Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Studying the Bible Using the S.O.A.P. Method

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In the past, I had made a goal to read the Bible in a year.  It's a big goal.  A noble goal.  BUT... it was a goal that I was utterly challenged by and left me feeling guilty instead of empowered by God's Word!

To read the Bible in a year, there is a heavy reading schedule.  If you have a family, job, and/or other commitments, this could cause you to read for the sake of reading.  Do you know what I mean?  By the end of the year, you could have actually read the whole Bible, but how did God move you closer to Him in that process?  I mean, isn't that why we are reading our Bibles to begin with?  If not, and it's just so we can say, "Well, I read the whole Bible again this year!" and have not been edified by it... is the reading more to show how wonderful and pious we are or is it that we learn more about our wonderful Heavenly Father?!

So whether you have the time to read and study the Bible in a year or at a more subdued or relaxed pace, I hope that this will help make it more meaningful.  I know that it has made the world of difference for me and has brought a real joy to studying my Bible.  It might take a little practice but it is really worth it.

Studying Your Bible Using S.O.A.P.

S = Scripture
Read the passage of Scripture you are wanting to study.  You can write it down in your journal, or when reading large passages, write down the "gem" passage.  If you are challenged by time, even reading small sections of Scripture are so beneficial.  God doesn't care how much we read... He cares about us spending time with Him!

O = Observation
How would I explain the Scripture if I was teaching it to someone else?  Write it in your own words.  Check out any Scripture references and read them and write them in your own words.

A = Application
What does it mean to me?  Meditate on the Scripture.  You can even read it out loud.  Apply whatever method that yelps you to understand what it means to you and how it applies to your life today.

P = Prayer
Pray for God to give you understanding of how He wants to use this Scripture in your heart and life.  Ask Him to help you to hear and understand His Holy Word.  Pause and listen!  Ask Him to give you direction for the day, for the week, for your life.

Remember, (and I'm reminding myself here, too!) that God wants us to spend time with Him.  Don't get caught up in the amount of time, the mechanics of the study or anything else.  Just enjoy whatever amount of time you have at His feet.

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