Each morning I try to carve out a few minutes to read Scripture, write and pray about it. Sometimes I cannot coordinate all three activities to fit the schedule of my day.
Over the years, I have tried a variety of methods: specific Bible reading plans, non-specific reading plans, devotional reading plans and just plain random reading. Each of these would work for me for a while, but I never complete a single one. The closest I came was the year I bought a Chronological Bible and followed its reading plan to complete in one year.
Perhaps it is through all my failures that I have come to learn that it is not the reading plan that is important, it is the actual reading. Still, I am a planner-kind of person so I continue to search for a reading plan that will work best for me.
In my search, I went to a favorite website of mine – Pinterest. (A discussion on Pinterest will have to be the subject of another blog post – suffice to say – it is pretty cool!) One of my web friends had “pinned” a Bible study method called SOAP. Intrigued, I did a bit of research and it led me to a book by Wayne Corderio – The Divine Mentor. (Yes, this was one of the books on my Spring Break reading list, and yes, it has taken me a while to find time to “read for fun” as I call it). His chapter on the Bible study method led me to read more of the book and I have since decided to give the SOAP method a chance.
The idea is to intentionally carve out time at some point in your day where you can focus on you and God – and the relationship He desires for you both to have. A relationship takes time and intentionality – it cannot really flourish in just a few minutes on the run.
Soap starts with “S” – and that is where I start, too. “S” is for Scripture. I follow the “Life Journal Reading Plan” which is introduced in Wayne’s book. One reason I like this plan is it is one that available through the Bible app on my iPhone. Another is that it is designed to read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice within the timespan of one year. I have a set reminder for each day notifying me of the passages I am to read. As I read, I just make a note of any verse or passage where I feel God drawing my attention.
“O” is for Observation. What do I observe from this particular passage? What did I learn? I write a few notes about what I observe.
“A” is for Application. It is in the application where I can sense God teaching me. Even when I read a familiar passage there is application to my present circumstance.
“P” is for Prayer. I made a choice when I started this particular reading plan, that as I journaled in this prayer section, it would be specific to me. Please don’t misunderstand – I continue to pray for others, but one area I know I have lagged is in my own prayer needs. I love to pray for others – to share the burdens of loved ones and friends and take them to the Father. But, I have had a difficult time speaking my own prayer needs.
Psalm 145:2 reminds me, “Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever”. And, Philippians 4:6 tells me, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
God is waiting for you to share some time with Him. He loves you, Dear One (Read Psalm 139 – all of it, out loud). Whatever is ahead for you in this day or the next will be handled and managed much better if you are filled with God’s presence before facing it. (See Psalm 16:11). Thanks for letting me share with you today – I would love to hear from what kind of personal Bible study plan you follow and why it works well for you.