S.O.A.P. - Scripture, Observations, Applications, Pray.
This is an awesome way to study your Bible! It is so simple, yet so effective!
I'm participating in the Good Morning Girls Bible study of Colossians, and this is the method they use. It has taken me from reading and thinking about Scripture, to reading, writing, and understanding Scripture like never before. The study has only been going for 1 week, but I have already learned so much - I can't wait to see where I am after the full 8 weeks! But more than understanding Colossians better than ever before, I am so excited I know now a way to study the rest of the Bible that will work for me. I think it will work for you too.
In this study, you only go over a few verses each day, which keeps it simple and allows a busy mom like me to keep up. Following the S.O.A.P. method, you first write out each verse word for word (S - Scripture). This doesn't take long since you only study a few verses at a time. Then you write down what sticks out to you from the passage (O - Observations). Next you think about what the passage means to you and for you (A - Applications), and finish by praying over what you've just read and learned (P - Pray). That's it. I have been amazed at what has been revealed to me by using the S.O.A.P. method, and even more amazed at how simple it is!
Good Morning Girls has provided a printable pdf document to go along with the Bible study. All you have to do is print it out and you've basically got a study guide. It lists the Scripture of the day at the top of the page, along with which week and day of the week you're supposed to read that particular Scripture on, so you can easily follow along with their schedule. Then it provides space for each of the four tasks in the S.O.A.P. method. So easy and so organized! Have I told you I think it's great?!
So what happens after the 8 weeks is over? I plan on continuing to study my Bible using the S.O.A.P. method. I don't know what I'll study next, but I do know how. I've even created a blank study guide in Word that I can print and use. I just left the top part blank so I can write in the week day, and passage. If I want, I can come up with a schedule to follow, or I can just write in which verses I read as I go along. Either way, I am going to gain Biblical knowledge and grow in my faith. If you're interested, it only takes a couple minutes to type up your own study guide, or there's even a website where you can register for an account and type your answers online: www.soapstudy.com.
And you really can do this too. My quiet time has been quite different each day this week, but I've been able to do it! So far my quiet time has been late at night when everyone else was sleeping, first thing in the morning before my kids woke up, mid-morning while the kids were at playgroup, and during their afternoon nap, and while the kids were in the other room watching a movie. I would like to have a consistent quiet time each day, but I don't think I'm at a point in my life where that's very feasible. But that's okay. The Good Morning Girls study of Colossians has allowed and encouraged me to successfully study my Bible every day this week, even if it hasn't been under the same circumstances each time!
I hope you'll try this study, or just try the S.O.A.P. method with whatever you read on any given day. I think you'll find it really helpful in understanding God's word! 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Another version says "All the Holy writings are God-given and are made alive by Him. Man is helped when he is taught God's Word. It shows what is wrong. It changes the way of a man's life. It shows him how to be right with God. It gives the man who belongs to God everything he needs to work well for Him."
I love what this says about the importance of reading and knowing Scripture, and all that Scriptural knowledge can do! Scripture is powerful! It is "alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12)." Wow! I encourage you to get into the Word, whether you S.O.A.P. it or not! Let it become alive and active in you so you will be equipped for every good work!