If you’re looking for a simple and powerful way to make the most of your Bible study/Bible reading time, the S.O.A.P method is a great tool!
First of all, I need to give the disclaimer that this system is all from the book The Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordiero (I need to check and make sure I spelled that correctly!). Here’s what you need:
- Your Bible (you can use an actual physical Bible or sit at your computer and read it online)
- A Journal to write in
- Some sort of Bible Reading plan
- Your daily planner/calendar
- Something to write with
Sounds easy already, doesn’t it?
Why a Bible? Because it’s God’s Word directly to you. He has something to say to YOU! “Our Daily Bread” and “My Utmost For God’s Highest” are great and so are other devotional books and you can learn from them, but it’s good to go directly to the Source.
Why a Journal? You’re going to be writing things down as you’re doing your Bible reading (more on that later).
Why a Bible Reading plan? If you’re like me, it’s easy to get distracted and spend half your time flipping through the Bible and wondering what to read next. Or maybe you read the same passage over and over again and end up missing out on all the other awesome gems in the Bible. If you use a plan, you don’t have to spend time figuring out what to read every day. There are tons of reading plans that you can google and find online.
Why a daily planner/calendar? This is for the times when you go and start your devotions time and you think of something you’re going to have to do or remember for later. Instead of getting up and doing it right then and forgetting to come back, you can write it on your calendar and free that space up in your brain.
Why something to write with? You’re going to be writing. 🙂 If you were going to a meeting with someone who knew everything that you needed to know about your job, you would probably take something to take notes with. It’s the same idea here.
So, what exactly is S.O.A.P.? I’m so glad you asked!
Now that you have all the things you need, open up your journal and write S O A P down the page.*
For “S” write down one particular scripture verse or section that stood out to you. Just one. If you do this every day, you’re going to have A LOT of truths to look back on and see what God was showing you. More than one thing and it becomes more difficult to manage.
For “O” write down your observations.
For “A” write out an application to your own life.
For “P” write out a prayer of response.
Do you know why I like it so much? I love that it’s interactive! As I open my Bible (or web browser)I’m asking that the Lord would speak and show me the things that He wants to show me. Then I listen, take notes and respond. It makes my time spent in the Word more meaningful and focused. If you have something that works well for you, I’m not saying you should change. But, if you’re like me and struggling sometimes with direction or motivation, maybe this will help!
*I actually write the “S” and then write out my scripture and then write the “O” on the next available line and write out my observations. . . etc.,
Note: I originally posted this on our family site a few years ago and thought I would repost it here. Since the original posting, it has received over 18,000 page views (that’s a lot in my little corner of the web!)