Spiritual Practices

Four (fun) ways to use your Mark journal

Do you ever find yourself sitting in your seat on Sunday, listening to the sermon, and feeling very motivated to spend some time reading the Bible on your own…. only to find yourself feeling absolutely stuck on Monday morning?

As we start Mark: Unexpected King, we have a few ideas for ways you can use your Mark journal to help you to slow down, read, and allow the Holy Spirit to use the words to slowly transform you, little by little.

Use the SOAP Method

One simple, helpful way to read through a passage of Scripture is to use the SOAP method:

Scripture – Read a passage from Mark, and underline a verse or two that jumps out to you. Slowly read it a couple more times.
Observation – What are some things you notice about this passage? What do you learn about who God is? What questions do you have? Write them in the margin of your journal.
Application – What is God trying to teach you through this passage? What changes do you need to make? How is God asking you to respond?
Prayer – Spend a few minutes talking to God about what this passage has made you think about. Respond to Him about what’s going on in your life and what He’s teaching you through this passage.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is simply a way of slowing down, and reading and meditating on a passage of Scripture. You can find a step-by-step tutorial here.

Read and Draw

Break out your markers or colored pencils, and doodle up the margins of your Mark journal! As you read, circle words that stand out to you in bright blue. Draw red question marks by things that are confusing. Was there a phrase that stuck out to you? Create word art in the margin! There are so many ways to do this; you can’t go wrong. Don’t be afraid to use bold colors and creativity to respond to God.

Read with friends

It’s easy to quickly read through a section of Scripture, but it’s not until we stop, think, and process through it that it sinks deep into our minds and hearts. Consider reading Scripture aloud with a life group, roommates, or family and then talk about what sticks out. Or, read and think through it on your own, making notes in the margins, and then come together with a group of friends to share your responses with one another. Ask each other questions about things that are confusing. Be willing to offer alternative perspectives. Challenge one another to think about the passage from different angles. By the end of your time together, not only will you have grown in your understanding of one another, but you will have a deeper understanding of that passage of Scripture!

Getting into the rhythm of reading and studying Scripture can be challenging for all of us. But whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to stay stuck! Keep showing up, try new things, and eventually it’ll become a rhythm you won’t want to do without.