S.O.A.P. Daily Devotional Tool
If you’re like many Christians, you’ve been or are currently discouraged by your current You may find that you make a commitment to read the Bible regularly, but struggle to carry out the discipline. Or when you do, you may have read a chapter of the Bible but minutes later you couldn’t really say anything meaningful about what you just read. Doing daily devotions re-patterns the way we think and transforms the spirit of the mind. The following technique will help you to read the Bible in a way that leads to personal application and life transformation.
Key to the success of the SOAP technique is that you journal. You can do this in the pen and paper fashion, or use your computer and keep a digital journal using a word-processor or application like Evernote. If you’re not “the journaling type”, get over it. It’s worth the effort! There are tremendous benefits to using the SOAP journaling technique with your daily devotions.
Whether you’re reading through a chapter a day, or on a Bible reading plan that takes you through the Bible in a year, you can apply this technique to your study time.
4 Key Elements to doing a personal Bible Study
As you read through your daily reading, allow God to speak to you. Look for a verse or two from your reading that stand out to you particularly. You may want to highlight those as you read. After you’re reading, take time to write out the verse or perhaps even shorter statement that particularly spoke to you.
Write out this verse in your own words. This practice will help you dive deeper into the actual words of the text. If you can, write down any interesting observations you find in the text. Write out a description about the setting or context of what you read. What’s going on? Who’s doing what?
Ask yourself the questions: How does this passage apply directly to my life? Is there something this is calling me to know or do? Is there a truth or promise I can hold on to? Is there something about God I can celebrate?
End by taking time to pray over the passage by thanking God and worshiping Him for who He is, what He has done, and what He is still going to do. Note: You might find it easier to keep a prayer journal or to even write down your prayers if you find your mind likes to wander.
Here’s a short example:
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:39, 40 ESV)
The Jews were looking for a good thing the wrong way. I think of the old song “looking for love in all the wrong places…” They are looking to the scriptures, hoping and believing that the law holds the key to eternal life. The fact is that the scriptures all point to Jesus!
Sadly it is possible to do something quite similar even as a Christian. One can read the New Testament scriptures and not glorify Jesus in them. In my own life I have at times made scripture an idol. I have sought them as life in themselves, rather than as the words of God–who gives life, through Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible by itself is not the source of life, Jesus is.
Jesus I need your life and your strength today. You are better than anything else that I could desire. Help me to really love you more than anything in my life. I trust you to provide everything I need in this life, and I remind myself today that you are enough.