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One way I have tried to do in an effort to simplify my walk with Christ has been to simplify my Bible Study time. I think in the past I have made it way too complicated—like, WAY too complicated!
Two specifically that come to mind are the color-coded method, and the inductive method. You know, I was probably just trying to emulate other Christians…the “fake it til you make it” approach. But what really happened was I never had enough time to commit to my Bible study and so I didn’t do any study or Bible reading at all.
I have a proven record of quitting things that are over-complicated.
Sure, there is a time and place for taking a research approach to Bible Study—all of that is really important, but it’s not practical for a daily routine (at least in my life).
I use the S.O.A.P. method to Bible Study—and it is awesomely simple but also allows space for me to go deeper if I want to.
Scripture, observations, application, and prayer.
Here is an example from my own journal–I picked this page because it was done while my kids were around and it took me a couple hours to complete. But because of how basic the structure is, I was able to pick up where I left off each time I had to step away, so I feel like I still got a lot out of it.
How SOAP works:
- The first step is “scripture” but I always start off with prayer—just asking God to guide me in my study and to lean not on my own understanding—but His. After praying, I choose a verse that is meaningful to me—a piece of scripture I heard at church, in a song, from a book, or through prayer and then I write it out. The whole thing, not just the reference.
- The next step is “observation” and this is where you write down what you think God is showing you or telling you through his Word. What does God want you to learn?
- Step three is “application,” how can you apply the scripture to your life? How will you let it change and affect you?
- And finally, you end the process the same way you started—“prayer.” Most of the time, I like to write the actual prayer out in my journal.
Now you’re done—a simple and practical way to dig deeper into the Word of God. Now I don’t have lack of time to blame for my lack of Bible study.