Over the past several years I made multiple failed attempts following the one year reading plans. Nothing wrong with the plans, they just did not work for me. Each day quickly became a task to check off my to do list. If I missed a day, I had to read two days to make it up. I felt I just couldn’t get behind. If I missed two or three days, it was just too much. I had to come up with a better way that would keep me moving forward with a disciplined reading plan.
Here is what I do:
1. Each day I read two Old Testament chapters. I started the plan in Genesis.
2. Each day I read two New Testament chapters. I started the plan in Matthew.
3. I then complete a SOAP Journal entry from both my Old and New Testament reading. (Separate journal entry for each)
The SOAP acronym for Bible study has been around for awhile. I am not sure who started it, but I learned about when I read the book The Divine Mentor: Growing your Faith as you Sit at the Feet of the Savior by Wayne Cordeiro. I highly recommend the book.
Here is what SOAP looks like.
- S >> Scripture: From the two chapters I pick one or two verses and copy it into my journal.
- O >> Observation: What was going on during the time of the event? Were there any other influences? What did the scripture mean for the people during that time?
- A >> Application: How do I need to apply the word so that I can live it out.
- P >> Prayer: Using the scripture as a foundation, I write out a prayer.
Granted I will not get through the entire Bible in one year, but my reading is more than just a check off my reading list. I take the time to really explore what God is saying through his word and how it will affect my life. If life happens and I miss a day or two, I just pick back up where I left off. There is no pressure to get through by a certain date.
My Bible Study Tools
- For my regular reading I use the NIV Study Bible my mom gave me for my Birthday in 1985. (The NIV was updated in 2011. I use the 2011 version when I preach) [UPDATE: Since the date of the original post I am now using the HCSB The Mission of God Study Bible for my daily study. I received a free copy from Ed Stetzer’s blog]
- My journal is a plain old spiral notebook and I write with a fine point ink pen. Nothing complicated here.
Other Bible tools I use when going deeper for study or sermon prep.
- www.biblegateway.com Great source where you can look a up a specific verse or do a keyword search. They also offer a large selection of Bible versions, topical index and reading plans.
- http://ref.ly/ This is great for you bloggers. Instead of having to type out a long Bible verse into your blog you can turn it into a click able link. [UPDATE: Since the original date of this post I have installed the “reftagger” plugin. Now I just include the simple text of the scripture and reftagger will add a pop up window displaying the verse when the reader of my blog hovers over the verse. Example: John 3:16]
- Halley’s Bible Handbook (Everyone should have a copy)
- What the Bible is All About (Another book everyone should have)
- Logos Bible Software (I have the Scholar’s Package)
The best Bible reading plan is the one that you will follow through with and the plan that will help you get the most out of God’s Word. The SOAP is great since it will work with most any plan you choose. – Happy Reading
Your voice is important. I would love to hear from you.
What Bible reading plan do you use and why? What is the one verse that spoke to you the most from your most recent reading?