Our Blessed Chaos

My hubby + a 1st grader + twins in kindergarten + 4 critters..... Yeah it is chaos, but we are blessed!

Today's Verse

I have a new bloggy friend named Kerry and she is special to me because she is my blog's very first follower! She just started her blog Ramblings of a Wannabe Housewife and I think I am her first follower too! So far I have learned alot from her and I am excited to hear what she has to say next. Anyway, a couple days ago she left me a comment with some questions. Here is part of that comment...

Carrie, do you do this bible study with others? How does one begin? I would love to get more structured when it comes to reading the bible. Can you explain how you do it? (I hope this is not a weird or silly question, as I said I am new to learning about the bible... sadly I never realized the importance when I was younger.)

So even if it is only read by Kerry it is fun to have my very first Q&A!! First of all I must tell Kerry that it is not at all a weird or silly question. I applaud you for asking it and for recognizing the importance of studying the Bible. You have asked a question that maybe someone else who is reading this is not brave enough to ask. So good for you for taking this step!

SOAP Method

This Bible Study is not done with others, it is on my own pace and I write about what speaks to me that particular day. However, the SOAP method I learned from Amy at Mom's Toolbox. She also started the SOAP Ring which lists other blogs that use this method.

Oh and SOAP is simply an acronym:

It is great because it is easy to remember. But it also makes you look harder at a verse or verses because you need to make an observation about those verses. Basically how they spoke to you or why. Then the application is how you can apply the verses or results of the observation to your life. And of course we should start and end all Bible study with prayer.

In this method you write out the prayer at the end so it takes more thought about what you want to pray about. Also, although I don't write it out I usually begin a Bible study by asking for guidance and for my heart to be opened to what I need to hear or understand from the passage I will be reading. I love the verse Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your law.

Journal Method

The next question Kerry asked me was how to begin because she wants to be more structured in her Bible reading. First of all I must confess that I have struggled with this until recently. I knew I should read the Bible more but I never really got much out of just reading. For me I need to slow down and really study. So journaling about what I was reading has been the key. And now with the Soap method it has become easier to do and more meaningful too.

I have a couple of methods to share with you. First is how did I choose to do Mark and Psalms to start journaling. Most study plans start with Genesis for the Old Testament and Matthew for the New Testament. I have studied both in other ways so I wanted to start in another place. I also wanted to do an OT and a NT at the same time, but have now decided to just do one at a time. I always wanted to study Psalms so that was easy. For the New Testament I wanted to start with a Gospel and have not done alot of study in Mark. So now I had two books to study.

I believe that you need to know the context of what you are reading so for me it is important to study a whole book at a time. The easiest way to break up a book is by chapters, but sometimes the chapters are so long and have so much in them that you will have to break them into two or three sections. How you do that doesn't matter, it is your Bible Study and you make the rules. I study out of my NLT Study Bible but I also have my NIV Quiet Time Bible that has sections already nicely separated. When I am done Psalms I will probably close my eyes and point randomly to pick the next book to study.

I have a Bible Study chart that I found on the internet here. I like it because it is all on one page and the books are in order, plus I use it as my bookmark! I check off a chapter after I have journalled about it. My goal is to have the whole page checked off (even if it takes me 5 or 10 years).

Sermon Method

I also do another type of Bible Study, but it is not as regular and in fact, I just started doing it again. I am a note taker in church, I take notes while the pastor is speaking. Not everyone can do this, but for me it helps me to focus on what he is saying. Then I started to find all kinds of resources on the internet. At the time we were going to a Calvary Chapel and so I found the Blue Letter Bible website. On it you can find audio of many pastors sermons. Some of them like Chuck Smith, Jon Courson, and Bob Davis have sermons for every chapter of the Bible. Sometimes there are several sermons for one chapter because there is so much depth to their teachings.

The new plan for me is to listen to sermons until I have covered every chapter in the Bible. This might take 20 years, but that's ok - it is my Bible Study and my rules! Right now in my Wednesday night Bible study at church we are looking at 2Peter and generally we cover a chapter or close to a chapter every Wed night. I was finding that I wanted more out of the discussions so I went back to listening to sermons. I started at 2Peter and decided to listen to one pastor for the whole book. I made sure that I listened to the chapter that I expected we would be talking about that coming Wed, so I will likely only do this type of study once or twice a week now. But what a difference it made in that night's Bible study. I understood it better, I could discuss it easier, and I had examples to share from what I had listened to. I walked away with a much deeper understanding of that chapter.

Bible Marking Method

Along with the Sermon method I have started to mark my Bible. I have found that when I do this and go back to read those chapters I can also read some of the notes I made. It helps to pull things together a bit better. I make the most notes in my Bible while I am listening to an online sermon. I can always pause the sermon to make the note how I want it and to do it neatly. There is not a lot of space to write in a Bible so it has to be small and neat. I use my NLT study Bible for writing in and it has alot more white space to write it.

In addition to this I use colored pencils to highlight certain passages. There are many methods or colors to this that you can find on the internet. I have adapted some of the ones I found to suit myself and for what made sense to me. My Bible Study, my rules! Here are the colors I use and why:

Blue - Salvation/Eternal Life. Blue is the color of the sky and to me means eternal. One passage I have colored blue is Romans 6:23

Green - Growth through right living. Green is the color of growing plants, so when I see a verse colored green it tells me that is a verse on how to grow spiritually. 1John 2:6 is green in my Bible
Yellow Commands. I saw one example that used Yellow for commands because it related it to the golden rule - made sense to me. Deuteronomy 6:5 is yellow for me.

Pink - Promises & Blessings. I use pink only because Promises & Pink both start with P. Genesis 9:11 is pink, so is the words "the rainbow" in verse 14, and also verse 17. It quickly shows God's promise, and the sign of the covenant He made.

- Praise & Prayers. Red means stop, so when I see a verse colored red I know that is where I can stop to praise & pray to the Lord

I tend to highlight during or after I listen to online sermons. I think because it is such an in depth study and also because I have more time to think about what should be highlighted. It has to be a very important verse, it has to fit into one of the categories, and it needs to really speak to me in some way. I don't just randomly color my Bible like I sometimes randomly write in it. I want to choose carefully because when I open my Bible and I see something highlighted I want it to be meaningful.

Okay so there you have it, much more than I ever intended to write about - it just kept getting longer and longer and I kept thinking about more to write about! I hope you made it through all this and it will help you develop your own Bible Study methods. Keep me updated with how you are doing and let me know if you have any other great ideas.

May you be richly blessed as you study the Word of God.


Carrie!!!!!!! Wow, thank you, thank you, thank you! You have spent so much time writing this up and boy do I appreciate that fact alone. Just reading this brought tears to my eyes..I just got all choked up that you took all that time to answer my crazy questions! After reading this entry I must say I have already learned things about the Bible that I did not know before I read your entry!! I am excited to really begin. I think I will try the soap method and see where that leads me for right now. At one point I joined an online group to read the whole Bible in 1 year, but I must say I was not able to focus and actually understand what I was reading. I think journaling and using the soap method will help me let it "sink in". I think, like you, the writing piece is key. I can not just read it or it just doesnt make sense to me.
I will keep you posted on how I begin. Thanks again Carrie!