How many times have you opened your Bible with such a lack of direction that you found yourself discouraged and gave up on learning it? Today, contributor Nicole Hutchison
of Three 31
talks about how to use the S.O.A.P. method when studying scripture. This method is simple, thought provoking and keeps prayer laced into each passage.
At the bottom of Nicole’s post, I’ve created a free resource from SJM you can print to help you in your studies.
Since 2010, studying the Bible has become a priority and something I enjoy, rather than another dreadful item on the to-do list. I am grateful for a faithful accountability community, mentors who have devoted years to reading and studying God’s Word, for encouraging me to dig deeper into Scripture.
There are many ways to study the Bible, but one of the easiest is called the S.O.A.P. method, which stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer.
To illustrate the S.O.A.P. method, I’ll share a personal example using 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
God’s temple is holy and the Holy Spirit lives in me. My body and mind are His temple because He is within me. If I choose to eat unhealthy foods, I am destroying my body and God’s dwelling place. If I choose not to exercise, I am not strengthening my body to do God’s work. If jealousy, anger, or pride control my thoughts, I am conforming to the world instead of being transformed by my Savior.
Satan knows my weaknesses and seeks them out daily. I’m comforted knowing that I’m not the only person tempted by food. When Eve was tempted (Genesis 3:6), she lost control and tasted the forbidden fruit. When Jesus was tempted with food, He quoted Scripture (Luke 4:3). I want to be like Jesus! In order to be more Christ-like, I need to: practice self-control when eating and make better choices; discipline myself to exercise daily; and, appreciate the precious gifts of a healthy mind and body. Satan likes when I feel bitter, sad, discontent, or unworthy. But God lives in me and protects me.
Loving God, you made me in your image and you know the number of hairs on my head and freckles on my nose. You know me better than I know myself. I confess that I have taken advantage of the body and mind you have entrusted to me. I have made poor decisions and I am sorry. When I am doubtful, encourage me. When I need self-control, empower me. When I become prideful, humble me. These things I ask in Jesus’ name, amen.
Reading the Bible is one thing, but to immerse yourself in Scripture and study its context, characters, and lessons is taking it to the next level. We live in a fast-paced society and time is of the essence, but God desires a relationship with us. Relationships take time, as well as devotion and commitment. In order to devote time and energy into our spiritual lives, we must slow down and really dig deeper into God’s Word to hear the message He is telling us.
Using the S.O.A.P. method can be both beneficial and convenient. The more you read Scripture, the more you become a spiritual sponge: one who continuously seeks and knows Him. This study method is also convenient because it can take as little as 10 minutes to complete. If you have more time, you can expand your reading, reflection, and prayer responses.
Now, use this S.O.A.P. and start your spiritual cleansing!
Resource: As promised, here is the SJM SOAP Tool in a .pdf. Feel free to print and use as you wish.