Many years ago, I knew that I needed to step up my relationship with Christ. Sunday mornings were all about Jesus, but I struggled throughout the week to dive into the word.
Throughout my life, I tried so hard (or at least in my mind I did) to read the Word on a consistent basis. But, oftentimes I would lose focus or fall asleep. Yet this particular time, I guess I was fed up. I was desperate to see my faith grow.
One night after falling down the rabbit hole of Google and Facebook, I stumbled upon the SOAP Bible Study Method. And, this method for study time with the Lord has stuck with me since. Whether you consider yourself to be a beginner in Bible study or you are a seasoned saint, SOAP is a tried and true method to use.
What does SOAP stand for?
Who doesn’t love a good acronym? SOAP simply stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer.
To get started with the SOAP Bible study method, you will want to grab something to write with and write on. Then, select a bible passage to read and note one or two scriptures that really speak to you. You might also want to include the date of your study for future reference. Now, let’s go through each step of SOAP.
Scripture – To complete the S in Soap, you will want to write the scripture in a bible translation that you are accustomed to. I grew up in church that utilized the King James Version. So, oftentimes now I like to read the NKJV for familiar scriptures. But, some of my other favorites include: New Living Translation, EASY, Amplified Version, and The Message. You may find it helpful to write down the translation as well on your paper.
Observation – This element of the SOAP bible study method is all about what is presented in front of you. The first goal is to look at the text objectively. You want to pull out facts. You want to see what God is saying or what the author is trying to convey. For observation, you may also want to note any words that speak to you. Or, maybe there was something that wasn’t said. Some people may choose to go a deep further in their observation with commentary and other biblical resources. However, when I am using SOAP, I typically just stick with the Bible for the O section and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in it.
Application – Now, it’s time to make it personal. You may even want to re-read the scripture, look at your observations, then ask “How does the scripture apply to me?” You might also write down your first initial thoughts and feelings to this biblical text? Other questions you might ask include:
Is this an area where I can grow?
Does this text confirm current actions that I am taking or having?
What is one thing that I can do today as it applies to this text?
Prayer – Prayer is simply communication with God. I encourage you not to hold back on this step. This is the time to write down anything that you need God to help you with, particularly as it pertains to the text. (However, don’t hesitate to write down anything else that is on your mind on that day.) You may not be used to writing out your prayers, but consider it as a letter to God. Let Him know how you felt or what you took away from the other three sections of the SOAP bible study method. There have been times that I even like to go back and look at past SOAPs. I often see how God answered my prayers or things that I still need to work on.
SOAP Bible Study Example
I wanted to show a couple of SOAP bible study examples from my own journals. In 2019, I started the process of reading the bible in a year and begin doing SOAP in a little notebook.
SOAP Bible Study Free Printable
As in my example, you can certainly use your favorite notebook to soap. You can also find a soap bible study free printable like I used above in the Subscriber’s Library. You may find bible study groups like Love God Greatly, that provide downloadable sheets as well. When I use printable sheets, I like to just add them to a three ring binder. The important thing is to choose whatever is going to increase your motivation to study God’s Word!
SOAP Bible Study Method Alternatives
You may find that other Christian bloggers and writers believe that the SOAP method is lacking for an intensive bible study. However, I think every bible study method has a design and its purpose.
I always find SOAP as my go to because the steps are easy for me to remember. If I have carved out 15 minutes to an hour of study time, then I like to use this method.
But, there are days that I am honestly lucky to get a good amount of study time in. So, I make sure that at a bare minimum, I am simply reading God’s word or even going through YouVersion’s daily stories. These are just great ways to start your day. I typically will end those short bursts of study with prayer.
For a more intensive bible study, I have found versemapping to be helpful. However, I have found that I need quite a bit more time to do this.
There’s A Method That Will Work For You!
Whether you choose the SOAP bible study method or a different approach, it is vital for Christians to stay connected to God’s word. We need as we try to live a life that is pleasing to God. I have found on my bad days, I am always in need of a reminder of who I am in Christ and what His Word says about me.
So, let me know if you tried SOAP or if there is a different method you choose?
Peace and Blessings,
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