You don’t have to be a scholar to know the Bible, you just need discipline and a plan.
Read 5 Days a week.
S.O.A.P. Journal 1 day a week.
Memorize 1 passage a month.
Do it individually or grab a friend or three and do it with them.
S.O.A.P. Journaling Method
Studying the Bible is often thought of something that you have to be a scholar to do. That is not true. Schooling and degrees help but schooling and degrees are not necessary to study the Bible. All you truly need is intentionality and the Bible. Having a simple outline of how to go about studying the Bible is helpful as well. Enter SOAP journaling. SOAP journaling gives a simple outline of how to go about studying the Bible for yourself. Simply and intentionally as you read, on a piece of paper, apply your mind and write out from your Bible reading what you find in the SOAP outline – Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer.
Before you read scripture, pray that the Holy Spirit would teach you as you read (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). Read scripture then write out a verse or passage that stands out to you.
Establish the context to begin with: Who is the author? Who is the author writing to? Why is the author writing? If just starting a book of the Bible, a Summary is very helpful with this.
Find that here. Pick Old or New Testament, then scroll down to the book you are starting into.
Write what the verse or passage says in context: What comes before the verse or passage? What come after the verses or passage?
Note the repetition of words and phrases, cause-and-effect, ifs and thens, questions and answers, comparisons and contrasts. Does it bring to mind other verses or passages in Scripture? Are there any themes or key phrases?
Other questions such as the ones below are great Observation questions:
- What does this say about God?
- What does this passage say about Jesus?
- What does this say about the nature of man?
- What does this say about the role of the church in the world?
- How does this passage apply to you?
- Is there something to worship God for?
- Is there a sin to forsake?
- Is there a promise to claim?
- Is there an example to follow?
- Is there a command to obey?
- Is there something to be thankful for?
- Is there something to share with others?
Write out a prayer to God about what He has shown you. Pray that prayer over your life, others, and your prayer list.