“DO NOT LET THIS BOOK OF THE LAW DEPART FROM YOUR MOUTH, BUT YOU SHALL MEDITATE ON IT DAY & NIGHT, SO THAT YOU MAY BE CAREFUL TO DO EVERYTHING WRITTEN IN IT.” ~JOSHUA 1:8
Effective Input: Regular Reading of Scripture
The first mark of Discipleship is one who spends time with Jesus. The very first act of a disciple in scripture was two men who spent the entire day with Jesus in his house. Therefore, we see that discipleship requires more than just proximity to other people. It requires togetherness. Gary Chapman writes, “two people sitting in the same room are in close proximity, but they are not necessarily together. Togetherness has to do with focused attention. When a father is sitting on the floor, rolling a ball to his two year old child, his attention is not focused on the ball but on his child. For a brief moment, however long it lasts, they are together. If however, the father is talking on the phone while he rolls the ball, his attention is diluted.”` Discipleship requires this intentional, focused togetherness with Jesus.
If you do not want to surrender 15min of your day to spending focused togetherness with the Lord and Savior of your life, I’d suggest putting this book down and grabbing the TV remote. Because discipleship requires regular engagement with the Word of God. In fact, Daniel Im discovered in his research that the number one activity that you can do that will develop all eight characteristics of Discipleship is regular Bible reading.
What you consume will influence you. Back in 1999, Sunny Delight admitted that consuming too much of its product could turn a child’s skin yellow.^ Jesus, however, already knew that when he said, “The things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart” (Matthew 15:18). What we consume—books, movies, music, TV, etc.—will shape who we become. Therefore, the primary method of disciple-making is focused and intentional Bible reading.
The simplest and most effective form of Bible reading is an inductive method that uses the acronym S.O.A.P.
First you read the day’s Scripture (S), then you reread it jotting down notes of Observation (O)—facts, interesting elements, and overlaps with other things you have noticed—then you reread it with Application (A)—asking yourself what does this tell you to do—and finally you pray (P). At the back of this field manual is an example of SOAP and then a blank SOAP journal that you can use to practice this discipline.
Questions for Reflection
• How much togetherness time/week are you spending with God?
• What is preventing you from reading the Bible more frequently?
- In order to–SPEND MORE TIME WITH GOD,
- My next step is–to complete the S.O.A.P. Practice
- I will do it before–_________________________.
` Gary Chapman, Five Love Languages, 60.
^ Benattar, Mark. “Too Much Sunny Delight Turns Girl’s Skin Yellow.” The Independent. December 27, 1999.