What is SOAP?
SOAP is an acronym, and a great way to read the Bible. Start by praying and asking God to speak to you from the Bible as you read it and reflect on it. Grab a journal, notebook or something electronic to write down your thoughts, and apply SOAP! The letters of the word SOAP stand for the following:
Scripture Choose one verse or phrase that seems to stand out from the passage you have read. Write the verse out in full in your journal, or copy and paste from your Bible app.
Observation What thoughts or observations come to you as you reflect on the verse? Write them down.
Application “How does this verse or thought apply to me? God, what would you have me know or do?” Record your thoughts.
Prayer Write a short prayer. Give your SOAP a title.
There it is. Simple but incredibly helpful. As you mull things over, and write your thoughts down, you’ll be amazed at what comes to you as the Holy Spirit does his work.
The party game “Pass the Parcel” can teach us some useful things about how and how not to read the Bible. It’s no good if the words we read simply pass us by, which is often what happens if we simply read and then close the book. What we want is some way to “stop the music” so we can unwrap something! And then to keep unwrapping and unwrapping until we discover the treasure hidden within.
SOAP is a great way to unwrap the treasures God has for you in the Bible. Even after writing down the Scripture or verse that stands out to you from your reading, you will often not know what treasure you are about to unwrap until you have worked your way through the middle part of your SOAP.
I am frequently amazed and delighted by what comes to me as I do SOAP. What’s really happening is that as I make room for the Holy Spirit to work, God is revealing to me the very things he wants me to see and know and understand. Somehow I find myself entering the very presence of God. That’s a very good place to be, and the more you’ve been there, the more you’ll find yourself wanting to sneak off with God…
You can see some examples of SOAP on this blog, but you should feel free to make yours as long or as short as you like. The most important thing is that you connect and interact with God as you spend time in his Word. Enjoy! Oh, and by the way…
Reading the Bible can be a bit like fishing…
When you fish, you select your spot, cast out your line and wait for something to bite. Once you’ve hooked something, you wind it in and hopefully land it. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve hooked until you’ve landed it.
I often read the Bible in just the same way. Once I’ve selected my place and opened my heart to the Holy Spirit, I begin to read and wait for something to bite. Sometimes I’ll get a great big tug on my line as a verse or passage seems to grab my attention or stir something in my spirit. At other times, it’s just a gentle nibble.
As soon as I feel it, I hook onto it, and then wait in anticipation to see what the Holy Spirit has for me to wind in. If I’m using SOAP (which is most of the time), this is the verse I focus on. (I finish the section I’m reading first, as this usually contributes to the overall picture and provides context). I never worry if the significance of the verse or verses I’ve hooked isn’t immediately apparent. God is constantly surprising me, and often I won’t know what I’ve hooked or how big it is until I’ve landed it!
I have grown to love fishing with God. However, just occasionally when I fish, nothing seems to bite. But that’s OK. It’s a good opportunity for me to just sit with God and talk.
Need some ideas about where in the Bible to read? Check out The Bible: Where Do I Start?