Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Go S.O.A.P. Yourself

One of my pastors recently came across a good Bible Study program. He got himself and the youth group at church started on it and they seemed to benefit from it right away. It was so exciting to him that he got the pastor on board, and the next thing we knew all of the staff, administration, and leadership at the church had a nice little, leather, personal devotional planner. It's called S.O.A.P. and it stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. Essentially it's a Bible reading schedule with a journal and worksheets that sort of help you clarify what you're getting out of your time spent with God and in His Word. The little folder he got for me isn't necessary at all in order to use the study program, but if he hadn't gone to the personal expense and trouble to get it for me, I might not have looked into is as seriously I did.

I'm not real big on "trendy" things at any level, but most especially where my faith is concerned. Trends in Christianity kind of gross me out. You'd have thought that Rick Warren's "A Purpose Driven Life" was the sixty-seventh book of the Bible! I'm sure it was great. Lots of wonderful people that I respect have read it and told me that it's a great book. Maybe someday I'll read it, but I tend to steer clear of most trendy things during the peak of their trend-dom. Stubbornness? Rebelliousness? No, not really. I've seen too many silly trends, and I've watched too many people look ridiculous, or worse, get hurt by them. I find it all the more repulsive in Christendom. I just think if it's as good as all that it will stand the test of time, and I will happily read a timeless classic later on.

The reason I decided to go ahead and investigate this "trendy" little program is because it doesn't require that you purchase anything new. It's text book is the Bible. There's no slant or bias, because there's no commentary or workbook type material to go with it. What it does for me is assist me in organizing myself as far as my personal study habits are concerned, and it helps me organize my own thoughts. In the short time I've been using it I've seen some improvement in comprehension, or at least in recognizing that I'd been missing a lot with my old study habits. It is helping me be introspective, to look at things more completely. It's training me to be more mindful of God's presence and causes me to see more fully what He's trying to show me. It helps clarify things.

There's a journaling aspect to this plan, too, and I know from just having started blogging, sporadic as I can be sometimes, that journals are key to growth and understanding, not to mention remembering things you were just sure you wouldn't forget. Journaling is different, and I'm sort of struggling with the transition, but I can envision myself settling into it fairly soon. I can see that this is going to be a wonderful, powerful tool if I will be diligent to do it. I'm very optimistic about it, because over all I have been diligent in my Christian walk in the past, striving to learn and grow, and this is just a better, more efficient, more refined way, I guess, to do the same thing.

It shouldn't be any great leap to go from keeping a blog to keeping a journal, so I thought it would be good to share this here in the great blogosphere, amongst my vast readership of six or eight at this point, where it might be well received. I copied and pasted an article from ehow .com below that explains the process better than I could, and my husband put together a Bible reading plan that you can access on one of my other pages here. Feel free to print it out and use it.

Do yourself a favor and give it some consideration.

Be blessed.

Original post: http://www.ehow.com/how_2324318_use-soap-method-bible-reading.html

S.O.A.P. stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer. It’s a great way to delve more deeply into your Bible reading, and record your thoughts, emotions and connections when studying scripture. S.O.A.P. is meant to be a journal you create with your regular Bible reading, using the process as you read each day, but it can also be an effective tool to help you connect with particular passages. You can use it with any Bible reading plan, whether you’re reading straight through from Genesis to Revelation, or following a reading plan from your church, study Bible or theinternet.


Things You’ll Need:

  • Bible
  • paper or journal
  • pen

Use the S.O.A.P Method of Bible Reading

Find a quiet time and space to read your Bible, preferably at the same time each day. Many people find that reading scripture in the morning helps get their day off to a focused start.

Complete the “S” by reading the scripture. Don’t just skim through it, but really think about what it means. Imagine what the people involved were experiencing. Write down a verse or two that really stood out to you in your journal.

Complete the “O” by writing down observations about the scripture you just read. You may want to write your own summary of the passage, but more importantly, think about what God has to say to you through this part of his word.

Complete the “A” by writing down how this Bible passage applies to you right now, in your daily life. For example, in the parable about the prodigal son, which character do you identify with most: the loving and merciful father, the son who squanders his life and then repents or the resentful older brother? Do you see similar situations in your life right now? How can you respond in the way Jesus taught?

Complete the “P” by writing down a prayer. 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.

No comments: