One of the most effective ways to go deep in the Word is through journaling our thoughts and prayers in response to what we read and study in the Bible.
Someone said, “thoughts disentangle themselves when they go from our mind through our pen on to paper (or computer).” I personally can affirm that there is no time in which I sense the Holy Spirit speaking to me through the Word more than when I am journaling. Perhaps at the core of what it means to study the Bible is simply the discipline that comes with writing things down.
The S.O.A.P model has been so helpful as an outline in my life for doing this.
· Scripture - Write down the Scripture from your reading that most impacted you that day.
· Observation - Write down what you see in the Scripture that stood out to you.
· Application - Answer how this Scripture apply to your life and what you will do about it.
· Prayer - Write out a prayer in response to what you’ve read.
1. Find a quiet time to read your Bible each day. Prayerfully read, asking the Lord for revelation and insight into what He wants to show you. Find some reading plan that works for you. The YouVersion app has lots of reading plans. Make the focus not on how much you get through the Bible but how much you allow the Bible to get through to you.
2. We complete the “S” by reading our Scripture portion of the day. I also like to choose a Scripture for the day that I really feel that God wants to speak to me through by mediation, possibly memorization, and further consideration. Write that Scripture out at the top of your page or at the beginning of your document and read it, preferably not only inwardly, to yourself, but out loud too. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
3. We complete the “O” by writing down our observations about the passage. The key here is not only noticing things that stand out as you read, but asking questions. Rudyard Kipling said, “I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all I knew); theirs names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.” Clarence Flynn said “He who sees a truth must often gaze into the fog for many days.” Dr. Robert Traina said, “In approaching Scripture one ought to put nothing into them, but rather draw everything out from them with a desire to suffer to see that nothing remains hidden which is in them.”
4. We complete the “A” by writing down how this Bible passage applies to you right now, in your daily life and telling yourself what you will do about it. I like the question, “How will my life be completely different now because of what I just read?”
I also like to think here in terms of an acronym A.C.T. A stands for apply, this is how this applies to me. C stands for change, this is how I will change my life in light of this. T stands for what is there here that I can teach, help, or pass on to others that will change their lives too.
5. We complete the “P” by writing down a prayer. This is where we are inviting Holy Spirit to really come and empower us and write what we have written on our hearts and minds. This is a personal message from you to God, so don’t worry about getting the perfect words down. Just make it honest and heartfelt. Remember that God always listens, and already knows your needs. He just wants to hear from you.
Tomorrow I will give you an example of a S.O.A.P. journaling that I have done.