HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE (SOAP METHOD)
So you may have seen one of our other videos where I give my 5 tips on how to study the Bible and if you haven’t, I’ll put that link below. This week we are going to look at what’s called the SOAP method.
Soap stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer, and it’s one of the most popular ways to study small portions of scripture.
So in the first section, you have the Scripture that you’re going to study for the day, which can be found in a reading plan, a daily devotional, or just a random set of verses that you choose to focus on. When diving into Scripture, it’s important to stay consistent with studying specific books instead of jumping around, reading one verse from the Old Testament, one verse from the New, one from Proverbs, etc because by doing that it’s much harder to understand what’s going on in the passage.
For our example we will choose Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, “Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make.”
Some people will write it out, which is a great practice and reinforces what you’re reading. Others will read the same verse from different translations of the Bible, which is also great to get it from different perspectives.
So now that we have the scripture chosen, the next step is Observation.
This is where we observe the scripture and ask yourself questions about The Who, what, why, when, it was written. Who wrote the passage? Who was it written to? What is the theme? What words or phrases stand out to you? Was this written before or after Jesus lived? Timeline questions are huge.
Write all of the observations out below the verse. So for our example, looking at this verse in Proverbs, we know it was written by Solomon in the middle of his reign as he’s sharing his wisdom with others, because we know that Solomon was the wisest man to ever live. The themes here are trusting God and allowing Him to guide your life. And it was written way before Jesus, in the Old Testament.
So the next section of SOAP is the A. The application. Where we see how to apply the Scripture to our lives. We can be asking God, how can I apply this to my life? What changes do I need to make in my life after what I read today? And what actionable steps do I need to take to get there? Sometimes you will have a list of ways to apply it but focus on 1-2 and stick with those for now. The key is to not get overwhelmed.
So how do you apply Proverbs 3:5-6 to your life? Remember, it says, “Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make.” So instead of making immediate decisions in the heat of the moment, I should be taking time to slow down and ask God what His plan is for me. And then listen, because He’s always wanting to talk to us.
And then you end it off with Prayer, the most important part. Asking God for His wisdom, understanding, and a heart to learn - to grow closer to Him. Pray the verse back to God, thank Him for speaking to you through His Word, and ask for guidance as you apply the Scripture to your life.
That’s it! That’s how you study the Bible with the SOAP method. Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer.