What is the SOAP Bible study method and how can it help you in your walk with God? We’ll get to the bottom of it and we’ll learn why it’s such a helpful method to apply, no matter if you’re studying alone or with a group.
I first came across the SOAP Bible study method several years ago. Immediately, it made sense.
The acronym was easy to understand and it provided a general guide to the process of learning scripture and meaning in the Bible.
Please note that you’ll find the SOAP method to be highly adaptable. You don’t need to buy a new study book or worksheets.
Instead, use SOAP to guide your note taking and make sure to review your notes throughout the week. Let’s get started and learn how to SOAP!
Why The Soap Bible Study Method Is Effective
Have you ever tried to start a Bible study and lacked the direction to begin? It’s true you can find Bible studies that include discussion prompts, but wouldn’t it be great if you had a strategy that you could replicate again and again, no matter what chapter of the Bible you’re studying?
The naysayers might be thinking, “replication isn’t always good, and repetition can lead to poor habits or complacency”. In the case of the SOAP Bible study method, creativity is up to you (and some people even add on to the SOAP acronym to personalize their method of study).
The SOAP Bible study method is effective because it provides a general outline. It’s straightforward guidance makes getting into the Word much easier.
Instead of asking ourselves “where do we start”, the SOAP method points us in the right direction.
SOAP is versatile, making it a solid option for veteran Bible study participants or someone who has just come to Christ. Many group Bible studies have a mix of experience when it comes to studying scripture.
SOAP is a great way to help those who are new to studying the word, without taking away from members with ample Bible study experience.
>> Also read: Learn The ACTS Prayer Method
How To SOAP – It Can Be Done In A Group Or Practiced Alone (By Book, Chapter, or Verse)
I’ve already mentioned that SOAP is versatile. It’s works similarly with groups and individuals.
If a Bible study group adopts the SOAP method it helps keep the group focused on one objective at a time. It’s also great for time management (example: 15 minutes for each letter for an hour long Bible Study).
For the individual, it works just as well. Note taking is an important aspect of Bible study and the letters “O” and “A” are the main steps for note-taking.
Similar to a Bible study group, the SOAP Bible study method works great for the early morning studies that have to be completed before the kids wake up. For short sessions, work each letter of the acronym for 8 minutes and you’ll have your morning study completed in 30 minutes!
Book, Chapter, or Verse
SOAP works great for every type of Bible study. Bible studies usually focus on chapters and verses for each meeting and the SOAP method works well regardless of your study strategy.
For Bible studies that cover a large about of scripture, make sure to review your notes occasionally in order to gain additional meaning and understanding.
What Exactly Is The SOAP Bible Study Method
The purpose of all Bible studies is to study the Word of God. If were are following the SOAP method, it directs us to start in the Scripture.
In other words, read! It’s difficult to learn if you don’t read first.
It doesn’t matter if you’re reading a chapter or a verse, read the scripture and if you’ve allocated enough time, reread to ensure you understand.
Observations are the next step to take. Do your best to understand the meaning of the scripture.
Sometimes this is a challenge and the scripture’s meaning isn’t straightforward. Is there a literal meaning or something figurative, where you must interpret what is written.
It’s important to know the historical context, and situational context. Also, keep in mind who is talking, and to whom they are talking.
Application is an important step to the SOAP Bible study method. Without applying what you’ve learned, there is less impact to your life.
Ask yourself, “how can I use this scripture in my daily life and how can it help others that come into contact with me.”
Application is largely a brainstorming activity to find opportunities to improve your life and the lives of others. This letter of the study works great in a group Bible study because people will share their thoughts.
During a group study you’ll likely hear perspectives that you haven’t considered. Likewise, your perspective may help other people discover opportunities to apply what they’ve learned in their life.
As with any Bible study, there should be a closing prayer. Within SOAP, the prayer should ask God for better understanding and guidance when applying what was learned.
Closing prayers in Bible studies often include personal requests for members of the group, but don’t forget to pray about what was learned. Prayer should also be followed up during the week to retain the lesson and to remain focused.
Challenges With The SOAP Bible Study Method
As with any study method, there will be negatives. I really believe this is a great way to study the Bible because learning to SOAP is easy and it can be adapted for groups, individuals, as well as time preferences.
However, some people will prefer a more in-depth method for their Bible study. This may mean adding to the acronym. It could also improve with a better directive for note-taking (something that is often under-appreciated in Bible studies).
For a more in-depth approach to reading the Bible, there are plenty of books you can purchase that have been written about a specific theme or book of the Bible. However, you can’t beat the price of the SOAP study method!
Also note that you can easily create your own original study method using an acronym. I really like the PRAY method, which stands for Pray, Read, Ask, Yell (not actually yell) but share with others.
If you develop your own acronym, make it sequential, in the way you’d like to study the Bible. Acronyms are easy to remember and keep our Bible studies on track!
So there you have it. The SOAP method for Bible study is simple, straightforward, and quite effective.
It’s versatile in that it works for going into depth with a Bible study, but it’s also considerate of time and it’s a great way to manage time throughout your group’s study.
The SOAP method isn’t just for groups, it’s also easy to adapt to personal preferences and needs. If you’re planning on studying alone, SOAP works great!
Just remember the core principals of how to SOAP:
Develop a routine that suites you and reserve time for each step. Don’t forget to share what you’ve learned with your family and friends. After all, what good is learning scripture without sharing how you’ve grown.