Just as it would be unnatural and unhealthy for a newborn babe to not grow and develop, it is important that newborn followers of Christ grow in their faith and develop their relationship with God. The best way to do this is to spend time listening and talking to Him. We talk to God through prayer, and God speaks to us through His Word—the Bible.
As we read God’s words, we begin to see how God responds to things. Reading His Word daily re-patterns the way we think and transforms the spirit of our minds. Then, when we face similar situations as Jesus, we will begin to respond in the same way.
Journaling is an excellent way to both record and process the things that God has spoken to us. It’s also a useful tool to use at a later time to reflect on and review some of the “gems” that you have received from the Word. Without writing these down, you may forget those blessings and some very important lessons! While journaling is a very personal time with the Lord, you may want to share some of your daily devotions with your small group or mentors. Through discussion, you may be able to look deeper into what God is speaking to you, gain new insights and even encourage others.
SOAP journaling may be the most effective tool available for growing in our relationship with God through His Word. The lives of many people in our church have been changed as a result of SOAP journaling. We would invite you to try it out for yourself! Here’s what you will need to begin SOAP journaling:
- A Bible
- A notebook or journal
- A pen
So what does SOAP stand for—what does it mean?
‘S’ for Scripture
The process of SOAP journal begins in the Word. We encourage you to utilize a systematic, Bible reading plan. If you do not have a plan in place at this time, we would invite you to begin by reading one of the books from the New Testament, such as First John, Galatians or Ephesians. Before reading, ask God to help you to see the truth that He wants you to apply to your life today. Take time reading the passage, and allow God to speak to you. Pay close attention to those verses that God seems to ‘highlight in your mind.’ When you are done, look for the section that spoke to you that day, and literally write out that verse (or verses) in your journal. Writing it out reinforces it in your mind and heart and allows God to further speak to you through that verse.
‘O’ for Observation
What do you think God is saying to you in this scripture? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal Jesus to you. Now write a few sentence observations about that verse. What is the setting of the situation? What did this passage mean to the original recipients? What does the verse mean today?
‘A’ for Application
Personalize what you have read, by asking yourself how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or corrections for a particular area of your life. Write how this Scripture can apply to you today. A good way to apply these truths to your life is by starting the sentences in this section with the words: “I will…” or “I must…”
‘P’ for Prayer
After righting out the ways that God is calling you to apply this truth to your life, write a simple prayer to God in response. This can be as simple as asking God to help you apply this truth to your life, or it may be a greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two-way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say!
Once you have completed your journal, it is very important that you give your journal entry a title. This title will help you to remember the truths revealed during this time with the Lord without having to read the whole entry.
The last step in the process is to record this entry into your table of contents. Turn to the front or the back of your journal where the table of contents is. Record the date, key Scripture verse, title and page number for today. If you will consistently do this, then you will have a summary record of all your encounters with Scripture listed there in your table of contents.
Get started with a downloadable SOAP Journal here!