Soap does a great job of cleaning, right?
Well, little did you know, SOAP is also a way to help you in your personal Bible study time. You might be a child just learning to write down your thoughts, or you can be in the senior years of life; no matter your age, this is a great way of getting a little more mileage out of your time of reading the Bible.
SOAP is an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. It doesn’t matter if you are studying 10 chapters a day or just a verse or two, the SOAP way of studying can help you to focus on scripture in a way that adds depth and understanding to your Bible study time. This is a tool that we have used at Rock-N-Water Christian Camps with our 49er Fun staff that work with kids in 3rd and 4th grade. It’s based on some ideas we learned from New Hope Oahu in Hawaii.
It is a great idea to get a notebook or personal journal that can be dedicated exclusively to your SOAP journaling. Leave a few pages in the front blank for now. As you have your personal Bible study time, look for a scripture that stands out to you, one that you would like to explore further, or a scripture that seems personally meaningful.
Write down the letter “S”, which stands for scripture. Now write the Scripture that you want to explore further. It can be one verse, or it can be a full passage. For example:
S Ephesians 5:3 3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
Next comes the O for observation. Read and re-read your scripture, and write down what you observe about it.
O Immorality and impurity and greed should not be a part of my life, so that no one can look at me and see any evidence of them. There should also be no filthy or silly talk or coarse jesting, because these things are not fitting for a believer. What we are supposed to be talking about and showing evidence of is our thankfulness.
Personal application is that next thing to think about. How can I apply this verse to my own life? Think about it for a little while, and then write down your thoughts.
A I really need to do some evaluating of my life. Are there areas where I am being immoral according to God’s standard of immorality? Are there areas where I am being impure, including my thought life? Are there areas where I am greedy? What are the things that I talk about with others – is there filthy or silly talk that I participate in or initiate? How about coarse jesting? I need to listen to myself as I converse with others, and be sure that what comes out of my mouth is thankful speech rather than anything else.
The last thing to do is to pray. Ask God to help you to remember what you have learned and to be able to apply it to your life today. Always remember to praise Him for giving us His word so that we can know how we are to think and behave.
P Dear Lord, thank you for giving me your holy Word so that I can know you better and know what you desire for my life. Please help me today to be mindful of what I am thinking and saying, and also of what I am exposing myself to. Help me to change my mind so that I can be thankful and express that thankfulness. Amen.
Now give your SOAP a title and a page number. Go back to the first empty page in your journal and write down this title and page number for future reference. You now have finished your SOAP devotional!