Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Using SOAP to Study God's Word

Since I was saved in October 2006, I have been pretty consistant in reading God's Word.  I am thankful that my husband won't let us go to sleep at night unless we have read at least one chapter. :)  Sometimes, I just read it though - not really studying it or taking it in - just reading it.  In my on-line accountability group we have decided to study the book of James together and I have learned so much by just reading it and reading other's posts on what they have learned from the scriptures.  In Courtney's blog - Women Living Well - she talked about using the SOAP method. 

S - write down the scriptures
O - write down your observations
A - application of the scripture
P - prayers

Recently, my pastor at church has been leading a churchwide study on Reading the Bible for Life.  Two things I have learned from this study (so far):
1)  Understand the context of what you are reading - historical, cultural, literary, and theological
My study Bible has all this commentary about each book and the verses in it and sometimes it makes a huge difference if I take the time to read that information before I actually read the chapter.  I understand the verses in a whole new way.

2)  Try not to think about what God wants you to learn in the scripture first, but rather what you can learn about God's character.  Ask yourself these questions when reading the books in the Old Testament:  How is God at the center of each story?
                   What is the whole point?
                    What characteristics of God are portrayed?
                    What does God value?
                     What is God's agenda?

The last thing I am sure most people already know about is on-line commentaries.  I just recently learned about one that has helped me out a lot :  biblegateway.com

Though it takes time, I have really been able to study God's Word this way and what a blessing it is to know God's Word more intimately.