Spring is in the air and while many are taking the change of seasons as an opportunity to spruce things up, I’m writing to share my favorite tip for some major deep cleaning. No, I’m not talking about some secret vinegar recipe, I’m talking about the renewing of your mind with the S.O.A.P. Bible Study method. You may have heard of this before, it’s a great structure for bible journaling that has been around for a while and gaining in popularity. There is even a soap study website where you can log-in and record your entries. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it, it was new to me too. Now that I’m in the loop, I hereby extend an invitation to learn about some bible study awesomeness. 🙂
I first ran across this method during my crazy homeschool information hunt last fall, but was so busy with my newborn, homeschool and the holidays to give it much thought. As I was praying about whether or not to continue with this blog, the verse in Matthew 6:33 kept coming to mind:“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” That’s when I realized that listening to my local Christian Music Station and working on a few memory verses with my Lil’ Lizard each day was not cutting it. In the book of Peter it talks about craving the word of God like a new-born hungers for milk. This scripture strikes such a chord with me as a nursing mom, I could write an entire post on it. My babies not only depend on milk for nourishment to sustain life, they find comfort and delight in it. Maybe we should take a hint from the little ones and learn to seek God’s word and rest in Him, trusting in our Father to cover all our needs.
Ok ok, so you’re geared up to study His word, but what does S.O.A.P. stand for and how does it work?
S.O.A.P. is an acronym for the words: scripture, observation, application and prayer. With those words in mind, begin your selected reading. It could be a verse, a passage, or several chapters (although I think this system works best on smaller chunks of scripture). Whatever you want, you don’t have to change your reading schedule at all, this is just a way to further engage you by taking a few notes. After reading, you simply jot down the letters S. O. A. P. vertically and record a few thought based on the prompts.
S. is for Scripture:
Easy enough, here you just write your scripture. For a single verse I like to write out the entire thing, but just a reference is fine too. Whatever works best for you!
O. is for Observation:
You know how you might read something a million times, but one day a different element jumps out to you? That’s what you would write here, your observations and what you think God is drawing to your attention.
A. is for Application:
So now that you’ve taken a deeper look at scripture, what exactly is its’ relevance? How is it applicable to you to in your daily walk or a current situation? In what ways do you intend to apply this nugget of God’s truth?
P. is for Prayer:
After taking the time to really meditate on His Word and what wisdom He may have for you, now you write out your prayer concerning what you just learned. Ask Him to show and help you apply your new (or newly remembered) revelation.
It’s that simple!! I don’t know about you, but in the past I would find myself so pressed for time I might read a bit and then “check” quiet time off my to-do list without really delighting in His word. I know, it’s like a starving person saying “No no no, I’m too busy to eat a decent meal, I’ll just grab a protein bar.” Thankfully, when I remember S.O.A.P. and take notes accordingly, I get loads more out it and walk away feeling refreshed, connected and with purpose.
If you think you’d like to give this method a try, here is a link to the homeschool website where I first discovered this method. That site is an awesome resource for MANY things, including free S.O.A.P. bible study printables! Speaking of which, I need to learn how to put something like that together so I can show the spin I put on it for my Lil’ Lizard who is a reluctant writer.
Until then, I hope describing this method has helped you in some way. Even when my arms are full of a sleeping baby and my pen has rolled under the couch, just mentally asking myself the S.O.A.P. prompts helps me to focus and discover a deeper significance and connection to His Living Word.
What about you? How do you like to reflect on your bible reading? Is there another Bible study method you’d love to share?