A couple of weeks ago, I posted a picture on Instagram about the SOAP Bible Study Method (which stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer) I use during my quiet time. To my surprise lots of people had never heard of this method and were interested in learning more.
The SOAP Bible Study Method is a simple and effective way to study the Word and gather your thoughts – especially if you’re anything like me (scatter-brained and in need of focus when reading the Word). I’ve been using it for years and would highly recommend it as one of the tools you use to study the Word. Below you will find a simple breakdown of the SOAP Bible Study Method as well as an example from my own quiet time and free printable.
SOAP Bible Study Method
While studying a book of the Bible or a certain topic, write down a few key verses that stood out to you. It helps our memory when we have to re-write the Word. Take a few minutes to re-read the verses you wrote as well as to meditate on what it could mean before moving on to the Observation, Application, and Prayer.
Write down what you observed about the scripture. Spend some time here thinking through the following questions:
- What is the overall theme of this Scripture?
- Who are the key people?
- What actions are they taking? What are the results of those actions?
- What is the central lesson God is trying to teach us through this Scripture?
This is the part of the Bible Study where you stop and think about what is God trying to teach you through His Word.
During this part, it would be good to use a study bible (I prefer the NIV Life Application Study Bible) and/or a concordance to cross-reference verses and further gain insight on the Word.
Write down how you can apply what is being taught in these verses to your own life.
What is God showing you about yourself in these Scriptures? Is He showing you an area you need to work on, such as pride, anger, or jealousy? Is He leading you to begin something new, such as starting a ministry, changing careers, or just being bolder in your faith? Is He asking you to stop or give up something?
God will ask for your obedience in applying these things to your life. So think about how can you begin to apply what He is showing you today?
Always end by writing a prayer. Pray about what God has shown you through His Word. Pray specifically for the help to obey the things He has asked of you and to apply it to your life.
Here is where you pour out your heart to the Lord expressing any concerns you may have in obeying Him – any worry, any doubt, any lack of confidence. Whatever it may be, just pray to the Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord for what He has shown you through His Word.
The SOAP Bible Study Method is a simple, yet effective tool! Below I have provided an example from my quiet time this morning.
SOAP Bible Study Example
I am currently reading through Acts in my quiet time. This is a powerful example of a SOAP Bible Study I completed this morning from Acts 16.
“Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phyrgia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night, Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” – Acts 16:6-10 (NIV)
God kept Paul and his companions from preaching in Bithynia. When they tried to enter, the Holy Spirit would not allow them to. But that same night, Paul had a vision that led him and his companions to go and preach the Gospel in Macedonia.
They Holy Spirt can both lead us to where God wants us to go and keep us from going where He does not want us to go.
God knows how to order my steps and the exact places where I should and should not go.
When I am wanting to go somewhere, God can allow me to not go as well as open the door for me to go where He wants me to.
If I am confused or unsure as to whether or not I should go to a certain place – whether to a conference to further my own learning, to speak to a group of women, or even somewhere just for leisure – the Lord can guide me in that decision. I only need to ask and seek Him regarding the places I should go.
As a woman who desires to go to the places You call me to go and to do the things You call me to do, I pray that You lead me. Just as you led Paul and his companions, I pray that You lead me to the places I should go and not allow me to go to the places I shouldn’t go. Father, guide my steps.
And when You lead me to go somewhere, let me bold for You – let me be bold in sharing the Gospel with others. And when You don’t allow me to go somewhere, let me okay with that – knowing that You know what’s best for me.
Father, I thank You for the chance to even go wherever it is that You would call me.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
I hope you enjoy using the SOAP Bible Study Method. Download your free SOAP Bible Study printable here.
If you enjoyed this blog, be sure to subscribe below!