I’ve always known that reading the Bible is a good thing, but over the years I’ve struggled with finding a good devotional book or reading plan. When I was in Bible study groups I’d usually read a week worth of homework the night before and still couldn’t get in a good reading/study routine.
Then I read the book The Divine Mentor, which really changed the way I viewed Bible reading. Instead of looking for authors to explain the Bible for me or devotional books that included some verses of the day, The Divine Mentor’s premises is that the #1 book I should be reading is the Bible. I don’t really need any other commentaries, though sometimes they are nice. The Bible is God’s gift to me. For spiritual growth – or sanctification – the basic tools are the Bible and prayer.
For me, the S.O.A.P. method has been helpful in keeping me focused and digging deeper into the Bible. All you need is a pen, journal, and Bible.
#1. Scripture: Consistently read the Bible. I like using an annual “read through the Bible” plan, like this or this, on Bible.com or YouVersion app. With the YouVersion app, you can read the Bible or listen to it.
#2. Observation: What did I learn in the day’s reading? Some questions to ask:
- What verses stood out?
- What did I learn about God?
- Is there an example I should follow?
- What does God expect of me?
- What does the reading say about human nature?
- Is there a command I need to obey?
- Is there a promise for me?
#3. Application or Action: How can I apply what I learned to my life in a real way? Is there something I need to do . . . or not do? Is there something I need to pray about? I try to make the action something I can actually do that day, if possible.
#4. Pray: Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield.
This is a very simple concept, but for me, has made a HUGE difference in my daily walk with God. It has given me direction and focus. It has taught me more than any Bible study I’ve done.
If you are intersted in being part of a Facebook group reading through the Bible in 2018, please visit here. I’d love to hear what techniques or disciplines have been the most helpful to you in growing closer to God.