I grew up in a Christian home, went to church every Sunday, and knew the Bible was important. But I never really learned how to read it for myself, and I definitely didn’t know how to apply it to my life. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been to church or were birthed in a pew, the Bible is a confusing book… at first. My goal with this blog is not to make you into a Bible teacher in 5 easy steps. It’s just to give you a simple method of reading and applying the text. Let me introduce you to the SOAPS Bible Study method.
SOAPS is an acronym and it stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer, Share. The original version of this method was just SOAP, but somewhere along the line Share was added and if you keep reading you’ll see why I prefer SOAPS over SOAP.
Before we jump into how to use the method I just want you to know that this blog is the first in a four-part series on spiritual disciplines. Each week I’ll share something simple you can do to ramp up your spiritual life, and with each blog, I’ll share a free printable to make the execution easy.
You’re more than welcome to just read this blog and move on, but if you’re interested in learning an easy way to pray, listen to God, and meditate on scripture definitely check out the rest of the series. Also, if you have any of your own tips for growing a relationship with Jesus please share them in a comment!
Using the SOAPS Bible Study Method to Deepen Your Faith
The SOAPS Bible study method isn’t the only way to read, study, and apply scripture. It’s just super easy and really common. If there’s one thing I would add to this method, though, it would be to know the background information of the book you’re reading.
What I mean is this. If you decide to read through the book of Colossians it’s really helpful to know who wrote it, why he wrote it, when he wrote it, and who he wrote it to. It’s actually fairly easy to extract a meaning from the Bible that isn’t accurate, but having some background information is really helpful.
Also, I would recommend being aware of what is being said around the verse(s) that you’re using in your SOAP. If you’re focused on just a single verse that’s ok, but reading the whole paragraph that contains your verse(S) will help you gain a better understanding it/them. Sometimes it’s even helpful to read the whole chapter, but if that seems too overwhelming just start with the full paragraph.
If you’re not sure how to get the background information you’d be surprised at what you can learn with a simple Google search. Also, check your Bible. A lot of times there is a page at the beginning of each book that explains the background info. If you’re looking to really nerd out, then head to Bible Study Tools, choose the book you’re reading in, and scroll down a bit.
And with that, here’s what each piece of the SOAPS Bible Study method is and how you do it…
Choose a Bible verse or a short passage to study and consider. Write it out in your own handwriting, making sure to include the address (ex. John 3:16).
Side Note: If you don’t already know this, the first number after the book title is the chapter number and the second one is the verse number. To locate John 3:16 you find the book of John (just John, not 1 John, 2 John, or 3 John). Yeah, there are 4 books called John [shrug}.
As you flip through you’ll see big numbers and little numbers. The big numbers are the chapters and the little numbers are the verses. Once you’re in John look for the big number 3. Then, scroll down until you find the little number 16. If you pass the big number 4 you’ve gone too far. There it is. John 3:16 🙂
Now, answer this question: What is it that really sticks out as you read this verse/passage? It could be a single word or phrase, the tone, or how current it feels. Write it down.
Next, think about how your chosen piece of text (along with your observation) can be applied to your life. Is God exposing sin, encouraging you, or challenging you? Whatever it is, write it down.
Before closing your Bible, thank God for his Word and for speaking to you through it. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you apply what you’ve learned. Then, ask him who you can share this with.
And that is what brings us to the final step in the SOAPS Bible Study method. There won’t always be a specific person that comes to mind when you’re studying, and that’s ok. It’s perfectly acceptable to just accept what God has to show YOU.
However, one mistake Christians frequently make is keeping God’s lessons to themselves. Asking God who you can share his Word with is a great habit to get into, and that’s why I prefer the SOAPS method over SOAP.
If someone comes to mind, write down their name along with how you might strike up the conversation. Then pray that their heart would be receptive when you talk. If no one comes to mind, that’s ok. Just keep asking.
Is the SOAPS Bible Study Method for You? FREE Printable.
Well, what do you think? Is the SOAPS method for you? If you’re interested in trying it out you can download my free PDF here. It includes an instruction sheet along with an empty printable that you can fill in with all the elements of your own SOAPS!
I’m actually going to be using this with my kids this fall as part of our daily routine. I bought them a binder and filled it with some of my SOAPS sheets. The beautiful thing about this method is it’s good for young and old alike!
Because there’s a better way,
question: have you ever used the soaps method? did you like it? and if not, what is your preferred method of studying scripture?
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