photo credit: http://pixgood.com/bible-coffee.html
I am a writer at heart. I’ve always been a writer. I prefer paper and pencil myself, but really any medium works. I grew up crafting stories about fictional characters or taking historic events and bringing them to life via short stories. Learning comes to me best when I take a pencil to paper and jot down the ideas I am absorbing. For that reason and a few other preferential reasons I have taken to my own method of journaling over the past several years.
I use journaling as a form of documenting my own spiritual walk. My journals contain musings, scriptures, prayers, struggles, and conversations. Lately I’ve been going through a few different devotionals. One that is really challenging me and my outlook on life and myself is The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. Recently a friend introduced me to the online female community at She Reads Truth (www.shereadstruth.com) which is also an excellent devotional source that is written for women by women and includes a lot of relatable items for the average woman. She Reads Truth also includes cute sayings or memory verses at the end of each study that appeal to the creative side of many of the followers. Here is one of many of their awesome quotes:
My favorite author for female Bible Studies, however, is Beth Moore. She has so much insight into scripture and does a great job showing readers how to apply the Bible to our lives. She keeps me in check. I love it.
Anyway, journaling has become a ROCK for me. I rarely leave home without my journal and since I have a Bible App on my phone (She Reads Truth) I also always have the Bible on my person (although like with writing I’m pretty old school and still prefer my physical Bible over my virtual one).
When I was younger I was taught a really easy way to remember to study the Bible. This method is what I use most days when it comes to my own personal study and journaling. This method is called the “SOAP” method. This is what this Bible Study method looks like.
S= Scripture. Start by focusing on a piece of scripture. Sometimes it’s the scripture at the beginning of a devotion, or it could be a book you are going through on your own or with a small group. After you read the scripture through once put the main ideas you got from the reading into your own words so it is easy to understand and remember.
O=Observations. The next step in studying scripture is to observe not only what the text is saying but how it relates to the bigger picture of scripture. You should look for answers to the 4 W’s and an H questions. (who? what? when? why? how?) In order to make accurate observations of scripture you will need to consult a devotion, concordance, Bible dictionary, or other Bible reference materials. There are several online resources as well.
A=Application. I always try to pick out one or two ideas I can apply to my life and create a short mission for myself based on that section of scripture. This part of Bible study is so important. It is great to make observations and learn, but what good is growing in knowledge if you have no application of that knowledge?
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
P= After completing the first three steps in Bible study it is time to pray. You should always begin any study time with prayer for guidance from the Holy Spirit. (I guess I should have prefaced with that), but it is also super imperative to end your study time with discussion with God. I feel that sometimes this particular time doesn’t require a written prayer. Sometimes what God requires from us is silence and waiting. This is kind of a case by case thing so I can’t tell you what your prayer should look like. Just listen to God and let him DO WORK!
Here is an example of a Bible Study I did recently. This is from the first chapter of Hebrews. I purchased the reading supplements from She Reads Truth, so I cannot share any of that content, but I can recommend that any of you ladies out there looking for a good Bible Study resource download the App “She Reads Truth”. The app is free, but many of the Bible Studies cost a couple of bucks to download. I still recommend it. It’s great stuff 🙂
So pull up a comfy seat. Grab a cute journal, a Bible, and fun pen and begin your journey with God and SOAP. (Oh, and did I mention I always love to have a warm cup of coffee as a companion to any Bible study I partake in)
Happy journaling 🙂