There are several methods to read and understand your Bible. The SOAP method (S.O.A.P) is one of the common ways to read your bible, but there are other ones too which are discussed later in this article.
What is the SOAP Method?
The SOAP method or S.O.A.P for short is used for Bible reading to help you go beyond the words and instead apply scripture to your life. This method can be used with any daily Bible reading plan. Here’s how the SOAP method works.
S is for Scripture
You open your Bible to whatever reading you’re working on. Sometimes I simply open the Bible and randomly point to a section to study. Other times, I use a devotional or weekly sermon.
As you read scripture, take your time with the verses and allow God to speak to you. Once you’re done, you look for a verse that spoke to you or stood out amongst the others and write this Scripture in your journal.
O is for Observation
Consider the verse that caught your attention. Is there something that you feel or believe God wants you to notice. Ask the Holy Spirt to teach and reveal what it is that you should meditate on. Write or paraphrase this observation down in your journal.
You can observe anything. Perhaps it’s the actual story that you’re reading, and you’re intrigued about how the God is using that person for great things. Perhaps you feel that God wants to use you in a similar way, but you’re not ready to take that first step. Write all of these observations down. What are you feeling? Is there more that you want to read about and study? Have you encountered this in the past? What was your response then?
A is for Application
As you apply the Scripture and your observations, consider how you can apply it to your life. Personalize it by asking yourself how the passage applies to your life. Maybe it’s encouragement, instruction, correction for an area of your life or revelation of a new promise.
What will you do about what you’ve encountered today? Will you simply file it away until it gets too big to ignore or will you take one small step int he direction you feel he’s calling you to towards?
Sometimes it’s hard to take the first step. You may feel judged, insecure, or hopeless. But Isaiah 40:31 says that the Lord will give you strength. You will not grow weary because you have hope in the Lord. Create an action plan so that you can take that next step.
P is for Prayer
Pray and ask God to reveal his Word to you. God answers, maybe not the way you want him to, like how you’d answer your children or friends. He may also not answer you in the timeframe that you’ve set. But, he does answer, in his perfect timing.
As you pray, be aware of how you feel and focus on listening with your ears, but also with your heart and mind. Look around your environment as you go about the day. Continue to have a conversation as is if you were talking to someone you love. Because God truly does love you.
Other Ways to Study Your Bible
There are many ways to study your Bible. If the SOAP method doesn’t work for you, try another one. Here are Bible Journaling Ministries, we use the GOD method. Primarily because it’s easy to remember and is directly related to our ministry.
G is for Grow
Approach the Word with the intention to learn something and ask God that he might grow you in his Word today. Pray to God and ask Him for exactly what He wants you to learn.
O is for Observe
Similar to the SOAP method, consider what God wants you to see in the Word and how you might apply it to your life. This is often quiet time as you listen to the Holy Spirit and discern His will in your life.
D is for Draw
Drawing, illustrating, and writing are methods that creative people use connect with the message in a meaningful way. You can draw pictures in your Bible, paint, illustrate a beautiful picture, or simply doodle. The options are endless.
There’s no need to try for perfection. The point of drawing is to help you connect with the Word. Often, the serenity that you feel when coloring or creating helps you meditate longer and spend more time with God than you have in the past. It truly is a beautiful thing.
You can view all of our non-perfectionist drawings on our Facebook Page. We share all of them! Perhaps it’s that drawing that isn’t perfect that brings one more person closer to God. Wouldn’t that be something?
The Five P Bible Study Method
Position – Let yourself hear from God by clearing out all distractions.
Pour – Go over the passage and paraphrase major points. Ask questions like what happened? How did it happen, when did it take place?
Pull – Take out what you learned from God in the passage.
Pose – Ask a question. Create a question that’s directed at you.
Plan – Pin down a date and plan obedience
The Speck Method
Sin – List sins in the passage that should be avoided
Promises – List the promises that are mentioned in the passage
Examples – Follow examples in the passage that would work in your life
Commands – Writ out commands that were in the passage and ask yourself in you’re following them
Knowledge – What did you learn about God in the passage?
You can download a printable Speck Method worksheet here.
The OPA Bible Study Method
Observations – Make observations that stand out in the passage
Principles – What principles can you draw from your observations?
Ask – Ask yourself how you can apply these principles to your life. What did you learn from the observations?
When you read a passage, write this out in your own words. Think about what you’d say if you were relaying this passage to a friend that doesn’t know the Bible. The person you talk to should be able to understand what you wrote.
While the SOAP method might be the most popular way to study Scripture, there are so many alternatives. Find the study method that works best for you. You may need to try a few out to discover your favorite. Or if you’re like us, you’ll just make up your own.