SOAP-ing: A Bible Reading Method for All
Whether you’re opening your Bible for the first time or been reading it for years, SOAP is a simple and all-inclusive method to dig a bit deeper into God’s Word.
S.O.A.P. is a very common and highly recommended Bible reading method that helps us engage further into Scripture so that we may grow in our understanding of God’s Word, and thus God himself, as well as who we’re called to be and the significance of our beings.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Hebrews 4:12)
As you read a selected passage (which we highly recommend following a Bible reading plan) listen for what God is speaking to you specifically through His Word. And we can almost guarantee that the verse (or often, verses) meant for you will not just jump off the page or flash in neon as you read it; nor will you hear a voice shouting, this one’s for you! If you do … that’s great, too!
But for us ordinary folks who don’t necessarily hear God audibly or see the disco-ball of divine cues as we read we must remember to focus on the main point — spending time with God and subsequently growing in our relationship with Him. That’s it! God desires that we spend time with Him. He doesn’t care how messy our journaling looks or how goofy our prayers sound. It’s your time — your dedication to knowing him deeper — that he cares about.
Sometimes we can become so overwhelmed in trying to get it right or not missing what He’s saying that we avoid spending time with God — we avoid reading and praying. Don’t allow reading Scripture to intimidate you.
You like to doodle? Then doodle as you SOAP. You prefer to make notes in bullet points? By all means, SOAP in bullet points. Whether you use four pages or half a page, it really doesn’t matter; because it’s your heart that truly matters to God.
“My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways.”(Proverbs 23:26)
How to SOAP
S – Scripture
Write down a specific verse or two from the passage you read that spoke to you as you read.
O – Observation
What do you think God is saying to you in this specific scripture? Write down any specific observations or questions you may have had while reading the scripture.
A – Application
How does this passage apply to my life right now? Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, a new promise, or correction for a particular area of your life.
P – Prayer
This doesn’t have to be some long, extravagant prayer. Let it be messy and real! Begin with “God, help me …” (e.g. “God, help me believe …” “God, help me see …” “God, help me hear …” “God, help me repent …” “God, help me be …”)