just pause playback from your keyboard as well.

Storing Notes

If the podcast you are listening to is commentary based, follow along in the scriptures with your note pane expanded.

Reading with notes

If something interesting is said about a verse, make a note of it. Mark up the verses as you go. You are looking for insight that you want to preserve, and ways to make the scriptures more plain to understand the next time to come to these verses which perhaps could be years in the future.

Going Deeper – Quotes

Did the person you’re listening to share an interesting quote or share something really insightful?

Could that quote or insight apply to multiple verses?

Pause the podcast and do a search for additional related content. Don’t just store the quote by the verse, create a collection note from search results that relate to the statement.

For example, here is a great quote from Neal A. Maxwell.

“How can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, ‘Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then, let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!'”

If I wanted to preserve this quote in a way that I could find it from verses that might relate to this concept, I would try doing some immediate searches for:








Actually doing them with wildcard endings would be better to pick up other forms like grie* would contain: grief, griefs, grieved, grievous, grieveth, grieve, grievously, grievousness, grieving, grievance, grieves, and grievances.

You could also look those words up in the Topical Guide in the library study helps section.

As you look up all these references, build a collection note and type up the quote into the master note area. Add tags to the collection to help facilitate finding it later, and save the note.

Now you have that great quote associated with many different verses which you can access it from so if you’re building a talk or doing a lesson that uses that verse, you can easily find the quote you loved and consider including it.

TIP: If someone shares a lengthy quote from someone, instead of trying to type it all up, open a new tab in your browser and do a search for part of the quote along with the name of the person being quoted. You’ll almost always find that quote somewhere online and can copy/paste it back into your notes.

Going Deeper 2 – Scripture References

What about interesting cross-references a person shares? I was just listening to a Book of Mormon podcast this phrase I’ve underlined was talked about.

Mormon 6:7. And it came to pass that my people, with their wives and their children, did now behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they await to receive them.

What is this awful fear that fills the breast of all the wicked?

The podcast author mentioned it can be found in Alma 34:32-35 and Helaman 13:36-38. Those verses talk about the “awful crisis” of those who procrastinate the day of their repentance. The way I tied these together was when I heard the word procrastinate, I did a search for it like this:


That actually found 4 results, 3 of which were in those references. The other was in Alma 13:27 and related to this as well so I found a relevant verse the podcast didn’t mention. Then I created a collection note from these 4 results, used the up/down arrows to add in the extra verses for those ranges, dragged Mormon 6:7 into it, and now I have a collection of these verses to study from or just associate together.

Collection note on awful fear

I could even look for more verses that use the word “awful” (and interestingly, I just discovered it appears only in the Book of Mormon, 45 times, and awfulness once).

Going deeper is only constrained by your time and interest. I have found some wonderful insights in the scriptures by doing this.


If you have another tip for people who listen to podcasts and watch videos for content, share it in the comments below.

(image by fizkes at

How to use Scripture Notes with a Podcast or Video Commentary How to use Scripture Notes with a Podcast or Video Commentary

    About the Author

    Oak Norton - Sometimes inspired, sometimes perspired.

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