Entries tagged with “SOAP Journaling”.
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Mon 4 Apr 2011
In the same way that we have different gifts, talents and personalities, each of us has a unique way that we best learn and study.
When I attended a course on how to train people in groups, I was taught to make allowance for individuals’ different learning styles. 
This is why I don’t just talk during my training sessions; I also incorporate visual aids and other media, give opportunities for practical application and encourage questions and discussion.
Schoolteachers are taught about learning styles and encouraged to incorporate them into their classroom environment.
What would happen if we began to apply these same principles to discipleship, Bible study and our devotional life?
Do You Know what Your Learning Style is?
You may relate to one of these 3 main learning styles:
1. Visual—you learn best by seeing—reading, diagrams, visual media and other visual aids.
2. Auditory—you learn best by hearing—lectures, audio media, discussions.
3. Kinesthetic—you learn best by doing—hands on, activities and an emphasis on practical application.
The Visual style can be broken into two further categories: Visual and Reading/Writing. 
At the end of this post I will give you a link to an online questionnaire to help you discover your primary learning styles.
How Using my Learning Style Renewed my Devotional Life.
I have shared recently how our devotional life—vitally connecting to God through prayer and studying the Bible—can suffer when we feel we have to do it out of duty, to please God or people. 
A few years ago, I became exhausted and my devotional life waned—especially Bible reading, study and journaling.
When I was picking up the pieces of my life, I reflected on where I had gone wrong.
One of the things I noticed was that I had been trying to conform to a set method of journaling for my personal Bible study.
The method I had been using did not come naturally to me.
My personal learning style is primarily visual. Being creative, I also need an unstructured way to record what I am learning from the Bible.
I put aside my A5 lined journal, purchased an A4 unlined notepad, and began to use diagrams and mind-maps to visualise what I was learning about a Bible passage or topic and to record what God was saying to me.
Life began to flow back into the time I spent with God’s Word!
Devotional Methods are Tools, not Rules.
It is vital that we understand that devotional methods, such as journaling styles, are not rules to be followed.
Instead, they are tools that we can choose to use—if they suit our unique wiring—that can help us connect to God and His Word.
There is a common misconception that one particular devotional or journaling method is better than others.
For example, some churches provide SOAP journals for all of their congregational members.
SOAP is a simple and effective devotional tool that everyone can (and should) learn. However—let’s not stop there!
The limitation of SOAP journaling is that it assumes a Reading/Writing learning style. And this does not come naturally to many of us.
So let us teach, encourage, model and provide resources for Bible study that incorporate all learning styles.
And let’s validate the unique ways that people connect with God, rather than endangering their relationship with Him by leading them into performance.
Marlene Le Fever, who teaches about learning styles, tells the moving story of an old African-American man who approached her at the end of a session.
“Teacher!” he said. “Iffen somebody’d a tol’ me when I was a kid that God made my mind right, I’da’ done something for my Jesus.” 
Using a Questionnaire to Discover Your Personal Learning Style
You are created to uniquely connect with God and His Word, the Bible.
Do you know what your learning style is? Sometimes, we are aware of our primary learning style but can also benefit from using a questionnaire to help us confirm this or discover our secondary learning style.
I have included a link below to an online questionnaire that can help you discover your learning style. 
Following are the basic learning styles and some ideas of how to make the most of these in your Bible study and in journaling.
Ideas for Bible Study Using the 4 Main Learning Styles
VISUAL – You learn by seeing
- Journal using diagrams and pictures. Try mind-mapping your Bible study
- Make use of colour coding, indexing and highlighting in your journal
- Bible teachers that use vivid (picture) story telling will suit you
- Use your imagination when reading Bible stories (create an internal movie of the scene)
- Parts of the Bible have been filmed using the NIV text—try Matthew or Acts on DVD. Ask at the Christian bookstores what is available
- Illustrative Bible study tools and dictionaries
- Locate good teaching DVDs
AUDITORY – You learn by hearing
- Read portions of Scripture aloud to yourself
- Process what you are learning in the Bible verbally—you can do this through praying about it, sharing with others or simply musing your thoughts aloud
- Try a conversational journaling approach, where you talk with God about what you are learning and write what you ‘hear’ Him saying to you (e.g. prayer journaling)
- Listen to the Bible on MP3 or CD—purchase or download free from the Internet
- As above, but Bible teaching (Ensure that the teaching is sound and not slanted towards a particular doctrines or agenda)
- iPod or MP3 player while walking, using public transport, doing housework, etc
READING / WRITING – You learn with words
- Traditional forms of devotions may suit you
- Try daily devotional booklets
- Practice journaling (SOAP or similar)
- Selective Bible reading (character studies, books, portions)
- Sequential Bible reading (read the Bible in a Year – look-up or One Year Bible formats)
- Bible teaching or study books
- Use written study tools such as commentaries, dictionaries—in text form, software or online
KINESTHETIC – You learn by doing
- Find a good devotional that includes Bible references and reading, and includes life application principles
- Teaching and study tools that have practical life application will suit you.
- Write ‘action points’ in your journal from your Bible studies or teaching that you receive. This will help translate what you learn into everyday life. Follow them through
- Teaching with real-life case studies and stories will be helpful
- Cross-reference devotional and instructional teaching in the Bible to historical Biblical accounts of actual characters. For example, a study on wisdom—who demonstrated wisdom in the Bible and what did they do?
- When studying with others, discuss real life situations and case studies. Try role play.
If you have found this article or recommended resources helpful, I would love your feedback, as I am in the process of developing further studies and resources to aid people in this area. Do you know what your learning style is? Are the above lists helpful, or do you have other ideas?
Please contact me using the comments section of this blog or use the contact form here to email me. If the comments section is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
 Cert IV in Assessment & Workplace Training
 In 1987, a researcher called Neil Fleming split Visual, which originally included learning through reading, into two categories: Visual and Reading/Writing. Visual encompassed learning through diagrams and symbols, whereas Reading/Writing referred to the traditional, text-based style of learning. This distinction is helpful in examining fresh approaches to devotional study. Fleming, N.D. and Mills, C. (1992), Not Another Inventory, Rather a Catalyst for Reflection, To Improve the Academy, Vol. 11, 1992., page 137.
 See the following posts:
Does Your Devotional Life Need Resuscitating?
8 Signs Your Devotional Life May Be Caught In A Performance Trap
 I recommend the SOAP method of journaling personally. See the following post:
When Your Devotional Life Is Dry: How To Fall In Love With The Bible Again
 Le Fever, M. Learning Styles, Reaching Everyone God Gave You 2002. Cook. p 11,
 Take the VARK learning styles questionnaire online at
For more information on learning styles, see also
© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/
A ministry of David McCracken Ministries
Thu 4 Feb 2010
I read a statistic recently that 35% of church-going people in Australia rarely or never read the Bible. Only one in 5 read it every day.
What does that say about how we Christians view the Word of God?
We need a Bible revival!
How My Devotional Life Dried Up
One year ago, I was suffering from burnout.
My devotional life was one area that had suffered. Sure, I still picked up my Bible every day… but the joy had gone out of my devotions.
The act of doing devotions had become a duty. The Bible’s content had become yet another barometer of Christian performance—instructions on how I should live my Christian life. And I had nothing left to give.
To be honest, I was not only burnt out, I was bored.
I have been acquainted with the Bible since childhood, have read it many times over and still today read it from cover to cover. I have studied it both personally and with the help of great Christian teachers.
But I had lost my passion for God’s Word.
During the course of this year, I have experienced renewal in my devotional life.
How To Fall In Love With The Bible Again
Here are some keys that have helped me recover my love for God’s Word:
1. Realise Something Is Missing
Jesus said ‘ask, seek, knock,’ (Matt 7:7-8) but we will never do any of those things until we become conscious that we have a need.
Until we realise that what we are experiencing in relation to the Bible is less than what it could be, we will never change.
It was only when I realised how dry I was and how dead my devotional life had become that I decided to do something about it. I began to ‘Ask, seek and knock.’
2. Reconsider the Value of the Bible
Recently I read a news item about a real-life ‘slum-dog millionaire’. This man was living in a slum whilst he had access to millions of dollars.
Like this guy, I had been living like a spiritual pauper whilst sitting on a fortune—God’s Word.
As I began my seeking time, I went through Psalm 119, in which David expounds the wonders of God’s Word. One of the verses that stood out to me was, ‘Your word has given me life’ (Ps 119:50).
Being revived by God’s word is a recurring theme in this Psalm, with the Hebrew word, ‘chayah,’ meaning to revive, nourish, restore to life, and give life to, being used 16 times in relation to God’s Word.
When it comes to the Bible, life is a verb! The promise of being revived—or ‘lifed’—through God’s Word kept me on track. There was obviously something in my devotional life I had missed.
3. Relate to the Bible the Way Jesus Does
The next breakthrough in my journey came when I had an idea to take a look at how Jesus responded to the Bible in the Gospels. Perhaps by studying His response to the Bible, I could see what I was missing.
Jesus knew the scriptures intimately and used His knowledge of them to teach others. But more than this—He lived them.
Jesus walked in perfect fulfillment of God’s Word. The Old Testament described every details of His life from birth to death, His character, His purpose and mission and His redeeming work on the cross.
As I considered Jesus’ response to the scriptures, it occurred to me that just as Jesus walked in fulfillment of God’s Word, so should I.
The Bible explains my origins, my value, my redemption, my call, and my destiny. The Bible is the story of me. And it’s your story, too.
I have known the scripture as a place of instruction, upbuilding, protection and power to live the Christian life. I have understood the Bible as the story of Jesus, the story of redemption, the story of Israel and the church.
But this simple revelation—that the Bible is the story of me—is the one that helped bring me back to life.
4. Reconnect Creatively With God’s Word
When my children were small and had been sick, they sometimes lost their appetite for food.
I would give them smaller portions of tasty food that would tempt them to eat, and help strengthen their appetites.
It is important, when we have lost our appetite for God’s Word, to provide ourselves with fresh inspiration, and new tools or methods to help us study.
Here is one tool that can be used for Bible study and journaling:
The SOAP journaling method
SOAP is an acronym:
To use this journaling style, read your portion of scripture—it may be a daily reading or a passage or book in the Bible you are currently studying
S = Choose a verse that has particularly spoken to you and write it in your journal
O = Note down your observation—what God is saying to you personally through the verse
A = Record how you can put what God is saying into practice in your life
P = Now write a brief prayer in response to what God has spoken to you
Over the next few days I will be using the SOAP method in my own journal and write my observations in the comments section of this post.
How Using Your Learning Style Can Revitalise Your Bible Study
Does Your Devotional Life Need Resuscitating?
8 Signs Your Devotional Life is Caught in a Performance Trap
Activate Your Prophetic Gift Through Prayer Journaling
© Helen Calder Enliven Publishing
Sun 24 Jan 2010
Do you want to develop or sharpen your prophetic gift? Journaling is an easy but powerful tool for prophetic activation. It can help you grow your gift of prophecy.
Journaling is basically recording any insights you receive from God during your prayer and Bible study times.
Some ways journaling can help you grow in your prophetic gift are:
- It encourages you to listen to God and become familiar with his voice (John 10:4). You can also practice receiving revelation from God and processing it.
- Journaling helps you remember what God has spoken to you by providing a record to refer back to
- It provides a means of focus, discipline and accountability
- You can practice putting what God is saying into a clear and communicable form—an necessary skill for prophecy
- You can look back later and see what, in the case of prophetic revelation, has come to pass—this helps sharpen your gift.
- Journaling provides a record from which you can pray God’s purposes into being
- You can get more revelation when you journal. Once you record what you have received, it frees your mind so that you can be open to hear more of what God is saying.
- You can use what you have received in your journaling time to share with others
- It brings glory to God when the things you have journaled take place
- It provides a safe place to practice receiving and processing prophetic revelation without the pressure of public exposure
- You can use what you have heard from God to help you walk with Him and obey Him (Hab 2:2)
Journaling in scripture
For an example of journaling, we don’t have to look past the Bible itself. Much of scripture is prophetic revelation recorded in written form.
What Do You Need for Journaling?
The type of journaling you choose should suit your personal style. There are also a variety of media you can use to help you journal. These include:
- Writing in an A5 or A4 journal
- Typing and recording your journal using a computer.
- If writing or typing is difficult for you, you can record your journaling in small, bite-sized files using a recorder, MP3 recorder, or mobile phone, then name and store them for later reference.
Journaling is essentially private, but if you would like to share from your journal, another media you can use is the Internet. Some of my blog posts started out as journal entries.
It is best to keep your journal notes together in one place, such as a notebook, journal or single folder on your computer. This way, you can refer back to them later.
Types of Journaling
You don’t have to stick to any one type of journaling. Choose a journaling style that best suits you.
Some simple options you can use for written journaling are:
Two popular methods that can assist you with the journaling process are:
1. SOAP method (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer)
2. Prayer journaling
Remember that journaling methods are tools, not rules.
The Two Week Journaling Challenge
I will be reviewing the prayer journaling and ‘SOAP’ methods in the next couple of posts.
I am not currently using these two journaling styles (I use mind-mapping). But I will use these methods for one week each as I blog about them, and describe my experiences in the comments section of each post.
It would be fun if you would join me on this ‘two-week journaling challenge.’
Consider some of the benefits I have mentioned in this post. Journaling can help you sharpen your prophetic gift, and it could change your life as you hear from God.
Would you like to develop your prophetic gift?
Here are 3 things that can help you:
1. Prophetic Teaching:
Enter your email address in the subscribe box at the top right hand side of this page to receive:
- regular blog posts containing teaching that will help you grow in your gift of prophecy, as well as articles on spiritual gifts, prayer, spiritual renewal and supernatural Christian living
2. Prophetic Training:
Check here for prophetic training resources and information
3. E-books to Help you Develop Your Gifts:
‘Grow Your Prophetic And Prayer Gifts’ is a high-value e-book specifically written to help you grow in your prophetic gifts – at whatever stage or season you are on the journey.
Check out our e-books page for more e-books related to prophetic and prayer ministry.
© Helen Calder Enliven Publishing