The SOAP Bible Study method is simple and easy to use. We’ll walk you through exactly how to use it to study the Bible in this quick guide.
Of all the Scripture study methods, the SOAP method is especially helpful to use during the busy seasons of life. It’s easy to adapt to your schedule when you have limited time. You can slow down, spend your time focusing on just one verse, and dig into a bite-size piece of God’s Word.
Let’s take a closer look at how to do a SOAP Bible Study.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to items I think may be helpful to you.
What Is the SOAP Method of Bible Study?
SOAP is an acronym to help you remember, and it stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. This method is more in-depth than simply reading your Bible, but not quite as rigorous as doing a full-blown, intensive study. It utilizes one key verse from your Bible reading and helps you make observations that you can use to apply to your own life.
How to Use the SOAP Method to Study the Bible
S – Scripture
The S stands for Scripture. If you’ve been working through a Bible reading plan, was there a verse that stood out to you during your daily reading? That’s a great place to start and helps keep the verse in context.
Read the verse in several Bible versions, such as ESV, NASB, and AMP. You can use web sites such as BibleGateway or BibleHub to see the verse in several versions.
Then, grab a notebook or journal and write out the Scripture, taking your time to really think about what you’re writing.
Related: Bible Reading Plans For Beginners
O – Observation
The O stands for Observation. Ask questions and make observations about the Scripture. For example, you might consider:
- Who was the intended audience?
- Why was it written?
- What was the main point the author was trying to get across?
- Is there a specific word here that stands out to you?
Take a few minutes to look up the meaning of a word that caught your attention, read a brief commentary on the verse, or use your Bible concordance to see other mentions of these words in the Bible. Jot these observations down in your notebook.
A – Application
The A stands for Application. Applying God’s Word to your life helps make it personal. Is God using this verse to speak to you? What is He saying? Is there a change you should consider making in your daily routine, or maybe in your thought patterns? Seek to apply God’s Word in a practical and measurable way. Write down a few sentences about how you can relate this verse to your life.
P – Prayer
The P stands for Prayer. Pause and pray; you can say your prayer out loud or write it in your notebook. Has God revealed something to you in this verse? Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help and guidance. Make your prayer personal and heartfelt. Pray the Scripture itself, if possible (this depends on the verse), inserting your own name into the verse. This is really helpful if you’re struggling to find the words to pray.
Related: Learning How to Pray
Example of the SOAP Method in Action
Here’s a video example of how I use the SOAP method while using one of our free SOAP printables. In it, I’ll show you how to find your verse online in many different Bible versions. I like reading my focus verse in multiple versions so I can get a better idea of it’s meaning before I begin completing the printable worksheet. Click the video below to watch.
Here’s the final result. Notice that I used a couple prayer points at the bottom of the worksheet. You’re welcome to write out a prayer instead, or simply pause and pray out loud.
If I were to write out a prayer, it would be something like this:
Lord, help us to be purposeful, intentional, and consistent. Help us to be hearers and doers of your Word. Help us to seek out Godly instruction and be faithful on the path You’ve set before us. Keep us from drifting away from our relationship with You. Thank You for Your faithfulness, grace, and mercy towards us. In Jesus name, Amen.
The Hidden Danger of Using the SOAP Method
I do have one caution about using this Bible study method. While it’s a great option for the busy seasons of life, be wary of a steady diet of this type of Bible study. You should seek to carve out time for deeper, richer Bible study. In my opinion, the SOAP study is ideal for occasional use, but I would seek to add other methods as well. My post How to Study the Bible outlines several Bible study methods you can explore.
Do the SOAP method when you have small children at home and struggle to find a few minutes to dig into the Word, or when you’re feeling overwhelmed with daily responsibilities. Consider using it with your small group or your Sunday School class. Adapt it and use it with your kids (either aloud or have them draw it in pictures). But, don’t use it for your personal study time every day, week after week, and month after month. Mix it up a bit! Look for opportunities to go deeper. Become a student of the Word.
SOAP Bible Study Free Printables / PDF Templates
We created these free SOAP Bible study printables with you in mind. We’ll send them to you via email so you can save them, then print them as often as you like. They’re perfect for keeping in a three ring binder! Get them here.
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