There are as many ways to study the Bible as there are Christians who want to gain a deeper understanding of scripture.
These methods run the gamut from occasional cursory reading to intensive university programs. In between lies the sweet spot for most believers, where we can do some deep learning but at a pace that makes sense for us.
And that’s where the SOAP method shines
In fact, by setting a SOAP Bible study schedule that fits your lifestyle and goals, you can establish a scripture routine to last a lifetime.
But before we get to setting up your schedule, let’s look at the basics of the SOAP method.
What Does S.O.A.P. Mean?
The letters in the acronym “SOAP” stand for …
To start implementing SOAP, you need to pick the part of scripture you’re going to be studying, and then write it down.
There have been all sorts of studies done about the advantages of actually writing something down, but suffice it to say that you just may be amazed by how much more deeply you connect with a Bible verse when you use your own hand to get it down on paper.
As you’re reading, writing, and re-reading your verse(s), what stands out to you? Who is speaking? To whom? Are there certain words that resonate with you or may have multiple meanings? What special message is the scripture trying to impart?
Once you have a handle on the passages you’re studying, find a way to apply them to your daily life. What changes should you make in order to follow the scripture? What actions do you need to take? Can these verses help you help other people?
To wrap up your SOAP study, pray about the lesson you’ve learned. Tell God what the passage means to you. Express thanks for the new insights. Admit to shortcomings about yourself that the scripture may have brought to life.
Why Should You SOAP Your Bible Study?
As you can see, the SOAP method for Bible study lays out a fairly straightforward procedure to guide your daily research into the scripture.
That direction can be invaluable when you’re trying to work through difficult material, or when you hit a lull in motivation.
You still have to put in the work, of course, but as long as you follow the SOAP guidelines, you’re almost guaranteed of getting through your verses and, more importantly, getting the most out of them.
How to Schedule Your SOAP Bible Study
Now that you know what SOAP Bible study is all about and are convinced (hopefully) about the value for you, it’s time to think about fitting it into your life.
In truth, if your sincerely want to study the Bible and make it the foundation of your life, you can fit it into almost any schedule.
In practice, as you deal with day-to-day frustrations, surprises, and even routines, it can be difficult to stay true to your intentions.
The SOAP method, in particular, is fairly intensive. You’re not simply reading a few verses and moving on. Instead, you’re writing down scripture, thinking deeply about its meaning, applying it to your life, praying on it.
On the whole, it’s an uplifting process, but it can be daunting and even draining some days. It’s a lot of energy to expend, and it requires all of your spiritual and mental focus.
I don’t say any of this to discourage you from using SOAP — that would be silly considering I just spent half a post making the opposite case!
No, I say all this to emphasize that you need to establish a schedule for your Bible study that will energize you, not tear you down. That will make you eager to dig into the scripture, not shy away from it.
Now, technically, you could SOAP on any schedule, such as those geared toward reading the entire Bible in a year, or three months.
And that might work fine if you’re extremely motivated, or if you’re just reading scripture.
As you get started with SOAP, though, it might make more sense to take a more conservative approach, such as one of the two-year Bible reading plans I discussed in this post.
Or, you might take one of those one-year plans and work on a lesson a week or every three days.
The point is, start with a schedule you can handle consistently and that lets you really dig into the scripture using SOAP.
Once you get your feet under you, you may be able to accelerate your studies.
Heck, if all goes right, you won’t be able to stop yourself from accelerating, so strong will be your motivation!