Monday Musings for 10.19.20
I just finished a series of six sermons on the Bible. I tried to keep things simple and practical, which leads to the simple, practical tool I want to share with you today.
Perhaps you have heard of the SOAP method of reading the Bible. The four letters stand for the four steps: Scripture, Observe, Apply, Pray.
1) Star with choosing the scripture you will read. Whatever you choose, break it into short sections, no more than 3 or 4 verses at a time. A single verse is recommended. Writing this out by hand and using a journal for the following steps is also recommended.
2) Then you observe. Be curious about what you read. Read it several times. Notice details that you missed before. Ask questions. Resist the urge to ask Google. The idea is to think for yourself, not have somebody else think for you. Read your passage out loud. This is important. When the Bible was first written, very few people knew how to read so they listened as it was read out loud. It’s part of our tradition.
3) Next apply. You apply what is in the Bible to your daily life. This is what it’s all about. The purpose of the Bible is not information. The purpose of the Bible is transformation. Jesus came not to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.
4) Finally pray. Whatever insights came to you during your time with God’s Word, bring them to God in prayer. Just a simple conversation. Like you are talking to your best friend. So if you are doing all the talking, why did I call it a conversation? Because you should pause now and then and see if you can hear God speaking to you. It won’t always happen, but sometimes it will. Not an audible voice, but you’ll know it when it happens just as surely as if it were.
Let me know if this SOAP method is useful to you. If it is, great. If it isn’t, find something else that works for you. The important thing is that we get into the habit of spending time in God’s Word.
And if the Bible 101 series whetted your appetite to learn more, there is a wonderful series of videos my friend, Aaron Berkowitz at the Presbyterian Church told me about. Just go to YouTube and search for “Bible Project.”