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My Journal and Spending Time on What Matters

I mentioned in my 2013 goals, and a recent Instagram photo that journaling as I read Scripture was one of my goals for the year. I was really excited when several people asked questions about how exactly I journal, so I promised that I would do a blog post about it. I have been doing it for awhile and I really love it. I feel like I soak in so much more when I journal as opposed to just reading a chapter and forgetting it a few hours later. So, this year I want to make a point to do this even more.

Last year, at the recommendation of a friend, I listened to this sermon about how to study the Bible by Matt Chandler who is one of my favorite speakers. This along with a little tweaking of what worked for me is how I started journaling the way that I do.

The basic system I use is the SOAP method.

S – Scripture. First I read the passage. I usually limit myself to one chapter so I am able to meditate on what I am reading. I then write out in my journal the verse or two that stuck out to me most when I read the passage.

O – Observation. Then I take a moment to think on what I read. How the context plays into what I read, who the verses are speaking too, when it is happening, etc.

A – Application. Next, I meditate on what I have read and how it applies to my life. I try to be specific about how I can apply what I am reading to my life. I write a paragraph or two about what I have learned and how it applies to my life.

P – Prayer. The last step is prayer. If you are anything like me your mind wanders. In a way to combat the million thoughts that are swirling in my head, I write out my prayer, or at least a shortened version of it at the bottom of my page.

That is my basic process. It has been so helpful to me and I hope that it will be to you as well. It has definitely helped me move away from reading Scripture and just going through the motions and not even being able to remember what I read because there are so many things to think about. If you have been looking for a better way to do things, especially at the start of a new year, I hope that this will be helpful. It is simple, and it doesn’t take long, but it is so important. This year, I want to focus less on the silly little things that waste our time (Facebook anyone???), and more on making what matters happen. This is definitely one of those things for me.

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” -Psalm 119:105

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What an inspirations post Kristin! Thank you so much for blogging your S.O.A.P. method, I love it. Journaling and being more structured in my ‘1on1 with God’ is one of my goals for 2013 as well. On this 16th day of January, I am not suceeding. But I’m not giving up. You have given me a new approach and I pray it helps! THANK YOU and GOD BLESS!

Cat Neumayr

I am so excited about doing this! Reading my Bible is my favorite part of any day, but I do sometimes feel like I just read so much and I don’t remember everything. I think Luke and I will both love this. Where’d you get your journal?

Erin Broskie Brown

I read your blog earlier about how writing things down helps you stay focused and keeping track of your 2013 goals. So I decided to try and it has been working great! I feel like I get more out of scripture when I do what you have written above!

Kristin Schmucker

I use a moleskin notebook. They come in packs of 3 and they fit in the back of my Bible which is awesome. I got them at Barnes and Noble.

Rachel Stephens

LOVE THIS! Thanks for sharing =).

Kristin Schmucker

So happy to hear that Erin!!!

Cat Neumayr

I also notice you guys read NIV, Do you like that best? I grew up with NIV, but the preacher at my old church taught out of NASB, so our bibles are NASB. Our preacher now teaches out of NIV and it seems so much easier to understand than NASB. Thoughts?

Cat Neumayr

Wait – I think what I saw as NIV was actually KJV! Now I bet you’re thinking my NASB is easy!

Jeremy Schmucker

Lol…too funny. It is KJV. You know how old school we are Cat…lol

Victoria Tiedemann

One of the heads of my church district (CM&A) is alllll about SOAP though I had never seen people outside of my church mention it, so this was really cool to see! Your handwriting is lovely, by the way.

Karen Jeselskis Ramsey

Thank you for posting this! Very helpful, I love it!

Kristin Ungerecht

LOVE this. I’ll have to check out that sermon. I’ve been operating in a similar way… though it’s been subconscious. I’ll read the Scripture, mark up my Bible as I go, write out any key verses or words that stand out to me, and then review all my notes and pray over specific things. I’m in Genesis right now, so I’ll be reading about Rebekah and something she does stands out to me and I pray for a similar heart in that respect, etc. Love it. :)

Kristin Schmucker

Love that Kristin!

Caitie Sheppard

Thanks for being so transparent, Kristin! I love and look forward to all your blog posts… Looking forward to establishing some new routines in our new home in San Antonio! Love you! I

Kristin Schmucker

YAY!!! Thanks for being so encouraging! So glad you are in TX!

Josh-Danielle Venable

Thanks for this post. I’ve always felt that when I read so much, I get less out of it. Perfect way to achieve quantity and quality. I think I shall try it!

Kristin Schmucker

I hope that it is helpful to you!

[…] can’t wait to keep going, and the more I read, the more I want to read my Bible. I read this post about journalling and Bible reading and realised that writing is the way I process, so it makes […]

Kristin girl! Amen and God Bless you! This post has made me bold enough to start studying my bible! I just finished The Letter of James and tomorrow I start 1 Peter! I am so excited! See I am newly catholic and though I grew up going to various churches and knowing of Christ and how he died…I just got it. Like a light bulb moment after a discussion of faith with my Jason and hitting bottom and not being afraid to take Gods hand and listen to his voice.

YES! I had heard of this, and was stuck over O, ha! I’ve pulled back this year and have been reading, making notes about what jumps out and about application, and prayer journaling. I wanted to take a year to read. Just read. I feel paralyzed by a fear of not understanding context and misapplying something I’ve noticed. When I was praying through a Bible reading plan at the beginning of the year, the idea to not STUDY popped up (hmm, I wonder why). My goal is to read through the entire Bible this year (and if it takes me into next year, that’s fine), and then start back through to do deeper study. It’s been so rewarding, and I’m already looking forward to studying more. Thank you so much for writing about this!!

[…] of the Bible, so I’ve been trying to journal with the SOAP method (see more about that here).  I’ve also tried to share a bit of what I’ve learned over on instagram, using the […]

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