The SOAP Bible Study Method
While many of us are religious, reading the Bible can be challenging. This could be due to people having different reading styles or methods. For example, some groups limit their Bible study to choosing an interesting chapter or story and studying those verses.
Sometimes, we give up on trying to read the Bible altogether. Here’s where it is crucial to have a specific reading strategy, where we can read the Bible and effectively reflect on what we have read. It’s like when we read our favorite novel or short story – we frequently see the tale’s events and envision being part of or connected with them to better understand and feel every scene of what we are reading.
When it comes to the Bible, we can make a better study plan. We can fulfill our desire to read the Holy Scripture and deepen our relationship with God by using the SOAP method of Bible study. The simplicity and lack of intimidation of this strategy will also assist beginners in performing their devotions.
What is SOAP?
Those who are unsure of what SOAP will find it helpful to know that each letter has a distinct meaning. The letters S, O, A, and P stand for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer, respectively.
Now that we are aware of the meaning of each letter, we can at least begin to comprehend how this Bible study strategy is carried out.
Each of us may read and study the Bible in a unique way, and no approach is necessarily right. Every method of reading and studying the Bible is viable because it all relies on the reader and how he decides to understand each verse. But it also helps to consult other preachers or Bible scholars.
Let’s dive into it.
As already mentioned, this is how SOAP looks like:
S – cripture
O – bservation
A – pplication
P – rayer
You can use your personal Bible reading plan as a reference when exploring the SOAP technique and before beginning to create your devotions.
Let’s pray before opening the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to come upon us and give us the gift of wisdom, since this is the first and greatest gift of the Holy Spirit.
First, we must choose and read a verse from the Holy Bible. This is the time we put what we’ve read down on paper after reading and internalizing it. This will make us remember the story itself, the characters (if any), and the Scriptures.
After writing, this is the time we take a moment to again reflect on the passage we have just read and made notes on. For sure, we have questions in our mind, and this is the right time to ask ourselves how we recognize the verse we’ve read plus our interpretation of it.
Sample possible questions you may ask yourself are:
- Who wrote the passage?
- Who is the speaker?
- To whom is the speaker speaking?
- Who is the audience?
- What words do you wish to reflect about more?
Because we must align every fiber of our existence with God, this section is important to us. To draw ourselves closer to God, we must be able to put what we have learned from the Bible into practice. God’s revelation to us will truly help our own conversion in some way, shape, or form.
As the Bible says in James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Since simply reading the Bible is not enough, applying what we get from it is a great gift to God, and we are sure that our Father in Heaven will be very pleased.
To share the gospel of God, we must set the best possible examples for others. According to Philippians 4:9-11, “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
We have reached the very last step of this process, which is prayer. We must be grateful that God sent the Holy Spirit to make it possible for us to understand his teachings.
Additionally, after reading the Bible, prayer will enlighten our minds. Even though we still have unanswered questions, we should still trust the Lord, our God, to direct us and show us what to do.
As we have offended him, now is also the perfect time to seek for forgiveness for the offenses we have either mistakenly or willfully done.
The SOAP Bible Study Method: A Sample
1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
The books of Peter 1 and 2 were written by Peter, an apostle. He instructed people to love one another as he spoke to the Church. Even Christ himself told us to do this before he ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. If we love God, we must also love our neighbors. When we deeply love God and others, we will never harm or hate our neighbors or act badly against them since it will anger God.
There are many things that irritate us, and those things don’t necessarily include our neighbors. Our neighbors can occasionally make us feel uncomfortable to the point that we don’t want to interact with them or see them. After reading this scripture, we will have a better understanding that pride, which is a sin, makes it difficult for us to obey what God has commanded.
So, to apply this scripture to our lives, we must start by accepting our neighbors despite our differences. Even though we may find it difficult to love them, we must treat them the same way God treats us with love and generosity.
“Dearest Jesus, thank you for allowing me to have this moment to read your Word. I want to love my neighbors the way you taught us. I understand that loving and accepting my neighbors as they are, will give glory to you and the Father in heaven. Thus, I want to love them with the greatest love you have for me. Grant me the grace to carry out your command and not to fail you. Amen.”
Does the SOAP Method Also Work for Kids?
You can try using the SOAP Bible technique to interact with children, including those who are not your own, who reside with you.
You must use the same technique as reading a passage to your children and asking them to identify the phrase or line that inspires them, and how as a child they can practice the verses in their everyday life. Ask them the same questions or the moral they could pick up from the passage.
You might be surprised to learn that because children have innocent hearts and spirits, they will undoubtedly learn the good things from the Bible. By doing this, you are also introducing kids to Jesus, particularly if you read them verses about kindness and love. As a result, they will get along with one another better.
Teach them to pray and give thanks to God. You may also tell them to pray so that God will make them kind and loving children. This way, they will refrain from fighting or picking on their siblings, friends, and classmates.
Why Do We Use the SOAP Bible Study Method?
After comprehending the purpose of this strategy and each of its sections, this question follows. We occasionally experience loneliness; thus, we feel the urge to talk to friends, relatives, and occasionally even strangers. We do it so that we can establish a bond. We are compelled to inform them that we are still present and well.
In reading the Sacred Scripture, we communicate with God. This way, we want to feel his presence and love; we also seek to understand what he says and what his plans are for us. We talk to God through reading his Words and we can only achieve this if we dedicate some of our time for him. SOAP can be the perfect time to know God more who is omnipresent and omniscient.
Making it a habit to read the Bible gives us the liberty to become God’s children as his Word is the spiritual nourishment of our soul. The SOAP Bible Study Method is one of the most effective strategies to be able to hear God. Let’s immerse ourselves in the Bible verses which are essential for understanding his Word, particularly at a time when confusion is rife, and nothing makes sense. The Bible is what we can hold on to, as it says in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
Is the SOAP Bible Study Method Right for You?
Not all may find this method attractive as this method asks you to read a passage or two in the Bible. Additionally, as this strategy allows you to only read a few verses, you may not be able to understand the whole chapter. Thus, this is one of the disadvantages of SOAP. That’s why you alone, can answer this question.
Many people adopt this approach since it has been around for a long time and they find it useful for studying the Bible. But once more, pick the study method that works best for you.
There are numerous approaches you may utilize, but whichever approach you choose, be sure to understand why you’re reading the Bible. It’s because God can see what’s in our hearts and how pure our intentions are.
As what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”