18 January 2013

SOAP suds: Getting the most out of your morning devotions

Dear Lissy,
We're enjoying a daily devotional from Good Morning Girls right now designed for Mommas and their kids.  You have a passage to read and a couple of questions to answer every day from "The Dig" series.  We're creating a lapbook as we go along, too.

I use the SOAP acronym for my "adult" devotions.  SOAP is a basic but powerful devotions tool that fits neatly into a 30 minute devotions framework.  It readily adapts to young or old believers, and is suitable for any level of spiritual maturity.  My greatest challenge is s l o w i n g down and taking the time to ask myself good questions for each of the four SOAP categories.  Many of these are adapted from my usual LAMP method, and they are roughly grouped according to Bloom's Taxonomy* -- I am a teacher, after all!

  • First, carefully read your chosen Scripture passage.  SOAP works best with between a paragraph and a chapter.
  • Choose one to five verses to write out longhand in your journal.  Sometimes this will be the entire passage you read.  Slowing down and copying the Word is a valuable practice and well worth your time.
Observation:  These are examples of what I look for.  I don't do every bullet point for every passage -- this is more organic and less regimented than an inductive Bible study..
  • Remember & retell the important parts of the story or passage.  I usually enter these in my journal as a bulleted list.
  • Look up the meaning of unfamiliar or important words.  I typically look them up later in the day on e-sword rather than interrupting my devotional time.  A recent example is "rereward" from Isaiah.
  • Why is this passage important to this book/story?  How does it fit in with the rest of the Bible?  I don't journal this unless it's significant, but I try to spend a minute or two considering it.
  • What does this passage teach about the character and person of God/Jesus?  (I journal this every time. I think it's probably the most important question you can ask when reading the Word) Sometimes this question is difficult to answer (in Proverbs, for example), and I'll re-phrase it as "What about God's character would cause Him to include this in His Word?"  
  • I also notice repetitions of words or ideas, lists, comparison/contrasts, and cause and effect.  I don't specifically look for them, but after years of inductive Bible studies, they tend to jump out at me. 
Application:  Sometimes a passage speaks directly to a need of my heart and I don't think any further.  If not, I mentally flip through SPECS.  This is my 20-30 minute morning devotions so I try not to get bogged down.
  • Is there a Sin to avoid? 
  • A Promise to claim?  Be careful.  God makes promises to the nation of Israel that are not given to individual believers.
  • An Example (or exhortation) to follow or avoid?
  • A Command to obey?
  • A new Significant truth to meditate on?  Biblical principles are the "bones".  A Life Application Bible pulls these out for you and allows you to quickly see them when you might still be a little bleary-eyed.
Prayer:  Morning devotions are valuable because the time of communion and conversation with my Lord resets my humility, obedience, and submission as I head into a new day.  Prayer is the natural result of spending time in the Word.
  • Praise:  What have I seen today that I can praise God for?
  • Repent:  Do I have sin that needs to be confessed?
  • Ask:  Who (including myself) particularly needs what I studied today?  What situation or persons are heavy on my heart today and will pull my mind away from communion with the Lord?
  • Yield:  What situations do I know I'm going to face today that will tempt me to walk in the flesh instead of the Spirit?  Are there any sins or attitudes I'm reluctant to give up?
Remember, the goal isn't ticking off "Quiet Time" on your to-do list.  Wisdom (doing the next right thing) and perserverance (continuing in righteousness) are supposed to be the result of hearing and meditating.  No one cares if you have daily quiet time.  They care very much if you love God with your heart, soul, and mind and demonstrate by your words and actions that you love others as much as you love yourself.  Wishing you thousands of happy day-beginnings with your Lord!


P.S.  This is for free :-)
Bloom's Taxonomy of Reflection
by Donald Finkel
Remembering:  What did I do?
Understanding:  What is important about it?
Applying:  Where could I use this again?
Analyzing:  Do I see any patterns in what I did?
Evaluating:  How well did I do?
Creating:  What should I do next?

Linked up at Raising HomemakersInto the Word Wednesdays and Women Living Well


  1. acronyms are wonderful, aren't they?
    I'm just introducing SOAP to my children - a great way to have them consistently in the Word and helping them with cognition.
    Stopping by from Raising Homemakers, thanks for sharing!

  2. This was a great post. I love your blog. Just came over from the linky. I really enjoyed visiting. Come by and see me.
    Have a wonderful Thursday,