Making the most of my daily time with God has often been a challenge for me.
I am not ashamed to admit that I used to be notorious about putting other things before spending time with God. Habits like checking email, social media, and household chores often came before prayer and studying the Bible.
In recent years, I have adopted a morning routine that has helped me tremendously. Still, I am nowhere near being perfect in this area. I mess up from time to time, but it’s about progress, not perfection.
Despite getting my mornings in check, I felt like the Holy Spirit was urging me toward a deeper connection with the Word. I became very good about reading my Bible and using Bible apps. However, I rarely dug deep into the Bible with focused Bible study.
In my search for a more intentional Bible study routine, I discovered the S.O.A.P. Bible study method.
The S.O.A.P. Bible Study Method
The acronym S.O.A.P. stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer.
The S.O.A.P. method has been a true blessing to me in my study of God’s Word.
While I absolutely love reading the Word, there’s something so amazing that happens when I take a verse or passage and dive deep into it. So many awesome things are revealed!
Let’s break down the S.O.A.P. Method.
As you read, identify a passage or verse that you’d like to focus on and write it down. You’ve probably heard about the benefits of writing things down when it comes to memory and application. This is definitely true when studying the Bible.
Review the verse you’ve written down. What stands out to you? Consider things that may not be as obvious. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Who is speaking?
- What is their tone? Compassion? Authority? Anger?
- Who are they speaking to? A crowd? Another person?
- Where are they?
- What happened before? If you’ve read past the verse, what happened after?
Here, you’ll think about how you can apply the verse to your life. This may take a bit of time because you might not immediately be able to identify anything that applies to you in that time of your life. More questions to ponder:
- In what areas am I struggling?
- Is there any action I need to take?
- Are there any unresolved relationship issues?
Now that you’ve read, written down, and reflected on how the verse applies to your life, it’s time to pray! As you do, thank God for His word and its revelation. Also ask Him to reveal anything in your life that is not in alignment with who he has called you to do be, and any sin that might be hindering your walk with Him.
My SOAP Bible Study Example
In late 2018, I decided to read the Bible chronologically. I chose not to hold myself to a specific time frame, but to focus on understanding the Bible in a historical, contextual way.
Truth be told, I have tried several times to read the Bible from start to finish, but usually stopped around the beginning of Leviticus!
I am happy to report that, this time, I made it past Leviticus. As I write this post, I am just finishing up 1 Samuel. Here’s a look at one of my SOAP Bible study method sessions.
1 Samuel 28: 5-7
When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, be became frantic with fear. He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or sacred lots or by the prophets. Saul then said to his advisers, “find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.”
- Prior to this, Saul had banned all mediums from Israel.
- Saul was frantic with fear because of the Philistines. His behavior has been very irrational lately.
- Saul asked God what to do, even though he had repeatedly disobeyed God in the past.
- The Lord refused to answer Saul; God had left Saul because of his disobedience.
- Saul is desperate; he decides to consult a medium, going against his own rule.
- After this, Saul encounters Samuel, who speaks to him from the dead and reminds him why God is not answering him.
- Like Saul, I have allowed fears about money, career, and my future go cause me to go into panic mode.
- When this happened, I took matters into my own hands by seeking unwise advice.
- Knowing that this did not turn out well for Saul, I decide now to seek God first by reading His word.
- Even if I don’t feel like God is answering my prayers, I must realize that his Word is my instruction.
Father God, I thank you for your word and its conviction in my life. Like Saul, I am prone to ‘frantic fear’ and going my own way when I don’t feel like I’m hearing from you. I believe that I am hearing from you, through your Word. I must trust in it and allow the Holy Spirit to guide all of my steps. I must not turn to anything or anyone whose advice does not align with your Word. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!
Give The S.O.A.P. Bible Study Method A Try!
I challenge you to give the SOAP method a try, using the guide and worksheet I have created and am sharing with you in the Resource Library. Complete the form above for instant access!
Have you ever heard of the SOAP method? Let me know if you have tried it and how it has enhanced your Bible study.