WANT TO HEAR FROM GOD? TRY SOAPING.
Last weekend, we wrapped up a message series, Frequency, so that we could all learn how to better hear from God. There were tons of cool stories floating around the lobby each weekend of people asking God to speak and then hearing from Him. AWESOME! If you missed any of those messages, you can check them out here.
But one of the ways we absolutely know we’ll always hear from the Lord is through scripture.
Hands down. Every time. Direct Line.
The SOAP Bible reading method is super popular and it’s easy to see why! This simple technique provides an easy outline to follow for reading and understanding. It’s a surefire way to get you hearing from God.
So, what is soaping? Below, the four steps of the SOAP approach are broken down for ya.
The Letter S
S stands for Scripture. Plain and simple, this is where you decide which passage you’re going to read and then write it out in a journal or notebook. Writing is a brilliant way to commit something to memory and meditate on its meaning.
An easy and fun way for picking a passage is by topic! And there are some pretty rad tools online, like BibleGateway, that can help you navigate a topical study so you don’t hafta do all that work yourself.
Another great way for choosing a passage is to select a book of the Bible and just work your way through it, line-by-line. Or, if a weekend message at church was particularly powerful for you, you may want to go back through some of the passages that were referenced again during the week.
Like anything, having a plan is essential to actually doing it. So decide in advance what you’re gonna read and when it comes time to do it, it’ll be way easier to just dive right in.
The Letter O
O stands for observation. The words of scripture are powerful but if we don’t take some time to meditate on them and understand them, then it’s like having a huge tool shed in the backyard but never using any of the fancy equipment inside.
This step requires you to take time with the passage and really look at what it is saying. Observation is not interpretation; nor is it application. It’s just reading what it states and gathering the facts.
What do you notice about the passage? Who was it written to? Who was it written by? What point are they trying to make? Are there any words that are repeated? Are there any phrases or images that stand out? Do the verses before or after the passage give you any more clues or context?
The Letter A
A stands for application. If the goal of scripture reading is connection with God and life transformation, then head-knowledge alone isn’t enough. That’s why this step in the SOAP Bible study method is just like pure gold. Ask God, “what does this mean for me today?”
During the application step, you’ll uncover a sliver of wisdom that you can integrate into your life. And that’s basically the best way to follow Jesus! Some passages may be easier than others, but all scripture is useful so once you get the hang of it, don’t skip over things that you think might be tough or *ahem* boring.
The Letter P
P stands for prayer. The Holy Spirit is with you in this process so chat Him up.
Thank Him for His promises and principles. Ask Him for help in any area where you need His power. Repent of any sins that the reading may have uncovered to you. Commit your way to Him and trust Him to fulfill His plans for your life.
If you’re confused by what you read then now is a good time to literally just ask Him to show you what it means. Scripture promises He gives wisdom to all who ask (James 1:5).
This whole process can take as long or as short a period of time as you would like, there is no right or wrong. Start small and as you begin to see the immediate payoff, which you will, you’ll naturally be excited to tackle bigger portions.
And remember, using this method with shorter passages is totally okay. A verse or two of scripture that is well understood and applied is more valuable than having scanned large chunks of the Bible and failing to recall what’s been read.
We hope the SOAP reading method makes Bible reading and comprehension easy for you. It’s all a part of becoming who God purposed you to be!