personal bible study, how to with SOAP

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Personal bible study. It can be a daunting thing when you first dive in. Which book to read? Where to start? What does THAT mean? How does this apply to me?! So much can start to bubble about from one simple action that you may be overwhelmed at where to start. And of course you are reading your bible daily, right? There can be a lot of pressure to read your bible and do this and that when you start following Christ and get deeper in to the relationship. Just remind yourself that there is no competition. No comparison. Everyone is blazing their own journey with Christ and if you let Him take the lead and guide you, it will be your greatest adventure yet.

So back to bible study, I was in a lull in my personal studies a few years back and came across this method, referred to as SOAP. It really changed the way I read and studied the scriptures and left me with little notes from God, if you will, written in my own hand. Each morning I read a chapter or two in whatever book of the bible I am studying, depending on how much time I had, and then filled out each part of the SOAP acronym. It is truly awesome how much God will reveal from his word if you just take the time to study and listen.

What does SOAP stand for, you ask?

Scripture: Which scripture stuck out to you most? Write it down. 

Observation: What you think about the verse? What does God seem to be revealing through it?

Application: How do you apply this little truth to your life?

Prayer: Write a prayer asking how to implement this verse in to your life.

I have a notebook I use each day to keep it all in one place. I have heard of using binder paper and a file folder with each book of the bible on its own tab so you can keep all of the studies you have personally done for that particular book in one place. That seems super handy and eventually I will do that, too but for now it is all bound together in a notebook.

After the chapter is read, the verse or verses that I had stopped at during the reading or jumped off the page at me are written down. Then I underline or highlight or add brackets, whatever my little heart so desires, to the parts that are most important to me. This is the observation. I write a bit about what I think about the verse, what God seems to be revealing through it. Next, is how to apply this little truth to my life. Perhaps I do not know what it means and that is why the verse stuck out to me, so I look it up in the application part of my bible - life application bibles are awesome when you are new to studying the bible or have been for awhile. If there is nothing in it for that particular verse I will ask someone about it and start a little google search to see what others have said about it. God will reveal tidbits about it that way, too. I finish it all up with a little prayer. Prayers about implementing this verse in to my life and for forgiveness for doing otherwise. Yes, these verses may be used to convict you and for God to change your heart. Prayers of thankfulness and praise.

There is so much that God does during this time. All of this usually happens within thirty minutes or less but it makes a HUGE impact on my day. For me, trying to get up before the kiddos do seems to works best but not all days work that way. Naptimes or after breakfast during play time works occasionally, too. After awhile, looking back at what God has shown you through each of your entries is really rewarding. Scattering your pages are little incites and wisdom from the creator of heaven and earth. Wow. That is a gift you can give yourself daily, just take a few minutes.

I love to give this method to friends, so I thought I would leave you with a printable to post in your own personal notebook or one for a friend. There is nothing better than sharing a great way to get to know Jesus better. And a side note, washi tape is perfect for adhering it  to the inside of a notebook. Cute and fun.

Here's to losing yourself and knowing Jesus more. More studying and less scrolling and more peace than you know. Click image to download. 

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