So … probably everyone else except me already knew about this, but I just learned about the S.O.A.P. method for studying the Bible.
It makes a lot of sense to me. So I thought I’d share it here.
S.O.A.P. stands for
It’s great because you can use it by yourself or in a group, or really any time anywhere, to read the Bible.
(It always helps me to pray for His guidance before starting to read the Bible, even though that isn’t officially the first step in the S.O.A.P. method. I guess maybe that would be the PSOAP method, LOL.)
So the steps are
- Scripture. Select a passage, read slowly, maybe even out loud (or not, if you’re sitting in a quiet library reading by yourself — y’know ….). Maybe if it’s complicated read more than once.
- Observation. This can be as deep or as complicated as you want to make it. Sometimes as simple as, “What words stood out to me as I read this passage today?” (If you’ve read it before, different words might have stood out to you this time than did the last time you read it, which is perfectly fine.) Some people (I’m one of them) like to read the same passage in different versions of the Bible and compare. (My favorites are NIV, ESV and King James, and for the Old Testament, sometimes the Jewish Torah & rabbinical commentaries.) Every once in a while I might go on the Internet and look up scholarly articles on the passage, especially if its a complicated or famous one.
- Application. Ask yourself, how does this passage apply to my life right now? Is there anything this passage inspires me to do that I’m not doing already? Or maybe that it inspires me to stop doing? Or to somehow change what I’m doing? Etc., etc. Worth actually spending some time on, such as, “Okay, if this inspires me to change how I do ‘X’ what exactly does that mean for, say, tomorrow, when I usually do ‘X’? What exactly am I going to try to do differently tomorrow?”
- Prayer. Prayer is the last step. Maybe thanking God for His Word, His presence in your life, “praying the passage” or praying that God will help you understand His Word the way that He intended, etc., etc.
And that’s the SOAP method.
I like it!